Thursday, December 27, 2012

Blessings

Before I get into any other kinds of posts, I feel it's important to put up one of thankfulness for the wonderful Christmas that the BTEG family had. There were wonderful gifts, good food, and enjoying being with family. Now we are enjoying being home together, including Mr. BTEG because of the inclement weather. I pray that there have been no great losses due to the blizzard.

Here's a picture of one of the nice gifts that I received, a new bicycle, in pretty blues and pinks. Come spring, I can be walking or bicycling!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Knock knock. Who's there? Doctor.

This house has the freakin' Tardis! On the freakin' front porch! I want one.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Something Different

One of the things I am finding I like about Mr. BTEG's current job, is that people are relatively social outside of work. Tuesday night a group of Mr. BTEG's co-workers and their wives got together at a bar called Happy Dog, in Cleveland. I hadn't been in that area of Cleveland before that I can remember, and there was a very interesting atmosphere, urban, but not scary urban as certain areas of Cleveland can be.

Anyway, a very interesting night. There was classical music, and a trio singing Christmas carols (the bass was sick), all from the Cleveland Institute of Music. I think I'd like to try it when a different music genre was there. I guess I'm totally uncool, but most of the modern classical stuff didn't really cut it for me. Especially one piece where either the piano was wildly out of tune, or there were notes that deliberately sounded grating to the ear. Physically painful, even.

We had a chance to see hipsters in their natural habitat. Lots of them. I took anthropological notes. :D

For some reason, I really found it funny that atop the upright piano, was a bust lamp of Elvis. A very large bust of Elvis. In blues. The lampshade shook when the modern classical musicians were pounding on the piano keys, but Elvis stayed solid.

This bar serves hot dogs, tater tots and french fries, and beer. However, you can get about thirty different toppings for your hot dogs and tater tots. Including mole, the Mexican chocolatey stuff. Which, no.

I found it interesting that the cellist, who looked very Korean, was named Carlos.

Friday, December 07, 2012

A Nice Round Number

I have reached my thousandth blog post! In all the years since 2005(!), I've met a lot of great people, written some things I'm really proud of, discovered a lot of things about other people, life and myself, and generally had fun. A blog is actually wonderful for someone like me, a stay-at-home mom in a world where it's harder to meet and make friends with other moms, especially if you are an introvert. But I mainly enjoy just getting my point of view out, whether it's about being a mom, a wife, a conservative, a Lutheran, bipolar or anything else. At least some of the next one thousand posts are sure to be on watching my daughters reach maturity, as well as making changes in my own life as my mommy duties decrease. Can't wait to see where it's going!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Random Bits

Mom: "Whichever girl's turn it is to scoop the litter box, needs to do it."

Dancer: "I can't remember whose turn it is. It's hard to keep track."

Mom: "That's why I put up the chore chart months ago, with all the days and the chores."

Dancer: "But we never use it."

Mom: face-palm

That look a cat gives you when she is rolling around in some sort of almost-catnip-fueled type abandon and sees you watching her. "Oh. Hai. Didn't see you there."

You know your best friend is your best friend when you give each other the same Christmas gift. And when you can't actually wait until Christmas to exchange gifts.

I'm really tired of having to put paragraph breaks in by hand because Blogger doesn't seem to recognize the return key anymore. Especially when I forget and then go to look at my blog post actually on my blog.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kinda Sorta Here

In my effort to post more, I am here to bring you this short post of Nothing of Any Substance Whatsoever. You see, on Saturday, the Musician got sick. Every member of the family followed. I was the last to get sick, and am just starting to feel better today. I'm hoping we can get back to normal now. Between Christmas and the Musician's birthday, this is the craziest time of the year for me. And even though most of the chaos ends with the holiday season, I then have to prepare for the Dancer's birthday in early February.

Oh, and I also opened up a huge can of World War III with my inlaws over the weekend.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Waiting for the Lightning

Seems Jamie Foxx recently called Obama his "lord and savior." No, really, Yeah. He did. I wouldn't stand too close to him, in case the lighting bolt from above shows up.

If you ever read Ace of Spades, you are well familiar with the Let It Burn concept. The idea that this country is too far in debt and has too large of a lazy, self-centered populace that likes to be ignorant and plans on staying that way, means the country is at some point going to collapse. So, let's get the party started now. If you believe at some point this house of cards is all going to come down, then why delay the pain? And part of Letting It Burn is destroying the entertainment and media industries. If you were paying attention, you may have noticed that during the run-up to the election, an enormous majority of celebrities may not have been calling our current president their lord and savior, but they are certainly behind him, and quite happy to demonize anyone who isn't. If you're a reader who knows me from Martin Loopers, you probably don't watch much television already, and may not have cable. I'm trying to persuade Mr. BTEG to at least cancel our Sirius satellite radio subscription, if not our cable. I want us to avoid as many movies as possible, especially the ones where the more vocal Obama supporters are stars. Tell me why any of the liars, tramps, sluts and thieves in Hollywood deserve my family's money. Let them feel the economic depression/recession just like the rest of us.

Spelling Tip

Since the election, there has been a lot of discussion among people who still wish to live under the rules set out in our Constitution, and who suggest breaking away from the United States to form some new country. The only thing I am going to point out here, is that this would be a secession and not a succession. I've been really frustrated seeing the wrong word used over and over. That is all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cravings

The week or so of solid gray skies and steady rain that came as a result of Hurricane Sandy made one thing clear to me: I do have Seasonal Affective Disorder. By the end of the week I was barely functional. My brain worked well enough to click a computer mouse, and that was about it.

I've always suspected that I had SAD. After all, winter is the hardest time of the year for me, emotionally. February was the month when I reached an breaking point bad enough to land me in a mental hospital. But the bad weather last month compressing it all into a solid week really convinced me. I've been pretty good about upping my Vitamin D consumption in the winter, but since we are blessed enough to have very good health insurance coverage at the moment, my psychiatrist is supporting me in trying phototherapy. Mr. BTEG is working through the insurance channels/hoops to get a light box. I'll probably update when we get one, after I've used it for a while.

My other struggle, besides craving sunlight, is craving carbs. I haven't talked about it here, but late this summer, I started eating less, trying to cut back on carbs, cutting out as much high fructose corn syrup as possible, and walking. I did manage a little bit of weight loss. But now my ankle injury has messed up my walking habit, and as winter comes on I find myself craving carbs as I haven't in a long time. Mr. BTEG, who did some research on light boxes and SAD, tells me that craving carbs in the winter is nature's way of putting us into a sort of hibernation. Well, I was certainly in hibernation mode after that week of gray and rain. But I can't do that all winter. Maybe the phototherapy will help with the carb cravings.

Oh, and Mr. BTEG also discovered that light therapy can cause someone who is bipolar to go into a manic state, or a mixed state. Swell. My mixed states are the worst ones of all. I guess we'll have to play that one by ear as well. Happy Winter!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Confession Time

I am finally giving in to responding to this article. I really didn't want to, because I'm not going to get anywhere, or change anyone's mind, but I've been turning it over in my mind for awhile, so I'm writing it down here and moving on.

My name is Barb the Evil Genius, and I am a terrible parent. I homeschooled one daughter for five years, and the other for four years. The reason why the Musician was only homeschooled for four years was because she was fighting my attempts to homeschool her, and we put her into an online school for a year, rather than put her in a school district that we were planning on leaving in a year.

Now both daughters are in public school, happy and doing well. This obviously means that I am a poor parent, since even after many years of homeschooling, my daughters prefer being smothered and subjugated in a public school. They enjoy being around, and learning with, large groups of their peers, even though many of the peers are sometimes unkind, selfish, lying, thieving, have emotional issues, do drugs and sleep around. To be honest, my girls can be thoughtless, tactless, selfish, and lose their tempers. My youngest occasionally resists the urge to inflict bodily harm on her classmates when she finds their stupidity frustrating (what can I say, she's my little girl,) and yet she prefers public school to homeschooling. This makes me a terrible parent. They should prefer being at home with just the other sister, and having the one-on-one interaction with me as their teacher.

When my daughters were homeschooled, they were not intrigued to find out how birds built their nests, nor interested in becoming Mozart-like composers, learning open-heart surgery, or welding a scale-model Eiffel Tower in the garage. If given the opportunity, my daughters would spend a great deal of their time surfing My Little Pony memes on the internet and playing Super Paper Mario. This obviously makes me a poor parent.

My youngest daughter takes medication for her ADHD. This is to help her concentrate on her work, sit still and be quiet. Definitely I am in the poor mom category here. ADD and ADHD are just made up labels to force brainwashed children to mindlessly behave in a stifling system. My daughter would learn so much more if she was homeschooled. Talking non-stop and doing cartwheels through the backyard to work off her energy would serve her so much better. At least she could concentrate while she was playing Super Paper Mario.

So when you hear, "You can homeschool your kids too! Public school is always the worst choice!", just remember, that is only true if you are a good mom. My name is Barb the Evil Genius, and I am not a good mom.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hobbling

My foot is still in pretty bad shape. It's been a week since I injured it, and new bruises are still appearing on it. I can drive, with some pain, and walk fairly well. Stairs are a little more difficult. I will try to update tomorrow; I have been doing some knitting and some deep thinking while I've been mostly laid up. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Curve Balls

All of us here in the Evil Genius household now have the cold that Mr. BTEG acquired at work last week. So the girls and I are hanging out here at home, me nagging the girls to do a little bit of housework in between My Little Pony episodes.

Not only that, but in an illness-induced haze the other night, I tripped badly getting out of bed and have barely been able to walk for the past few days, with rather impressive bruising and swelling on my left foot. To add insult to (literal) injury, having a left-foot injury and having a stick-shift car means I can't even drive, even if I could limp out to the car.

On a related note, one of my favorite catch-phrases has been: "That's part of the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom." Because being a stay-at-home mom is such a luxury, or at least that seems to be a popular opinion. I've also seen a couple of things lately that made me realize that lots of people think that non-automatic windows in cars are a thing of the past. Well, only for those who don't have the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Yet Another Reason

to believe that Gaia worship is a religion: the LA City Council is encouraging its residents to avoid eating meat on Mondays. For some vague, feel-good ideas about saving the planet, contributing to health and avoiding illnesses. If we say the right things, do the right things, perhaps the Nature God will favor us with plentiful "plant-based" foods, good health and no natural calamities. In the end, it's all about what we do, though. Like so many other religions are.

You know, abstaining from random sex and not having a lot of sexual partners, whether hetero- or homosexual, would "reverse some of our nation's most common" diseases. I guess temple prostitutes are cool with Gaia.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sending Out a Dove

Yesterday around dinnertime we got power back, after having it out since Monday evening. We survived, although we have now have a larger laundry and dishes backlog than usual. The Dancer and the Musician had school off yesterday due to power outages. Only the Dancer is at home keeping me company today.

There has been damage in the area, mostly due to downed trees and the inevitable flooded basements. I don't see any reports of loss of life in this area, which is a blessing. Areas south of us got snow. I think Lake Erie is still too warm for us to get any snow -- yet.

Halloween trick-or-treating has been moved to Sunday evening, which is also a good thing. Otherwise, all the girls, at least, could have been dressed like Mary Poppins: carrying umbrellas and being blown by the wind down the street.

Having no power all day, we went out to dinner last night. The restaurant we chose was totally slammed, but considering that the biggest shopping metropolis in the area, Crocker Park, was without power, I doubt we could have avoided a crowd anywhere else. We did get a free appetizer and an extra salad out of the deal due to confusion. I hope the servers raked in a higher than usual amount of money for a Tuesday night.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Warning

Supposedly when your kids start getting older, you don't need to spend so much time with their care, and so you have more time for yourself. DO NOT BELIEVE THIS! It is a lie! They just get into more activities, so you have to spend more time driving them around. Of course, also supposedly, kids who are in the upper grades of high school can get their driver's license and save you endless hours by shuffling the younger siblings around. This does not take into account having a sucky president, a lousy economy, and a husband underemployed for the last several years. Thus, a family may have a lot better places to put the few hundred dollars required for the driver's ed needed to get a license for those under the age of eighteen. Weird things like clothes and stuff. My only hope is that if Romney is elected, the economy may improve to the point that our daughters will not be living with us forever. My main regret is that we do not have a basement.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

So Simple

Even a scarecrow can do it.

Or do you think I'm just setting up strawmen? XD

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Called It

Over a year ago, I predicted that, in this economy, "green" products that were more expensive would not sell well. Well, guess what? According to recent research, "consumers have become less willing to pay for environmentally friendly products." Even the overwhelming percentages of people conserving energy and water could easily be doing so to save money. Who wants to write a bigger check to the electric company? Probably all those millionaires who swear they should be taxed more.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dear Cult Followers

who think that it is cool to post a photo of yourself with a message written on your hands saying why you support Dear Leader. You know what? Writing messages on your hands and arms is really popular here in flyover country, too! At my daughter's high school. For your next trick, try wearing an Obama shirt and holding up your hands to make a heart over it. Also, don't forget the duck lips. For serials.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is This What Health Care Needs?

Let me start this off by presenting my husband's, and my, needs for health care. Mr. BTEG has about six autoimmune disorders. Since there is currently no medical specialty that deals with autoimmune disorders in an overall sense, he must see a number of specialists that each deal with a particular facet of his issues; for example, he needs a gastroenterologist to help him manage his Crohn's disease, and an endocrinologist to help him with his thyroid issues.

My main health issue is mental, not physical. I am bipolar. This requires a psychiatrist to keep an eye on my mental state and help me adjust my medications accordingly. Thank God, I am currently in a good mental place in general and do not need to see my psychiatrist very often, nor switch my medication around. When things are more difficult for me, I sometimes see a counselor as well. Then of course both Mr. BTEG and I have a general physician, and our daughters have their health care needs too.

All of this brings me to an article about cutting out waste in health care. It caught my eye because the example patient, Harold, has rheumatoid arthritis, which is related to autoimmune issues, and because the author holds up the Cleveland Clinic as a model at the end of his article.

The Cleveland Clinic is, in general, definitely a good place to receive health care. It has a world-class reputation and some of their doctors are at the forefront of knowledge of various diseases and disorders. One of the problems I see in Cleveland, however, is that the Cleveland Clinic and its "rival," the University Hospital system, have largely sucked up most of the hospitals and many of the health care practices in the greater Cleveland area. Competition is good, and I would not want to see either the Clinic or UH completely dominate the Cleveland health care market.

However, having so much of a market controlled by two large systems also has its drawbacks. Both the nearest hospital to our home, and the best pediatric hospital in Cleveland, Rainbow Babies' and Children's, are in the UH system. Our family currently works with many doctors in the Cleveland Clinic system, both because of proximity to our house and because the percentage of solo practices does seem to be smaller. What if there is an emergency and we need to go to the nearest hospital, or one of our daughters, God forbid, gets an illness where a stay at Rainbow would mean the best care? First of all, that completely wipes out one of the advantages that the author above presents, which is computerized health records all in one place and readily available, due to everything being "under one roof." Secondly, doctors were already limited in what hospitals they could work with because of insurance. Would my daughters' pediatrician even have any privileges at Rainbow? But again, I would not like to see monopolization as the answer!

Secondly, we in the BTEG household know a lot about problems with health insurance. Our previous insurance provider would not pay for a very expensive health treatment which would have helped with all of Mr. BTEG's autoimmune disorders, similar to the problems Harold had with paying for Humira and Enbrel, which also work with autoimmune issues. However, Harold is also held up as an issue for waste when his declining health, based on not receiving the best medication for his issues, is mismanaged due to a multiplicity of doctors and lack of knowledge about his overall medical history.

Mr. BTEG prefers to have the freedom to choose his own doctors, whether they are in a particular system or not. Neither his gastro nor his endo doctors are in the Cleveland Clinic system; however, they are both excellent in their fields and moreover, they know each other professionally and readily share information with each other concerning my husband's issues (after my husband's consent is obtained.) Just recently, his gastro passed on taking bloodwork because his endo had also recently completed a blood panel, and "Dr. S is one of the few who knows what to get." Waste avoided, but not for the reasons our author describes. Also important, my husband "clicks" with his doctors. It is equally important for a patient to click with her psychiatrist and counselor. Sometimes it can take a while to find a health pro with whom you can feel comfortable. When it is already work to find the right doctor for you, why be even more constrained by what medical center, if any, they work for?

Is there waste in the medical field? Heck, yes. And steps should definitely be taken to avoid as much waste as possible. I simply disagree with what quality care must look like.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Move Along

This has been a very difficult week here in the Evil Genius household. It hasn't been as bad for us as it has for others, but it's been a very difficult and painful time ever since Saturday morning. And now I'm fighting a cold that I probably caught because my immune system was down from a lot of grieving. And I'm in that place where you never want to be happy again because bad things can happen, and you never know when one will happen next. I think rest and time are needed for the next couple of days.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Friday, September 07, 2012

Everyone in Cleveland

who wanted to piss on this guy's grave can start lining up now. Just sayin'.

School Days

I've been busy with back-to-school activities, and the year isn't even in full swing yet. Next week, the Dancer will start her four dance classes, and the two classes she will assist. The Musician is a junior in high school this year, and is busy three nights a week with marching band stuff. That will change once the football season is over, which is probably for the best. In general, I'm really enjoying being involved with the girls' activities. My eldest is already a junior! The years are running by, and I'm doing my best to make the most out of them.

Monday, August 27, 2012

On the Domestic End

After four and a half years of knitting, I think I'm ready to try to learn how to knit on circular needles. I got my pattern from Ravelry; you can find it here. I wanted to pick something small and simple for my first project. So far, I'm getting better and better at using Judy's Magic Cast On, as I've been casting on over and over and over due to the unraveling I need to do everytime I mess up and have to start over. I just keep reminding myself that it took me a while to learn how to knit, so I am mostly sure that I will be able to figure this out. Mostly. It's a very gloomy day in the Hundred Acre Wood Northeast Ohio, so it's a good day to curl up and knit.

I had to order the main skein of yarn that I need online. My imaginary Internet friend Naomi suggested I could just use any yarn that had the correct gauge, but this particular cotton yarn is wrapped, which is supposed to keep the yarn from stretching as much. I imagine that would be a good thing for a bag.

Oh, and I'm not going to provide a link for Judy's Magic Cast On, as there are many videos and articles describing how you can do this. Just do a search and take your pick as to what works best for you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wait, what?

This is already all over the internets, but as a resident of O-H-I-O, I have to pass this picture on. Just click over to Ace's place to see that our president thinks Ohio is spelled O-I-H-A. And deodorant is optional.

If you need a palate cleanser, watch this video of students from the Burke School perform an Irish dance to Hang On Sloopy, Ohio State's song. This is a better video than the one that I have, but I took one of this dance the same year. I think you can see Mr. BTEG and I off to the left of the screen every so often.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Least of These

The more I think about the whole abortion issue, the more I disagree that it is ever a good idea. Christians have tried to be all compassionate and understanding about women who have had an abortion for at least the devasting reason of rape and incest. What has happened with this compassion and understanding, however, is a culture that considers a human life something that can be thrown away for any reason, at virtually any time before a viable infant arrives in the world. Even after a viable infant is born,if the mom panics and abandons the child by himself somewhere, we are supposed to feel more pity for the young adult forced to make such a horrible choice, than for the baby who may or may not pay for it with his life.

Women and girls who do face a surprise or unwanted pregnancy do need help and support. What a lot of right-to-death proponents gloss over is the fact that many pro-life people are providing help and support right now. Sadly, not everyone can get the help they need. However, not everyone finds, say, the mental health help they need either. Suicide is the final result far too often. Even having money and connections does not always make struggles easy. How many Hollywood stars have self-destruced, often due to awful things that happpened to them as they rose through the ranks to stardom? With the money for the best counseling and mental health retreats, some people still can't completely rid themselves of their demons. And again, the result is death.

I used to have at least a sort of sympathy for those who claimed they were only in favor of abortion until the baby was viable outside of the womb. I wanted to meet them halfway, hoping that they would develop into people who were pro-life for even the youngest and most vulnerable of those in the womb. Vulnerable. Even the infants that are born full-term are horribly vulnerable. How can we welcome some of these, and essentially tell others that they have no right to live, after being given life without their consent or their will? Look at the picture here of a developing human only seven weeks after conception. He looks a little odd, but he is undeniably human. Not a clump of cells. Not a bunch of tissue. Human. And one's belief in a God or gods or no deity at all does not change this. If you are not afraid of being punished by a deity for killing the life of a unique individual whose body is daily growing and taking shape, does that mean that life does not matter if you find it an inconvenience? The story below is where we end up, and it does not and will not end there. What kind of a society do we want to be? That is our true choice.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I Can't Tell You How Sick This Makes Me

One of my guilty secrets is reading online forums, even ones where I don't have a direct connection to the forum topic, such as kitchen remodelling. I like reading peoples' stories, good and bad, and seeing pictures of what kind of remodels and crafts and so forth people do. And depending on the forum, mostly people are relatively polite and remain on topic.

But something I read recently made me very sick at heart, and it preyed on my mind for quite a while that evening. A woman was talking about how she and her boyfriend of a year just found out that the boyfriend is a father of a child, the product of a one-night-stand. At which point, a few commenters talked about how it is not "fair" that the woman didn't just abort the child. Well, first of all, as I am fond of saying, life ain't fair. And why supposedly grown adults should still think that any part of life should be "fair" is beyond me. How is it fair that a person should not have to live with the consequences of his behavior?

But the worst part is what easy abortion is doing to people's hearts and minds. People who probably think that they are "good" people are, in essence, saying that there is a baby out there who should not have been born. A human being who should not exist. That someone should not have been allowed to draw his first breath not because of what he had done, but because of what his biological parents did. Not only that, complete strangers on the internet feel free to postulate on whether a child should have been allowed to live. How much more twisted will we become?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dear Andrea Mitchell

I've done a lot of thinking about this, and you know what? I don't even know why you would presume that you could speak for me as a suburban mom, or even as a woman. I'm everything that you hate. I'm very white, and I'm not ashamed of the color of my skin. I'm not strictly evangelical, but you wouldn't know the differences in Christian doctrine if someone made a coloring book about it for you. I'm a stay-at-home mom. I've homeschooled my children. I've never had an abortion. I want a return to our Constitution and the founding principles of this country. It doesn't matter if you are who you are, a woman who married a wealthy old man and wouldn't be caught dead living the life of any of the suburban moms that I know, or if you were a dirt poor woman living in a ghetto. YOU DON'T SPEAK FOR ME.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I'm So Happy!

Both because of the thought of Paul Ryan becoming Vice President of the United States, and because of the Hey Girl, It's Paul Ryan pics being back!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Thinking Straight

About the concentration thing. I've been having a seriously hard time lately finishing sentences (for those who know me well, it's always been a problem; it's just gotten worse.) I find it hard to write things like blog posts when there is other noise from a television show or video game going in the room. I can't always think of a word that I want to use to say something. There may be health issues at play here, but I'm hoping that things will also improve when the girls go back to school. I enjoy having them at home; I enjoy spending time with them, but even with limited television viewing and video game playing, there is still a lot more noise when they are here. I'm starting to miss having my weekdays at home all to myself. Fortunately, school starts soon. We'll see how things go after that.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Music

On Friday, the Musician's high school had the privilege of hosting a Drum Corps International competition. For all the band students at my daughter's high school, it was a great opportunity to see these Corps, as Drum Corps International features the very best brass and percussion corps in the country. The Corps practice perhaps twelve hours a day in the heat of the summer, and when they are not performing or practicing, they are on a tour bus or sleeping on a gym floor. The bands also feature a color guard, dancers who moved flags or twirled batons, sabres, ribbons or wooden rifles, who work very hard as well. There was so much activity going on on the whole football field, that you couldn't take everything in at once. It was also fun to watch the judges, who literally get right into the competition. There were eight different judges, each rating one portion of the presentation. Judges follow the band around the field, talking into a recorder to preserve their observations in real time. One judge who particularly stood out was tall and stocky, and was the one who wove the most in and out among the musicians, gesticulating wildly with one arm. It must be very hard to face forward and maintain your composure while a judge is ducking under your tuba!

Have you seen any of the videos where two songs are mashed together? Like Thunderbusters? Well, the DCI corps Music City out of Nashville, Tennessee, presented a program called Phantom of the Grand Ole Opery. Somehow they managed to weave in Ring of Fire and the theme song Phantom of the Opera, then Your Cheatin' Heart and Music of the Night. They also played Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), Point of No Return, Stand By Your Man and All I Ask of You. The male color guard members wore Phantom style half-masks for most of their performance. I couldn't help but think how hot it must have been to wear those.

All the DCI groups had some kind of "theme," although some of them were more obvious than others. The thing I noticed most about the 7th Regiment out of New London, Connecticut, was the drum major. With a fu manchu mustache, large but well built, he looked like he could be a bouncer during the rest of the year. With the Vanguard Cadets out of Santa Clara, California, the theme was Heroes and Legends, and we got a beheading(!).

It was a fun night if you enjoy marching bands (minus the woodwinds.) If nothing else, the work that the kids put in should definitely be appreciated.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Eat Mor Chikin

As you can probably guess, I went to my local Chick-Fil-A today and picked up some yummy food. I passed by about half an hour earlier, and the line of cars was spilling out into the street. By the time I got back, there were no cars in the street, but there was still a line of cars completely around the building before even getting into the drive-thru line. And there was a long line of people around the building, who were smiling, happy and enjoying hanging out.
It was nice knowing that we who value First Amendment speech are not alone. As I pointed out to my daughter on the car ride home, it is not just Christians who need to worry about losing their freedom of speech. In this case, it was.

I'm sorry I can't write anymore right now. I'm finding it really hard to concentrate lately. More about that later.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Maryville, Missouri

I wanted to blog about our trip to Missouri in a series of posts in order of when we did what, but I'm still not interested in writing about our first interesting stop on the trip, which was Antique Archaeology, home of the American Pickers show, seen on the History channel. So for now, I'm going to skip straight to our destination, Maryville, Missouri.

Unfortunately, Maryville, Missouri was... boring. I was hoping to find some yarn stores or some fabric/quilting stores, but there weren't any. There was the Mozingo Lake Park and Golf Course, but I don't fish or play golf, and it was too hot to do any walking. We had the additional misfortune of hitting Maryville right when the big heat wave swept the Midwest.

Actually, Maryville is in rather sad shape. It has three large employers: an enormous Kawasaki engine plant, Northwest Missouri State University, and a jail. However, there were many empty storefronts in the city square, and there were two burnt-down restaurants and a vacant lot where it looked like something had been torn down. The one restaurant seemed to be in the process of rebuilding, but the other one was just there. No indication that it was going to be rebuilt and reopened anytime soon. It's sad that even with employment in the area, it has still felt the effects of the recession.

One interesting thing about the prison compound, there was an enormous church inside the fence, and one of the other buildings looked like it could have been a school building at some point. Mr. BTEG and I wondered if it could have been a regular church and school before becoming part of a prison.

At least the main part of our trip was successful. The Dancer and the Musician got lots of Law and Gospel, learned a lot about the faith, made new friends and got to hang out with old friends they hadn't seen since last year. Is it silly to say that seeing so many kids greeting each other after a long time apart, seemed almost like a foretaste of heaven?

Saturday, July 07, 2012

And Now, We Recuperate

Just got back from four days spent in Missouri at the latest Higher Things conference. Higher Things is an organization that teaches the Lutheran faith to young people. It is a great organization. This was the Musician's fourth year, and now that the Dancer has been confirmed, she was eligible to attend as well. We attended the conference in Missouri because the Musician already has a large number of friends from previous conferences that were going to attend this one. Because we didn't know anyone else from our area who was attending, Mr. BTEG and I drove the family to Missouri and stayed in a hotel while the girls were at the conference. As a result of the heat wave and the fact that there turned out to be not much of anything to do in Maryville, Missouri, our side of the trip was rather uneventful, but the girls learned a lot, had a lot of fun, and made even more new friends. It does feel good to be home, especially after pulling an all-nighter to get home from Missouri without booking yet another hotel room. More posts will follow about the trip!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Belated Fourth of July post

I hope all of you that live here in the States enjoyed the Fourth of July celebrations yesterday. I know a lot of us are concerned about losing freedom, but at least we still have a chance to work toward restoring this country as our Founders envisioned it. Or do you think an amicable divorce of the United States might be in the works? Do you think that might be feasible?

How do you celebrate the Fourth? When I was a kid, like Karen's family a carnival came to my hometown, and still does, every year. We would buy the all day wrist string and ride the rides all day long. At night would be the fireworks over Lake Erie. We would sit in the large grassy area across the street from the carnival area with our blankets and chairs and watch the show. Somewhat unenjoyable was the way the loudest fireworks would echo off of the middle school building behind us.

When my own girls were young, my cousin and her kids, about the same age as mine, would come and visit her parents in the Wooster area, and my mom, sisters and families, and my family, would be invited for the Fourth. What was especially nice was that my aunt and uncle lived in a neighborhood with a private lake, and they had a boat, plus we had swimming and playing in the sand with the little ones. I never tried waterskiing or tubing behind the boat, but I did like riding in it. My cousin's husband, formerly in the Navy, was especially fun to ride with. After driving an aircraft carrier, he could make being in my uncle's little boat rather exciting. Now my aunt and uncle have moved to Virginia to be closer to my cousin and her family and those days are just memories. It's a shame my kids can't see their second cousins more, as they are a lot closer in age to them than they are to their first cousins. My Musician and my cousin's oldest son are just a few months apart.

My family has yet to create any new tradition for our Fourth of July celebrations since, but these are the years of flux, as my teens start getting involved in their own activities more and more. I wonder what will develop next!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Is This Real?

First thing, let me admit that I am a fan of some of the dolls produced by Robert Tonner. As Mr. BTEG can tell you, I do have quite a few dolls, and a good proportion of those are Tonner dolls. He has recently branched out into Tonner Toys, dolls which are more for children than for adult collectors, although collectors are also displaying an interest. And while I wish the company success, I hope you can also see the humor (and some dismay) in two of the company's first offerings.

The first is Maudlynne McCobb. Say that name out loud. Yes, Tonner is continuing his interest in the dark, the gloomy, even the supernatural side of life. As long as that supernatural is ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night. Maudlynne was inspired by characters such as Wednesday Addams, and she does have a mournful attractiveness, but what struck me was the end of her online bio. "Maudlynne was home-schooled for most of her life until her parents noticed her peculiar nature and decided it was time for her to socialize a bit more with regular kids." Do you see a bit of stereotyping there? I do. Believe me, there are "irregular" kids everywhere. And will Maudlynne become more "normal" by socializing with "regular" kids? Homeschoolers, what do you think?

One of their other lines is well-meaning, but in this present culture, I find it more humorous than anything else. This line of dolls is the City Girls. "Freshly matriculated from college, these fresh, young and energetic ladies are all ready to take on the world and follow their dreams. Whether at work, a networking function or just out for a night on the town, they’re ready to dazzle and shine!" They may have decided to follow Nancy Pelosi's advice about choosing a career to follow their dreams, but the way things are nowadays, I think the next dolls in the series should be the OWS dolls, freshly matriculated from college with a mountain of debt. Accessories could include a dish of paté (pesky homeless person not included) and a bag of feces. Deposit it on a police car or just leave it lying around the tent city you can create for your OWS dolls! At least Mummy and Daddy can cover your health insurance until you're 26, in case you pick up an STD during a furtive fumble in that cute guy's tent.

Seriously, shouldn't we be getting over the idolization of the "Career Woman"? I do think it's fine for women to work, but I'm tired of the "Glamor Job" being held up as some sort of ideal. How many men do you know that have a job, or even a career, that holds any sort of glamor? Sitting in a cube farm, riding around in a truck all day delivering mail, cutting lumber at the home improvement store, stocking groceries -- none of these are glamorous, and I doubt anyone dreamed about someday performing these tasks, but as Thomas Sowell points out, what academia considers "menial" work is also necessary work, and "Some people take justifiable pride in working to take care of their families, whether or not the work itself is great." I think being making enough money to support oneself, and being able to support your children, may not being as exciting as taking on the world and following your dreams, but in the long run it's probably much more realistic.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Still Here

Wow, I have really been neglecting this blog lately. I need to step it up again, because I really don't want to quit blogging. It seems to have become very passé to blog, in a world of people who hop onto the latest new thing and then move on to the next trend within a few months, but blogging as a whole is still very necessary. Bloggers are still the New Media, and they are a way for issues, concerns and debates to occur which would never otherwise see the light of day. Yes, Twitter is making quite a stir, but sometimes there are things that can't be said in 140 words or less. And while I am definitely not an outstanding blogger in the field, everyone is allowed to enter the debate. Don't expect to go unchallenged, but don't be quiet if you can support your words.

Right now, I'm a mom whose life is still rather wrapped up in her family. My marriage is always important, and yes, my kids are older, but they still need someone to support their interests, to drive them to activities and friends' houses, and most importantly, to listen to them. I was brought up in a rather sheltered environment, so I have no idea what the "old days" were like, but today it seems rather unusual for a kid to not be dealing with parental divorce, or parental drug or alcohol use, or some kind of parental abuse, or parental suicide, or to be using drugs or engaged in free and easy sexual activity, or even considering suicide themselves. And we live in one of the "good" suburbs. Not only do my children need parental support for themselves, they need someone to talk to when someone they know cuts himself, or loses a parent.

Besides which, I enjoy being with them! I like hearing about what they are doing now and what they want in their future. I am transitioning to more time spent on me, and on wife-husband time, but I also want to not fritter away the years before my children set out on their own lives. Despite feeling the weight of hitting midlife, I do still have a lot ahead of me. Right now, my family still takes up a lot of it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

School Rules

I was glad to see Mitt Romney come out with a strong position on school choice. He's not my dream candidate, but he's not a socialist, and I think he could definitely improve the economy, which honestly is my biggest concern right now. If we have to worry about food and clothes and medicine, I don't have much energy for much else. As far as school choice, I am in favor of parents being able to spend whatever school monies they are entitled to, on the school of their choice. Or be able to keep it themselves if they homeschool. Of course, I think this shouldn't come with any sort of government strings. You takes your money and you chooses your school. I can also understand a desire for school accountability, when we have kids graduating from schools, who can't read or do basic math. I think our current system of trying to make sure all the kids in school actually learn, is probably fatally flawed. But then I think it should be more locally accountable, and not federally. But the subject is too complex and I don't have enough experience to go into it more deeply than that.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Trouble in Blogger Land

So, I'm not sure if I need to migrate my blogs over to a Google account, or what. When I go directly to Blogger on my Google account, I am told that I need to migrate, although supposedly that is only if you haven't used your blog since 2007, so I'm not sure. ? When I try to login to do a switch using my current (old) login info, I am told that account does not exist. However, the email account is the one that is currently linked to this blog, according to Google, and I changed the password to make double sure that I had the correct one. Not sure what is going on, but I am frustrated. I have thought about migrating my blog to another format, but I am hearing Wordpress and Typepad users currently complaining about their blog hosts also. If my blog disappears after May 30th, you'll know what happened.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Enjoy the Silence

For me, one of the best things about being a stay-at-home mom is the deep silence that can be found when the kids are at school. The only noises I can hear right now are birds singing outside, the snoring of one of our cats soundly asleep on the couch, and the hum of some sort of motor outside. It sounds like someone is getting carpets cleaned or something similar. I suspect only an introvert can enjoy so much quiet on a daily basis, but I think we all need a little peace and quiet at times, to think our own thoughts, make plans and dream dreams.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Marking Time

On Sunday the Dancer was confirmed. Yet another milestone for the Evil Genius family. Lots of extended family was there for the event, and three families of confirmands got together to serve a lunch to our families. I'm very proud of the Dancer and glad that she has been received into our church!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's All Relative

I'm getting so tired of the idea that I must somehow be able to "relate" to people who are running for office. Especially since, who could I probably be able to relate to best? Bipolar people! Let's run somebody who's mentally ill for president -- that's a GREAT idea!

I also like pets. We've always had cats as they fit our lifestyle better. Hmmmm. The last president to have a cat as a pet was Clinton. And the cat got dumped on someone else as soon as they left the White House. So, scratch that.

I'm a mom, but I don't want to see a president wearing mom jeans ever again!

I'm terrible at sports, but I would like to have a president who doesn't totally embarrass himself throwing out a first pitch. On the other hand, I really don't care what the president's ESPN basketball picks are.

Which reminds me, I also do not want to see any more presidents or first ladies on any reality shows, awards shows or sports shows. You know what's reality? Unemployment, high gas prices, massive inflation.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Step It Up

It's not just politics being inserted everywhere that is annoying me. Unfortunately, many of the places I've come across people inappropriately inserting politics are places run by, or mostly populated by, kids or young adults. I'm not going to be a total curmudgeon and say that these children should be seen and not heard. But if they want to be taken seriously, they need to up their game. One Tumblr blog owner has started another blog dedicated to what a "rich jerk" Romney is. I'm sure Romney is trembling with fear that the blogger is going to call him a "big fat poopie-head" next. Seriously, how is Romney any less rich, in the big picture, than the grandson of a bank executive, who had a nanny as a child and went to a private school in Hawaii. Who had pretty fancy digs in Chicago, from what I've been told. Whose wife thinks $200 will only get you "a pair of earrings." Who is currently sending his own daughters to an upscale private school. And who behaves very much like a jerk to people who disagree with him. Just look at this great fisking of the little gem that the president gave us yesterday. We can't have an honest discussion of the facts. No, Republicans want to pollute the water, crash planes, kill firefighters and push Grandma off the cliff.

When the incumbent president has once again disabled credit card verification on credit card donations, maybe it's a good thing the guy the Republicans are running is rich. He can use some of his own money to back himself when he doesn't get a contribution from "Adolf Hitler."

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dialing It Down

I am absolutely sick to death of politics. Or, I am sick of everything, everywhere, throwing in politics. I would like to be able to visit a doll board, or a vintage fashion blog, and not have to read about politics. Mostly, the political speech is frightened lefties, which makes me laugh, in the long run. We had the eeeeeevil President Bush for eight years, and did he do ANYTHING that the hardcore lefties projected onto him? Not really. In the long run, he disappointed the right about as much as anything else. Although listening to public figures blaring in the media about how they had lost their freedom of speech was pretty precious.

Certainly, there are social conservatives out there, or socons, who would like to pass very totalitarian rules about sex and alcohol and divorce and etc. There are also people like Alinsky who would like to put people like me in a camp. The socons who are that restrictive are a very small portion of the population, just as, honestly, the Alinskyites are. It's very unfortunate that an Alinsky disciple happens to be in power, but I don't think even all socialists would go so far as to put people in camps.

You see, even though I am a strong socon, I also happen to be a strong ficon, and I'm also big on being left alone. In the long run, politics IS really all about power, but it's as much whether the people have it or the government has it, as who in the government has it at the moment. The more power the government has, the less power I as an individual have, and I will always fight against that state of things. I will admit to being against abortion, because I view it as murder, and because it is, as socons predicted, leading towards euthanasia policies for the elderly, those who are not perfect physically or mentally, inconvenient children who will force you to shop at Costco, or even perfectly viable infants. Other issues, I don't really care about, AS LONG AS you pay for it or deal with the consequences of it yourself. It is not a hardship for you to pay for your birth control if your insurance carrier does not provide it. As a conservative, I would say, go find some other insurance carrier that does. My family has gone through some difficult times. We are going through some difficult times right now, actually, thanks to Obamacare. But we look to ourselves and not the government to help us through. Getting rid of some of the rules and regulations we are forced to live under would help us even more.

So there you are, an Evil Genius' view of the political world. I put it here, because this is my space, and politics is one of the things I choose to discuss here. I won't bring it up on my doll blog (such as it is) or in forums that are not political. Unless you bring it up first. Then, I am working to sharpen my political Breitbart. It seems to be a skill that is more and more required.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Zzzzzz

It is truly a day of rest at Casa del Evil Genius. We're all quite worn out, and just trying to recover for the start of the work week tomorrow. Being a Christian, I have answers for the questions such as the purpose of life, but sometimes even those answers seem meaningless. It's a strange way to feel. Perhaps only people who suffer from depression can understand the feeling that life itself can feel like a burden.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Browser beware

While cruising the Web discovering new blogs and webpages to feed my vintage fashion addiction, I am coming across some very frustrating mistakes as well. In the main, these involve the mis-identification of people, royalty, specifically. The worst part, is that some of these kids, especially those with Tumblr blogs, don't really seem interested in correcting mistakes, so the false information is going to keep sitting out there for many other people to pick it up. And since members of royalty are historical figures, I hate to think about what incorrect history we may end up with. I suppose that's just a by-product of letting anybody add his two cents to the pool of available information, especially on places like Wikipedia, where I saw some misleading information just today. I guess for the wise Internet viewer, the best motto to take is Browser Beware.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Trending

Last night at one of my daughter's dance classes, I discovered that two out of the five girls that attend the class are "homeschooled," that is, they attend an online school. However, neither choice had anything to do with quality of education. One attends because she had some sort of problems with other students at her school. Her older sister is still at the same high school that she was attending.

The other girl does online school, I am fairly certain, because her parents are very strict Jehovah's Witnesses. This girl was not allowed to dance to "Monster Mash" at the dance school during the Halloween season, so I imagine that going to public school might have been awkward for her.

I wonder if the biggest growth in learning at home is going to be these online schools. I know many people who are intensely committed to teaching their children at home, themselves, but many of the parents I see would never have the interest in doing this. And to be honest, of the many people I know who homeschool, many have children who have some sort of learning difficulty or disability. Sometimes I wonder if too many people change "homeschool is great for my kid" into "homeschool is great for every kid" far too easily.

Of course, one of the things that makes me wonder about learning at home is the level of brokenness I have seen now that my daughters are attending public school and they know so many kids. Going way beyond things like divorce, too many parents are dealing with problems in their own lives, sometimes in unhelpful ways. I was blessed enough to be able to work around my own issues, for the most part, when my kids were little, but it's not always possible. At least charter schools and online schools are getting parents to think outside of the public school box. Options are always good.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Abundance of Riches

Here's something positive! I am concentrating more and more on my love of vintage fashion, and indulging this interest is so much easier to do now than it would have been probably even ten years before. There is an abundance of antique fashion plates, old photographs and even pictures of vintage clothing online, so that I can do research from my own home. No need to be near a big-city library and scroll through endless microfiche, or sit in a basement going through dusty old reference books. I probably would never have been able to see vintage clothing that was up for sale, before the internet. Someday, I would still like to take some classes in vintage fashion, but until then, I can learn and study a lot on my own.

How has the increase in the frequency and availability of media helped you enjoy something in your life? Here's another example: today one can watch even preseason baseball games on television. Interviews with players and managers, details about trades, it's all so much easier to find out things and watch things happening than ever before.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Laughing at the World

I was severely shocked and saddened by the death of Andrew Breitbart. I am not a big name in the conservative blogging world (or any world, actually) but I admired his ability to take hate and deflect back humor. I can be pretty funny in real life, but putting it down in pixels is not always easy! I do want to bring out more on my fun-loving, happier side. Of course, this may also bring out more of my snarkier side as well. You have been warned!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Winter Blues

I've been struggling to stay awake, stay energized, stay focused. Overall, this winter has been better than others of late, but at last the shorter days and not so much sunlight have taken their toll. I've been playing around with the Vitamin D and just get through the days as best I can. At least March will be here soon.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

We Must Obey God Rather Than Men, And We Will

So said the president of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, today at a House Committee hearing.
I am glad that my church body was represented this morning, but I am cynically afraid that it will not do much good. We already know that the beliefs and the alliances of the left do not understand, much less align with any religious conviction. Indeed, I firmly believe that most of the members of our government only align their thoughts and beliefs with the acquisition and use of power. Still, those of us who have a conscience, and have Christian faith, must not be ashamed to let those temporarily in power on this earth know where we stand.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Worn Out

I've been worrying way too much lately. I'm feeling a lot of responsibility for my daughters, given the state of the world that they are about to enter. On the one hand, they need to start being responsible for themselves. On the other hand, I remember myself at that age. I didn't have a wide knowledge of the world; I didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life, and I didn't have enough experience to help me. And looking at an economy that will probably be depressed for a very long time, I'm afraid that there will be little room for my daughters to explore a lot of options or change their minds.

Unfortunately, I can't control everything. (Yes, sometimes I wish that I could.) Whatever comes, we can deal with it together. I'd like to write more, but I really am very physically worn out, and my brain is just not working today! I'm glad the weekend is here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Slow Death

I'm afraid to say that the west side of Cleveland is dying. I'm seeing more and more empty storefronts, and a major anchor is pulling out of a local mall. The outdoor mall that replaced Westgate Mall seems to be thriving, but drive only a little way down the street, and there is an entire plaza that is almost empty. The biggest anchor in the empty plaza, as a matter of fact, pulled out and moved to Westgate Mall. I mentioned in a previous post about my favorite clothing store closing the only store they had on the west side. I doubt any of this is helped by the fact that Cuyahoga County's sales tax rate is the highest in the entire state.

Of course, the east side of Cleveland, and south of Cleveland (i.e. Strongsville) seem to be doing better economically. But, and especially in a town that is bordered on one side by an "inland sea," such as Cleveland, I can't see one side of a county, a major metropolitan area, getting worse economically without the rest of the area eventually feeling it. The Strongsville area's only saving grace at the moment may be that Summit County has a sales tax rate on the lower end of the state.

I may be biased by having spent most of my life on the west side of Cleveland, but I do believe the area has a lot to offer. The lake, for one thing. Boating, fishing, personal watercraft. Lots of nice park areas in the Metropolitan Park System. While not at the level of an NYC or LA, there are also nice museums, concerts and plays. That this area may be turning into another Detroit is not only sad, but seems such a waste. There is no reason, that I can see, that this area should be dying, besides poor management by the politicians that run it, the same thing that has decimated Detroit.

And speaking of poor management, I have to put in a note of disgust for the city planners of Avon, OH. They allowed an enormous grove of trees to be chopped down, to make room for more stores. The problem is, the trees have been gone for months, and there is no sign of any new stores coming. So everyone who drives on I-90 through Avon gets to see an open area full of mud and tree stumps, which may stay only mud and tree stumps for a very long time. Yes, there is a new freeway exit going in a little further down the street, but that won't be ready for at least a year, and Avon already has most of the major big box stores and, I believe, all of the local grocery stores. Plus, one of the big reason the exit is being built is to relieve rush hour congestion for the two exits on either side. Will it really bring any new people? And yes, the far west side into Lorain County does seem to be doing well. But how many of those are people fleeing Cuyahoga County for Lorain County? Can that area keep it up? Or will the near west side eventually drag it down as well? I'm not optimistic, given the the sluggish economy and poor city leaders.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Invisible

Well, I never heard from Sew News at all, so I guess they don't want me as a subscriber. I'm starting to feel invisible, as companies just don't seem to respond to me when I try to communicate with them. I sent an email to Lily yarns because I was angry that they sold my email and I was getting spam to it. (It was a custom email, not published anywhere, so it should not have been receiving spam.) Again, no reply at all. I tried to call my favorite clothing store to let them know of my disappointment because of the closing down of the only store closer than a half hour radius for me. I couldn't find an option to contact the company in any way, so I ended up calling the company blind, and getting routed to someone's personal voicemail. I'm not even sure this person deals with issues like mine, and again, I never got a reply.

I'm a relatively small blogger, only one person, so I guess my opinion doesn't matter to companies. And to be honest, one customer really does mean nothing to them in the grand scheme of things. However, one unhappy person can sometimes turn into a whole online community of unhappy people. In the gaming community, a huge drama occurred when one lowly gamer tried to get some information from the PR firm for a company that was creating a good product, but had the misfortune to hire someone functionally illiterate and terminally rude to represent it. Here is an email back and forth between the lowly gamer, Mr. Illiterate, and a man who just happens to run one of the most popular webcomics that gamers read. Christoforo thought he could be rude to one person, and found himself the laughing stock and butt of jokes all over the Internet. For a final laugh, look at this Bing search to see how one of Christoforo's more "unfortunate" phrases has gone completely viral.

Some of the blowback may have gone too far against Christoforo, so I will say right here that I'm not threatening anyone. I don't want a huge online flame war, nor people's personal information or family members to be targeted. I'm just one little person who would like her concerns responded to, but it seems you have to have clout before you get noticed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Making Sense of Exercise

I never really got into the concept of "exercise," at least the idea of lying on the floor and waving your arms and legs about. It was supposed to be good for you, but it wasn't fun and I didn't see much real point in it. Now that I've seen the Dancer taking ballet, jazz and tap, I've seen her incredible growth as a dancer, and all of the exercise she does makes sense. I prefer ballet barre work to the warm-up exercises she does in jazz, but it's all preparation for a greater end: the beauty of dancing.

I see now that this was probably my real problem all along. I had no greater end to work toward. I was not good at sports; could never have been good at sports. Not only am I under 5'4", but I also have relatively short legs (27" inseam.) And relatively short arms, and small hands. No one ever told me this stuff, though. I knew I wasn't tall, but for the rest, I just felt clumsy and awkward. Without a specific activity to pursue, my interest in exercise merely for exercise's sake decreased rapidly as I grew older.

However, after taking mother-daughter dance classes with the Dancer, I realize that I enjoy dance. Of course, I'll never be "good" at it, but it's something that I can do on my own, as opposed to a group sport, and much less expensive than something where you have to join, like a YMCA for swimming. (Not that I am a good swimmer, either.) And you can do it all year long, which matters in northeast Ohio! The real break-through for me, though, is why I hated exercise, and why it seems to make sense now.

BTW, my daughter's dance studio has started offering Zumba for adults, but I don't think I'm up to that, yet!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Shut Up and Sew!

I have a subscription to Sew News magazine. It's fun to read about my hobby, and the articles can be inspiring. However, I was surprised, and then appalled, to see the editor's column this month promoting the radical feminist "holiday" V-Day. Yes, I said radical. If the Tea Party is radical, and conservatives are radical, then I'll call out left-wing socialists as being radical. And yes, the V-Day page, to which the editorial directs you, is political. The first article I clicked on, for girls, is all about Occupy Wall Street, and how those mean ol' policemen are beating up and generally harassing all those peaceful OWS activists. Considering over 5,000 OWS protesters have been arrested worldwide, I doubt all of those arrests were of peaceful, law abiding folk, no matter how many well-meaning people are there. Considering the number of reported rapes, I actually find it darkly humorous that the V-Day page is promoting OWS.

If you want more of my thoughts, and the background on the V-Day movement, see below, but suffice it say that it is a very political movement, and I was disturbed to see that a sewing magazine is promoting it. I really don't care what the politics of people in a sewing magazine are. I don't think it's at all necessary for me to know. A sewing magazine should be about sewing! Now I'm wondering if the magazine just wanted to promote what is at bottom a good cause, reducing violence against women, or if they are so far in the left wing tank that they don't even realize they are left wing. See the latest cover of Newsweek for a media outlet who isn't even trying to hide it anymore.

I sent off a quick email to Sew News yesterday. I'll let you know if I hear back. I'm expecting the "sorry if you were offended" nothing sauce, but I may be pleasantly surprised.

Love, Marriage and the Patriarchy

This post has become very long. For those of you who already know about Eve Ensler and V-Day and the left-wing feminist agenda, move on to the next post above. If you want to understand the background of the above post, or you want to read my ramblings about the subject, keep reading!

Some hard-core leftist feminists apparently don't enjoy watching others celebrate romance and happiness on Valentine's Day. They had to come up with V-Day, to highlight violence against women. As the article I linked too describes, yes, violence against women is tragic, it is real, and it should be stopped whenever possible. However, linking it with Valentine's Day is seen by many women, like the women of the Independent Women's Forum, and myself, as an assault on normal, romantic relationships between men and women. My husband and I have a stable and loving relationship. I chose to get married, to have children, to be a stay-at-home mom. My husband and I made the decision for me to homeschool our children, and we ultimately made the decision to send them to public school. I'm not a victim of the patriarchy. Since most of my regular readers are also in stable marriages, I think you would agree that marriage and family can be a good thing.

Where the left-wing feminists go wrong in their V-Day approach, I think is two-fold. One, linking violence against women to simple, everyday loving marriages and male-female relationships. Two, thinking that constantly drawing attention to something will somehow magically end it. How much sense does pushing "Valentine's Day as V-Day until the violence stops" really make? I find it hard to believe that leftists really believe in the perfection of humanity, and yet the women that promote V-Day seem to. Welcome to real life, and real, fallen humanity, and a world where there will always be people who are violent, selfish, murderous, debauched, physically ill, mentally ill. I wonder if the Lutheran concept of vocation does not come into play here. I can feel sorrow for tragic events that take place far away, but my real vocation is helping my neighbor, the person that is here in front of me. Putting a sticker on my car that says "Free Tibet" will not free Tibet. Giving my out-of-work neighbor a bag of groceries will help feed a family.

Or are these women just pushing their agenda, that women are victims constantly in need of help, constantly need Daddy Government looking out for them? It's easy to proclaim you'll push X until Y happens, when you know Y will never happen, if your real goal is just to push X. Either way, their ideas and worldview are miles away from me, and I think they would realize that, and despise me for it. What I wonder about it is the people who think, or pretend to think, that this stuff is mainstream, and I'll explain why in my next post.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cough Cough

The entire BTEG family has been sick for about a week. I absolutely hate getting sick around this time. For one thing, it's harder to get back into a regular schedule after the holidays. For another, it's harder to start working on the goals that you want to achieve for the year. Even sewing does not hold much appeal when all that you want to do is sleep, and your body aches. I'm also coughing heavily when I do too much physical activity.

I am thankful that the weather has been unseasonably warm and sunny. It's good to get some extra sunshine at this time of year.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Slowing It Down

One of the things I'm learning to do in order to achieve my goals is not to get ahead of myself. It's very difficult to cook more, and perhaps even experiment with fancier dishes, when the kitchen is not completely organized. I'm still trying to find room for things; a buffet would be great, but it's not in the budget so I need to work with what we have. In the meantime, I shouldn't feel badly when the best I can do is just getting a dinner on the table for my family.

I also need to pace myself better with regards to sewing. I often look at the project as a whole and get overwhelmed, instead of breaking up into tasks. Maybe one day to find the fabric (because a lot of it is still in boxes.) One day to trace the pattern and cut it out (if it's a big project.) Then get the pieces cut out. Then the sewing. One of the hot ideas in accomplishing goals (at least looking at the Android apps) is simply taking, say, 25 minutes to work on something. That way, you've made progress, but the task doesn't bog you down.

I'll admit it's difficult not to be impatient to get a project done. Especially when there's a deadline you've created for yourself. For example, I really wanted to get the living room cleaned up more before the Musician's birthday party, and before Christmas. We have no attic and no basement in our current abode, so there are lots of boxes with no place to go. However, there was enough room for the Musician's friends to enjoy her party, and enough room for the Christmas tree to go up, and for the family to sit around it. No use beating myself up over it not being better.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Stability

Do you know why I actually have some hope that I can accomplish some of my goals for this year? Because for the first time in a long time, we are not planning to move, and we are living somewhere that we have close to enough space. When everyone in your family has some type of hobby or interest, you need more space. Mine is sewing. While I'm going to attempt to cut down my fabric stash, I still need room for my cutting table, my table for my machines, my patterns, my reference books. Sewing makes me happy!

It was only late last year that I actually started to realize, however, how much stability can mean. It's such a nice feeling to unpack, to really settle in, not to have so many of one's possessions packed away in boxes. You can actually use everything you have, not have most of it stored away. It's nice to be able to take a nice long break from living out of boxes, and just concentrate on living for a while.