Thursday, April 28, 2011

Christians, to the Paschal Victim

A friend who does hymn podcasts has come out with his first hymn video. You can check out his blog here. By the way, one of the churches featured in this video is the one where the Dancer received new life in baptism.

Monday, April 25, 2011

How Does This Work Again?

Liberals are at times pretty open about actually wanting higher gas prices. They want to force things on the public that the public doesn't really want, like little impractical gas-saving cars, preferably hybrid. I have a post simmering in my mind that I may put up when I am not too tired, concerning this desire. However, right now I want to make a quick observation about the unintended consequences.

The main reason liberals want us to drive smaller cars and use less gas, is to "save the environment." Product manufacturers are responding to a market for "green" products. However, green products come at a higher price. Part of this is because recycling is not always cost-efficient, and so products using recycled materials tack on the extra cost. I honestly don't know enough about the manufacture of dishwashing or laundry detergent to know why the green stuff costs more, but generally it does.

However, the sandwich bags I saw at the grocery store today really made me laugh at the craziness of it all. There were two types of bags, made by the same brand name company. One was the regular bag moms have been using in brown bags for years now. The second bag is the new and improved "green" bag. It uses less plastic (better for the environment) and real wind-powered energy to produce the bags! (When the wind is actually blowing, that is. Otherwise, they have to use plain ol' electricity off the grid just like everyone else.) Even the cardboard used to make the box is recycled.

Anyway, after checking to see that they were truthful about the windmill issue, since wind technology is nowhere near being able to steadily power a manufacturing plant, I took a look at the price. What I forgot to do is check how many bags came in each box. I do know that the prices for each box were... equal. A quick trip around the internet seems to suggest that you actually receive fewer green bags for your buck than non-green bags. You get less plastic, reused cardboard, no skyrocketing electricity costs, for a higher or equal price.

So here's the kicker. With gas prices, and necessarily food prices, being as high as they are, how many people are going to shell out the extra dollars for a recycled sponge or flimsier sandwich bags? How many people are looking to cut things out of the budget as much as possible, and will just reach for the cheapest item on the shelf? For that matter, how many people will even take the time and spend the money to drive to a specialty store, where a lot of these special detergents and so forth seem to only be located? Can greenies have it both ways, with higher prices for everything? Human nature being what it is, I doubt it. Lower gasoline costs, and a large percentage of the population will go right back to their minivans and SUVs. The only way I can see it working is if they force non-green products out of the market too. But that, well, that would have consequences too intricate to deal with at the tail end of this post!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Where I Am Is Not Where I Want to Be

I've had a bad week, physically. I know a lot of other people can say this, but right now I am just so resentful of all that my health issues have taken from me. I suppose part of it is a mid-life crisis thing, but I look at how much of my life is gone and how little I have done of what I wanted to do. I'm married and raising a family, which I wanted to do, and I didn't have any big plans for traveling the globe or whatnot until the girls were this age or older anyway, but a lot of my little personal dreams and goals seem to have been set aside so often due to mental issues and their effects on me. And yet I'm still oddly hopeful. Next week, for example, the girls have their Spring Break. I'm hoping it will be a good week. Hoping I feel better for this special weekend as well.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Going On and On

There is so much debate and anger and vitriol going on about schools lately. In the end, what I am thinking about it all boils down to a few things.

1. More money does not provide a better education. You've probably heard this over and over, but my school district is pushing the opposite like crazy since the state is cutting back on funding for all public schools. That is, they are pushing for more money from the local taxpayers by asking us, "You don't want to lose the great school district you have, do you?" I'm not sure if they are deluded enough to believe more money makes a better school district, or if they just want the money. I mean, all of you know that here in the USA, many of the school districts that receive the most funding per child, like our very own Washington, DC, perform the worst academically.

I won't deny that this whole formula can be complicated. There are many wealthy families that live in this school district, which could be used as an argument that of course our schools are better. But my family is far from rich, and there are many less than wealthy neighborhoods in this town. The main issue, I think, is people wanting their children to perform up to their potential. Some parents here do ground their kids for less than an A. I don't agree with that, but I think my kids are more than capable of doing mostly A and B level work, and I wouldn't be happy if they were consistently getting Cs and Ds. Mr. BTEG and I also expect them to pay attention in class, study for tests and do their homework, which goes a long way.

Sure, wealthy families and fancy technology and flashy new textbooks can contribute to a good school district. On the other hand, kids from wealthy families can also spend their time doing drugs and having sex. And a teacher who can't educate without an electronic whiteboard and the latest textbook doesn't really deserve the title of teacher.

2. Teachers cannot be immune to economic downturns. I can understand that teachers don't like the idea of no raises, and/or having to pay more for their pensions and health care, maybe even taking a salary cut. But when unemployment is high and the economy is bad, teachers just can't expect not to have to suffer a little financially as well. It's not always about "greed." Look at how your neighbors are doing, how your city is doing, how your state is doing, before you complain.

Oh, and a pet peeve of mine. Teachers are important. So are firefighters, policemen, EMS workers, doctors, nurses, etc. A small collective of people paying salaries simply can't afford to pay all these important people an "important" salary. An actress can't save a life, but she can get more people to see one of her movies on one day alone than a doctor can see in an entire year. For that matter, I think being a mother, the kind that works hard to raise decent human beings, is the most important job there is. But there is absolutely no pay at all for us. Salary does not equal overall worth.

A lot of words for only two points! But this topic is so loaded that I wanted to make myself clear. Thank you if you made it this far!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Running Away

Many years ago, when my girls were still rather young, I used to have a strong desire at times to pack up what would fit in our minivan, drive off as a family, and start another life. Somewhere else, anywhere else. Now we've committed to one place, getting the girls through one school system, for the next six years. However, I still have the desire for something new. I don't feel like I belong anywhere. I'm tired of being hurt by people, by not connecting with people. And I'm releasing my frustration here, as I really don't have anyone else to talk to about it besides Mr. BTEG. He's great to talk to, but of course having only one person to talk to is not always good enough. So here I am, getting it out. Hope this makes me feel better.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I have little to no energy during the day. I get major things done, like dishes, shopping, and driving Mr. BTEG and the girls to where they need to be. Otherwise, I'm a slug. Then, too many late evenings, I am wide awake and full of energy. I'm already taking all of my medications at night, because they can cause drowsiness.

I'm trying to exercise during the day. It's not going very well. Walking bores me to tears, so I have to force myself to do it, and I don't have good shoes to walk in. I am trying to do some ballet, because I actually like that, but my body was complaining, so now I am trying to do stretches beforehand. I feel chunky and awkward doing ballet, even though I find it interesting, but it is not exactly aerobic, either. I used to love to bicycle, but don't have a bike and can't afford a bike, plus it's not practical for a good portion of a year in Ohio anyway. It's not a sufficient excuse, but I don't really have an athletic body. I am not only short, but I have short legs proportionate to my body as well. I feel awkward and funny-looking.

I'm trying to eat better, but it's difficult being such a picky eater. I have to literally force myself to eat a few grapes or some broccoli with dressing or butter. And those are tastes which I can live with. I wonder if my eating affects my energy, but I'm not sure of a correlation. For example, I got no real exercise today and my eating was only so-so, I was blah today but right now my mind is racing and I'm feeling more awake than I have all day.

I'm seeing my psychiatrist soon, so I will talk to her, but I'm not sure what will come of it. The main issue seems to be that I am mostly stable. Other than that, you get told to exercise or handed a pamphlet on healthy eating. I need a little bit of extra help and I'm not sure where to get it.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Stepping Back

Now that I am in my forties and have several decades of life experience, I wish I could talk to my grandparents, my maternal ones in particular, with new eyes. My grandparents died at a time when I was still relatively young; I didn't realize then that many people's grandparents got to spend more years with their grandchildren. My grandfather passed away when I was in high school, my grandmother when I was a senior in college. And my grandmother was never the same after my grandfather died. Sadly, my grandmother never seemed to be very content with her life or her past, which was one of the reasons I think we never talked about it. For most of the time that I really knew my grandmother, she was ill with leukemia. However, she also seemed bitter about her youngest days, spent in Europe in grinding poverty, and her life as a young adult. Understandable, but there could also have been tales of endurance and overcoming hardship.

My grandfather also had a hard life, although typical of the poorer families of the time in this country. He didn't seem to relish much about his past either. So while my youth kept me from even knowing how to ask the kind of questions I would like to ask today, my grandparents also weren't eager to share their experiences.

Which is a long lead-in (whew!) to say that I have been thinking of them quite a bit lately. What we are in now may not match our vague impressions of the Great Depression (no dust bowls, no long unemployment lines), but things are certainly tight financially for so many families. High gas and food prices, high unemployment, real estate markets dried up. If my grandparents could bear to talk about it, I'd love to know what it was like to try to raise a family in those days. What ways did they use to get by? I have ideas of how things might work out today, if life gets harder for the majority, but I'd like to know if my thoughts about a possible future in any way resemble what was in the past. Automobiles, phones, televisions, so many things are different now. Maybe someday I can share wisdom with grandchildren of my own.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


I think I've mentioned before that my attention span is something akin to a toddler's. I also need to have more than one thing going on. I have an awfully hard time getting projects done. I generally only knit, for example, while the Dancer is in one of her classes, because I can multi-task. Watching the Dancer, listening to the music and knitting occupies all of my mind. Just sitting and knitting would bore me immensely. I have two projects I ought to get done before the Easter weekend, as they are birthday gifts that are already rather belated. It just occurred to me the other day that I should make myself a case for my glasses. I have to take them off when I am doing anything close up. Isn't that the opposite of what is normal? Anyway, a case would give me someplace safe to put them. I don't like to just stick them in my purse where my keys and so forth are.

I also do better even at household chores when I have music to listen to. I'm so thankful for satellite radio. It's not that expensive, and I can listen to it on my phone. It is hard to pick up radio stations out here, even though we're definitely part of metro Cleveland. And talk radio, you guessed it, bores me. Plus, the quality of "old school" radio is decreasing. Like so many other things, there is less offered for what I'd imagine is the same amount or more in advertising intake.

Speaking of music, I find it funny and heart-warming that the girls like older music and not just the current pop stuff. The Musician likes AC/DC and GNR, and we can rock out together to "Don't Stop Believing." The Dancer is singing "Footloose" as part of her school concert, so she's all "Been workin', so hard, I'm punchin', my card." It's nice to have things that bring us together. :)

Monday, April 04, 2011

On This Economy Thing

I thought I might as well mention where I get a lot of my economic news from, in case you're interested. I enjoy reading Monty's work at Ace of Spades. He makes things simple for people who are interested in where the economy is going but who aren't steeped in the minutiae of economic policies. Kind of Economics for Dummies. :) On the other hand, he does use a lot of facts and links to make his points. Unlike leftist economic articles I have looked at that say, the economy is not doomed, because shut up, that's why. No concrete evidence or specifics. Here is an example of his latest work. Be warned; Ace of Spades very often has a locker-room atmosphere. But there are also has a large number of readers who consistently comment. Not only are they very knowledgeable, but they are there day after day, so if someone says, I own my own business and we're not hiring until the economy improves, you are more likely to believe a regular than a drive-by commenter.

Here is a good place to get economic analysis in a little bit more detail. He also offers a lot to back up his claims.

Thomas Sowell and Walter E. Williams are economic professors, regular columnists for various publications, and good reads. Here Dr. Williams recently took on the Broken Window Fallacy. In this article he writes what I also believe, that government cannot keep spending at its current rate.

Mr. BTEG pointed out something interesting to me when I was complaining about the leftie friends we have. None of them are what is referred to as a Trustifarian, but they have all lived comfortable lives. They may have never heard, "Sorry, we can't afford that right now." Which probably explains why when I try to talk economics with them, I can't get anywhere. Their argument seems to boil down to: we need it. We need NPR. We need a social safety net. We need, we need, we need. Mom and Dad will pay for it. Or as a rioter in Greece put it, let the rich and the bankers pay for it. There will always be someone to pay for it.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


I'm having a hard time blogging lately, and I feel at times like just giving it up. The problem is that blogging is one of the few ways I currently have of interacting with the outside world. I've been hesitating about how to write this, because I don't want it to sound like a big Pity Me thing. It's just that I have always found it hard to create real friendships, relationships. I used to think poorly of myself and blame myself for this. Now I wonder if the bipolar is mostly behind it. Becoming more aware of people who are bipolar, at least on the internet, shows that many of them have very few friends, among other things that we have in common.

Oddly enough, my parents did not have a lot of friends either. The people they socialized with the most were a group they had known since they started a "Young Couples' Club" at their church. They were fortunate I suppose in that all the couples stayed intact and in the same area for so many years, even after leaving for other local churches. My mother also is friendly with a former high school classmate, but they had lost track of each other until this classmate became the kindergarten teacher of myself and my sisters. My mother's closest friend all these years is a woman that met my mother at a vacation camp when they were young and single. My father really only seemed to have one friend from his past, and that man sadly killed himself about twenty years ago. Now that I think about it, it's odd that my father didn't keep up any friendships with, for example, people with whom he served in the Navy. Can you believe that only occurred to me while I was writing this?

I've thought about going to bipolar support groups in the area, but never seriously looked into it. I've had bad experiences trying to get involved in groups, and I have to admit I've made excuses about not going without knowing if they are valid, such as location or meeting times. I wonder if I would "click" better with bipolar people?