Monday, May 30, 2011

Holiday Parade

The family attended the local Memorial Day parade today. The Musician marched in the high school marching band. The Dancer's friend rode on a float created by the local dance school. (I like the school the Dancer attends better.) Lots of flags and red, white and blue. Also lots of candy tossed by paraders. After the parade there was a small program at the local cemetery. I have blogged about the cemetery here.

I'm getting over awkwardness at thanking a member of the military in person for his service. I still find any kind of Memorial Day tribute I can put into words, embarrassingly cheesy. Still feeling it, all the same.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Too Much of a Good Thing

Remember that little container garden that we started earlier this spring? Well, we have been getting so much rain that we have to drag the containers under shelter so they do not get any more water. I can only hope farmers' fields are draining better than our little pots. We don't need the price of food to go up more than it has! As it is, I'm hoping we can plant more containers next year. I discovered our town has a small community garden, but I think all the plots are taken. There is still a bit of open land in this area, now that I think about it. I wonder if more of it will be reverting back to farmland?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Get Me My Rocking Chair

I'm asking for your input today: what do you think about people who work in service jobs (cashiers, waiters, bartenders etc.) who have facial piercings or a myriad of visible tattoos (facial or otherwise)? It seems to be more and more accepted and I find it off-putting, and therefore perhaps not acceptable for a job where you interact all day with the public. Mr. BTEG broached the idea that perhaps this is just because I am getting older. While this is certainly a possible solution, I still harbor this crazy idea that permanent additions to one's face or hands, especially, might be a little different. This trend of increased piercings and/or ink will probably continue (they currently have at least one cable show about a tattoo parlor,) and prove me wrong. But I'd like to know whether you find such bodily decorations bleah, meh, or yeah.

On that subject, yes, the girls are wearing their skirts almost impossibly short at the moment. That doesn't alarm me so much; girls have been trying to shorten their skirts for decades. They've been trying to slyly break the fashion rules to attract the opposite sex for centuries. What I don't understand is why adults seem to be letting it slide. Everyday I dropped the Musician off at school, I saw girls with skirts that barely covered their posteriors. During a concert/fundraiser for the school band department, one girl was sitting in the front row, wearing a skirt so short that you could see all the way up her legs. Fortunately, she was wearing black tights, so there wasn't really all that much visible. But is this how the band director wants his band represented? Does a school's dress code (or lack thereof) mean anything anymore? Or have we been flashed by so many celebrities that it's all just old news? Is this when I start yelling at kids to get off my lawn?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bad Weather

Our little bit of excitement for the night was going to the Dancer's orchestra concert and being told before the program started that everyone needed to get to the basement. Seeing how the weather was shaping up on the way to the school, I was really not surprised. Before everyone got down the basement, however, the superintendent showed up and told everyone that the concert was canceled and everyone should go home, as the bad weather went by us. The Dancer was not pleased about having her concert canceled almost literally at the last minute, but I imagine they will reschedule it.

This has been an awful spring, hasn't it? So many people have lost their lives, have lost family members, pets, possessions, their homes. The Evil Genius family has its own problems right now, but we also have so much that is good.

Just heard the emergency blurb squawk from the television. Going to see what's up now. May be just a flood warning, though.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Work, School, Family

I care a great deal about children and how they are brought up. Yes, it's important to our future, but children can also be so very vulnerable, and a great deal of their future health and habits and outlooks on life can come from their upbringing. Children need people who care about them, love them, look after them.

It's bad enough that the state of California may need to cut some weeks out of its school year, although not surprising given the long record of financial mismanagement. What made me sad was that the first thought seemed to be not, "What about our childrens' education?", but "Who will watch our kids?" Why is this a bigger issue? I just don't understand it, perhaps because I know so many moms who do manage to stay home with their children, and so many families where when both parents work, they also blow a lot of money. Many of the dual-income parents at my daughter's dance school, for example, have two cars, take a lot of vacations, and pick up pizza or fast food for dinner on their way home from a late afternoon crammed with activities. If more moms stayed home, or worked from home, or worked part-time, etc., day-care slots would not be so "scarce." Of course, sometimes both parents do have to work, or sometimes there is only one parent. But the people who really needed help might find it easier if everybody else, who maybe didn't have to, wasn't going to work also.

For that matter, what do these parents do with children over the summer? This question is never answered. Of course a lot of day-care centers, churches, etc. offer "summer camp" which is basically a glorified day-care for older children. I'm sure they'd love the chance to make more money by extending this service. I also find it odd that the one mother quoted solved the problem of a week off in October by taking her children on vacation. She protests however, that she can't take the kids on vacation for five weeks. Strangely, she is not quoted as saying she can't afford it, or she doesn't have that much vacation time, but "How many times can I go to Happy Hollow?" Is this really her biggest concern, or is she poorly quoted? I have, sadly, seen parents who don't really like being around their children. Is this the case here, where they have to be kept busy on vacation or she gets unhappy being at home with them?

The other thing that stands out to me as making this article poorly written, is the quote at the end by a high school sophomore that points out that there is not much work done at the end of a school year anyway. I won't argue that point. My youngest daughter is taking several field trips, having fun days, and spending some extra time in school practicing for end-of-the-year concerts. But if you shorten the school year, you won't really get rid of "that end-of-the-year mentality." You'll just move it up a bit.

There are lots of things to discuss when deciding to shorten the time our children spend on education. I just think this article didn't emphasize the right ones very well, and made me sad about how we look on watching out for our children.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Let's Have a Party

I miss the big old-fashioned weddings. No, they're really not practical, especially not in a recession. And of course the marriage is more important than the wedding. And the actual wedding ceremony is more important than the reception. But large wedding receptions did something also--they created memories; they stood out. You'll never forget spending time with your friends and family celebrating a momentous event in a family's history. In a time when extended family seems to be drifting apart anyway, getting up to dance and act a little wild and move from table to table or even to a bar (horrors!) seems to me more likely to create some small ties than sitting at a table staring at each other. Sometimes we need to put on our fancy clothes and our impractical shoes and go out and party. It seems there are fewer and fewer opportunities to do so. Why not for something as great as the creation of a new family?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I See We're Back

Just a quick post to say hello now that Blogger appears to be back up most of the way. I see a few missing comments, but it looks like home sweet home otherwise. In my misspent youth as a COBOL programmer, I remember a few occasions when a programmer would accidentally take down the mainframe that was located a few miles away. Good times, good times.

And since we're talking about blogging, I've been meaning to write about how much I have seen my writing skills improve over my long years of blogging, especially since I've picked up the pace again recently. I like writing, but I'm not in a good place right now to do much else other than blog, if I ever got the notion to do more. But it's still nice to improve a skill.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Nothing New Under the Sun

As the Dancer's parents, we received a letter from the principals of the local intermediate, middle and high schools. It contained a urgent plea that parents become aware of what their children are texting, and what they are saying on Facebook. Apparently enough students are affected by rumors and threats posted in these two venues, that their school attendance is suffering, and the schools want the behavior to stop. What the appropriate authorities see when they have stepped in (after kids stop coming to school) is language that is "beyond inappropriate," X-rated, slanderous and/or threatening. Schools are right to be concerned about this kind of activity. What I find interesting is how negatively they look at texts, and Facebook (which word they put in italics for the entire letter.)

Kids have been mean to each other, well, probably since Cain and Abel fought as young boys. Anyone remember Nellie Oleson and Laura Ingalls? It's beyond stereotypical, the mean kids and the nice kids. The only thing that is new is the medium. Granted, texts and posts can reach the entire class with one click, whereas it took a little longer for the rumor mill to work back in the old days. But kids who wish to hurt someone else badly enough are not even shy about saying unkind things to their classmates faces, either. Did you all see that video that went viral a few months back, of the overweight kid hauling off and punching one of the boys who had been teasing him for years about his weight? The aggressor was going so far as to physically push his victim. The Dancer knows very well who the "cool" kids and the "popular" kids in her school are, because they have no compunction with going around and saying so.

Are teachers and school administrators right to be concerned? I think so. Would you like to go to work after the guy in the next cubicle threatens to beat you up at the end of the day? (Sub sandwich commercials notwithstanding.) Or loudly calls you a slut while everyone is in the lunch room? Children should not dread or be afraid of coming to school. But texts and Facebook are not the enemy, and reading all your child's texts and postings (as the letter suggests,) will not stop the malice and the desire to hurt others that lies in the hearts of children.

That's the real problem, you see, that we are all poor miserable sinners. The school can't say that, of course. But what parents really should be doing is teaching their offspring kindness and self-control. We're never going to like everyone. We probably all think unkind, negative things about people. But we should be taught to curb our tongues and not say hurtful things aloud, or seek forgiveness if we fail. If we're Christians, we should even go as far as recognizing that our very thoughts are sinful, and seeking forgiveness from God for them. The real problem is ourselves, as it has ever been.

Monday, May 09, 2011

A Little Piece of Land

I've been feeling kind of cruddy in the mornings lately (don't go there!) but yesterday Mr. BTEG and I did go to the garden center at a local big box hardware store. We're living in a condo at the moment, so a big garden is not feasible, but we are doing a little container gardening. We were successful with tomatoes and green peppers a couple of years ago. This year, we're trying tomatoes, green peppers, strawberries and oregano. We also discovered mint and some kind of onion in the bed at the back of our place.

The front of our home has enough shade that I am going to try some lilies of the valley. I've only tried them once before and they didn't really take; I'm hoping I'll do better this time. I love the smell of lilies of the valley.

We moved into this place last November. It is amazing how much more at home I feel getting a few plants growing and prettying up our entryway outside. We may never have an enormous garden, although goodness knows it would be economical, but it is nice to have a little bit of the outdoors as our own.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Mother, Madre, Mutter

How will you celebrate Mother's Day? At La Casa de Evil Genius, we'll have a meal with my favorite foods: steak, potatoes and bread. Yes, I'm still a Philistine when it comes to food, and I don't think that will change.

Honestly, I never wanted to be anything other than a wife and mother. Yes, I do have my own interests and activities, but I wanted the main focus of my life to be caring for my family and for our home. Most of the time, I don't regret it at all. Sometimes I feel like the world has left me behind, but one of the benefits of having a loving family is having the strength of the others to draw on when one member is feeling discouraged. And after all, my husband and daughters are the ones for whom I work, so if they are happy, I can't be doing too badly, I suppose. :)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Go Kasich

Our governor gave a very good reply to our president, who likes to meddle in state politics; basically, it was that the president better get his own policies in order before he criticizes anyone else.

Also, the president's remarks about shared sacrifice and the burden not falling on just one group of people, infuriates me. The rest of the people here in Ohio that have to work for a living are already suffering. The people who are fortunate enough to even have jobs are finding it harder to make ends meet, while our president plays golf, throws lavish parties, and jets around the nation to appear on talk shows, and the world to give our hard-earned money to other nations. It's about time that union workers see what the world is like for the rest of us.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Hot Air

Since I mentioned the box of sandwich bags that was partially produced via windmills the other day, I thought I would share this little article about how cost and energy efficient windmills actually are. The sandwich bags box implied that windmills provided about 40% of the energy necessary to make the bags. This article, and several other works I've read on the subject, seem to belie that claim. Ask your liberal friends why "green" proponents hate poor people. Higher prices are harder on those who don't have a lot of money (rather a duh statement but some people don't seem to get this stuff.)

Oh, and we have tried the store brand sandwich bags. They didn't really seal. And of course there are plastic containers that can be re-used, but they also need to be washed in between uses, which uses hot water, detergent and electricity to power the dishwasher. And yes, I use a dishwasher; I have skin issues. Why do you hate people with skin issues?