Monday, September 29, 2008

Feeling lower than the stock market...

At the beginning of this school year I volunteered to be a literacy tutor at the high school. It is part of a pilot program that re-teaches literacy skills one-on-one using a proven method called The Barton System. I went through a few training sessions and some DVD’s and I was ready to meet my student.

My student is a male, seventeen year old, with a literacy level of a first grader. How could this happen?! This student is now a Junior in high school and CAN’T READ! I don’t think there is any dyslexia involved but I’m not sure. The more I learn about him, the more hopeless it all seems to me. He has a full time job. He is chronically tired, ill, and underfed. It seems like he has no academic support at home and that education is not valued by anyone in his family. In fact, I think there is a general attitude that school is the enemy.

It all came to a head last week when he showed up thirty minutes late. He overslept. When he sarcastically told me he was sorry, I lost it and laid in on him. I wanted him to understand how important it was for him to learn how to read and how it would impact his entire life if he threw this chance away. I might as well have been talking to myself because he didn’t want to hear any of it. He just got really angry and shut down.

Since then, we’ve met twice and the animosity in the air is off the charts. He’s cooperating but it’s apparent he hates me. It’s been hard enough to carve this time out to go over to the high school three times a week and keep up with my work, kids, and other volunteering. Why should I do it if 1) he has no interest in learning how to read, 2) he thinks I’m the Wicked Witch?

I am so mad right now! What kind of parents does he have that don’t make sure he’s fed, well rested, and are constantly fighting with the very people who are trying to help their son? What kind of school system keeps promoting a kid to the next grade without addressing this serious problem? How many more of these kids are out there?

The whole situation is making me very, very sad…….

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A surprise in the mail!

My package arrived today! It came during the Ohio State game and it must have brought me good luck because we SO won the game! I should have taken a guess who my pal was before the package arrived because I suspected it was DawnRays but since I didn't say so before, it doesn't sound so credible, does it?

Here's what she sent me:

I've got three skeins to use as I wish (2 Katia peru skeins with an alpaca/acrylic/wool mix and one very punky Noro skein). Dawn MADE me the fishbone lace cowl which is WAY cool! The stitch markers (also made by Dawn) are my very first fancy markers. I got the spiderwebby cloth and pumpkin which will stay out as Halloween is approaching. She also sent me notecards and a shower sponge which will both be put to good use. How can someone I've never met know the exact right things to send?!

With a Buckeye win and my package, I can call this a perfect day!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dogs or cats? A definitive answer

After watching Katie Couric's interview of Sarah Palin on CBS. Here's how I think Sarah Palin would respond to the question,

"Do you like dogs better or cats better?"

"I think that a dog can be fierce and loyal and a cat, ya' know, can be, oh - they have their good points. But you can't say that a dog or a cat is better or worse because, gosh!, we live in America and the people here are good, hard-working, folks. And everyone should put their country first and follow John McCain who is a maverick and has been a prisoner of war. And there were no dogs or cats in Vietnam to offer him comfort. So what I'm really trying to say is dogs are good and cats are good but we have to stand up for Main Street America and fight this economic crisis and not wave a white flag at people who are hell-bent on destroying America and our way of life like Barack Obama wants to do. Because that's just not right and all those American dogs and cats - we owe them more than that."

Check out her very own explanation to Katie about how the proximity of Alaska to Russia gives her foreign policy experience. It makes just about as much sense as the dog/cat argument:

You go, Sarah! I can't wait to watch you debate!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A beautiful weekend *sigh*

I spent this weekend at Skylark again. It's a beautiful treasure on the Blue Ridge Parkway. A group of us gathered to knit, drink wine, talk and celebrate life. In being there, I created another moment to add to the collection of precious memories that make up my life. The women that were there were conservative, liberal, young, old, traditional and wild with a common love of knitting. We talked about religion, love, family, politics, and shared life experiences that made me laugh so hard I cried. I can't tell you how lucky I am to know and hang out with this group of amazing women!

I have to share with you the receiving blanket that I FINALLY finished and will be shipping to my cousin's baby in Mexico soon. I'm so glad to get it off my needles! It's made of Baby Bamboo and is SOOOO soft!

Three of the women there made these amazing shawls and I asked if I could take a picture of them. The colors are brilliant and I can't make to make one myself.

We enjoyed our cocktail hours with a 360 degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the food was better than any five star restaurant!

It was so sad to see the weekend come to an end but we were running out of wine anyway....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bill Clinton and teenage blow-jobs

I just got back from book club. The book was I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. What a great book but that wasn't what we talked about for the majority of the evening. Politics reared it's head and I'm not sure where everyone in the room fell on the political spectrum. I might have offended some with my Sarah Palin impression (I've decided that's who I'll be for Halloween - pretty scary, huh?). At one point, though, one of my friends expressed her belief in the correlation between Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky Scandal and a rise in teenage girls giving blow-jobs. Can this be feasibly true or measurable? I don't know. I'm going to try and find out, though.....

I think perhaps, a picture wouldn not be appropriate with this post....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sarah's Tanning

While some of you out there think that the new revelation that Sarah Palin has installed a tanning bed in the governor's mansion has nothing to do with her qualifications for vice president, I beg to differ. For those of you who know me, understand that I am fully aware of the irony in judging someone for their irresponsible tanning behavior. I am humbled and will think twice before next applying SPF 4 one time for an entire afternoon at the pool. Then again, if John McCain called me and wanted to put me on his ticket as the #2, I WOULD blink and turn him down and would not dream of subjecting the American people to my inept leadership!

My list of arguments below go towards general intelligence, lack of leadership abililties, possible ethics compromises and elitism. Here's why it's wrong:
  • Tanning beds have been proven to increase the chances of skin cancer so someone using one is either ignorant of this fact or is choosing vanity over health (neither which reflects very well on the user - apologies to all my tanning bed friends out there...and yes, I used them in college and it was STUPID for me to do).
  • She is setting a bad example for her children.
  • She is increasing the odds that she will not be there for her children should she develop skin cancer which is selfish. (ouch! see above reference to irony....)
  • She is a role model in Alaska and, in May 2007 declared it "Skin Cancer Awareness Month." She can't say one thing and do another and be a good role model.
  • It doesn't help with Seasonal Affective Disorder as noted in this article by the American Academy of Family Physicians where I pulled this quote: "It is important to note that no evidence indicates that tanning beds, where the eyes are generally covered and the subject's skin is exposed to light, are useful in the treatment of SAD. Furthermore, the light sources in tanning beds are relatively high in UV rays, which can be harmful to both the eyes and the skin."
  • It doesn't help with Vitamin D deficiency as cited in Wikipedia here where it says, "However, because tanning beds use bulbs that emit mostly UVA light (95% UVA and 5% UVB), tanning beds do not appreciably help the body produce vitamin D."
  • It's elitist. How many of you out there have a tanning bed in your house?
  • There has been no evidence put forward proving she used her own private funds to buy and install the tanning bed. Even if she bought it second-hand, if a discount of over $150.00 was given, it violates the gift limits to which all elected officials must adhere.
Show us receipts!!!!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I wanna win!!!!

As part of this knitting swap I'm doing with PRGE, there is a new contest. My secret pal (a.k.a. Pink Floyd or Knitsum) has sent me three songs that I must match up with knitting/crochet projects. She went with a political theme. Hmmmm. I wonder where she came up with that???? Do I sound a bit obsessed with the campaigning maybe???

The first song she gave me is "Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen. I found this on Ravelry which I think fits perfectly and made me laugh. When I asked permission to use the photo on my blog, I got this reply: "Sure, you may use Greaseball's USA picture on your blog! Anyone who is not for Palin is a friend of ours! ;)"

Here is Greaseball in all his glory! Doesn't he look like he wants to take a bite out of someone for dressing him up like this?

My second song is "I'm Just a Girl" by No Doubt. This made me think of a pattern I bought at the Knitters Connection last June in Columbus, OH. I took a class by Lucy Neatby who is as punky a knitter as you can find! I think it fits perfect with the song because it's so frilly and feminine!

Lastly, Pink gave me "Holiday" by Green Day. What an awesome band! For that I came across this in Ravelry. I went with the British meaning for holiday which they use instead of the word vacation. This looks like a quick easy project that would be quite useful, don't you think?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Aaaaaaaaahhhhh? No - I mean Aaaaaaaaahhhhh!

Does this sign make anyone else crazy? Whoever in the Taco Bell marketing department authored this, should be fired as far as I'm concerned.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Let's stop discussing lip stick, please!!!!

I received an email from my friend yesterday asking me to write about my reasons why Sarah Palin should not be elected as the #2. They're all being posted on a blog called Women Against Sarah Palin. Not to be confused with this Women Against Sarah Palin site. These forums will hopefully have more rational discussion than what the McCain camp is putting out with all these bogus demands for apologies for percieved insults that they don't even believe themselves.

Here's what I sent in:

While my list of cons for Sarah Palin is getting longer and longer each day, I'd like to share with you the most current disturbing facts.

  • She has been saying, at as many public speaking opportunities as she can, that she told Congress, "Thanks, but no thanks on that Bridge to Nowhere." This has been established as an outright lie by many reputable sources and she is aware of that yet she continues to make this claim. All I can think is that she doesn't give the American people enough credit to figure out she's lying. Apparently she's counting on the fact that we all still have the high school mentality that being popular is more important than telling the truth.

  • Regarding the Troopergate investigation, she deliberately and calculatingly used her position as governor to get her ex-brother-in-law fired AFTER a judge ordered her sister and sister's family to stop harassing the man! Granted, the guy is a scum who tasers kids but there's a bigger issue. To me this is evidence of the Bush trait of thinking you are above the law. Sarah Palin apparently thought it was OK to ignore this judges order and administer HER brand of justice.

  • No other Vice Presidential nominee has gone for this long without granting an interview with the press. The fact that the press is hounding the McCain camp for an interview is fully justified! It has nothing to do with the left-wing media trying to crucify her because she's a woman!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Brutus Buckeye

I was in Columbus, Ohio over the weekend to see my Buckeyes play Ohio University (we won but that's a whole other story). Before the game, I saw in the morning paper that there would be all these Brutus Buckeye statues around the Schottenstein Center and I had to go check 'em out.

For those of you who have no idea who Brutus Buckeye is, let me enlighten you. First of all, he is the most awesome mascot on the planet. Besides that, though, he is first and foremost a buckeye. What is a buckeye? It's a nut similar to a chestnut and VERY POISONOUS! When he was first introduced as Ohio State's mascot, he looked like this:

He gradually evolved to this in the 80's and 90's.

While I didn't get any pictures of the actual Brutus last weekend, I took a ton of the statues! They were so fun to check out!

There's John Glenn Brutus

Jim Tressel Brutus

Statue of Liberty Brutus

A tribute to the legendary man, Woody Brutus

They also had Dave Thomas Brutus, a hippy Brutus, drum major Brutus, and so many more! If you're in Columbus, it's a must see!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A new game!

Here's a game that Scott and I played last night that should be fun to repeat tonight. Turn on the Republican National Convention (but not the FOX coverage because, if it's anything like it was last night, the commentators are so full of themselves that they talk right over the speakers that they're gushing over and you don't get to hear a single speech) and every time someone says "9/11" or "terrorist," you have to drink! Last night we did it during Giuliani's and Palin's speech and got pretty happy!

P.S. For those of you who want to stay sober, only drink when they mention "health care" or "George Bush."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Good advice relevant to today's political climate.....

There's so much going on in politics that my mind is a jumble trying to sort it all out. Instead of going off on some half hatched opinions, I thought I'd share with you something inspiring that was emailed to me today from the president of Washington & Lee University, Ken Ruscio. It was a message on the university's non-discrimination policy but I think the way he framed it was nicely done. It is also an apropos reminder to all our representatives in Washington D.C.
Respect for each other is a cornerstone of this community, respect that is not based on one's status within the community, one's race, one's gender or one's sexual orientation. We share a common humanity that obligates us to be mindful of the benefit each of us derives from working alongside individuals with unique talents, strengths and backgrounds.

I think I'll print it out and post it on my wall is a constant reminder.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Democrat Office Grand Opening

I was recently invited to the grand opening of a Democratic office in our town. This was a big thing because I live in a red state and there hasn't been an office in my city in many years. I went, even though I am an Independent, because I thought it would be fun and I brought the kids along.

While there I handed the camera off to my seven year old son and he actually did a great job. He was more interested in the displays than in the people but that's OK. Here's the results of his first photo journalist assignment:

I'm still checking this Sam Rasoul guy out. My initial impression leaves much to be desired. He's running against an incumbent (Bob Goodlatte) that, as far as I can tell has done a pretty decent job. Sam seems too polished and too young and too well off to be credible but I have to dig deeper into the issues to make a final decision.....

Our illustrious governor with the disturbing eye brows, Tim Kaine.

Our former governor running for the Senate, Mark Warner. My question to him is, "What have you been doing the past two years since Tim Kaine assumed your guberitorial responsibilities?" He's running against Jim Gilmore who's website I just checked out and it totally turned me off with it's negativity.

...and the Pièce de résistance.....