31 December 2012

Happy New Year 1900-Style!

My great-grandmother is sitting near the front-middle holding the latest rage, a stuffed "Teddy" bear.  Yes, they had electric lights.  My dad shared this photo on facebook tonight and I thought I would share it with you.  :)

30 December 2012

Crazy Comment Monday!

Oh goody, it's back!  Today's crazy comment is um, pretty much this article and the entire comments section.  We all know that the shootings in Newtown are directly attributable to a "home school graduate."  Buncha wacko fundamentalist Bible-beaters who shouldn't be allowed to make choices for their kids, is what they are.  Although, hey!  The comment section reminds us that they're not all like that.  It should be ok for Pagans and Wiccans and stuff to homeschool because sometimes?  Homeschooling is about getting away from those religious nuts in public school.  Also?  Homeschooling is about segregation.  (Only think.  All the children in my homeschool are white.  So there's proof.)

28 December 2012

New TV Series!

TLC premieres "Nursing Home High," a reality show about high schoolers living in a nursing home.

Here's how it works.  Three seniors are ushered into a nursing home their last semester.  If they make it through without leaving the building and pass all their classes via skype, they will receive a $45,000 college scholarship.  But during non-school/homework hours, their electronics, phones, everything is taken away because old people usually don't know how to work these and/or they are too expensive.  There will be no way they can text their friends or have social contact with them during that semester, either, or they forfeit the prize.

They are also not allowed to talk to any family member older than they are during the show because in real life no 90-year-old can still phone her mom.  The TV staff will select one friend or younger sibling they can communicate with, but what the contestants don't know?  Is that the friend or sibling will have to pretend to have dementia, speak slowly, and ramble on about, "Oh do you remember that time where we went to the park, and we were at the park?  Times were different then..."

It's gonna be great!  I can't wait to see the epic tantrums these "kids" throw when staff speak slowly and condescendingly to them AND TALK ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS.  They're gonna go absolutely crazy for the cameras.  Especially when they finally resign themselves to a boring six months of reading in bed, only to find out that the only books they're allowed have three-point type so that the dwindling vision of older people is simulated.  They will find themselves greedily grabbing that large-print Reader's Digest and even laughing at the goofy comics.

Ok, all of the above is totally fake.  But I was just thinking for a second there (I forget why, because I'm old maybe) about how I'd rather be dead than stuck in a nursing home.  Seriously.  I can think of no other fate quite so legally cruel.  Unfortunately, life being what it is, we don't get to decide.

But (and why am I thinking this even, maybe because I'm old now) it would seriously be great if there could be secret shoppers in nursing homes.  You know.  Like the big companies hire to see if their employees are doing a good job, except these people would stay for a couple of weeks and hear what happens there at night.  And do things like check, are there enough staff to get all these sleeping oldsters out safely if there is a real fire??  Are there bedbugs?  What is the food like?  And can people contact friends in the outside world?  And is there cable TV?

I am seriously hooked on this Hoarders thing.  I'm probably going to have to watch every episode to get it out of my system.  Then I hear there is some new "Amish Mafia" series.  Really?  Like who wants to watch that?

But then I thought the same thing about "Who wants to watch people who live in piles of trash?" that is the premise of this series.

26 December 2012

Too Sexy for This Job

She was the best technician this dentist ever employed.  But he had problems because he kept sending her text messages... and thinking about her lustfully... a lot.

His wife got jealous.  And then they consulted their pastor.  Here's where the story gets really weird.

Instead of telling this man to keep it in his pants, stop mentally undressing this woman, be faithful to your wife and apologize to her, smart up and act right in the office because you are an example of how Christ would treat his employees etc etc. ... well, instead of that "crazy" and traditional way of thinking about things, the pastor must have told the guy that it must be all that strumpet's fault for inspiring these thoughts... because the dentist fired her after that little counselling session.  And it's legal!

Like us hot girls don't have enough problems, right?

24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

My father and his twin brother at Macy's, 1954.  Aren't they cute?  My dad tells me that they had to wear the same outfit all the time.  When one of them got dirty, they both had to change. 

21 December 2012

Rose Says Hello!

  Rose is learning to read now!  She is also becoming a discerning television viewer.  "That girl took Spock's brain," she told me this morning.  "That not very nice.  Now he can't move because his brain is gone.  When your brain is gone, doctor have to use a mote-control."  So please, folks.  Don't take anyone's brains this holiday season.  It's not very nice.

19 December 2012

Christmas Elves

I cannot believe this.  Elf is upset that Woodjie brought home a Christmas Elf hat from kindergarten.  Only he is the Elf.  Woodjie says, "Now I a Elfie, TOO!  There TWO elves!"  Rose had to jump into the picture and G... well... what a goof. 

17 December 2012

Offensive Christmas Songs!

"Decent people in general" need to stop singing several holiday songs.  The Twelve Days of Christmas is just so capitalistic.  Way overboard on the gift-giving.  Or that song about Grandma getting run over by reindeer.  (Grandpa probably was in on the hit.)  Link

While we're at it, we need to stop singing about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  It's ableist despite the happy ending.  Songs about Santa Claus also glorify obesity, and our nation has enough troubles with that.  Most of all, though, we need to cut out all Christmas songs that have anything to do with Jesus.  It might make people of other religions feel left out. 

I'm being snarky here, but I'm still not sure if the article is serious...

14 December 2012

Dear Stupid People

This did not all happen because God was "kicked out of school."  How freaking stupid ARE you to think that the King of the Universe is gonna obey some petty bureaucrat's rules and just let people get slaughtered.

No, wait.  How stupid are you not only to believe that crack-smoking theology, but to share it on social media.  Or stupid cubed?  Is seeing this opinion and "sharing" the wisdom.  Or telling your readers that 3,000 babies died from abortion today, and that's a way bigger number than 27... or that the solution to the problem is nobody having guns.  Or everybody having a gun.  Or bla bla bla whatever.

Shut up.

Just shut up.

Just shut up about whether you think the person who did this had mental illness A, B, or C or is autistic.  Do you know how many people out there with these diagnoses are healthy, productive members of their communities?  (You don't know, do you?  You have no clue.) And guess how many people without disabilities or diagnosed mental illness go ballistic psycho, molest kids, or whathaveyou?

No fair saying well, anyone who commits a crime like this must therefore have a mental illness or be autistic.  Circular reasoning much?  I have no clue what the actual case is here.  I just wish you would shut up because you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Want to be helpful?  Pray for people.  Advocate for a better mental health system.  Help a local family in crisis.  Donate to a clothes closet or food pantry.  Just go do something besides running your mouth and saying, "Thank God we homeschool!" or, "This is what happens when prayer gets kicked out of school."  You really think those teachers and kids weren't praying in their final moments?  Do you really think you are safe because you homeschool?  I guess you never go to the mall or the movie theaters.

I am so tempted to throw an angry cat at your head but I think we've had enough violence for today.

11 December 2012

Hoarding Roaches and Poop.

Ordinarily, I'm pretty skeptical.  I mean, people will do about anything to get themselves on TV.  But I just can't believe this.  I'm just floored. 

Sure, it's entertaining.  But after about five seconds I was thinking that these children need to be removed from the home, and I mean right away.  Don't even bother to pack your bags.  Ew!

This mother has diabetes and fibromyalgia and I'm not her doctor so I'm not going to doubt it.  But downing entire two-liters of Pepsi is probably not helping.  Popping used needles into the trash pile that is her living room?  They let the children stay there?   I can't believe the Hoarders crew even for one minute sat around and didn't pick up the phone.  I think social services is evil.  But I would be calling about this, and I don't care if the children in question are 17 years 364 days old or not.  No child for even one minute should be in there.  Neither should the adults, but presumably they have some sort of choice.

The dad just left the home?  And left the children to live in that?  Because his ex needs the disability payments on the kids?  Seriously????  There are some serious family dynamic issues going on here and it isn't all the hoarding.  They need some extreme inpatient help.  While their kids are in foster care. 

It isn't often I say stuff like that but I'm serious.  I'm left wondering if this is really real but it looks like it...

I had to share this video.  So I forced Emperor and Elf to watch it with me.  They couldn't believe it.  They thought it was a fake house and pretend, right?  See, but I think it is probably real.  I can't be entirely sure.  How would they ever fix a leaky toilet or broken window or get their furnace tuned each year?  Has to be fake.  But maybe not.  You can't fake filth like that!

Another Hoarders video features this lady who saved her poop for like, two years.  Here's a spoiler (ha ha):  it ate through the floor and the walls, and the house was so disgusting and dilapidated that it was uninhabitable even after the cleanup. 

D actually toured what in retrospect I believe to be a hoarder house.  That or a couple of parents who couldn't shake a drug habit.  Something serious was going on.  Want to see pictures?  Look here and then at then at the end of each post go to "newer post" until my series has ended. 

Pace Yourself.

I wanted Emperor to do math with Elf when we first started homeschooling.  I figured he is already skipping two years of school to do math with Elf.  No point pushing him further still, yes?

But Elf kept his habit of daydreaming.  I'd have him work about five feet away from me so that every three minutes I could say, "Do your math, Elf... Do your math, Elf... Do your math, Elf..."

After a good long while, I reluctantly realized that I was really being unfair to Emperor.  He'd have all his schoolwork done for the day in an hour and a half and would be waiting for Elf to come play.  Often Elf would be "working" until well into the afternoon. 

With Elf, you can never do an extra lesson today so you have a free day tomorrow.  Elf is one of those people who is so stinkin' cute and friendly that you just love him, but driven to succeed or get ahead?  He is not.  Too many daydreams to dream.

Emperor is now the only homeschooler.  We had a bit of a scene today.  Emperor got some problems wrong and he absolutely broke down emotionally.  You would think that some local engineering school called and said, "We're sorry.  We know you're about five years ahead in your mathematics, but we just can't have you attend our institution later if you missed six math problems in lesson number 78.  You got a 72 percent on that lesson!  We have better standards than that."

Crying out loud, kid, it's ok.  I swear.

So now.  We have finished all the year's history, science, and English.  Of course I will assign some other work to do in these subjects before the end of the school year in JUNE, but suffice to say that with this kid, you can really frontload the work and the pressure is off around Christmas. 

Now I've got the art supplies out.  Emperor seems to think this is dreadful.  It took him half an hour to cut out a few simple shapes.  He couldn't seem to follow the directions.  Emperor is frustrated and would like to microwave the project to see if it would look better.  I keep telling him it is supposed to be fun.  This is supposed to be the fun class.  Get in that kitchen and have some fun.  :/

Someday when the project is done, I will post a picture.

08 December 2012

Disabilities Often Caused by Poor Parenting

Did you know you can prevent learning disabilities just by reading to your child?  Study after study shows that children who are raised in a nurturing environment and read to consistently do much better in school than children who watch Honey Boo Boo's Hillbilly Playhouse and are ignored between whippings.

We can extrapolate this data to imply that every parent who has a child who is behind the state standard is a poor parent indeed.  This expensive trend of children coming to school with so-called "disabilities" is costing the state plenty.

Turn off the TV, people!  Pick up a book and just read it already. 

Bleh, whatever.  Sometimes when I read scientific offal like the above, I find it incredibly discouraging.  I like to think I'm living in the 21st century and eugenics is a thing of the past.  But it really isn't.  People generally speaking have just shifted the focus a bit from genetics to environment.  

If it were just the people you see around town in your neighbourhood spouting off their stupid opinions, it would be bad enough.  Discouraging enough.  Angering and disappointing enough.  But now the medical profession is in on this crap.

Now, instead of just dealing with broken bones or the flu, doctors are making sure you are reading to your child.  Wait times are super-short to see a physician, so they have time for all this nannying, I guess.

But how insulting.  The doctor is now going to check on your parenting during your child's exam.

This is one of those things that has pissed me off for a long time.  Asking me whether I strap my child into a car seat has nothing whatsoever to do with whether my child has a fever of 103.  Really.  It doesn't.  I haven't even been to medical school and I can tell you this as a scientific fact.

I "get" that there are some horrid parents out there and that people feel the need to be concern trolls.  But I don't see why it has to be part of everyone's job description to nose into the family lives of the paying customers.  At least I do not have to answer, "Do you feel safe at home?" and "Do you read to your children or feed them ever?" questions from the local Wal-Mart cashier before checking out.


06 December 2012

A Very Elfie Christmas

How do you select holiday gifts for your people at home?  Here, Elf is getting old enough to look online with me and compare prices and features and select his own Christmas gift.  He's too old to just be surprised with whatever I pick on Christmas morning, but too young to be truly happy with a gift card.  I was leaning toward a $200 model that would only make bitty one-pound loaves, but had super-great reviews and about 1000 different gourmet foo-foo ways to use the machine.  Elf didn't want something so expensive.  He wanted something basic.  So we decided on a cheaper breadmaker with fewer features.  This is his first loaf, a cinnamon-raisin 2 lb. loaf on the "light" setting.  I know the picture makes it look like it's halfway burnt and halfway doughy, but the colour differences weren't so pronounced in person.  And the bread was super-yummy.  Elf will also be receiving a hand-painted Polish pottery bread tray to go with it because while I don't parcel out gifts to be exactly dollar-amount even, I do try to stay in a general "range" with each child.  (He is going to love it.)

02 December 2012

Emperor's Been Busy!

He's been going to several tournaments over the last month.  This month he won't be able to do much as D will be getting his tonsils out and I'm not going to leave him alone with several rambunctious children.  Tomorrow I'll be very busy attending meetings, getting children ready for school, and buying ice cream.

Woodjie's Roller Dance Routine!

Only a few people were selected to perform their routines at a recent club fundraiser.  I went to upload this video and was pretty shocked...