31 March 2013

Adjustments.

It's really not all that bad for me right now.  But I can no longer lift over 20 pounds on a regular basis, ever again.  Which really doesn't sound like a big deal, until you consider that two milk jugs and a purse put me over the limit.

That means someone always has to help me with shopping if I'm to get things home and put away before frozens melt and refrigerated stuff isn't very cold any more.  And considering that there are eight people in my family and I buy lots of stuff, someone big has to come along and push the cart while I walk about the store uselessly and direct him to pick up the stuff I want.

And my new limits mean someone always has to lift the vacuum and move the furniture about every week.

And when I unpack this year's summer clothes and put the winter ones away, someone has to get down each and every stupid bag for me.

Now when I go through boxes of school books, someone must be on hand to help with each. and every. stupid. box.  No more getting stuff done while people are off at work/school.

That means I sit around like a stupid prima donna all the time and have to ask everyone else to do MY work for me, but I don't get the benefit of being genuinely lazy.  

No more re-arranging furniture on a whim, going on trips alone, or really much of anything you think of as "completely independent."  Real yardwork, even, is completely over.  I'm not trying to be melodramatic (and I don't really feel that way, despite my itemized list here on the blog), but it really does put a great restriction on my life.   Not enough to be truly disabling in the classic sense of the word, but bahh.  Just enough to feel sorta useless.

Have you ever had to make adjustments like this, and make others understand and respect your new limitations?  Maybe this sounds silly, but it is the ordinary requests that are very hard for me.  For example, a room is becoming more crowded and new tables are needed to be brought in.  "Everybody" is supposed to go help move the tables and chairs.  I'm left doing nothing and looking like an inconsiderate bum OR explaining all about my medical history to strangers.

It's weird and I'm never really sure how to deal with that.  I don't want to be some old person who when people ask, "How are you?" go into the whole thing... but I also don't want to be all "everything is ok" and have people wonder why I'm so goshdarn lazy.

I think the hard part is that I will never get "better" and people don't want to hear that, or maybe think I say that for my own convenience.  I can't tell.

Happy Easter!

 

27 March 2013

Meeting People in Heaven.

Do you believe in it?

Recently a beloved older man from the chess club passed away.  Emperor, Elf, and G were very sad to learn of this. "Poor Bill," Emperor kept saying.  I told him that the people I felt sorry for were his family.  Because Bill was a Christian and I know he is in a better place now with Bobby Fischer.

Patrick snorted.  "Not Bobby Fischer," he said raising one eyebrow.  "I'm thinking Bobby Fischer is somewhere else."

I dunno.  But I'm not the only one who thinks of all the people we'll meet in heaven. Here's an obituary about how a loved one is with "with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and Dale Earnhardt."

24 March 2013

Elf Update

I haven't blogged about Elf in a while, so I thought I'd give an update.

Elf is in seventh grade and is doing pretty well in most of his classes.  He is extremely disorganized and doesn't always understand social cues very well, so he has an IEP.  That means he meets with other children who also have difficulty with social cues and they brainstorm answers to "What would you do if" questions.  (Hilarity ensues.  But it's guided hilarity at least, I suppose.) 

He also has a little extra help organizing his school binder and that sort of thing.  This spring break he's been working on all the science projects he "forgot" about over the last several weeks.  Though in all honesty, it hasn't been much of a spring break.  Really mostly I've been lying around and recovering and Elf and the gang have been watching too much tv, playing games (the older children learnt Rummy) and hanging out together.

Elf has also come occasionally to chess, but these last few months more often than not, he'd rather stay home.  I don't know if it is really because his little brother overshadows him a bit, but he says not, and he's really the sort of person who couldn't care too much for that level of competitiveness, so there you are.

One thing he just did today was make cinnamon raisin bread in his new breadmaker.  Here's a quick snapshot of his food and his pottery.  Unfortunately, he's also reaching that age where he does NOT want you to take his photograph. 


Yummers.

22 March 2013

Why Not Common Core?

Looking for a concise way to tell friends why you oppose Common Core? Tell them, ObamaCore is a national education system designed to meet the demands of the federal government not the dreams of the child. What is tested is what is taught. What is taught is what is thought. America's foundation is built on freedom not conformity. -- Spunky Homeschool


21 March 2013

Religious Freedom in Every Sphere

A Guest Post by Daja Gombojav.

Below is a letter I wrote on behalf of my dear friend and midwife, Brenda, who was arrested for exercising her faith as it applies to childbirth.  She has always felt it was her calling to assist women in birth.  She's a Traditional Christian (unlicensed) midwife, a fact that she has never hid.  In fact, she has openly advertised that fact, because there are those of us out there who are looking for just that--independent, religious centered birth on our own terms.  

We also started a petition on Brenda's behalf.  Even if home birth is not your thing, please sign it.  Even if you are not a Christian, please sign it.  At its core, it's not about home birth or theology.  It's about the essential right we all have to decide what we believe and how that is best lived out.  That is the right and responsibility of every individual (our "inalienable rights") and should not be infringed upon by the government.
 
 
To Whom It May Concern:
 
           My name is Daja Gombojav.  I'm the mother of seven, all born at home.  In six of the seven labors I have been attended by Brenda Capps.  My husband, Gana, is seminary educated with a Master's Degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.  We have been missionaries and pastors in Mongolia.
 
            When we found out we were expecting our first child we specifically searched out a Christian midwife.  We were thrilled to be introduced to Brenda Capps and to learn she practiced under the Religious Exemption Clause.  We have always viewed birth as not only a spiritual, but a religious experience.  Only in the rare cases of emergencies is it a "medical" experience. 

           This understanding of birth as primarily religious can be found to span many, if not most religious thought and dogmas.  In Judaism, "A midwife’s role, among other things, is to encourage a birthing mother to "let go" and allow herself to become a conduit for this great Force to flow through. Trust in the natural process of labor and in a woman’s body to birth normally and safely is the hallmark of midwifery care. Every culture and religion has their own words and metaphors to describe their reverence and awe of this process. But for Jewish midwives, this reverence stems from an understanding that birth is G‑dly in nature. Their faith in birth is inexorably bound with their faith in G‑d." (Source)
 
            In Catholicism, birth is understood to be participating in the same creative power that took Eve from Adam's side.  St. Hildegard of Bingen, theologian and Doctor of the Church explains, "When birth is approaching, the vessel in which the child is enclosed is torn, and then comes the eternal energy that took Eve from Adam's side, and is present and turns upside-down all the corners of the shelter in the woman's body.  All the structures of the woman's body rush toward this energy, receive it and open up to it.  They do so until the child emerges.  Afterwards, they return to their previous state.  As the child emerges, its soul too feels the eternal energy that sent it, and meanwhile it rejoices." (St. Hildegard of Bingen in Causes and Cures)
 
            In Charismatic/Pentecostal Christian traditions, the belief that Jesus reversed the curse, thus lifting the pain of childbirth is in agreement with Romans 14:23 which says that anything not from faith is sin.  In a now classic Christian childbirth text, Supernatural Childbirth, author Jackie Mize writes, "When I refer to supernatural childbirth, I’m talking strictly about being able to conceive and to have babies with a pregnancy free from nausea, morning sickness, pain, moodiness, depression and without fear of any kind; then going through the entire labor without pain, and through the delivery without stitches and anesthetic. I’m talking about using the Word of God to overcome, change and make things better." (Supernatural Childbirth, Jackie Mize)
 
           In Reformed Christian traditions, the understanding of birth being religious extends to conception and pregnancy also.  God is seen as completely Sovereign.  He alone opens and closes the womb.  "Each time a human baby is born, another image bearer of God is brought into the world, thereby making each birth a very spiritual event.  Birth may be a commonly-occurring experience, but that does not make it common, mundane, or insignificant.  It is miraculous.  Isn't that how God is sometimes?  Even His own son's coming to earth seemed "insignificant."  A baby born in a stable to a poor family is far from the regalia appropriate for our Messiah, the Son of God.  It almost seems like He chooses to allow Himself to be "hidden" in the most obvious of places." (AboveRubies

             For our family, we are always striving to live fully integrated lives where our faith informs every aspect of our day-in-and-day-out.  This includes our family planning (or lack thereof), pregnancy, birth, post-partum and the way we raise our children.  Because this is our outlook on family, we believe that childbirth is an expression of our faith.  It is not a medical event that should be managed by men. It is an act of the Sovereign God. 

           When planning for our births a few things are essential: We want to give birth in an atmosphere of faith, peace, and love.  We don't invite anyone who will bring fear, control, or worry.  Everyone present must be in agreement with our objectives of a birth without pain, fear, or intervention.  I want someone who will encourage me to surrender to the Power that is eternal and available.
 
            This is why we have chosen Brenda to attend us in childbirth six times.  The role she fills is not medical, it is spiritual.  She acts as a sort of guide between a woman and the innate power she has at her disposal to give birth.  Had Brenda not been practicing her art the way she has been, we would have searched out another Christian direct entry midwife.  If we were unable to find one we would have chosen to birth unattended.  That's how strongly we feel about our children not being born into a medical environment--whether that be at the hospital or recreated at home by a caregiver who doesn't truly trust birth.
 
            We count ourselves extremely blessed to live in a country and state where women have the choice to manage their reproduction according to their own conscience and religion.  We realize that many places the government tries to intervene to tell families how, when and where their children can/should be born.  We pray that California is not headed down that road.  It will be to the detriment to all of us.
 
            We stand wholeheartedly with Brenda Capps and her practice under the Religious Exemption Clause. 

Sincerely,
Daja Gombojav
Brenda and my sixth baby.
If you believe in the First Amendment, if you value your Religious Freedom, if you think that parents should decide for themselves how, where, and with whom they birth their babies, PLEASE sign the petition and make your voice heard.

Good Heavens, It's Contagious!

Autism is now a 1 in 50 disorder!  Run for the hills! 

I mean, now it's two percent of the whole population.  What's going to happen when it becomes three or four percent of the population?  Will society collapse?  Or will we just have too many engineers?  Ay yi yi!

A friend noted they always come out with these alarming statistics right before those stupid "light it up blue" months.  You know.  Because Autism Speaks working for a "cure" is really working right now and they need more money, right?

Yeah.

So anyway.  Two percent of the population.  Maybe they are coming for you next.  I've comprised a handy checklist of autism symptoms which will hopefully ease your mind that you do not have this fatal disease.

1.  Do you like Pokemon?  I mean a lot.  Like obsess about it.

2.  Or Star Wars?  Or Star Trek?  Or Minecraft?

3.  Doctor Who.  If you're too into this and can identify all the doctors, it's all over for you.

4.  Are you an introvert?

5.  Do you spend a lot of time online?

6.  Do you have trouble in certain social situations?

7.  Do you think this whole thing is blown out of proportion?

8.  Would a diagnosis make any difference?

I'm thinking the whole "epidemic" could be solved in the DSM 6 just by eliminating the possibility of an autism diagnosis.  Just take autism out of the manual and problem solved.  In fact, I think every "disorder" out there could be completely cured through the magical medical process of re-diagnosis.

Ok, really?  It's a "spectrum disorder."  That means all different kinds of people are diagnosed and almost none of them are like that Rainman guy.

19 March 2013

How to Raise a Hellion

First, make sure the kid has no father whatsoever.  Next, impose absolutely zero consequences for misbehaviour.  Start young, because it takes time to build a bratty attitude.  Children naturally gravitate toward being civilized people who want to socialize amicably with adults.  Reward their selfish side, and you might be able to bypass this tendency.

Another thing it's important to do is just be a plain old bad person.  Have lots of cigarettes and drugs around in the house.  Be lazy.  Also, be stupid.

Totally unrelated picture of Emperor's recent artwork.
I gleaned all that from the comments section of a story about a local ten-year-old who stole a van after he was caught smoking.  Missing is a comment online last night (and the responses to it) about how the baby mama should have gotten an abortion and saved society the trouble of this fatherless brat.  The comments that remain here and on kctv5's facebook page still indicate, though, that if you want to prevent your child from becoming a hellion, all you have to do is provide consistent limits and lots of spankings.

Okay then.  Maybe the mom is a lazy ghetto type, and maybe she's just got a very, very difficult child and needs some serious help (whether she is a ghetto type or not).  The story simply doesn't give us enough information either way.

I know parents are the last to know these things.  So I asked Emperor how he would start smoking if he wanted to.  Emperor said that he really would rather spend his money on other things, but he will play along with the hypothetical situation.  What he would do is research online what the best brand and value would be.  He doesn't want to waste his money, you know.  He would go to the store and get the biggest box (buying in bulk saves money).  He knows he also needs a lighter.  Then, he would be smoking.  He knows you light the "white end" and that "there is probably a lot more to it than that" but that is all he knows right now.  He hasn't researched it yet.

Ok.  So how would he start and drive the van?  Emperor said that there is a reverse button on the steering wheel somewhere or a lever.  He would have to find that.  But he wouldn't be so foolish as the child in the story!  He'd have to "plan ahead" if he wanted to steal a car.  He would have to watch me closely.  He hasn't been doing that, so he can't answer the question yet.  He is not sure which is the brake or gas pedal, but he reasons "it won't take long for me to figure that out."


17 March 2013

Gallon-Smashing!


  Apparently it is the new thing to do.  Throw gallons of juice or milk around so that they break and then pretend to fall down in it.  There are several videos of this type online and it isn't little old ladies doing it; it's young guys.  They seem to have some sort of contest going for "most outrageously unbelieveable accident."

Four-Year-Old Truants

"This isn't about being forced to go," claims a self-proclaimed attendance expert. "It's, do you want your child to succeed?"

Four-year-olds have some of the highest truancy rates going.  This horrible "chronic absenteeism" affects lower-income students more because their families don't have the "resources" to make up for missed time in the classroom.

Because yeah.  These parents don't know their letter sounds and their numbers from 1 to 20 and couldn't possibly have the brains to, you know, teach them to their children during their daily lives.

"Truancy" is something that needs to be addressed with tougher laws, according to the article.  "It's a problem that needs to be addressed, experts say, especially after President Barack Obama's recent proposal to expand funding of voluntary public prekindergarten... he envisions it as a way to close the achievement gap for poor and minority students, improve high school graduation rates and ultimately strengthen the workforce."

So.  It's voluntary.  Until it's not. I honest to goodness don't see how "another two years for the state to forcefeed the same educational crap that didn't work before" (I'm paraphrasing here) is really going to help people. 

And so what if it did?  Let's pretend preschool is something that is a net societal good.  So what?  You'd force three- and four-year-old children away from their parents to satisfy new attendance laws for their own good?  This is truly awful stuff.

I love my child's preschool.  And if I could send my 11-year-old for playtime, I seriously would.  But I would never want any family to be forced into sending children of any age to school or anywhere else.

14 March 2013

Boldly Go... Retire.

George Takei and Patty Duke are now advertising for the Social Security Administration.  They encourage you to BOLDLY go and collect your cashola!  I guess they didn't have the budget to get Shatner to pose in his red velour.  Cutbacks, ya know.

13 March 2013

File Under "What a Surprise!"

Homeschooled children get more sleep than children who attend public school.  This is why they generally are better able to learn during the day.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with the good organization of the home, or the use of a curriculum package that has been specifically chosen to reflect the academic level of the child.

Apparently you can send your child to public school and still make up for the hour and a half of extra sleep homeschoolers get per night by just taking all electronic devices out of your kid's room and being "consistent" about bedtime routines.  Because yeah.  Public schools never schedule parent-teacher conferences or sporting events in such a way that it would encroach on a consistent bedtime routine.

Ok, seriously?  This whole article is a big ol' stereotype.  So happens my homeschooler wants to get up at the crack of dawn and get his work done.  He is up and working a full two hours before the public school he would have attended even begins.

There is also something positive to be said for a consistent routine that a public school may provide for some families, but it is rather rigid and inflexible. But judging from the comments, we're usually lounging about and lazy all the time.  Or. We have some secret cabal of super-educated brainiacs raising an entirely elitist and parallel mini-society of homeschoolers who will someday take over the world, Pinky.

It's Wednesday today, though...

11 March 2013

*Burp!* Drink Up!

The patently unconstitutional law limiting the size of soft drink sales in some businesses was struck down by the New York Supreme Court recently.  Finally, someone with some sense is talking.

I'm not saying it's a great and healthy thing to drink an entire two-liter of pop with your meal.  But how do you know whether the customer is sharing it?  I mean, people have been known to leave restaurants with 20 pizzas, but there's no law against that.  Not to mention that some of us don't drink pop, but when we indulge, we have a whole big bunch of it and then we're happy for a good long while.

Just stay out of it, willya?  I love this idea of "keep e-coli out of my food," and appreciate the work regulators and food safety people do along that line of thought.  We actually need more funding for those unsung heroes who save lives we don't even know have been saved.  But let's stick with the immediate danger, not the "it might maybe kill you in 20 years if you eat this in extreme amounts" area of the food business.

Bloomberg has gone even further off his rocker than usual.  I think the rocker is in an entirely different wing of his house now.  He states that more people WORLDWIDE are dying from obesity-related causes than lack of food.  Look at the video.   He must be quoting a statistic from somewhere, but when you look at all the things malnutrition does to a person, you can't just say that death from being underfed can only be counted when someone physically starved to death.   Like obesity, there are a whole host of medical problems caused by lack of good nutrition.

For that matter, a common flu can and does easily kill people who are severely underweight.  And yet they "died of the flu."  True, and yet not true.

So is this post coherent?  Because I am on drugs.  I just got home from having hernia surgery.  It was no fun but result-wise I am able to walk and am not in severe pain as I had been in the past. 


10 March 2013

Congrats to Emperor!

Emperor played in the Missouri 2013 State Scholastic Championship Tournament in Jefferson City this weekend.  He won four out of six rounds, lost to the top state player and then drew the young man who came in second.  He is shown here in his St. Joseph team shirt and he's holding his tenth place trophy and the team plaque.  St. Joseph's fifth grade and under team finished fourth in the state.

07 March 2013

News Roundup!

Apparently a new trend amongst young men is eating ghost peppers.  One crazy kid made a video about it, even.  Have you eaten ghost peppers?  If so, whhhyyy?

**

I saw about 30 seconds of the "We Saw Your Boobs" song.  It was 30 seconds too many.  But really?  If you are taking off your shirt for big cash on film, are you really gonna act all surprised when some puerile boy giggles about boobies?   What really kills me is reading all the feminist websites.  They're whining that because some of the boobie scenes alluded to involve rape depictions, that the guy must be a phallocentric something something and bla bla angry bla.  (I'm paraphrasing here.)

Because yeah.  Getting paid lots of money to strip and act out a rape is an ok thing to do, but tittering about boobies (!) is not.

Everybody please put your shirt on and act like a grownup.  Thank youuuu.

**

Violence in the streets of Tunisia because of... the Harlem Shake.  Wow.  I know some Christians can be a bit nutty, but our fundamentalists are nowhere near as crazy as the Islamists.  Plus?  Some of the super-deluded Christians are funny to watch on TV and whatnot.  The really fundie Muslims don't give us funny quotes and also don't deal with mockery too well.  I really think they need some medication.


04 March 2013

Star Trek Roller Skating!

Woodjie LOVES the audience.  I made these little outfits for the children and they danced to the Star Trek: Next Generation theme...