Monday, August 30, 2010

It's My Blog and I'll Politic If I Want To

Last month, a federal court in Alaska found that the Bush administration violated the law when it approved oil and gas leasing in Alaska's Chukchi sea without sufficient information and analysis about risks to the Arctic environment.

Yet, President Obama's administration has so far failed to revisit protections for the Chukchi - arctic waters off Alaska's coast and has asked the court in Alaska to allow activities that would pave the way for drilling to proceed, potentially jeopardizing an area key to the survival of not only polar bears, but also bowhead whales, Pacific walrus and other wildlife.

The courts and scientists have all said that more information is needed about the Arctic environment before we even consider drilling in its ice covered seas that are cloaked in darkness most of the year.

I just signed a petition telling President Obama to pull the illegal leases sold in the Chukchi Sea and halt seismic testing in the Arctic this summer.

Have a look and take action here. it's not hard, just a few basic questions (name, etc) and you too can sign the petition! (Note: both those links are to the same place, I just wanted to give you an extra chance to click.)

Also- credit where credit is due, I didn't write this post, I copied it from an email from CREDO.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sleeping In

On Wednesday my kids went back to school and I started half-time hours. I didn’t have to go into work until 2pm. Tuesday night I made my bed (which I only do on special occasions) so that my bed would be super comfy since I could sleep in. I thought. I stayed up until almost 2am, well past when I wanted to go to bed (to make sure I could sleep in, since sometimes it’s hard to change when I wake up). Finally, I curled into my bed and dozed off. Eight o’clock Wednesday morning, my cell phone made my designated “you have a text” noise…

Kelly (my boss): Are u still able to come in at 9 today?
Me: …umm…didn’t realize I was supposed to
Kelly: Oh I had left a note and u wrote yes and put it on my desk…
its for [another teacher]… the rest of the week?

It turns out that I thought the note said “Can you work 9-6 on 8/27 [and other dates]?” and she thought it said “Can you work 9-6 through 8/27 [and other dates]?” We'll never know who's right, since the note is long gone. Anyway after anticipating and preparing for at least nine hours in bed, I had to get up after six. Plus, I had nothing for lunch because I was planning on making mac and cheese. Wednesday at work ROCKED.
Tomorrow I head out to another game night, this time in far enough away that we’re staying the night. Sunday we’re off to the zoo. I was supposed to help my SIL move, but she choose the one weekend I can’t. But just wait. After a long weekend, I’m preparing for ten hours in bed Sunday night/Monday morning. And it is gonna be GOOD!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Really Like Me As The School-Age Teacher!

Today I told my boss that I was planning on spending tomorrow morning (now that my kids are back to school, I’m back to reduced hours) looking for a second job. I wanted to know, only in the vaguest terms, if I should bother. Her response…
“If you want to work with two year olds, the hours will be yours. But… I really like you for the school-agers.”
Hello! I really like me for the school-agers too. I love my job for all the perks that I get that no one else gets. I want her to divide the hours so that I’m with the two year olds until 2:30 (when kindergarten gets out and I usually start working) then have the school-agers. Either way she has to hire a new person to work my hours, so why not make that person take the two year olds in the afternoon? Then in the summer (and days off) I take my kids and the new person takes the two year olds and I get the best of both worlds….Umm did anyone else just hear Hannah Montana when I said that? No? Just me? Okay then. Perhaps I should take those two year olds so I don’t have to watch her anymore.
Anyway. I guess she would have to find someone qualified to take the two year olds (which is harder than finding someone qualified to take my kids because the rules are more stringent), but who only wants part time hours and doesn’t mind not having her own class. I guess I can see the problem…but…I love my kids! And I loved the summer we just had. And so few of the school-age teachers my work has had, does stuff with them. I wish I could pick their new teacher, I guarantee I’d find someone awesome.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tina has a big day

Today I bought a NOOK. I’ve been wanting it since it came out last Christmas, and I’ve been saving for it for months ($149 for the NOOK, plus almost $100 in extended warranty, fancy cover, and tax). When I got home I sat Niece and Nephew in front of the TV (which I NEVER do when I babysit) so I could play with my new toy. Niece told me it wasn’t much of a toy because she didn’t want to play with it. Also because it made me less fun (since I wasn’t playing with her). ANYWAY, I go digging through my bag, only to find out that I spent $244 and didn’t get a receipt! I called the store and they told me that they can look it up with my debit card, but now I’m a little worried that if something is wrong and I need to use that expensive warranty, they’ll tell me I don’t have it. If you want an e-reader, I’ve done the research, I’ve played with the big three on the field right now, and I promise you the NOOK is by far the best.
I also went to game night tonight. The woman who is in charge of my book club does this occasionally. Last time my friends and I disappeared upstairs to play a game at like eight and didn’t come down until close to eleven when we went home. It was very anti-social of us, because most of us hang out outside of game night and book club. Tonight we stayed on the main floor of the house. But nearly everyone else went downstairs to play Uno. We talked (religion, politics, you know the things you aren’t supposed to discuss), I told stories about McDonald’s Man and telling my kids about torture. Eventually we played two games of Scattegories and a game of Buzz Word, but we didn’t play nearly as many games as everyone else. If we spent more than half the night talking and not playing, can we still call it game night? Next week I’m going to another game night with four of the five other people I played with tonight, plus one other person. I’m pretty excited about it because game night is my favorite night.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

McDonald's Man

Yesterday I went for frappes and fries with a friend from high school.  We were hanging out talking about…umm I don’t really even remember what when this man spoke up. We had been discussing controversial topics (religion and politics) because the only person in the area was a man with headphones on, so I assumed he wasn’t listening. Then, just as it was getting time that she needed to leave, the man took out his headphones and began talking to us. He told us that women aren’t leaders because God made man first and it’s God’s plan for women to be second. He also told us that child support is unbiblical. Not everything he said was troublesome to me (he did say that relationships are about the hard times, but then he made it seem like he thought “his woman” should put up with him being homeless and jobless and not doing anything about it, so…). He ended (at the point that both of us had to leave) by telling us that men have it harder than women in life. We just said that we had to go, and we walked out, but…
Later my friend emailed me that she was sorry about what that guy said. I replied…
Whatever friend, you didn't tell the weird guy to come to McDonald's today at six and put in his headphones, but not play any music and then listen to what we were talking about and pipe up with some random stuff about I don't even know what and yell at me that men have it harder than women and that child support is unbiblical. Whoa, I think I just wrote my next blog entry!
Anyway, she thought that I was “T.O.ed” about it and even posted on her blog that she thought I might have something interesting to say about it. Here’s what I have to say about it…Hey at least stuff happens to me. Sometimes I feel like people often challenge my opinions about politics or religion in this manner and it reinforces to me that I need to really pay attention to what’s going on in the world around me. I can’t just say random senseless stuff, because at any moment I might be called upon to back up my opinion and I can either have facts at my disposal, or I can sound ignorant. All of which goes back to the religious discussion that she and I had, which in part was about Christians witnessing to an atheist friend of ours and the friend witnessing back in his own way. As long as everyone is respectful and you have facts at your disposal, it’s fun. All that said, it’s better when it’s among friends, not a stranger telling me things that I just want to laugh at.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Very Long Post About the Library. And Torture! And Work.

Why is my AWARD –WINNING library useless when it comes to books on the Black Plague? I use the term in to mean a very specific event in Medieval Europe, the common usage of the term, an event that some estimate killed as many as World Wars One and Two combined (not including the Holocaust). Doesn’t that seem like an something that should be covered? Instead my library (which is fairly large and amazing) has three books on the topic in the adult section. Combined they are about 200 pages, all with the amount of information you might find in an Eyewitness book (you know these books right? They are mostly pictures with some lengthy captions that only cover what you probably learned up through middle school). If you have some ideas about where I should look, let me know. Especially if you know of any scholarly books that would include information about Jews and how Jews were treated during this period (Semitic history is my particular interest in history, and this is a time I would like to know more about).
Every morning my class starts with the Pledge of Allegiance. This has been going on since the first day of summer, and yet this morning was different. This morning, my class stood for the Pledge and several of my kids began acting up, speaking in silly voices, playing around, etc. My plan for this, one of the last days of summer vacation, was to say the Pledge, take attendance and let them go. Instead, we began a discussion on what the Pledge means. I got as far as explaining the words “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America” mean (essentially) “I promise to respect my country” when “it” began. “It” is my understanding of my children’s political backgrounds. One of them said, “Why should we respect this government? The government sucks.” Another added, “Our president is terrible.” Then it really began. “People only voted for him because he’s black and they wanted the first black president.” “He’s not black stupid. He’s Hawaiian.”
Whooooa. Hold on kids. Let Miss Tina talk. And so talk I did. I talked about why our government is good. I talked about how we have privileges, and with those privileges come responsibilities. I think they understood that, coming as it did mere weeks after our discussion about heroes (thank you Peter Parker!). I explained that one of the privileges is that we don’t EVER after have to share who we voted for, but that I wanted to share with them. I told them that I voted for President Obama and I could guarantee I didn’t vote for him because of his skin color. That I didn’t know anyone who voted for him for that reason, but that perhaps some people did. However, there are some people who refused to for him because of the color of his skin. That outraged my class. We’ve talked about segregation and people like MLK, so they understood what I was saying. They wanted to know why I voted for him, so I explained that one of those responsibilities is to be an educated voter, and that I agreed with him about more stuff than McCain. They wanted to know what that stuff was. I asked them what they knew, and you guys these were their answers…“He thinks we should kills babies who are six months old.” (Please note I asked for this one to be repeated, assuming I heard it incorrectly.) “He let the people who knocked down the Twin Towers go free.”
So I felt I had three choices. End the discussion, and let my kids (age 6-9) go about with misinformation. Talk about abortion to my small children. Talk about torture and 9/11 with my kids. You guys, I have always felt that if I CAN answer a question I should. I couldn’t just end the discussion and perhaps their curiosity about politics. I talked to my kids about torture. We talked about the war in Iraq (we probably should have been more sure about their participation in 9/11). We talked about what torture is (hurting people, or threatening them, to make them tell us stuff) and why we shouldn’t do it (not nice, doesn’t work, agreed we wouldn’t). We talked about the consequences (other countries might do it to our guys, makes people not like us). I told them that President Obama did NOT want to just let the people who “knocked down the Twin Towers” go free. They asked intelligent questions, they listened to what I had to say, better than they had all summer. I tried to give them facts. I tried to keep my opinions out of it because I don’t want to make them think any specific thing (Inception!), I want them to form their own opinions as they get older. But, I talked about torture to my class!!
This afternoon, I got to mention to every parent what we talked about. There were two main responses. One, was “oh, okay” the other was “Good for you Miss Tina”. So I don’t think I’ll get in trouble. Even my boss didn’t seem too worked up about it when I told her. However, I think I need to find myself a high school to teach at fairly soon, because if I’m going to talk politics, I think I should be doing so with older kids. Six years old is too young for me to have to make the call I made this morning!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Jeans, Fun at Work, and Empty Wine Bottles

Last fall I spent ELEVEN shopping trips over SEVEN weekends to buy TWO pairs of pants for ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY dollars. It was terrible, and I was in tears by the time I bought them. It was December, and I’d been wearing one pair of jeans since it got to cold for shorts or dresses everyday. I could find jeans that fit at the waist, but they were two sizes to big in the hips, and three sizes to big in the thighs. This year I wised up and started early since I don’t enjoy wearing $60 jeans to teach preschool. Things get ruined all too easily there. Last night I cashed my first (and only) full time paycheck and got myself down to Burlington Coat Factory. No jeans, but two new sundresses I’d been wanting that had been $50 each were now marked down to $12. So, now that I was feeling pretty good, I walked to the Fashion Bug in the same shopping center. You guys, I LOVE Fashion Bug. Everything they sell, they have in both misses and plus, and they sell them together, so I don’t feel all segregated. Plus they have these buttons in the dressing rooms, one outside the door to page someone to let you in, and one inside the room. The inside one is so that you can buzz for someone to come get a different size or whatever. It’s nice. You know what else is nice? I got two pairs of jeans for $51. And there were several other pairs I liked, but I didn’t need more than two pairs for the moment. Hooray!!!
Friday I’m taking my class to Lincoln Park Zoo. Today I wanted to watch The Lightning Thief movie. We just read the book, but my kids don’t sit well, not to read books, not to watch movies. I may have accidentally given them the impression that going to the zoo depended on sitting quietly through the WHOLE movie. Turns out that movie has very little in common with the book, but when I really like a book (and I REALLY like that whole series) I want the movie to be different enough that it’s hard to compare the two. It was a good movie, and it was nice to get to watch the whole thing at work.
My class goes back to school next Wednesday. Which means I go back to half time hours. Which is nice on the one hand because I would like to sleep in again, but on the other hand, it’s a huge drawback in pay. Fortunately, there’s a rumor at work (confirmed by the co-worker but not the boss) that one of my coworkers will be leaving for greener pastures by the end of next month and I will be offered her hours. It would mean getting up even earlier because the coworker starts a half hour earlier than I do, but the benefits are huge (I could move out by early next year!!)
I ran out of my favorite wine. I bought several bottles, but only one from each winery we stopped at. My favorite is a spicy, sweet red from Contessa Winery called Dolce Vita. I’ve been drinking a glass almost every night for the last week. Today I poured the last few drops into my glass. I tell you this information less for your benefit than for mine. This way, when I have time to go back up there and buy a new bottle I won’t forget exactly what I want. Although, I really like everything I bought, so it’s possible when I open the next bottle that will be my new favorite. In which case when I run out of that, I’ll have to tell you about that bottle.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Vacation Pics Part Two

I wanted to post some of the pictures from the vacation I took with my mom. Despite my complaining, it was special to me. The cabin we stayed at (belonging to my uncle) is where we went on vacation every year when I was a kid until I was 14 (when we stopped taking family vacations). My dad is buried up there, which is why we went when we went (my mom likes to be there for his birthday). So, enjoy these pictures.

This is the cabin my great-grandfather built. It has no running water, still uses an outhouse, and is three bedrooms, but I love it. Clearly so does my uncle, or he'd probably "improve" it.

This is the view from the one morning I was up in time for the "sunrise". Note it's still not really a sun rise, so much as a "the sun was still low on the horizon". I am not a morning person.

This is the lake at night, a view I much prefer over the early morning!

This is the lake. It literally takes 1.5 minutes to wake up in the morning, change from pjs to swim suit, brush teeth, and walk to the lake. In other words, it is close, which is a very good thing!

Neelix agrees with me that the water is very nice indeed. The two of us spent probably 80% of our waking moments in the water. He likes to play fetch, and it is super funny to watch him go galloping after the ball, chest deep in water, and suddenly step in the muck.

My other favorite thing to do up there is go for "romps" with the dog. I take his ball (we lost six tennis balls in five days OR three tennis balls in one day, whichever way you prefer because both are true) and we walk through the woods. This is partway through my favorite walk.

Same day, same walk, now with dog.

This is Blackwater Falls a water fall about ten minutes from the cabin. My mom apparently used to go there with my dad (which I don't remember AT ALL but whatever), so she wanted to go there. It was super hard to get to, especially with the dog (we couldn't leave him alone, remember the chewing?) leading the way. My mom can't hold him on his leash, but he's usually very good for me, and it's not really his fault that we were walking on slippery rocks all slanted at about an eighty degree angle, so... But I think it was worth it because it was so pretty.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Vacation Part Two

So my mom and I left for Michigan at about nine Saturday morning. It took us nine hours to drive to my uncle’s cabin in Michigan. I already told you about some of the disasters the happened while we were there. I did get very excited about getting to see the Northern Lights on Tuesday Night. It’s on my life list. Sadly, there was cloud cover, and it mostly looked like search lights in the sky (I’m not scratching it off). Then there was supposed to be a repeat Wednesday night, so we went out to see it again. Alas, the dog and I had seen both a bear that day (from about ten feet away) and I stupidly told my mom about seeing wolves (like fifty yards away when I saw them). So, when Neelix got all freaked out and growly, she made us go in, in case there was a wild animal nearby that would like to eat us.
By Wednesday I was ready to come home. None of my family was up there with us, so it was just me and my mom. We don’t like to do the same things, and I was bored. I read twelve books between Saturday night and Wednesday night. Thursday I woke up super early, and we left by seven. An hour from the cabin my mom realized that she had forgotten to turn off the gas. Fortunately when she called my uncle he mentioned wanting to go North this weekend, so we didn’t have to turn around. Now I’m home, and I can’t wait to go back to work on Monday. I think I’m a loser :(
Pics later!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Things I Saw On Vacation

Now, I'll have real stories later, but right now I'm exhausted so I'm making this brief. Here's a list of AWESOME things I've seen since Saturday...

-the fact that my camp lake has sunk so far that the dock no longer reaches to the water
-a mosquito so big it left not just a giant red bump on my leg, it left a 3mm hole where the stinger thing was
-a hummingbird that I thought at first was a bee
-a pack of WOLVES. As in real life wolves
-a bald eagle
-a bear. A cute fuzzy young bear not twenty feet away from me and the dog. The dog thought it wanted to play with him.
-a bumper sticker that read "I brake for hobbits" complete with that symbol that the cast and crew of LOTR are rumored to have had tatooed on their bodies. I brake for hobbits too, especially if they look like Eljiah Woods ;)

And now I am going to go watch some TV, unpack, and reorganize my DVDS (which I find relaxing).
BTW, in case you couldn't tell, I'm home!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vacation Catastrophes

So, I'm here in Michigan. There is no cell reception. There is no internet unless I drive for a half hour. All of my family that I was told would be here, are not here. MY mom insisted on dropping the dog off before we went grocery shopping, which was dmb because he then tried to shew his way out of the house. My mom also told me that you couldn't accidentally lock the key in the house because you had to turn the key to lock the house. She was wrong. So, when I stepped outside to use the OUTHOUSE (!!!!!!!!) I locked us out of my uncle's cabin. It took us three hours of trying to pick a lock to decide we were going to have to just break a window. Today I drove thirty three minutes to buy a book which the bookstore did not have, pay some bills with their free internet, and write a little something for all you people. Hope you enjoyed it, because tomorrow Mom has to go to Milwaukee (more than half way home) to get some things to fix the door and the window. Also, late last night my best friend called me. Her mom had noticed that my garage door was open and she wondered if our petsitter had left it open. No, my mom drove 400 miles away from my house with the garage door open. And yelled at me for leaving one car door unlocked in case our petsitter couldn't get in (so she could get to the garage door opener).