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I’m not a Republican…but this is why I’m not a Democrat, either. August 30, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in politics.
1 comment so far

Have a look at Amy Sullivan’s thoughtful piece from Slate on the Democratic Party’s declining appeal to religious voters.

An excerpt:

When Democratic irreligion is the premise, it can be easy to conclude that a liberal politician who talks about religion is insincere or positioning themselves for higher office. (The way the press covers Hillary Clinton, lifelong Methodist and longtime Baptist Sunday School teacher, comes to mind.) Even the party’s own may see talk of faith as pandering. Two years ago, half of Democrats thought that their party was friendly to religion. Now that number has dropped to 39.6 percent, with a 12-point decline among respondents who aren’t affiliated with a religious tradition. These Democrats view the party’s interest in talking to religious voters as a sure betrayal of the party’s principles. Rarely is there an acknowledgment that Democratic politicians—and Democratic voters—hold liberal political views precisely because of their religious beliefs, that caring for the most vulnerable in society and protecting God’s creation are imperatives, too.

Read the whole article here.

well, we’ve reached the end of our first income-free week… August 27, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in education, life, unemployment.
3 comments

and i’m no less terrified than i was 7 days ago.

the unemployment claim is still pending investigation. the grievance packet is awaiting one more reference letter from a former supervisor to arrive, and then off it goes to the big bad city. the official college transcripts have arrived, so the process of applying to grad school can move forward beginning tuesday.

day care assistance was turned down because the determination is based on the income reported from the last two months…and we had plenty, then. however, the day care has agreed to work with us and only charge for the days he is there, instead of the whole week as is their normal policy. so, when there is no interview or job-search activity taking place, gabe is home with daddy…not understanding as he tries to engage daddy in play that, as much as daddy loves him, daddy draws much of his self-worth from being employed and would rather be at work than sitting on the floor playing cars.

we just got back from a weekend trip home, where we broke the news to my parents and watched their faces fall in disappointment. that might have been the hardest part, i think. the long and short of it is, we moved to this state a little over a year ago in the midst of another experience with job loss, and after a few months living with husband’s parents, we were able to get on our feet relatively quickly, which made us and everyone who loves us breathe a sigh of relief. the past year has been one of reevaluating the direction we thought our lives would take, and coming to peace with life in this rural place instead of the metropolitan area that is my home. we reached that peace, dealt with some fairly serious issues in our marriage, and focused on being loving parents. then, *BAM*! here we are again. same story, different chapter. the icy cold fingers of anxiety are slithering through my veins and squeezing my heart.

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Back to School! August 25, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Friday Fives.
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1. What is your earliest memory of school?

Nursery school, when I dressed up as a clown for Halloween and received an award for being “the cutest little clown with bright red spots on her cheeks!” (all the other kids received similar awards for whatever they had dressed up as)

2. Who was a favorite teacher in your early education?

I remember Mrs. P with extreme fondness. She was the gifted & talented teacher, and I was in her class two days a week throughout 4th and 5th grade. We did logic and literature and plays, and she had pizza parties for us at her house. She is responsible for the fact that I read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” at the tender age of 9 and also for my love of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals.

3. What do you remember about school “back then” that is different from what you know about schools now?

The lengths to which schools are taking “zero tolerance” scares me to death. I’m all in favor of the concept when it comes to violence, guns, and drugs in the schools, but when “zero tolerance” extends to little boys chasing and kissing little girls on the playground and it’s called sexual harassment, it’s gone too far. It’s also my understanding that recess doesn’t really exist much anymore, and I just can’t believe it! Everyone needs recess! I’m 31 and I still need recess, except now it’s called my “federally-mandated-by-the-EEOC” break time. And I cherish it, let me tell you. And Halloween! Kids don’t get to dress up for Halloween anymore because it’s “Satan’s birthday” or some such ridiculous nonsense!

4. Did you have to memorize in school? If so, share a poem or song you learned.

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea:
But we loved with a love that was more than love –
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her high-born kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me –
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud one night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we –
Of many far wiser than we –
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide,
I lie down by the side
Of my darling -my darling -my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea –
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

(thanks to Mrs. R of 8th grade English for turning me on to Mr. Poe)

5. Did you ever get in trouble at school? Were there any embarrassing moments you can share?

I was a classic “bright-but-bored child, and this DID make me a bit of a troublemaker, as a matter of fact. From a young age, I had a penchant for forging my mom’s signature on my homework folder. Not because of bad grades, no – I had remarkably good grades when I bothered with homework, but homework was boring…so I didn’t get low grades – I got big fat zeros. I also had a bad case of “sticky fingers”. Gum, bracelet pens, scratch n’sniff stickers, and the teacher’s sticky tack were not safe when I was around, and it got me in a lot of trouble. I finally killed the klepto bug when I was a teenager and was caught shoplifting at the mall twice in two hours, and let go by the store managers both times – an unbelievable stroke of luck. God was sending me the message, for sure.

My husband was fired from his job on Friday. He i… August 20, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in chaos, education, unemployment.
12 comments

My husband was fired from his job on Friday.

He is a social worker by profession, and the agency he worked for had (in my opinion) a ridiculously long probabtionary period of one year. As of Friday, he had been with them for 11 months and two weeks. In that time, he has had three different supervisors, two of whom sung his praises for his dedication to what is sometimes a very stressful job, and a third who is extremely…difficult…with everyone. He was called into the office of the director and handed a letter that said his employment had been terminated effective that day. Attached was a policy statement that advised that probationary and unclassified employees are generally not afforded the benefit of progressive discipline and can be let go at any time for any reason, without having to resort to the system of verbal warnings, written reprimands, and pre-termination hearings that accompany the firing of a permanent employee. When he asked the reason for the firing, he was advised that it resulted from an incident several weeks prior when his third supervisor had asked him to assist another employee after hours. He had simply asked, “why” he was being called when it was not his turn to be on call, and there was another employee who was carrying the pager for after-hours incidents such as this. The next morning, the supervisor informed him that asking “why” was insubordination. He apologized, and said that it would never happen again. Everything was ok. It was the first and only disciplinary incident he experienced.

He intends to file a formal grievance with the agency, as is his right, but I think he will lose. “Probationary and unclassified employees can be let go at any time for any reason” is pretty straightforward. However, word spread quickly in the community, and his two previous supervisors and several other professional colleagues (including a judge and the county D.A.) have offered to write letters to support his grievance. We’ll see what happens.

In any case, regardless of the outcome of the grievance process, we have decided that he will go back to school in January to pursue his master’s degree in counseling. So really, we just need to figure out a way to get through the next 4 months until we can move to the nearby town where the University is and get some financial aid.

Needless to say, I’m pretty effin’ angry.

In case you missed the news… August 18, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in funny.
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Teacher Arrested:

At New York’s Kennedy Airport today, an individual, later discovered to be a public school teacher, was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a setsquare, a slide rule, and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

“Al-Gebra is a fearsome cult,” Gonzales said. “They desire average solutions by means and extremes and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute value. They use secret code names like “x” and “y” and refer to themselves as uinknowns, but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.”

As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, “There are 3 sides to every triangle.”

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, “If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes.”

I’ve kept a personal website in one form or another… August 18, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging.
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…since about 1996. Back then, I had to beg people to visit my website. No one knew about personal sites on GeoCities unless you told them. Then, a few years ago, the blog-o-verse exploded and EVERYONE was doing it…Livejournal and MySpace and Blogger took off like rockets, and if people weren’t blogging themselves, they were reading other peoples’ blogs and webpages. And that is how I first got into trouble.

I routinely blogged at work (but only when I was done with my assigned tasks, thank you very much), and made the grave mistake of assuming that since none of my coworkers blogged, no one would be interested in my silly rants about my boss not appreciating me and the new jobs I was looking for. Yep, big mistake. The weird thing was, I didn’t get found out by an IT audit or anything like that – I got found out when a co-worker printed out one of my posts and stuck it in Human Resources’ mailbox anonymously. Fortunately, I had another job offer on the line, because when I went in to give my notice, it was obvious that I was about two seconds away from being dooced. They didn’t let me work out my notice – I was walked out that day, and the company didn’t pay me for the two weeks, which was customarily what was done when you give notice. It’s considered a courtesy. The business is a highly competitive one and you’re almost never allowed to work out your two weeks notice because that is simply time you can use to gather information that you might subsequently take to a competitor.

I spent a lot of time and negative energy trying to figure out which of my coworkers had betrayed me, because we were all friends, and oh, was I angry and bitter about losing my job in that way. But eventually, I let it go. I got over it. I went on to the new job, was laid off a few months later due to business slowdown, and then moved to this state where my husband grew up. I still blog at work, but not about work, and it’s been discussed in detail with my superiors that it’s okay as long as it doesn’t interfere with my job performance and I don’t mention the name of the company or any co-workers by name. Personally, I’ve taken it one step further – I just don’t discuss work in the blog.

I haven’t thought about the whole situation in almost two years. But this morning, while browsing my referral logs, the name of the old company showed up. And even better, the referring link was the old website I had shut down after the whole ugly incident. Best of all, only one person of all the folks I suspected still works for the company, and so…I finally have my answer who it was.

And you know what? I don’t even care! I’ve spent the last year pursuing my real calling, and I just don’t care anymore who had me found out. I’ve learned a little something about personal responsibility. I shouldn’t have written what I did, and I know it. Had I actually been fired instead of quitting, I would have completely deserved it. In dooce’s words, BE YE NOT SO STUPID. So, now I’m not so stupid. Lesson learned.

He’d been in bed for about half an hour when I hea… August 16, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, funny.
5 comments

He’d been in bed for about half an hour when I heard *thump* *CLUNK*…followed momentarily by the *beep beep* sounds of his Little Tykes garage and a cherubic voice saying “cars go vroom, vroooooom!”

Yes, the day I’ve been dreading has arrived. Boy-o has learned to climb out of his crib.

I tiptoed quietly to his door to peek in, planning to crack the door open and say, “BOO!” But a funny thing happened when I tried to turn the doorknob. It…wouldn’t…turn. Not only had little man climbed out of his crib to play with his toys, he had taken the time to lock the bedroom door first.

I scratched my head, and contemplated what I should do. I wasn’t mad – a bit worried, in spite of the laughter and intent conversation with Sully and Mike from Monsters, Inc. that I could hear coming from the other side of the door, but not mad. So, I knocked. I said, “Honey, you need to open up the door for Mommy!”

Dead silence. No stuffed animal talk. No cars going “vroom”. No laughing. Just…silence.

“HEY! OPEN UP THIS DOOR NOW!”

*pitter patter of feet over to the door*

“Honey…do you want some ice cream? Open the door, please!” (not above bribery AT ALL)

“Ice keem, Mama?”

“Yes, ice cream. Unlock the door, please.”

*laughter* “Knock, knock, Mama! Knock knock, knock knock, knock knock, knock knock…” (in a singsong voice as he knocks on the other side of the door that I STILL CAN’T GET OPEN)

“Who’s there? Who’s there, cutie?”

“Cow, Mama! Cow there!”

When all was said and done, husband ended up having to take the doorknob off and flip it around. So now he can’t lock us out, but we can certainly lock him IN.

I’m kidding, of course. I would never, ever do such a thing.

Well, maybe. Unless he learns some new knock knock jokes. And QUICK.

The Princess and I had an interesting chat on Friday… August 14, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in politics, The Princess, theology.
1 comment so far

…night after she arrived. She is homeschooled by my mother (and has been for 6 years now), so she has the most incredible vocabulary of any 13 year old I’ve ever known – myself excepted, perhaps. Anyway, she was looking through my DVD’s for something to watch when she stumbled across “Fahrenheit 9-11”. The fact that I am the “family liberal” is something of a running joke. My parents, sister and her husband, brother, and now The Princess are all conservative – so are all my in-laws, so husband is the standout in his family as well. For the record, I consider myself to be a moderate or an independent. I joke that it’s because I actually have an ounce of compassion for people who’ve made some bad choices (having made a few myself!), and they call me a bleeding heart. So it goes…

I don’t know, I guess I thought at 13 she would be more…malleable? But she’s got her opinions and they are SET as far as she’s concerned. She adores Ann Coulter, whom I find to be repulsive simply for her sheer rudeness. Guess what the kid did – she offered to lend me her latest book!! I explained I found her to be completely hateful in the way she expresses herself, and that I preferred not to read her work as she calls liberals “godless”, and I don’t think that I particularly am. Then I told her I’d read it if she’d watch “Fahrenheit”. 🙂

The Princess tried to feel me out on a few other issues…she likes that we agree that people receiving welfare should be accountable for trying to improve their earning capacity, especially after I explained to her that without Medicaid she never would have seen a doctor as a baby and without daycare assistance I might have dropped out of college. We flowed back and forth between political and religious issues, and she asked me whether I thought that people who commit suicide go to hell. I answered an emphatic “absolutely NOT”. Admittedly, I wondered why she was asking, but I’m assuming that it’s something my mom is covering with her in religion class (she’s being raised Catholic by my parents). I told her that I thought when someone commits suicide, God gathers that person in His arms and says “I’m sorry you were in such pain on earth that you felt you had no other choice but this, but you don’t have to be in pain anymore.” I’m not 100% sure she liked my answer, but husband interjected that he believes that God can see through mental illness, and people who commit suicide are depressed, which is one form of mental illness. She said she’d have to think about that. I was SO PROUD to hear that. True, her opinions have been informed by being raised in a conservative family, but she is beginning to differentiate herself from my parents. She may grow up to be a dyed-in-the-wool conservative like the rest of them, but I don’t think I have to fear that she won’t have considered the other side of the issues.

Today is Thursday, and Boy-o has finally come out … August 10, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, life, The Princess.
1 comment so far

…of his near-catatonic state of ecstasy induced by our attendance at last Saturday’s Wiggles concert. It was loads of fun. He pointed his fingers and did the twist. He rock-a-byed his bear. He made fruit salad. And yes, it was yummy, yummy. When you add in the fact that Jeff Wiggle (he’s the purple one) came this close to us, Professor Singalottasonga made an appearance to guide us all on a musical journey to Sydney, and Murray played the opening chords of “Stairway to Heaven” to test if his guitar worked – well, let’s just say a good time was had by all.

Gabe’s big sister (who shall hereafter be known as Princess Ow of Boo-Boo Land – she’s a bit dramatic at times) who lives with my parents in the state I grew up in, is coming to visit this weekend to help celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday. We’ve been working for awhile on getting our lives situated so that she can begin to spend more time with us, and I’m pretty excited that it looks like it may actually start to happen. Princess Ow is missing something that many of us take for granted – grandparents. Since she lives with my parents and calls them Mom and Dad, that is the role they play for her. The legal relationship with her biological father and his family was terminated when she was a baby due to abuse, so she’s really missed out on having grandparents altogether. My husband (who technically speaking is her stepfather, but not really, since she doesn’t live with us) offered up his parents to be her grandparents so she could have at least one set, and they really jumped on it by adding her to the family birthday and Christmas calendar, and when they tell everyone about Boy-o, they are always sure to mention The Princess as their granddaughter as well. They even tried to encourage her to come up with “grandparent names” for them, but all the new family frightened the Princess a little bit, so everyone has taken things really, really slow. Now that we’ve been married for almost four years, it’s starting to look like she may join in for some more things, and may even adopt the grandparent names that Boy-o uses for husband’s parents, which will give them something to feel bonded as siblings about. It’s a lot of change. And don’t we all know scary change can be? We’ve done everything we know how to do to ease things along gently, and this is the point we’ve arrived at. Hopefully it will all work out.

Breast isn’t best: readers tell US parenting mag… August 4, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in thoughtful.
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Breast isn’t best: readers tell US parenting magazine

I could hardly believe what I was reading when I took a few minutes to check out this article. I normally keep my reactions to the stuff I read on the Internet to myself, but you would have thought I was at home by the way I started hollering (yes, I admit it: I routinely yell at the monitor at home. And I know you do, too.).

Are people seriously offended by this? I mean, really? What about “Cosmo”, and “Maxim” and all the other almost-naked boobs we see in the grocery store checkout line, not to mention the incredibly sleazy banner ads and pop-ups on so many ordinary websites? And people are in an uproar about women breastfeeding in public, and a magazine cover showing a baby nursing? How weird…

I don’t think women who are unable to breastfeed or choose not to for whatever reason should be demonized – I mean, yeah, I think “breast is best”, but some women just can’t, and I happened to be one of them, and that’s ok (and I tried really, really hard, trust me). Nor am I going to sit here and go on about how nursing women are “goddesses” and there is nothing more beautiful, yadda yadda yadda…because the truth is, while it can be beautiful both physically and emotionally, it’s not always. Sometimes it’s exhausting, and when mom’s doing it first thing in the morning, I can almost guarantee there’s nothing pretty about her. But what breastfeeding IS is 100% natural. It’s how babies were nourished for millennia before the invention of formula, and there’s nothing obscene or offensive about it.