Friday, November 21, 2014

Fluffers Meets the 3rd Grade

Eion was the student of the week for his class, an honor which includes the option of bringing in a pet on Friday. While there was universal disappointment that I had not brought a chicken, the guinea pig was well received. For her part, Fluffers dealt with the crush of admirers without any attempts to flee. One of the little girls said Fluffy was the best pet brought in yet, which made Eion a really happy guy!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Reality Check?

Morrigan, who desperately wants a dog, with the neighbor's dog Hannah.

Morrigan came home from school today and said the Goodwill had come that day and the 8th graders had a "reality check." What, you might ask, is that? The students had to talk about where they pictured themselves at 30. Our student, you'll be happy to know, plans to be a tax lawyer, married and with one child. We're good so far. It makes sense to think about where you are going, how to get there, and the impact of your decisions today have on that path. Though as an aside, I will say this point may have been lost on her peers as a boy, whose parents I know well, described himself as married to a stripper. Not sure what his job entailed.

From there, we go a bit sideways in my our-family-is-a-bunch-of-freaks mentality.

They played a game designed to touch on budgeting and to demonstrate the impact of bad choices. But the parameters were all out of whack. Among the things they were required to work into their budget were student loan debt, a car note, and a mortgage. I'll concede the last one. It is tough not to have a mortgage, especially at 30. My main objection, however, was the complete subservience to a culture of debt. The ingraining of the idea that indebtedness was ok, normal, and you should plan to have lots of it. The notion that student loans are inevitable. Never mentioning that one can pay cash for a car. (We did it this spring and let me tell you how much more you think about that purchase when you are writing a check as opposed to financing it.)

I asked Morrigan if she said anything. She tried to fight the good fight, letting the facilitators know she was planning to save up and pay cash for her car, get scholarships and work her way through school, but she was told that everyone had to have debt.

Nice message people.

Naturally, I was ramping up to call the school and register my complaints but I was quickly shot down by one 13 year old who deemed such actions "embarrassing." I may yet talk to the principal, mostly to advocate for presenting the other side, that one can save up for the things you want. That debt limits your options and freedom. All these kids have a chance to start out clean and not make the mistakes we all made. How many people do you think would have been better off since the market crashed in 2008 if they had been debt free with an emergency fund, rather that mortgaged up to their eyeballs and living beyond their means? 

My own silver lining was when Morrigan told me, "Don't worry Mom, I know you don't have to borrow money." Guess if I can't indoctrinate the world, I'll just start here at home.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Release The Hounds

Earlier in the week, the forecast for today was cold with the chance of rain. Seeing as Eion's Boy Scout pack was planning to meet outside, I preemptively offered our basement as an alternate location.

They had a speaker come and talk to the boys about the process of writing an article. He did a mock interview with Eion about urban chicken farming. These pictures do not accurately convey the level of chaos that he had to endure as the guest.

After discussing the chickens, mainly a recounting by Eion of the many deaths involved, the boys headed out to see them in person. This part of the meeting was not enjoyed by the chickens.

We herded them all back in to finish up but eventually had to give up on any semblance of order. I told them to go to E's room, arm themselves, and head into the street for battle. Not surprisingly, this portion of the event was quite well received. Maggie cracked me up when, having seen the melee from her room, she grabbed a weapon and got into the mix.

I will say that if it keeps me from being in the park on a cold day, I'll have them over any day!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Can She Do It?

As always, I am moderately, read: completely, obsessed with completing my Christmas shopping prior to Thanksgiving. There is little I hate more than stores in December. Though it is somewhat ironic that the majority of my shopping is online, so remind me why I care?

Anyway, I realized that we are only a few weeks away from Christmas card sending as well. Partially for their convenience and mostly for my own, I opted to make a collage card with pictures from the year. You'll all get to see it after I send it out, but for now, just know it includes this picture:

Ho ho ho! I mean mwaw ha ha!

I Have to Think This Only Happens to Us

So Tim and I are walking on the Greenway when we approached an area where we've recently heard, but not seen, a rooster. To our surprise, he was out and about today. He is quite pretty, so I snapped a picture and we headed on our way. 

He started walking after us, which was cute. Then he started running after us in a very attacky way. We did not have to run away but did have to turn and challenge the bird. Really, it has to be only us who end up in these situations!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Portrait of a Young Girl Skulking at Cotillion

Maggie has pretty much had it with Cotillion. In some ways, I am with her. She wants to learn to ballroom dance and was irked when they had to dance the Cuban Shuffle instead. But for the moment, she is still attending. Attending in anger at least for today.

I made the mistake of telling her she had to curl her hair and helping her do just that. As we can see, it turned out lovely. Her hair is just to the point it needs some styling. But not in her eyes. The ten minutes of curling led to at least three crying outbursts and sullen attitude in general. You're welcome Maggie.

Friday, November 7, 2014

It Was a Pretty Good Day

We haven't gone all political in a while so let's have at because, let's face it, it's been a pretty good week for conservatives! Not to mention, I have to be happy now before the Republicans go in and cave like they always do.

We were out most of Tuesday evening and hadn't looked in on the election results after the polls closed. When we arrived home, we turned on the election coverage and, to my delight, the screen was awash in red. One after another the Republican victories piled up. No one, anywhere, thought the Senate would go +8 to the right. (With the possibility of +9 once the run off in Louisiana is over.)

So what were the best victories? Well, these are the ones I like most.

Scott Walker

Walker won re-election as Wisconsin's governor by about 5 points. I love him because he, unlike so many Republicans, went into office and did what he said he was going to do. He created a surplus in his state by tackling government employee unions. Even when facing a recall election, he never backed down. Every conservative should be modeling Walker.

Tim Scott

Tim Scott is the first black Senator elected in the South since reconstruction (in either party.) Do you know who supported him? Those racist Tea Party types. Those racist Republicans elected him by a 15.5 point margin. 

Mia Love

Another darling of the Tea Party, Mia Love will be the first black Republican congresswoman. And the first Mormon. She won her seat handily in Utah.

Cory Gardner

I loved that Cory Gardner won because the main tactic used by his opponent was the ridiculous War On Women. Gardner, in his campaign, called for birth control to be made available over the counter. Yet his opponent ran ads saying Gardner wanted to ban birth control. It was delightful that such blatant fear mongering didn't work.

Elise Stefanik

Elise is from New York and is notable because she is the youngest woman ever elected to the House. And she won by more than 20 points!

Joni Ernst

In another first, Joni is the first female Senator from Iowa. I loved that she refused to sit down with newspaper editorial boards, telling them simply, you're not going to support me, why should I waste my time with you? Another tactic more conservatives should take.

Ed Gillespie

Well, this one actually, as of today, was a loss. But an interesting loss. A few months back, I actually had to google who the Republican senatorial candidate was in Virginia. And I live here! I think Virginia, having gone for Obama in the last two elections, was written off. No one was even watching this race or thought Ed had a chance. But it turned out to be a nail biter, infinitely closer than anyone predicted. In the silver lining category, his narrow defeat by Mark Warner greatly diminishes Warner's chances as a VP nomination in 2016. Which we like, because we're never forgiving him for that Obamacare vote.

So what do I want these winners, and their many cohorts, to do in Washington? My short list includes:

1) Reforming the tax code and greatly decreasing the IRS' power. They were weaponized against conservatives in the past 6 years. I want them de-fanged so they can't use their power to punish people for their political views, in either party.

2) Can we do something about the NSA spying please? This should be a bi-partisan issue. When the Patriot Act was passed, all sorts of liberals complained that it would be used unfairly against Americans. I, along with many others, thought that would never happen. Well you were right! So can we work together to un-do this awful thing?

3) Decrease the size of government. I know, makes me laugh too. It won't happen under either party, but a girl can dream.

4) Decrease regulations. The EPA and its ilk are an absolute menace. They need to be scaled back.

5) Repeal Obamacare. This legislation is highly unpopular and destructive. I don't know about you, but our premiums have only gone up since its passage, and at a faster rate. It promised a $2,500 per family cost savings. Clearly it failed.

6) Stop bombing ISIS. Seeing as Tim and I are the only two people in the country of this opinion, this is highly unlikely.

Now steering the ship back to reality and out of Katie's Conservative Fantasyland, what realistically might happen is gridlock, which is ok too since when they are "getting things done," it is not the kind of things I want done.

Now back to your regular Big Top programming.

PS Good job Oregon, Alaska, and Washington DC. One more step in ending the failed War on Drugs!