Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Adoption in the US and Abroad

Some U.S. celebrities, such as Madonna, have been receiving flack for adoption outside of the country. Save the Children has been very vocal on the matter:

"The best place for a child is in his or her family in their community," Save the Children spokesman Dominic Nutt said in a statement. "Most children in orphanages have one parent still living, or have an extended family that can care for them in the absence of their parents."

He warned that international adoption could actually worsen the problem it sought to solve, and said the practice could be "big business" for "unscrupulous adoption agencies."

Nutt said: "If the celebrity really wants to help children in poor countries, they should support charities like Save The Children and others who seek to improve the quality of children's lives in their own countries and communities."

The truth is adopting children in the U.S. for many people can be like trying to learn home dentistry through a mail order foreign exchange program. It's expensive, time consuming, terribly unclear, and heart rendering. Single persons are not readily considered viable parents either.

My neighbor adopted a boy from Central America because of these very reasons. They tried and waited and were heart broken more than once. Taking a chance on a foreign adoption became what they felt to be their best and only option. They have an adorable young son now who is very loved and well cared for.

It's fine to think that something should happen here in the states, however, before the actions can truly be done it might be wise to make the laws change to where such things can be possible.

I agree with Roland Martin, whom also addresses this issue, states:
"Don't just bang out an e-mail or blog and get caught up in the celebrity hype.

If you think it should be easier to adopt American children, demand that your local, state and federal election officials clear the pathway to make the process easier. And let's have more consistency. Having 50 different states set their own policy, is frankly, nonsense. With so many rules, no wonder folks throw their hands up and move on.

The goal of adoption is to put children in loving homes and not have them be the responsibility of the state. Making it harder to adopt affects you in your pocketbook because taxpayer money is spent to care for the children. So changing the laws not only helps the child, but also is fiscally prudent."

When we look at children in the US, we need to look more at the entire picture. If we are looking to create a more favorable economy we should look at all aspects that can be changed. Several small changes can turn into a major savings.

So, today, I am going to write my congressman and do something. How about you?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Things you Learn on Television

Hello, my name is Pasty and I'm addicted to Battle Star Galacticca.

I am sad that the series is over. I have hopes that the new series they are starting, Caprica, will keep me entertained, but I am not going so high up in my hopes that I'll fall and break both legs. I think that BSG was a great and innovative show and it didn't disappoint me.

One line in the final show got to me. Ellen is speaking with Ty and says, "I only want to be with you. I don't care if we had to live in a box."

It says a lot, especially in these harsh economic times. How many of us would live in a box and be happy? So, I thought about it. I could do it if I had my family with me and we were living together. I could go back to having nothing and move back up in life. What I have in my home is comfort, but they are things. Things are nice, but they aren't what are really important in life.

So, thanks Ellen and the writers of BSG. I'll miss you.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bitten by the dog

Last week by a Schnoodle. She's a rescue dog that was not adopted because they felt that she was too aggressive. Honestly, she had been attacked by a German Shepherd and was very scared. I was trying to groom her a bit and hit a sore spot on her side. She bit my right hand about 8 times. I went to the doctor after a couple of days because the hand was not getting better. He said that I could lose my hand and he was very concerned because of infection. I have been taking the antibiotics and the hand is much better now. I've worked with dogs for decades and this is the very first time I've ever been bitten. The dog is very sweet now and has been quite apologetic for her actions, but the fact remains that biting for dogs is a defense mechanism. Regardless of the breed or the training a dog may bite.

Some may think this makes dogs a dangerous pet, but we should stop and realize that dogs, at least, don't carry guns and do drive by shootings or put bombs on planes. They usually derive much of their temperment from their surroundings and upbringing, much like children.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Words Matter, But Heart Counts

I know that my Daddy loved me. He didn't have to; after all I wasn't his daughter through genetics, but by choice. He kept me with him even after my mother passed away. He never failed to tell me he loved me through his way of keeping me and taking care of me. A day didn't go by when I wasn't thankful to have a place to live with people that I knew cared about me.

It was a year after my mother died that he remarried. The woman was beautiful both inside and out. She didn't even balk about having a child from a previous marriage that wasn't his by blood. She treated me as her daughter from the time she walked into our home and to this very day.

I think one of my fondest memories was when I was leaving to go and visit my older sister and she said the words, "I love you, Pasty." I cried. Not because I was sad or unhappy that she cared for me, but because I knew exactly how much it took for her to say those words, and that she wouldn't have said them if she didn't mean them.

I learned a lot, I think, from the relationships I had with my parents. It was because of them that I found that it's not the blood that matters in a family but the heart.

So, in the spirit of those that taught me to love I try to extend that to my own children. My 16 year old may not be mine by blood but she is mine by heart. Like all of us she has her faults, but she fights them with anger and frustrations which cause her more harm then good.

I have faith that in the long run she'll learn to control those emotions. She actually took the time tonight to sit with me and discuss things. She listened. I'll have to say that it shows quite a bit of maturity for a 16 year old to actually take the time to hear what their mother has to say and actually think of ways to implement the ideas they give.

I can't take the credit. I had very good teachers.

So, thank you to all those people that take children in and love them. Take it from someone who knows - it makes a world of difference.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wearing of the Green

I think that my family believes that I love St. Patrick's Day because it allows me to wear green without anyone making comments about my color obsession. I think there is more to it then that, honestly. It is a time that we have created where my family gets together and share traditions without all the hoopla and mania that other holidays seem to bring about. We don't have to shop for gifts or cards. We don't have to make sure that no one feels left out. We just are allowed to be together and share our time with one another. Of course bangers, corned beef and cabbage, and colcannon don't hurt the spirit either.

This year my favorite part of the day was sharing it with my oldest daughter. She was married last year and doesn't live that far from me. It's rare if we don't speak during the day, and yet it's not the same as when she lived inside the home. It's actually better. Not because she doesn't live here, but because she's reaching out to me more. It's funny how that works.

She actually called me and said, "Mom, you know how when I was younger we used to go and buy a birthday outfit for me? I'd like to do that this year. I miss doing that." (Her birthday is on March 19 and we do the family celebration on St. Patrick's Day.)

Now, some suspicious people might think she just wanted to get something from me, but I know better. She didn't ask me to buy her anything, I volunteered. We had lunch together, did the shopping, and just shared our entire day. It's a memory that means a lot to me and that I'll never forget.

It doesn't matter if your children grow up and become adults, because they are always your children. Their little faces lose the Cherub style and grow into something just as beautiful, if you're lucky. I'm very lucky. I do have beautiful children; from their faces into the very core of their hearts.

So, it may be a little early to actually drink, but I raise my virtual Irish beer and make a cheer for all:

May you never run out of good friends;
May your coffers never completely be empty of coin;
May your table always have enough to feed the ones you love;
And may you always be able to raise your drink in celebration of a good life.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Totally Sick Puppies

I read this article today and it really hit me. I have no idea why people do things like this to children. Children trust adults to take care of them. As a parent I'm petrified of what could happen to my children. These people were someone that parents felt they could trust. They felt they were keeping their children safe.

VEEDERSBURG, Indiana -- A couple who ran a baby-sitting service out of their home videotaped themselves performing sex acts with children, some as young as 2 months old, police said Friday.

Stephen E. Quick, 31, and Samantha Light, 25, both of Veedersburg in western Indiana, were being held on $100,000 bond in Fountain County Jail. Both faced preliminary charges of child molestation and child exploitation. Jail staff did not know whether either one had an attorney.

Last week I read about two teachers that were having sex with a 13 year old boy. These women were in their 30's and 40's and were supposedly doing a job that teaches the children. Raping a child is not giving them an education.

I'm not sure what the world is coming to.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Painting in Real Life

I think living life is like painting. No matter how careful you are you tend to get the mess all over you. Sometimes it's because you are so caught up in what you are doing you aren't paying attention to where the paint goes, and other times it's because a child or a dog comes along to help you out and you end up all wet as well as multi-colored.

What's wonderful is that even though things get messy, in the end you have knowledge, memories, or a lesson that you've learned. Sometimes the strokes you make may be all wrong and you have to cover over it and start again. But the end result is worth it when you actually stick with it and finish the job. You learn that when something doesn't work you just don't try it again, or at least you would hope that you wouldn't try it again.

I don't mind getting messy. It shows that I'm alive, and for me that's a very good thing. But when the final product is done, I want to be able to stand back and enjoy the time and effort I put into it. It may not be a masterpiece but it's all mine and something to be proud of.

(The above picture is of four small paintings I did of the four seasons in Japanese Kanji. Acrylics on canvas.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fifty and Pigtails

So, you are fifty or almost fifty and you aren't you are getting old? Pishaw.

I think that we should always remember to be somewhat youthful so that we can actually enjoy the life we are given. So, today I am supporting pigtails.

Maybe I will look funny if I go out grocery shopping because someone will think I'm a bit old for wearing them. After all, who beyond age 12 really looks good in pigtails? Well I do! Because how I feel is important, much more important than some random strangers who have no affect on my life at all unless I let them.

So, today is my day to reclaim a bit of my youthful exuberance. I am going to put on my makeup and do whatever I can to make myself feel pretty and young.

I am going to celebrate the melting of the snow and the coming of the spring.

It's sometimes very easy to give into the stress of everyday life, but I also have to remember that I cannot control everything that comes my way. In spite of that I can control me and who I am. I can handle anything.

My youth really isn't lost, it's just tucked away in my memory. It's good to bring it out every once in a while so that I don't forget that life is meant to be lived.

So today, I'm living.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Gary Lewis is a Stand-Up Guy!

I know what it's like to grow up never knowing your father. My father was a dead beat dad that ran off when I was two and we never heard from him again. He never acknowledged me to his family, so they never knew I existed. I grew up okay, but it does make you feel a bit odd as a child at times. Thank goodness for me I had a Daddy that loved me like his own and never made me feel unwanted.

Suzan Lewis, born in 1952, probably knows exactly what I'm talking about. She was told by her ailing mother in 1972 that she was Jerry Lewis' daughter, but Lewis never acknowledged her. When Inside Edition offered to pay for a paternity Jerry Lewis refused to cooperate. However, his son, Gary Lewis (yes, the former Rock N Roll star of Gary Lewis and the Playboys), stepped up to the plate and donated his DNA for testing.

"Asked if she'd like for Jerry Lewis to acknowledge the results of the test, Minoret seems hopeful, but not overly concerned.
"Well of course I would love that [Lewis acknowledging the results], and I don't see why not...but hey, if he can't for whatever reason, he has his Oscar and I have Gary!"
(From article at Popeater.com)

Both seem elated with the results of the test putting all doubts that anyone might have had regarding her paternity. Her father may not be stepping up, but her brother is standing proudly by her side telling anyone and everyone, even putting it on a website.

Personally I think it's great for them both. Gary Lewis is, in my book, a chivalrous man. I wish him and his sister a lifetime of good memories.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

10 Rainy Day Activities to Do With Kids

I love having kids. Being with my children brings me some of the most vibrant and fantastic times in my entire life. They are funny, witty, and charming characters that make life brighter. Kids are very active too. They constantly want to do and try new things. So, as a parent you have to be prepared for those times when they need help keeping entertained.

Some activities that have worked well with my kids include:

1. Make your own pizza. This is an inexpensive, but messy activity. They absolutely love the chance to be creative with their food. We buy the little packages of pizza dough, a jar of pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and then use whatever else we happen to have that they think will look and taste good. (Hint: This is also a good activity to do when you have friends staying over night.)

2. Movie day or night. Here we have chores that we give the kids. They earn play money for each of their chores. After chores are done and the movie is ready to play they can buy treats at our in-home concession with the money they’ve earned just like at a movie theater. The chores help keep them busy and it also gets the house cleaned up a bit before they turn around to destroy it once more. This activity is great, because it gives them a sense of earning and what that means.

3. Theater Acting. I know that not all children love to read, but mine do. We take the books a bit further. We sometimes dress up (yes, even boys like to dress up and be goofy) like book characters and then we take parts from a story and act it out. I think that they enjoy seeing Mom dress up silly as much as they like the interaction.

4. Mad Science. I don’t mind getting dirty, and neither do my kids. Sometimes I think they thrive on dirt more then they do on food. So, we find science experiments to try at home. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. It doesn’t matter what the result is because we have a lot of fun just trying them out. I do recommend that if you are making lava you have lots of paper towels ready.

5. Texture Painting. This was a blast when we did this one. I had canvas board that I keep in order for them to paint when they are feeling their own creative urge. One time we made some clay like material to put on the canvas and we textured it with various household objects like a comb, fork, spoon, thimble, and anything else that struck our fancy. Once the clay-like material dried we painted over the work with acrylic paints. The paintings not only turned out fantastic, the kids were very proud of their creative works.

6. Odd Games. I love odd things, and so do kids. I have, over time, bought some very obscure titled games like Munchkin, Fluxx, and Hex Hex. We spend some time playing the games and changing the rules every once in a while to make the game more interesting. The kids love making up their own rules to the games we play, but Fluxx allows rule changing through the game anyway.

7. Photo Play. Digital cameras are great tools to use and help kids be creative. There are some free programs where they can upload their photos and change them and make them funny or artistic. Granted very small children might have difficulty with this activity, but my 9 year old has been using his digital camera since he was 7. Let them pose you or the pets in any way they want and then give them creative authority to manipulate the pictures. Online programs like Picnik are great. You can even make movies with Windows Movie Maker with pictures and sound. It's a lot of fun.

8. Spooky Story Time. When we have a thunder storm we like to have a scary story time, even though the stories end up not being all that scary. We have snacks like s’mores and snuggle up on the bed or in front of the fire place. I start the story and then we each take a round as to what happens next. By the end of the store we are all laughing.

9. Group exercise. We spend some time turning on the tunes and then exercising. Mom needs it, the kids just love doing it and trying to keep up. They also enjoy doing tandem sit-ups: this is where you hold hands and as one goes backward the other goes forward.

10. Make Your Own Kind of Music. Everyone has cans, spoons, and empty oatmeal containers around. Be creative and find things that you can put in them. Decorate the instruments and then have fun creating your own kind of music. You can use string or rubber bands to make guitars, just be careful in case they snap.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be a rainy day to have fun with your kids. They grow up very fast. Enjoy them while you can.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Music Vs. Teen Crime

Taken from Parentdish.com:

The New Zealand city of Christchurch is fed up with unruly teens spreading trash, spraying graffiti, getting drunk and intimidating citizens at a local mall, so they're pulling out the big guns: "Mandy" and "I Can't Smile Without You."

Manilow's music will be piped into the mall where kids are most likely to hang out. Business owners and local officials hope that the easy-listening greatest hits will make the locale just uncool enough to force the teens out. Or, perhaps, soothe them into setting down their spray cans.

"The intention is to change the environment in a positive way...so nobody feels threatened or intimidated," says business association manager Paul Lonsdale. "I did not say Barry Manilow is a weapon of mass destruction."

Wow... I can see it now... Barry Manilow cd's and mp3's will start rising in sales; not from unruly teenagers but from teen parents who have pulled their last straw and have still come up short. Barry Manilow, age 65, can be the new teen icon in the new Millenium. Well, we wanted change.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Things That Drive Me Crazy

Things that drive me crazy:

1. People that don't listen when you tell them things and then swear you never told them.
2. Rap music and other things that sound the same and people repeat over and over and over again... it makes my head feel like it's going to explode.
3. People that think they know everything, and if they don't really know something they make something up they think will sound good. It doesn't.

Wow... I just realized this list could take a while to make... maybe too many things drive me crazy. Maybe I should write about things that keep me sane. That list would be a lot shorter.