Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More Random Rantings... :)

Okay, I haven't written in a while. It's been hard with the surgery and having both knees replaced. Recovery takes a long time...and I have to adjust to bionic knees now. But it is far less painful now than it was before I had my surgery. I am looking forward to recovery.
To the anonymous woman that was in the hospital with me and only had one knee done and was screaming - Woman! Get up!!!! Laying in bed only prolongs the agony.

Okay, now I've been watching Dancing with the Stars. I seriously love watching Bristol Palin dance. She isn't a professional singer, dancer, or actor. It is amazing watching someone that has no previous show biz experience learning how to dance and watch her progress. Now, for those of you that argue that she's not a "celebrity" think again. This is the same girl that everyone wanted to hear about when her mother was running for Vice President. You guys put her on the front page of the newspaper because she was pregnant and 17. Congratulations. You have created a celebrity. She is as much a celebrity as Kate Gosselin (but with a hell of a lot more talent). If someone mentions a name and everyone knows it.... they are a celebrity. Deal with it.

It's a shame that people think she's only winning because of her mother. If that were the case, people, her mother would have won in the last election. Her mother isn't that popular, come on. People love her because she's entertaining and she's not a pro acting like she's learning to dance. As for the conspiracy that the "Tea Baggers" are running the phone lines to keep her on all if have to say is - "Seriously?" Now that has to be the funniest thing I've heard. You really think that these guys care enough to want Bristol Palin win something that has no political affiliation? For what possible reason?

Personally, I was sad to see Rick Fox voted off. He was really  handsome and he could move for a tall man, I have to say. But this season seems to be geared toward the ladies winning, I think. Although, Disney's Kyle is still in there. Now he's the other underdog. Maybe the Democrats are keeping him in, huh? Yeah. I can see that... lol.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Just stuff

Tomorrow I go in the hospital for complete knee replacements in both knees. I've heard people say I'm crazy for "letting" them do that. I actually asked for them to do that. I figure one time in the hospital for both knees would be better considering both knees are equally bad. I have been in a lot of pain. Why would I just want one to feel better and then go back and do it again? Okay, so it is going to take a longer time to recover. I can deal with that. It's all gravy, baby.

I have also seen something I should have realized before.

If someone is living in the past, it stands to reason they harbor a lot of resentment and anger from before. It serves no purpose and yet they coddle it and cling to it like some long lost friend.

The truth is no one can go back and change things. It's done. Some people can and may apologize and you can forgive them or not. Some people that you blame had nothing to do with things, they were as much victim as you were. What you are doing is transferring your anger to something tangible and still around. Why? Probably because you have to have something to hang on to from the past so you can internally justify your anger. However, truth be told, all it is doing is eating you alive and keeping you from having a happy and productive life.

For that, you have no one to blame but yourself.

But looking to the future, when I will be able to walk or stand for more than ten minutes, I will have a new grandson. We don't know his name yet, but I'm convinced he is going to be born with a great sense of humor. This is a good thing. He is going to need it. Lucky for him, he's got a lot of love waiting for him when he finally comes out of his mommy.

My daughter was told by some people that she's crazy doing a home birth and for thinking about using cloth diapers. Seriously people?

When was it "unnatural" to do a "natural" childbirth. It's not that it's a bad idea or crazy. Please. When did we start becoming a society where drugs were the norm for what was originally done for centuries without them? I think people that criticize having a baby without drugs might need to stand back and consider what they are saying.

As for cloth diapers - they ain't like they used to be. But even if they were, bravo for her deciding to do something that doesn't add to the mounting landfill of garbage we have in the country. At least one person is looking at economy and benefit over ease and excessive cost.

I'm sure there are some that don't think it's good for her to breast feed either. What could be more beneficial than mother's milk? I've heard people complaining about breast feeding mothers. Others that didn't do it making the excuse that it hurt. Get over it. Again, this is natural, saves money, and is better for the baby. Yes, it hurts for a while, but that pain goes away. Sometimes we have to think about something other than ourselves and our comfort.

This is real life. If you really want drama, turn on the Soap Channel. Some of us are just here to live, love, and be happy.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Today I am sad

It is the people that you love most in the world that can actually hurt you. It's not that you expect them to hurt you or want them to hurt you, it's just that because you let them at your heart and they have access to it they have that ability. You don't want them to or expect them to either. This is where trust comes into play.

No one is a perfect person. We all have flaws and we all make mistakes. It is when the mistakes you made and the flaws you have embarrass you enough that you have to turn them onto someone else that shows you don't plan on correcting them. You merely justify them instead. This means, most of the time, that you have no remorse and you plan on making the same mistakes over and over again. Instead of owning to mistakes on one's life and twisting them to suit a tale more awarding to yourself shows that you are destined to repeat the faux pas of the past. Isn't it better to move forward?

My life has not ever been an easy one. I was abandoned by a father I never knew. Suffered at the hands of abusive people. I lost my natural mother as a child. My first sexual experience was rape. My first "true love" abandoned me. The list goes on.

But in spite of the negatives in my life I would prefer to focus on the positive. I graduated from high school and the university. I have beautiful children whom I adore. I am in love with my  husband. I have a nice home with pets I was never allowed to have as a child. I have family, including a step-mother who has taken me in like a birth mother, who share my life with me. I have friends-real friends, not fly by night friends.

There are times that I have felt broken. Thinking back the reason that I was in that position was about the people that I love and the hurt they could inflict. Some people may thing that giving up on love would be the safer bet. Keep the heart locked up and sealed tight. I disagree.

Perhaps it is easier to lock it up and save yourself from the lies the people that love you tell. They have their own reasons for doing so. You could block them and push them from you, but because you love them you just draw them closer. Why? Because maybe the lies they tell are really something else. Sometimes, yes, they are just being vicious and are undeserving. Most of the time, however, it's because they don't like themselves and they feel unworthy. In the case of one particular person I know, they changed history because their history was just too much for them to handle.

Still, it really does hurt and make you sad when someone you care about lies about you or twists things around to make them seem more favorable. It makes you wonder if they really care about you. I think this is what makes you sad. Thinking that someone you open yourself up to really hasn't opened themselves up to you in return. Then there is also the thought of why would they want to lie about or to someone they really care about?


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Turning the Corner

Yesterday I went to the doctor and received my okay for the surgery on September 20 to get both of my knees replaced. The first thing that you hear is that there will be a lot of pain post surgery, but the next thing everyone says is that I will be so happy to have it done. I will feel like I have my life back. So, here is to a new corner coming up in my life. I raise my glass to the new adventure that awaits me.

This year isn't over yet, but there have been some very bitter and sweet moments. Life is that way. We have good and bad times, sometimes the bad outweigh the good and sometimes it's about even, or you feel ahead of the game. Whichever it is, life continues and blind corners await decisions that we make. The turn may take us down a newly paves street, a rocky forgotten road, or maybe it ends in a field of crops that need to be taken care of. Whatever we find, it's ours.

No one ever promised that life was easy; it's not. But life is worth continuing on for because we will always have new experiences.

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it

Chuck Swindoll

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Some people are clueless

In youth, it was a way I had,
To do my best to please.
And change, with every passing lad
To suit his theories.
But now I know the things I know
And do the things I do,
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you.
~Dorothy Parker

A woman who has met me once has decided that she knows all about me and has the right to make judgments. Most of her information came from two teenagers, one belonging to her, who have both admitted that they lied and exaggerated issues because they were upset they weren't getting their way. Of course to me, in a facebook message instead of direct communication, she insulted me regarding her child and how my decisions with mine affect their life. For instance, I should not call my child home for lying to me and not having done her chores. I should wait until she is finished doing whatever fun activities her child has planned because it's not fair for her child to be affected that way.
There is a weird logic in that. It is true that calling my child home for lying and not having her chores done does affect the plans they made with her child if she gets into trouble. However, allowing a child to get away with lying and not doing what they were specifically told to do is not a good example to set. If you lived by that rule your child would make sure they were always making plans with someone else. The rule is simple, you can go when your chores are done. How we discipline is really not of the concern of this other parent, nor is the way she disciplines in her home our concern.
In my home all the children have chores, even the ten year old. The funny thing is that none of the teenagers actually do their chores the way they are supposed to. The ten year old is the only one that voluntarily seems to do them. Each child is given an opportunity to have an allowance if their room is clean on payday. The only child that has actually managed to get his allowance is again, you guessed it, the ten year old. My 15 year old has been cleaning his room for months. If you listened to him you'd think that the items in his room were possessed because they somehow manage to make their way back down to the floor and it never looks any differently than before he started cleaning.
According to this woman we used our daughter as a Cinderella. We don't love her and we abuse her. Now these are horrible allegations from a woman that has never stepped one foot into our home nor ever taken ten minutes out of her time to actually speak with me. She lied to me one time to get our daughter off restriction because her son wanted to see her. I found out it was a lie, after saying we could make arrangements, and confronted her about lying to me. Since that day this woman has hated me. Evidently lying is okay in her book, and you never confront the person that lies to you. I never have worked that way.
The truth, according to my daughter, is that this same woman hates her. She calls her names such as "fat ass." She has insulted our family by calling us names. She has told my daughter that she's not good enough for her son. My daughter has come home from their home crying numerous times. After being in their home she yells at people and uses language that she knows is inappropriate, even in Wal-Mart, for which we have had to call her on. Her son has called her names, has allowed his friends to call her names. Being there makes her feel less about herself. So, we compromised. We told her that she was allowed to see the boy but was not allowed in his house. They could meet in other places where it was neutral territory such as the mall, go out to dinner, take some time to walk in the park, or even watch a movie.
Of course this was short lived, and again they lied. They went back to his home, which became evident, and the incidents started all over again. Verbal tirades over the phone in our home with screaming and cussing and crying.
There is only so much you can do as a parent. When a child gets to be within a couple of months of being 18 your hands become more tied. They make decisions that you don't agree with and that you can see are hurting them more and more. It breaks your heart. No parent wants to watch their child self-destruct.
The other mother says that I don't love my daughter. That is the farthest thing from the truth that she has ever said. I love my daughter enough to want to give her another chance to put things right in her life. I love my daughter enough to present her with opportunities to get away from vile and contemptuous statements made by ignorant people that prefer to say hateful things about her and then pretend they care.
Has our relationship with our daughter been tumultuous? Absolutely. We spent over a year in therapy. She was taken out of our home by the state because she was considered a danger to the younger children. She had things happen to her by her biological family that no child should have had to endure. She lashed out in ways that were very hard for anyone to take. She fell into bad habits that seemed impossible to break. We stuck it out through the years never giving up. She knows, because of this, that she is loved. She's told me so, that she pushed and pushed to make sure she was loved. It was never easy for any of us.
In the long run what a friend offered is to help give her a new opportunity to get out of the rut she has put herself in. To discover a place without a history or with people that know all the things that she's done. Somewhere she doesn't feel she's in competition and will feel needed.
According to this other woman, who either makes up things in her head or prefers lies over discovering the truth, our daughter is being "forced against her will" to go. However, an "anonymous" phone call to the police saying such things as we were abusing her and she was being shipped off against her will proved otherwise. The police, after speaking with our daughter, determined that she needed to get away from her situation with her boyfriend and never look back. He determined she was indeed in an abusive situation - with the boyfriend - and that a fresh start was just what she needed.
In the end, I could care less what this woman believes or feels. She has her own issues in her family including problems with her own children. I'm sure those take their own toll on her as well.
My concern is over my own child who has been through enough for two lifetimes. Did she lie to these people? Probably. Why would she lie? Because she wanted them to like her. Did it work? No. The boy I think genuinely cares for her though; he just had problems with knowing how to show it sometimes.
Bottom line is this - I am not perfect. I do not have all the answers. I make mistakes. But in the long run I will do whatever it takes to do what is best for my family and I will not be bullied by some clueless woman into thinking that I am a bad person and doing the wrong thing. I have great kids that are intelligent and have a lot of love in their hearts. We must have done something right.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where does the time go?

In a month he will be 16. He has his first official girlfriend. He is driving a car. He is now taller than I am. Where did the time go?
Has it really been that long since I held him under my chin soothing him?
Is this the same little boy that told me he never wanted to grow up?
Today we were talking about college and the possibility of him applying to the Coast Guard Academy.
Last year he was asking me if he could ride his bicycle around the block.
Saturday he asked me for money so he could go on a date.
I remember crying when he walked away so easily in his kindergarten class ready to explore new things with new people.
It won't be much longer he goes off to explore a new world and see what awaits him for his future.
I may never be ready, but he definitely is moving in that direction.
One thing I can say is he has always been an excellent son. There is no doubt he will be an equally excellent man.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Everyone Comes from Somewhere

Everyone comes from somewhere, but sometimes we forget.
We forget about the one that brought us into the world.
We forget about the first friend we ever made.
We forget about the first time our heart was broken.
We forget about the words of wisdom our father spoke.
We forget about the promises we made to our lovers.
We forget about the pain we felt that once made us cry.
We forget to do the things that are good for us,
                                                 because bad feels so good.
We forget that sometimes it is better to just slow down.
We forget that our actions may affect the lives of others.
But most importantly
We seem to forget that life here is temporary,
                        and the things we remember
                                       are the things memories are made from.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


And in the twilight of our live we look to find the way
To tell us if the path we chose was the best and finest paved.
And when the darkness comes we see the twinkling of the stars.
We know that our journey here was short, and yet still very far.
But life is full of puzzles, enigmas, and mazes of human thought,
Yet the beauty of the life we've led was paid for with the tears of hope we brought.

Pasty Dunbar

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Confessions of an Evony Addict

I started playing Evony II, not because of the busty women that were trying to entice players via cleavage, (I have enough of my own, thanks). It wasn't because I had too much time to kill during the day. Taking care of four children, a husband, and a house full of critters keeps a person pretty busy. It wasn't because I needed a game to play, I was already invested in some zoo game and was collecting animals. Looking back I have no idea what made me click that facebook button to start. Fate maybe?
The first day I played I started on server na13. I joined an alliance, the first one that I came to. I had no idea what I was doing and to this day I don't know why they accepted me. I certainly didn't fit their criteria for membership, having no prestige points. I just kind of slipped through the cracks. Then something amazing happened. I started chatting with people and I like them.
I have never been a chatter. I never went to chat rooms to find people. I had friends and family and have felt very fulfilled with my life. Looking back starting up conversations with random people wasn't my cup of tea. Yet here I was in the middle of a game I had never had any intention of playing and doing something I had never had an interest in doing. I found I loved being in the alliance and helping work with others to accomplish absolutely nothing worth accomplishing. It's a game, but I was having fun. These people were funny and full of life. They were real to me.
You've heard the old adage that "all good things must come to an end?" My life on na13 did as well. Some of us thought of it as a game, but I learned that others thought of it as their life. It's quite sad, really. One person in particular decide that he was the Tyrant of Evony. He was technically in charge of the alliance. Long story short he kind of broke us up and I ended up telling him off via mail. I killed off my cities there and was ready to leave.
One of my new found friends talked me into going to another server. We were going to start again. It wasn't the game as much as it was that we liked talking to one another. A third person followed. He told the others where we were and more came and joined us in our new home on na15. We made it an adult alliance due to the R rated conversations we have.
I have to admit that our conversations are entertaining. We share our lives and adventures with each other. We share dirty jokes, bad jokes, and jabs. We care about what happens to each other. We shared our facebook  pages with one another.
It's about the people. Yes, we play the game, but we found a place where most of us feel the same way about life. We support one another and we honestly care. Plus, we get to band together to kick butt. It's perfect.
I know that gaming is the problem in many relationships. I do not condone someone spending their lives playing a game and ignoring their families or responsibilities. Chatting should never be a substitute for one on one conversations. But for me these people I have met on Evony are my friends. They are people I would happily go and meet and have to my home.
Hello. My name is Pasty. I admit I am an Evony addict, but it's not the game I'm addicted to. It's the people.

* Update: Since writing this post I have quit playing Evony. I still have some of the friends I met on there and we converse on Facebook. But one should note: It is never okay to have a game get in the way of family life or spouses. Make sure that you don't let the game get in the way of actually living.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


We have two girls living in the house... one 17 an the other 15. At first it was like two cats that meet in an alley and want to prove the other is bigger and badder. Then they started hanging around and sharing things. That lasted for about three seconds. Then they are back to bickering and seeing which can trump the other in a verbal battle.
On the parental side we can't win. If you say one thing to one the other thinks you don't love her. If you don't say anything at all they don't feel you are standing up for them.
It's almost like a competition, only I'm not sure where the finish line is and what the prize is at the end of their race.
But one did ask me tonight, "When do we start therapy?"

Monday, June 21, 2010

Condom for Women to Prevent Rape

A doctor in South Africa has come up with an amazing way to help women in the country to keep from being raped quite as often, hopefully. The condom is inserted like a tampon and has little teeth that attach to the rapist's member. He must have the condom surgically removed. Rape Axe was was Dr. Ehlers idea after assisting a rape victim who had said she wished that she had teeth down there.
In my opinion the concept is genius. My only concern is that now when a man rapes a woman in South Africa that is trying to protect herself from rape, disease, and humiliation will she live after his anger and humiliation are inflamed? Hopefully it will shock him and hurt him enough that she will be able to escape. Regardless, this is an ingenious invention and Dr. Ehlers gets kudos in my book.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Always Knew I Was Different

My husband always asks me where I come from. Now we just might know the answer.

Your result for Are You Part Space Alien? Test...

“The US Airforce assures me that UFO’s pose no threat to National Security..” –President John F Kennedy

You scored 96% Alien Hybrid.
If your score is above 50% you more than likely have an ancestor that is an alien. The higher the score the stronger your connection is to your alien family. For many of you this explains so much.
You scored 4% Human.
If your score for being human is higher than your score as a hybrid then you have no fears ... except for possibly being taken over by the aliens that are invading the planet. Good luck.
You scored 100% possibility of having been an alien abductee.
If you scored 30% or more it is very possible that you have not only been visited by aliens you have also unwittingly joined them on their space ship and were used as a human guinea pig. If your score for abduction is higher than your score for being an alien hybrid, chances are that you have been injected with alien DNA in an experiment. Lucky you!
You scored 70% possible Indigo Child.
If you scored 90% or more on this section you may want to explore the possibility of being an Indigo Child. This does not mean that you are an alien hybrid. According to the people who help and study these types of people it is merely a new evolution of new human beings that are evolving in order to help save the planet and protect our species. Move forward, Obi Wan, you're our only hope.
Take Are You Part Space Alien? Test at HelloQuizzy

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This is the US not Mexico

I understand that Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday. I also understand that many Mexican Americans observe the holiday here in the United States, but for anyone to take offense to the five students at Live Oak High School  in Morgan Hill, California is nothing short of ludicrous. These five young men, sporting their patriotism for the US, were asked to either remove their shirts, turn them inside out, go home, or be suspended. However, the more than 100 students that were wearing depictions and colors of the Mexican Flag (red, white, and green) were not reprimanded.

One of the boys in questions is 1/2 Mexican. The boys were not causing problems, they were not instigating fights. On the contrary, other students, Mexican students to be precise, had approached them and had told them they were offended by their attire. These boys never said a word to the more than 100 students sporting patriotism for Mexico even though they were attending a US school.

Now I am not adverse to Mexicans nor do I have problems with Mexico as a country. I have taught at a Dallas high school where over 90% of the student population were from Mexico. I love the culture. When one of the students was having problems in her home she came to live with us for several months so she could finish school. However, I am extremely adverse to making American students feel as if supporting their country is wrong. I don't care what day of the year it is.

I also noted an absence of this particular story on CNN. Every other news site seemed to have it listed. CNN has been putting out sob stories of fear in Arizona over the new immigration law. They even posted a story about Cinco De Mayo in Arizona and how the new law, which isn't even being implemented at this time and doesn't go into effect for another month, has scared people into not celebrating this Mexican holiday. Forgive me if I laugh at this.

Perhaps CNN is not aware that Cinco de Mayo is about victory of a Mexican battle over the French forces in 1862. It actually has limited significance in Mexico and isn't widely celebrated. The major holiday of Mexico is in September and is called "Grito de Doleres." So, so much for the major significance of the holiday. It would be like the US creating a holiday for defeating the British in the Battle of the Chesapeake.

Why don't we have a holiday for this on September 5?

It is one thing to respect the rights and ideas of  immigrants in this country, but is an entirely different matter when we impose the lifestyles and holidays of another country on US students that have no interest in participating. Students at this school were taken from learning to being entertained by Mexican dancers and Mexican bands.

I know in Neenah High School they have diversity clubs. We take the time to learn about other cultures and celebrations in foreign language classes and through classes such as World History and Humanities. No one is saying that immigrants to this country should not be proud of their heritage, but they should also respect that they are celebrating in the United States and not in their country. Their national pride does not and should not override our own.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Arizona Gets Tough on Immigration

On the heels of an ICE raid last week Arizona legislatures working to pass legislation that will allow the state to determine the eligibility of a person to be in the State, verify a claim of legal residency, confirm the identity of a person, and determine if the person is in compliance with Federal immigration laws. 

Obama says the legislation "threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness that we treasure as Americans."

Arizona Senator Russell Pearce states that "illegal is not a race it's a crime."

Representative John Kavanagh says "70% of likely voters in Arizona support this law and I suspect that across the country the figures are similar." He also is confident that the governor will sign the bill as she is a strong supporter of the needs of immigration.

Definition of illegal immigrant: (noun) a foreigner who has entered or resides in a country unlawfully or without the country's authorization.

Just in case there is any doubt the definition of unlawful is: (adjective) not lawful; contrary to law; illegal.

In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper Kavanagh continues to say that "People are fed up with the lack of any enforcement of illegal immigration by the federal government. We have no choice but to fill the void that they've created."

While it is believed by critics of the bill that this will foster racial profiling supporters believe that it gives power back to the legal citizens of the United States and fosters the idea that America is still a land of opportunity but that opportunity is best found by following the proper channels to enter the country.

Although this legislation is making many Latino's fume with ideas of discrimination I have to believe that they must also understand that Arizona is not simply going after Latinos. This law does not profile one race over another nor one culture over another. It provides protection of the citizens and puts power in the hands of the police. 

Arizona is more likely, due to it's geographical location, to have more illegals coming in from Mexico that are of Latin American origin, but the law is for all illegals and not just Hispanics. 

With the federal government clicking their heels on what to do about the US immigration problems it is no wonder that states like Arizona are starting to take a stand with immigration problems. Sure there are a few kinks that will have to be ironed out of the wording, but the legislation is a start for people to see that many American's are fed up with immigration excuses and want some true law enforcement.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Troubles with Adopted Children - Is there hope?

On the heels of the TN womanTorry Hansen, who sent her 7 year old adopted son back to Russia causing international upset between our two countries one has to wonder is the problem with the parent or the child. The woman sent the boy unattended on a jet with a backpack of cookies and energy drinks. In my opinion it's a bit of both. The boy, however, had suffered a history of abuse in his native country. The woman was aware of his background, but she claims she was unaware of the severity of his problems. She also, according to reports, did not enroll the child for public or home school. The true victim here is the child.

Of course Hansen is not the first adoptive parent that has raised the eyebrows of the adoption of foreign children in the US. In 2008 an adoptive father left his 21 month old baby in the backseat of his car at work; Peggy Sue Hilt beat her 2 year old adopted Russian daughter to death in 2006; Denis Merryman dies at age 8 after being adopted and starved to death. The list goes on with more than a dozen horrifying deaths of adoptive children solely from Russia. 

I know from experience that adopted children can be quite challenging. I was an adopted child myself. When you feel as if no one wants you it can cause some psychological harm. A child cannot comprehend why no one would want them. The fact that someone cares enough to adopt you just doesn't calculate easily. When you add children that suffer from other problems such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome an entire new problem surfaces on top of what is already present.

The Deep Spring Ranch for Kids  in Eureka, Montana is one place that has been established to help families that have difficulties with adopted children, mainly from Russia, to cope better and to receive the mental and moral help they need to survive in a familial environment. CNN's Gary Tuchman does a wonderful and touching job bringing a story of a families struggle with a troubled young man they adopted as a toddler. This family chose to help the child and unite their family instead of giving up and sending the child back. They are simply amazing and inspiring.

Sometimes it's the tough choices that cause us the most difficulties that are the right choices. Parenting is not a part-time job.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Good News Wisconsin - An Import Beer with a Kick is On It's Way!

No one enjoys beer more than the people of Wisconsin. At least that is what I thought until I started listening and watching the videos of the hot Scottish men (with equally hot accents) who are unafraid to don a penguin suit (or nothing at all) to promote their new beer that has a 32% alcohol rate. According to Time the beer is on the way to the US.

The beer's website tells us : "A warning label on the Tactical Nuclear Penguin bottle does state: 'This is an extremely strong beer; it should be enjoyed in small servings and with an air of aristocratic nonchalance. It is exactly the same manner you would enjoy a fine whisky, a Frank Zappa album or a visit from a friendly yet anxious ghost.'"

Tactical Nuclear Penguin from BrewDog on Vimeo.

So, with an alcohol content like that is it a beer or a liquor? If you drink enough you won't care.

Friday, April 9, 2010

What's Wrong With Kids Today? - Parents

We had a serious dilemma in my home a few years ago. We had a child that was so emotionally hurt that she started acting out in a horrible way. She hurt people physically and mentally. She started shoplifting because she just wanted the things she saw. She didn't care about repercussions. She didn't respond to therapy. She didn't respond to punishment. She didn't respond to positive reinforcement.

She tried to burn down the house. We were at our wits end to find out what to do. Our home life was basically hell and our younger children were afraid, and rightfully so.

I had called the school. No help. I called the police. They were supportive, but they couldn't do a lot. It finally got out how serious things had become when she attempted serious physical bodily harm on one of the children. The school liaison officer stepped in and was extremely understanding and supportive.

It broke my heart to see her taken in a police car and placed in a facility. My dilemma was I was torn as a parent watching my child go somewhere other than home, but I had two other children at home that needed to feel safe as well. This was the hardest time in my life as a parent.

She needed help and she wasn't getting it at home. I didn't go to the police to get out of my parenting duty, I went to get her help because I honestly love her. It's the same reason why, when she got out of the group home a year and half later, I had the store call the police and walked away when she was caught shop lifting. I wanted her to know that she wasn't going to be able to go back to her old habits. I loved her but I wasn't going to allow her to sabotage herself.

I did get horrible looks from the store personnel. I don't think they expected a parent to react that way to less than $5 worth of merchandise. But I informed them that I wanted her punished now while she was still a minor instead of when she was 21 doing the same things and her punishment would be much sterner and on her permanent record.

We did end up discovering what her major problem was that she was harboring. The lack of support from her biological mother also influenced her. She has made major breakthroughs in her life and relationships since letting go of things. She's become more of a loving and caring young woman. She still has a little way to go, but don't we all?

Being a parent is tough. We have to make choices every day when it comes to our children. There are no guarantees that what we do are right, but we have to trust and do what we know will be best in the long run. That's why it's so hard for parents that are more interested in being popular with their kids and are afraid of their children hating them.

Of course there are parents out there who probably should never have become parents to begin with. They are so caught up in their own lives they don't parent at all. These children are neglected and have no idea, for the most part, how to relate to other people. It's sad, but it's part of our society. There are parents that do nothing or little to nothing for their children and then there are those that do way too much.

I've been watching the news reports on Phoebe Prince who was "bullied to death" from classmates in her high school in Massachusetts. It's tragic. Six students tormented this beautiful young lady until she took her own life. Why? Jealousy perhaps. It doesn't matter. In the long run what matters is that someone dropped the ball here long before the bullying started. Because the kids in question should have never started bullying to begin with. They should have been secure enough in themselves that those types of actions weren't a consideration. It's very hard for me to believe that no adult knew what was happening here. Ignorance isn't bliss; it's advocating bad behavior.

I remember walking through my daughter's school a few years ago to retrieve some books from her locker. One of the sports teams was running the hallways. At the end of the pack was a boy that was having problems keeping up. He was trying, but he just didn't have as much stamina as some of the other guys.  Instead of encouraging their team mate, however, I hear "why don't you just stay here. You're worthless and slow. You can just follow us in on our last leg and tell the coach you ran the whole thing." The boy kept up at his slow pace determined to finish, I imagine. But I saw his face and it hurt me. I yelled down the hallway to the team, "Wow! Way to support your team mate guys!"

I've heard the adage "kids are cruel." It's true. But where do they learn it? From the rest of us. When we let it pass and accept it we are actually condoning it. When we call our children names inside the home we are teaching them to call others names outside the home. When we allow siblings to call each other names like "stupid" or "fatty" by ignoring it and letting it pass we are condoning it.

Parenting is a full time job. A lot of parents have to work and rely on day cares or babysitters to help them. That's fine. We have little to no control of what is happening with children when they are out of our sight. But we should make a genuine effort to spend quality time with our children when we have home time even when we are dog tired.

I remember speaking with parents when I was teaching middle school. One of the most common responses I received from parents was, "I don't have time to spend them." I asked, "Do you watch television during the week?" "Do you have time to read the paper?" "Do you spend time talking to your friends on the phone?" "Do you spend time on the computer?" Of course they do, but they call this their own down time.

I'm not saying that parents don't have the right to some personal time. I am saying that when we give birth to children or make a choice to raise a child we have taken on a full time obligation. We are the number one teachers of our children. We need to make sure that we make time. We have to sacrifice.

Somewhere we have to stop and understand that we are parents to our children not friends. It doesn't mean we can't be friendly, but we can't just let things pass. Guilt parenting is not good parenting. Children of all ages need structure. If your teenager is angry with you for enforcing a curfew of 11 or 12 that's a good thing. Let them be angry. Let them know that not everything in their life is going to be exactly how they want it.

Here are some hints for teenage parenting:

1. Make consequences clear.
2. Never back down from what you say. Enforce your rights as a parent.
3. Make time to actually talk to your kids, even if it seems they are talking to you under duress. It shows you care.
4. When they disobey and you are giving them chores or consequences in return put it in writing. Write down exactly what happened and what they have to do to get off of restrictions. Also put on the sheet what happens if they don't follow the guidelines to get off restriction.  Make them repeat it to you or read it to you aloud. Then make them sign it and date it. Put it in plain sight.
5. Never assume that your child is always telling you the truth. Investigate. Sometimes our children aren't lying but are omitting certain facts that might actually put what is going on in a different light. My daughter has come home accusing a teacher of saying certain things and upon investigation I found that what she said was not really true but that she had twisted the words. Why? Because she had a bad grade for not completing an assignment and didn't want us to be angry.
6. Make your child accountable. If they do something wrong make them fix it and don't make excuses or allow excuses.
7. Spend time with your teenager. Even lame time is better than no time. I remember crying and thinking my daughter hated me. It's not true. She loves me. I love her too. Sometimes it just takes time for it to come out.
8. Don't just give your children things. Presents are fine, but making them have to work for something makes them actually appreciate it.
9. Don't beat yourself up when things go wrong. Sometimes things just happen no matter how much we do right. We have to stop and remember that after a certain point our children are older and have to make their own choices. We just need to sit back and be there to support them. It's a learning process for them too.

I don't have all the answers. I don't even think that Dr. Phil has all the answers. Not all kids are the same so not all the punishments will be the same. I have three minors left at home and each of them are treated differently because what works with one won't work with the other. They are individuals.

What does work with each of them? Loving them equally. That's the best I can do.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Court Ruling Against Marine Family is a Travesty of Justice

I totally agree with John Ellsworth regarding the judgement against the Snyder family in favor of the self-proclaimed Westboro Baptist Church

In my opinion the federal appeals court is out of their mind. How in the world can you say that what this church is doing is freedom of speech when it is so clearly defamation of character? They are not expressing opinion as much as they are insulting and characterizing to deliberately hurt and incite. They are deliberately twisting their first amendment rights to insult people and the judgement of the court is allowing them to profit from it. 

These people (led by their self-proclaimed prophet Fred Phelps) created a "church." This congregation of  less than 100, and over 80% being family members, decided to create their own form of religion. That is their right. They decided to proclaim themselves as Baptists. Again, they have that right. They want to proclaim their message. Okay, that's fine as well. Yet for some reason instead of just taking their message to the airways, using the newspapers to post ads and editorials, or going door to door to hand out pamphlets they have decided that attending funerals with degrading signs regarding the dead is most appropriate. Of course, what can you expect from people who's religious website is called  It becomes obvious that they are a group of people that find life value in hate. They are raising children to believe in hate as a form of redemption. They use their children in their demonstrations and drag them around the country to places that have had tragedies, such as the shooting at Virginia Tech, to revel in the loss of lives and the misery of the families. 

I spent yesterday watching videos of the self-proclaimed prophet, his daughter, and his grand children as they happily spoke about how God hates America, God hates the world, and how we are all destined to "eat our babies." I find them to be intolerant fanatics who manage to twist the Bible. 

First, a funeral is not a place where people should be allowed to picket. It is not an appropriate place to hold demonstrations. Families have lost loved ones and are mourning. It takes people of the lowest of the low moral rating to use this as a vantage point to spout their opinions. It's like walking into a mass or church service and deciding to start yelling out obscenities because you don't agree with the religion. Funerals are quiet sacred times for families to say goodbye. They are not public or political events. 

Secondly, erroneously accusing a young soldier of being a "fag" because he serves in the military to protect his country and calling him names is not an example of free speech. Degrading his family for his upbringing is not an example of free speech. These are examples of defaming. The family is a victim of defamation of character as defined: "Defamation or "defamation of character" is spoken or written words that falsely and negatively reflect on a living person's reputation." The young hero in question was publicly slandered as were his parents. 

Third, this group continued to slander and defame our country, our heroes, our families, our people. They do this with the idea that it's okay because they are protected by the first amendment right of free speech. Did the federal court forget that this right is not absolute in any country in the world? It usually does not encompass the concept of "hate speech."  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights even recognizes that it is more a freedom of expression and the right to harbor any thoughts. No where does it say that you should indiscriminately be allowed to harass, defame, or incite hate. 

And then there is the fact that this group of people hates America and people in general. Do they really have the right to use a constitution they don't believe in to help them gain momentum to preach hatred and intolerance? It would have been one thing to reverse the original judgement that the family won and reduce their payment or say they do not receive damages from the church. It's an entirely different thing to make them pay over $16,000 to the church for taking them to court. The church put themselves in the spotlight and opened themselves up to a lawsuit. Let them assume their own responsibilities for their actions.

This link will take you to the page that tells the story of a brave young man whose family has gone through hell because of what I believe is a false, irreverent, and intolerant religious sect. Take some time and help show that Americans stand by our soldiers. We do not tolerate hate and injustice. We love all people regardless of their sexual orientations, religious beliefs, or color. Plus, most all of us have a God or Goddess or Prophet filled with love, understanding, and tolerance. We know we were not made perfect, but we also know that our imperfections make us able to grow and learn.

My condolences go out to this young marine's family. My thanks go to him for the ultimate sacrifice he made for me and my country. Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder is a hero and it is my ultimate hope that his family will no longer be victimized by misguided zealots.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In Memory ....

 Yes.  I put off writing this last post on my trip to New York City. It isn't because I didn't know what to say but because what I saw there hit me so profoundly.
Coming back from the Statue of Liberty, which is much smaller than I expected, I saw this piece of art. I was mesmerized by it because it looked so damaged. I couldn't imagine why someone would make something so massive and deliberately try to destroy it. Then I saw the plaque which explained what it was exactly. I'll share those pictures here with you.
While Brenda spent time getting a character portrait done I walked around the statue inspecting every piece of it. This piece had stood outside the World Trade Center for years. The damage that you see came from the attack where thousands lost their lives, including the children in the daycare center. The magnitude of it hit me as I looked it over. Tears started coming from my eyes as I felt for the families that must look at this and know how horrendous and forceful the attack against their loved ones had been. It also serves as a reminder to those that survived at the miracle of being able to withstand something that was able to bend and blast steel. Yet this piece remains as a constant reminder in the city. An eternal flame has been ignited to serve as a light for those who were lost.

 The fact that it still stands spoke volumes to me. Even after an attack the statue stands proud. It was not torn apart for scrap or crippled enough where it could not sit upright. It speaks to us about being able to continue after adversity and remember who and what we are. We may have been attacked but we were able to continue and prosper. We lost many but we stood together in sorrow and faced our fears as a whole. We did not forget or hide it under the rug but allow it to remain in our hearts. We may be scarred but we are not damaged beyond repair.

Near here you will find the other statue that is supposed to represent those people that came to this country to seek refuge. As they entered they were able to see the lady holding the light that led them to a land of opportunity. To me it looks as if it is a group of people suffering and I do not see any type of joy in the work. As it faces toward "The Sphere," for me, it was as if they were crying and lamenting for those that were lost as well.

The one thing I know for certain is that I shall never forget. I hope no one else does either, because if they do they open themselves up to more heart ache and may begin to forget what this country has stood for since our independence.