Archive for the 'Rants' Category

Was That It?

Like the three that came before, we didn’t plan these children.  And, like the others, we wanted them very much once we found out they would become part of our family.  The waiting was a little longer this time though; I could have had three more babies from the time our girls first came to live with us until the day their adoption became final.

While I gained the inevitable weight that comes with pregnancy, the journey this time through the famously flawed foster care system helped me to lose weight.  Of course I’m older now than I was when my boys were little, but I’ve learned that most kids in “the system” require a little more effort than the ones the stork brings.  You may have to “undo” some bad habits, teach things they should have learned long before, reassure them and comfort them above and beyond what your own newborn ever required.  In addition, you have many different appointments and visitations to cram into your schedule.  Neglected teeth may require extensive dental work; poor nutrition or general lack of health care may have you spending hours in doctors’ waiting rooms.  And unless they’re placed while very young, they almost always are referred for counseling.  These poor babies don’t understand why they’re separated from their families (even dysfunctional families are sorely missed by their children) and often they are moved several times from stranger to stranger, requiring them to adapt to new schools and different family rules.  Is it any wonder they act out in frustration and anger?  The kids can keep you jumping!  But they are the easy part in the equation.

Don’t consider fostering if you relish your privacy.  Just to be considered, every facet of your life will be pried into and investigated.  You will be asked where you resided and with whom you lived with for the past 30 years.  They will do a background check and fingerprint every person living in your home.  Each year they want copies of your pay stubs, W-2’s, car registrations, and home and auto insurance policies.  It’s amazing that an inappropriate foster parent slips through these rigorous background checks!

Once a child is placed, you can expect weekly home visits and phone calls from at least one caseworker.  We didn’t work directly with the county so we had our agency caseworker and a county caseworker.  They are supposed to be there not only to ensure the safety of the child, but to guide and help the foster parents.  Sadly, this is just a dream.  In our experience, most of the caseworkers knew less than we did.  At least we knew how to raise kids!  They often couldn’t even help us with the things we needed to know about the foster care rules–which was supposed to be their area of expertise.  Even the few who actually cared often gave us wrong information or didn’t know enough to guide us to resources that I somehow managed to find on my own through dumb luck or sheer desperation!  Yet we were expected to complete all of our paperwork and monthly trainings on time–while taking good care of our kids, getting them to bi-weekly family visitations an hour away, and breaking in brand-spanking new caseworkers every few months.

The adoption process was even more intense.  Even though our kids had lived with us pretty much for the past two-and-a-half years and we were currently approved foster parents, we had to get more references, more background checks and fingerprinted again.  We had home inspections requiring the craziest things (like all meds–even refrigerated Amoxicillin that the kids may be taking–had to be in a separate LOCKED container) and weekly visits with an adoption caseworker (thank goodness my agency found this wonderful knowledgeable woman they hired as an independent contractor who led us through this whole process because our agency didn’t know squat and we never saw or heard from our county worker). We waited…and waited…to get our adoption date after completing all the requirements.  We signed the papers at the attorneys office.  We waited some more–pretty much giving up on the hope that it would take place before the end of the year has it had been semi-promised.

We finally got the call in mid-December.  One week before Christmas (and five days after hubby’s knee replacement surgery) we took the hour drive with a borrowed Handicapped placard so I could park across the street from the courthouse and help Big Daddy hobble to the door with our girls in their pretty dresses and tights.  We signed some papers.  We each sat at the witness stand and answered some questions.  Bonus Child hugged and clung to me while we sat and listened to Big Daddy answer his questions.  A caseworker led Bonus Baby to a back room to color when she got too antsy to sit still.  We got some pictures with the judge.  And it was over.  Months of prep.  A half-hour in court.  The girls are legally ours!

Bonus Baby flashed the biggest smile when I told her she’d never have to see another caseworker.  And last week, when I called her my little friend, she looked at me like I was nuts and said, “I’m not your friend, I’m your daugh-ter”, dragging out the last word slowly and deliberately just in case her poor mommy was too dumb to understand.

Mr. Trump, You’re Hired!

Hmmm, after waiting years to produce a birth certificate to prove he was a natural born U.S. citizen (a requirement for holding the highest office in the country!), only “the Donald” could stir up enough fear, controversy, or trouble to force Obama to come up with something that appears to show that he was indeed born here.  As always, this inquiring mind has many questions:

Why the wait? 

Is it that money does indeed really talk? 

Are we to believe that someone in Mr. Obama’s position had that much trouble getting his hands on such a crucial document to dispel these disruptive rumors?

If  it does actually take that long for the POTUS to wade through red tape, what hope do we ordinary peeps have to access things we need, say like government health care, etc?

Does it take longer to produce a real birth certificate if you are really a U.S. born citizen, or to forge a convincing replica if you were not actually born here?

Is it better to have people focusing on the question of your origin of birth or honing in on the real issues of government corruption and pandering to rogue foreign leaders?

Now it appears we may need the extreme influence of Mr. Trump to get to the bottom of a new batch of questions. Although most of us Americans feel some degree of satisfaction that good has triumphed over evil and Osama bin Laden has gone to meet his 72 virgins–oh, wait–that’s for the good guys–we wonder why Obama has set himself up for more controversial questions.  Here are a few:

After almost 10 years of relentless searching, how does it happen that our most anti-military, foreign-ass-kissing president gets to claim victory for this military coup?

Why, after such an unbelievable feat being accomplished on his watch, would he so hastily dump the evidence into the depths of the Arabian Sea?

Is following Islamic burial tradition really going to deter these terrorists, who have nothing else on their agenda besides hatred and killing?

Why must we respect the dead body of the biggest mass murderer since Hitler while our young soldiers’ bodies are dragged through the streets and many of the victims of this monster could not even be recovered for proper burial in accordance with our traditions?

As Obama’s ratings plummet, was bin Laden served up as a sacrificial lamb by even more evil elements who wish to keep Obama popular and in power in order to preserve the one-world government dream?

In the scheme of things, bin Laden’s death is mostly a symbolic victory.  It will not bring the thousands of victims back.  It will not prevent countless others who have no jobs, dreams, or freedom to pursue more productive lives from joining terrorist groups.  Unfortunately, it will probably not keep my son and the children of other Americans from having to deploy to an insane lawless region of the world.  But I love to see good triumph over evil, and a villain delivered into hell where he belongs.  And I’d love Mr. Trump to continue asking the questions the rest of us want to know.

Critical Thinking–NOT

I hate how old-fashioned this makes me sound, but I believe higher education is NOT just preparation for a career.  Career-training has its place, but college can fill in the gaps toward a well-rounded individual.  Dorm living helps prepare for life outside the comfy confines of home. Required classes that seem totally irrelevant to one’s major can provide some interesting knowledge and information.  For example, I learned from a professor in a basic Chemistry class that it is possible to increase the odds of producing a boy child (or girl if you prefer) using a little preparation.  Fertile Myrtle here never got the chance to use that system, however, but I was pretty damn sure another boy was on the way even before I had the sonogram.  Little tidbits gleaned here and there also helped me to not make a total fool of myself on Jeopardy–but I should have played more video games with my kids to master that darn buzzer!  One of my most informative classes was a Political Science class I had very little interest in at the time.  But the professor was an astute man that helped me see and believe that we are bombarded with information that almost always is slanted a certain way.  It is up to us to try to see all sides of an issue and form the most clear understanding of it by peeling away others’ hidden agendas.  This may not be important to an accountant on the job, but it is relevant to a person in this world who just may earn a paycheck crunching numbers.

One of my sons is taking some required humanities classes at the local branch campus of the University of Pittsburgh.  My boys are all science majors and are not quite so enamored with the subjective subject matter of the social sciences, and I agree that without the right person teaching these classes, they can be opinionated busy-work courses.  One would expect that a distinguished and not-so-inexpensive college like Pitt would be able to find highly qualified professional people to teach these courses in a meaningful way (even at a branch campus).  But every week, I am becoming more inflamed over how our tuition dollars are being spent!

First of all, the teacher:  Almost every week, one of J’s teachers is at least 15 minutes late for class.  One week she arrived 45 minutes late.  Most of the students don’t bother waiting around after 15 minutes, but J has another class afterward so there is no point in him leaving.  The secretary just keeps popping in every 15 minutes to say the teacher is on her way until she finally makes her grand entrance.  Highly disrespectful and irresponsible, in my opinion!

Not only is she notoriously late for class, she has a PhD yet asked the class if  “as of now” was one word or three! WTF!!  She’s teaching COLLEGE!!  I know I’m a little priggish about spelling sometimes because I used to read a lot and it came easy for me, and I’m aware of some very bright people that are challenged by spelling rules, but if you’re teaching college or are an English major or journalist, you should be literate!!  Does she seem smarter than a fifth grader??  I think not!

The text book:  I can’t even believe it is a text book.  It is the most biased, left-slanted piece of garbage I have ever laid eyes upon.  By the way, I would be almost as incensed if the book (titled “Critical Thinking” by Brooke Noel Moore and Richard Parker) was this one-sided yet totally aligned with my own viewpoints.  It is just opinionated drivel and in no way teaches or exemplifies “critical thinking.”  It is laden with factual errors that J has in fact pointed out in class.  At every opportunity, it slams the GOP, Fox News, the NRA, and the war on terrorism but treats the authors’ opinions on these subjects as facts rather than opinions.  It is clearly an opportunistic attempt to brainwash young minds that may have not had a chance to form their own opinions on these things.  And this is not even a political science class!!  It is supposed to be teaching “logic,” one of those murky subjects that academia loves.

By the way, I asked J about a week ago if he would mind if I blogged about this awful textbook and unprofessional teacher.  I in no way want to jeopardize his grade or cause him any trouble in case this teacher somehow stumbles upon this rant.  He was fine with it.  As I was thinking about what I wanted to write, he texted me that she was already 15 minutes late for class again tonight.  Then, of all things, she called him up after class and asked why he looked so bored and didn’t participate.  He was so floored, because half the kids in the class were sitting there with their eyes half-closed, without their book, and unlike J, never offered an answer or opinion.  J has been to every class, hadn’t dozed off and was following along with his text book in front of him.  Despite the idiocy of the subject matter, he has scored well on every quiz.  Where did this clueless question spring from?

It makes just about as much sense as the next tuition hike.

On 9/11: Compassion Begins at Home

It is often said that a person can not truly love others unless they first learn to love their self.  They may go through the motions of love, and in fact will usually put themselves last in an effort to convince others of their love.  But this is not love.  And the object of this “affection” will not usually appreciate nor respect the desperate efforts to please, somehow sensing the emotion is not truly love.  This self-loathing placating kind of love and compassion has become an epidemic in America; and the issues surrounding the most senseless egregious act of terror against everyday American citizens proves it.

It is true that most Muslims are everyday citizens like the rest of us, worshiping quietly and living their lives productively.  It is also true that others of their faith have demonically hijacked the entire Muslim religion and interpreted it as a reason to demean and stone their women, judge and persecute others who were raised in different faiths or do things differently, and encourage their young ones to strap on bombs or board planes and kill as many innocent “infidels” as they can.

If it’s really true that Islam is a religion of compassion and peace, then why the desire to rub salt into the wounds of the families of the nearly 3000 American citizens who were murdered on September 11, 2001?  There are many other places to build a mosque or Muslim community center in New York so why the desire to build one on the ashes of the innocent Americans killed on that late summer day in the name of Allah?  No true Muslim of faith would find it in their heart to hurt and disrespect the memories of these victims.  No truly compassionate American citizen would think it is so important to not upset the architects of this building at the expense of the pain it will cause the friends and families of the people forever buried there.  I am not against anyone building a mosque in this country.  I am only questioning the motive as to why it must be built RIGHT THERE?!  Why do they refuse to back down?

Of course, anyone that questions the motives of imam Feisal Abdul Rauf or his adherents are immediately branded with the “intolerant” or perhaps even “racist” label that are the most common epithets of choice of the America-hating crowd.  Our country is one of the most tolerant diverse countries on the planet and most of us love it that way.  Christian churches, Jewish synagogues, and Muslim mosques stand together within walking distance in most cities.  Although there are some intolerant individuals in this country, the rule of law is that everyone is free to worship (or not worship) as they please without worrying that some government-sanctioned thought-police will force you to dress and pray like everyone else or suffer dire consequences.  Unlike many countries where people are imprisoned or even executed for practicing another religion or carrying the holy book of another faith, we work side by side and easily mingle with our fellow citizens of different religions and races.  Yet one sign of respect, one small concession asked of these “Muslim community center” proponents and the bleeding hearts are tossing insults.

Of course, Main Stream Media is mum on the possibility that this building could be a so-called victory mosque like the ones mentioned in this and other blog posts.  I personally have no way of knowing if this is why some people are so adamant about this “Muslim center” being built so close to Ground Zero.  But if I were truly a person of faith, I would not be fighting for something that is so disturbing to so many fellow American citizens that mourned the senseless loss of life of our Christian, Jewish, atheist, agnostic, Muslim, Hindu et al. countrymen nine years ago today.

Who Am I Kidding?

I keep thinking I’m going to be able to find the time to rant about all the stupidity I hear about (yeah, I’m talkin’ about you, Lindsay, Mel, and morons from The View),  gripe about the evil traitorous BP and their secret deals to free the Libyan terrorist in the name of greed (karma’s a bitch BP – the disastrous oil spill soon followed), or gush obnoxiously about my newly acquired girls (yes, you CAN love someone else’s child like you love your own!).  I even had a GREAT story to tell about how I found out on FACEBOOK that my oldest son popped the question to his now fiance.

But I keep falling asleep before I get to the computer.  Or I have to get up and get another glass of juice for someone.  Then there are the countless appointments, family visitations, and paperwork to do.  Soooo…..I’m not going to keep you guessing as to whether I’ve quit blogging or not.  I HAVEN’T!  But I AM taking the rest of this month off–and I hope to catch up with everyone once school starts!  See you here in September–or maybe hanging out at my favorite blogger sites!  ❤

Coffee Pots for Dummies

About a year and a half ago, our old cheap basic Mr. Coffee coffee maker fizzled out and died with no warning.  Being my typical thrifty self, and also in a hurry to replace the source of my caffeine intake, I headed out to the closest bargain outlet to find a new coffeemaker.  Ollies is nearby, and usually has a good supply of reasonably priced quality housewares.  Since it sells close-out items, you’re never quite sure what will be in stock, but I am pretty flexible.  If it works, and is cheap, I’ll be happy.

Apparently, Ollies does not get a good supply of coffee makers.  At just about any given time they have lovely Farberware pots and pans, chef grade ceramic casserole dishes, and soft 200 thread count sheets.  But the supply of  coffee makers is usually very limited.  I got the only brand they had, some Cafe Belmondo close-out that had been part of some coffee promotion at one time.  For $20, how bad could it be?  And I didn’t feel like going to the other side of town to deal with the Wal-Mart crowds.

At first, the coffee pot seemed decent, although Big Daddy rolled his eyes at the no-name brand.  “Look, it has a timer.  We can set it before we go to bed and have coffee waiting for us,”  I pathetically argued to get his endorsement.  This was not the best argument since Mr. Wizard already has much of our household running on timers, and the old coffee pot was one of those items.

Before long, the digital read-out on the clock disintegrated, making it impossible to set the timer.  The replaceable mesh filter still allowed coffee grounds to get into the finished product so we had to buy the weird cone-shaped paper filters.  I used to be able to place the Mr. Coffee pot in the dishwasher, but since the lid didn’t come off this new gadget, I had to wash it by hand.  The spout dribbled coffee onto the counter every time we poured.  But the most annoying thing of all was…the damn thing turned off after two hours.  Whether you’re done with your coffee drinking or not, the stupid machine stops warming your pot of brew.

More than any other flaw and feature, the two-hour shut-off is the one thing that annoyed us most.  We like to enjoy our coffee throughout the day, not gulp it down in an hour or two.  I have a thermos carafe, but that’s just one more pain-in-the butt thing to wash.  And Big Daddy actually likes the taste of coffee that has been cooking all day on the warmer.  I should have asked for a new coffee maker for Christmas.  In fact, I saw one for about $10 at Wal-Mart while I was Christmas shopping.  I could kick myself for not buying it.

Saturday I got a 10% off coupon from Ollies.  Today I used the last of my cone-shaped coffee filters.  This perfect storm convinced me to try my luck again at buying a coffee maker.  There was another no-name brand, and it had the stupid two-hour shut-off.  Then I spied a Black and Decker model.  It was factory serviced, but who cares?  The filter basket was round, and it was a brand name.  There was no mention of it shutting down after two hours.

I brought it home and set it up.  I ran water through it to clean out the dust before I use it.  And then I read the booklet that proudly mentioned that it automatically shuts off after two hours!!!

Is this a law now?  Do they think we’re all too stupid to turn off the coffee pot when we’re done?  I realize most of us Americans are too stupid to understand the health care issues without them being properly explained by our elected elite, and soon they’ll have to limit our access to junk food and such because we’re too dumb to realize it’s not good for us, but really!  Taking away our steamy midday cup of java?  This is really a low blow.

Some Beasts Belong In Cages

I don’t much like to pay them, but I agree that taxes are a necessary evil.  They should be used to pay for the things that are necessary to maintain a civilized society.  They are needed to build and maintain the infrastructure—roads and bridges to keep us mobile.  They should be used wisely to educate our children and provide for those citizens that are mentally or physically unable to take care of themselves.  One of the most important uses of our tax dollars should be to keep us safe.  We need to maintain an army to protect us from foreign invaders, and police officers and a justice system to keep us safe within our own borders.  Perhaps I wouldn’t complain so much if the “powers that be” spent my tax dollars wisely.

Almost every day a story airs that makes it clear that someone doesn’t understand what it takes to protect the innocent.  How many children have been killed or molested by some monster that was let out of jail before they’d even served the time they’d been sentenced?  How many drunks have killed and destroyed innocent families after being slapped on the wrist yet again after their fourth or fifth DUI?  The latest tragedy hit close to my home this week.  This trusting 30-year-old mentally challenged woman was found dead in the parking lot of a local middle school, after having been beaten, humiliated and tortured for 36 hours by some savage “friends,” then stuffed in a garbage can.  Neighbors heard a ruckus and screaming, but for some reason which has yet to be disclosed, didn’t see the need to call the police.  But that’s another story.  There are other reasons why this young woman should still be alive.

The ringleader of this group of monsters had a criminal history already at the age of 23.  He had PFA’s filed against him by a former wife or girlfriend and by his own mother.  The justice system failed us all when the same judge repeatedly sent him for “anger management counseling,” even after his parole officer suggested his parole be revoked.  Several of the other creeps also had a history of assaults.

Lady Justice

Instead, the police are expected to spend their valuable time rounding up “dangerous” pot-smokers.  Incredibly, there are people in our prison system behind bars for selling some weed to their friends while really scary beasts like these killers are released into the midst of an unsuspecting public.  It’s really kind of stupid, and also very scary.

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