Wednesday, June 26, 2013

She has been fired, can we move on now?

A local new channel had a post on Facebook asking people's opinions about the whole Paula Deen thing. Now, first, this is not news. Asking a question that will inevitably lead to a stupid fight is not news. Is it an overreaction to her admitting to using a racial slur? I don't really know. I haven't done any research into it to find out how often she uses racial slurs, tells racist jokes, etc. I do know that I am annoyed at the people whose response is, "everyone used it back then" or "it's excusable because it was after having a gun held to her head by a black guy." Just because it was common when she was younger, doesn't mean it is okay. It was wrong then, however common it was, and it is wrong now. As for the idea that it is excusable because she had a gun pointed at her or that any white person would say if in that situation, I totally disagree. When I was in high school, my boyfriend & I were mugged, at gunpoint, by two black guys. I did not resort to calling them racial slurs. It did not color my opinion of black people in general. It did not change the way I thought of or treated black people. Neither did the incident where a black guy broke into our apartment, woke me up, and started asking me where stuff was that he could steal (he was very high or drunk or both). I woke up to him standing in my bedroom doorway, after he turned on the light, asking me where things were. I was about 15 years old & sleeping in very little because it was a hot summer night. I was completely freaked out. My mom woke up, heard him, & chased him out of the house. The police arrived quickly. I was pissed at the cops, because I had to fight them to be able to go get dressed, instead of standing around wrapped in a sheet to cover myself, but my general opinion of black people was not changed. I have had bad experiences with black people, but also with people of other races, and I know that entire races cannot be held responsible for the stupid and/or illegal actions of individuals. Therefore, my response is not to start shouting racial slurs.

Honestly, I think she should have been fired back when everyone found out about the diabetes she had been hiding from her fans, while continuing to make butter & sugar filled crap, food she couldn't even eat. If she had been responsible, she would have changed the show to healthier food & involved her audience in her learning process & journey to healthier eating. Instead, she continued to make high fat, high sugar, deep-fried, greasy, unhealthy junk food, food that contributes to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and more. That is irresponsible, and I think she should have been fired at that point.

I have never been a fan of hers. I also do not actually have cable, which means no Food Network channel on a regular basis. So, this does not in any way impact my life. I have always stayed away from things she endorsed & will continue to do so. I just really hope that all this hoopla over her dies down quickly, so I can stop seeing posts about her all over the place. It's done. Can we move on now?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Week 9 Grade 4

Monday is a lazy day. I am exhausted, as I've been sleeping like crap due to the heat. The kids have been up very late 3 nights in a row & are exhausted. So, we sleep late today. I tell them I want a minimal amount of school done today - Math, Latin, reading, and watching a dvd for Science for Jay; Geometry, Accounting, and reading for Dea.  We spend the day not doing much.

Tuesday is another lazy day. Though we do get most of our work done. Dea & I are discussing changing up her schedule, again. Basically, she is pretty far behind right now, & we need to figure out a way for her to finish the work on time. On top of that, she's got tons of plans coming up - an SCA event with her grandma, visits to her great-grandpa, visits with another grandma, visits with aunts & uncles, and, of course, spending time with cousins & friends. She will not be able to finish her work at this rate. I think part of it is that she simply can't handle the full course load. I staggered the courses for this year, but apparently not enough. She still has way too much work & not enough time. Maybe it's because she has 12 courses this year. Maybe it's because she has serious time management issues that she still has not worked out. Maybe I added too many supplemental materials to some of her courses. Honestly, I think it's all three.

We really aren't getting a full day of school done on any day this week. It is simply too hot & humid for any of us to have any ambition. Plus, there has been some other stuff going on this week. My grandpa was in the hospital, was moved from the hospital to a nursing home (temporarily, for physical therapy/rehab), then back to another hospital because he got worse again. Jay is spending the weekend with his grandma, so there's packing & planning to do, and he leaves Thursday afternoon. I miss my little guy when he isn't here. It's so quiet. I know he's having fun, and I know his grandma can take care of him. I miss him, though. I can hardly wait for the weekend to be over, so my baby will be home.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Week 8, grade 4

I'm keeping this one short & sweet. This week, we did most of our planned work. It has been a horribly hot & humid week, and none of us really felt like doing anything. Plus, Wednesday we spent part of the day doing storm prep & part in the basement during the tornado warning. So, we just didn't get all of it done.

This week my husband started a different shift at work. It is a temporary switch, while he trains for a different position. This threw off our schedule a little, but we managed.

I started the week planning 2 visits to my grandpa. The first would be a weekend, the second a week & a half. However, my grandpa is now in the hospital, and we are unsure how long he will remain there. We may have to cancel the weekend visit, but he will hopefully be home in time for the longer visit. We are hoping to take him to a museum toward the end of the longer visit. If we can get him a wheelchair (he has had some major leg issues this last 2 years & is using a walker. Plus, he's in the hospital for an infection in his leg), we figure we can spend the day at the museum & all have a good time. He & my grandma used to take me to museums & zoos when I was a kid, and I'd really like to repay that by getting to take him this time. We don't get out to see him much because our schedule makes it hard to go out of town for a day or longer, without completely rearranging everything. However, with my husband's temporary new schedule & a week amazingly free of dr appointments, we only had to rearrange a few things to manage these two visits.

Friday night, we watched a movie in the park with my sis & her family. Saturday, we had a cookout at my sister's. Today, my husband & kids are spending the day visiting my husband's parents. I stayed home, am doing some housework, some work for my Aromatherapy class, reading, and planning the upcoming week's schoolwork for the kids.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Week 7 Grade 4

Monday, we all get up a little late. Dea starts the morning complaining about Geometry, and then finally starts working on Geometry. Jay starts with ASL, followed by LS3 lesson 7 & Perplexors A lesson 7. Jay is making lunch today. He has chosen to make sloppy joes with homemade sauce & corn on the cob. Since those don't take long to cook, he also fits in vocab games on the computer before heading to the kitchen to make lunch. While Jay & I make lunch, Dea reads from Life of Pi.

After lunch, my husband finds my solar powered frog in pieces in the front yard. Apparently, the kids broke it & didn't bother to say anything about it. I am pissed, and really don't want to be around the kids right now. I need some time to cool down. I'm tired of them destroying stuff. I'm tired of them hiding things from me. I'm tired of being lied to. If it was an accident, own up to it right away, and I won't be that angry. Hide the evidence in a bush & decide to say nothing until someone finds it, when you then ramble on & on about how it wasn't your fault & you weren't trying to hide it, and I am guaranteed to be livid. So, Jay watches a dvd on dinosaurs in my room, and Dea does Geography in the office. She takes a break, does some chores, & has a snack before starting Accounting. When Jay finishes his dvd, he has a snack & reads a book about dinos. After Accounting, Dea takes yet another break & has dinner before doing Gov & logic games. After dinner, Jay still has a lot to do. So, we do our Literary Elements while he finishes dinner. Our book this week is Mr. Wolf's Pancakes. We then do Mad Libs. Next is Geography, which consists of looking up things to do in Maine & finding them on a map. He then does chapter 21 in Elementary Physics. After a break, Dea does Psych & ASL. After his break, Jay does Latin, his copywork & noun worksheet, and his hour of reading.

I ask Dea to show me her work from the day, which leads to me find out she has, again, been lying about what work she has gotten done. This time, it is her online classes she is lying about, and she tries to blame her instructor for it. She claims her instructor, for no reason, reset several of her assignments, which really means she hasn't done them, but doesn't want to admit it. We then get into an argument, as she complains about how she has nothing. Jay's school day ends with a game of Boggle.

Tuesday starts off amazingly calm. Dea does her Geometry without complaint, but does not read from Life of Pi until after lunch. Jay starts the day with watching a dvd for Science. He then starts reading Where the Red Fern Grows, his newest required reading book. I have been trying to get him to read it for a few years now, but he kept refusing. I know he'll enjoy it, but he just kept fighting me on it. Lunch is gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. After lunch, Dea works on her term paper, then reads Life of Pi. Jay reads a book about dinosaurs. He wants to take a break form working on his dino theme park, so we start his excavation today. The three of us take a break, have a snack, and watch an episode of Horrible Histories (just added on Netflix streaming). Then, we play a game of Word Sweep. After the game, Dea plays vocab games on the computer & Jay doe his copywork, noun worksheet, and Mad Libs. After a break & dinner, Dea does Accounting & plays logic games on the computer, and Jay does Life of Fred. He then reads a book on van Gogh for Art. Dea does Government & ASL. We end school with our Poetry Tea.

Wednesday begins with the kids fighting, and my husband soon joins in with the fighting. I hate days that start with fighting. Once school starts, Dea sits down to work on her Geometry without a complaint. Jay goes on the computer to do vocab games & logic games. Dea is making lunch today, and heads into the kitchen early, despite not needing to do much because the meat has been cooking in a crock pot since this time yesterday. She then decides to go clean her room until it is time to eat. Jay goes in my room to read Where the Red Fern Grows.

After lunch, Dea studies for her Geometry test & does Accounting. Jay chooses Mad Libs, followed by copywork. We watch an episode of Dear America for History. They take a ridiculously long break for a snack. Both work on History following their snack. Dea is studying Medieval Times this year, and spends today learning about the Tudor era. Jay does his journal entry (he's writing journal entries from the point of view of someone on a ship coming to 'The New World'), reads a book about Roanoke, and goes on the computer to visit sites for History. The three of us play Scrabble. Jay finishes up his school with Math & Latin, and Dea & I finish with some time spent on AAS.

Thursday I wake up with a headache, so I stay in bed until lunch. Dea studies for her Geometry test & reads from Life of Pi. Jay does Music & reads from Where the Red Fern Grows. As I expected, he's loving the book. We have homemade tacos for lunch. I don't eat mine because the meat is completely cold & mostly lacking in flavor, which means they didn't add enough seasoning (it's homemade, so no specific amount listed on it) & turned it off about 10-15 minutes before serving it. After lunch, Jay does vocab games on the computer. Dea starts watching Taming of the Shrew. We do an impromptu nutrition/finance lesson by going through the sales ads to the 2 local grocery stores at which we regularly shop. We use a white board & tally marks to see how many unhealthy vs healthy items are on sale & how many are things we regularly buy vs things we rarely/never buy. We then discuss the results, which were that one of the stores has a lot more unhealthy food than healthy food on sale, between the 2 stores the healthy & unhealthy sale items are almost evenly matched, there is a lot of stuff we don't regularly buy, and out of the items we do regularly buy (average of once a month or more often), less than 15% is unhealthy. We then discussed the items for which you typically find coupons & which food items tend to be more expensive. We even compared the cost of a frozen lasagna vs the cost of ingredients to make a lasagna. Unsurprisingly, it is far cheaper to eat unhealthy, processed, convenience foods & junk food than to buy fresh, healthy ingredients to make meals at home. Dea's got an ear infection. As is common with her ear infections, there is drainage from her ears & quite a bit of pain. It is also causing a headache. So, she is hanging out in my room, because it's the darkest room in the house. After spending some time on the computer visiting sites for History, Jay reads a book on Williamsburg. We do Mad Libs, followed by copywork & noun worksheet. Next, he does Latin & Math. We finish with AAS5 step 2. We were going to do a Freewrite today, but decide against it due to Dea's not feeling well.

Friday, Dea goes grocery shopping with me. We had been using Cozi for our shopping lists, because we could send the list as a text to my cell before we went shopping. However, they dropped that feature a little while ago. Yesterday, I decided to try out Out of Milk for our shopping lists. It doesn't let you text the list to your phone, but I can access it on my Nook, even while we're at the store. Also, it lets you create categories to organize your list how you want it, you can enter in prices & see how much your total should be, you can also create pantry lists to keep an inventory of what you have, and you can easily copy or move the items from your shopping lists to your pantry lists. So, it has more features than Cozi does, in regards to shopping. Though, we will continue to use Cozi for the calendar & To Do lists. Anyway, today was our trial run with Out of Milk. Dea was having fun using it, and I'm sure Jay will, too. Plus, I think it will be a good tool to help with teaching them budgeting, personal finance, and other life skills.

We take my husband to work today, because Dea has a doctor's appointment. She has an ear infection, which we already knew. The problem with her ear infections is that they always include drainage from her ears. Either her ear drum gets perforated with every infection, or they never healed up after the tubes came out. I honestly think they just never healed, because it seems more likely than the other option, though no doctor has ever shown concern about this before. I mean, seriously, how likely is it that every single ear infection she has had since she was, say 6 years old (I don't remember exactly when the tubes fell out, but I know it was by age 6), has perforated both her ear drums, even if the infection is only in one ear? We are talking at least one, but more often 3-4, each year. The doctor today (not our regular, one of the other dr's in her office) even said that she thinks the hole never healed in Dea's left ear. It was more difficult to tell with the right ear, since that is the one that is infected. You can't use ear drops, though, if the ear drum is perforated. Which means, we can never use herbal ear drops for her ear infections, and that leaves few herbal treatments for them. Also, medical guidelines, even ones aimed at reducing the amount of antibiotics prescribed for ear infections, say that anyone with a ruptured ear drum needs antibiotics. So, we always get stuck having to put her on antibiotics for these stupid ear infections. I had to take tons of antibiotics due to ear infections & other chronic issues that lasted into my 20s, and it caused an immunity to many antibiotics. Combine that immunity to them & my allergy to an entire group of antibiotics, and you are left with few that I can be prescribed that have a chance of actually working. I don't want my daughter to have the same issue.

After the doctor's appointment, we stop at a few stores to pick up some things we need around the house. We stop at the pharmacy, and then finally make it home. Dea reads from Life of Pi & does her Geometry test. Jay waits until after dinner to do his bridge in LoF Elementary Physics & read from Where the Red Fern Grows. Dea spends the rest of the day at a friend's house.

It has been a long week, and I'm glad it's mostly over. This weekend will be busy, as well. We have to go to the library & sign Jay up for the summer reading program. Dea & I are both already signed up, since we can track online. My sister is being induced tomorrow, so we may be going to visit her & her new baby in the hospital. Plus, I have a pregnant niece, and her baby shower is this weekend. So, I think I will take some time now to plan out next week for the kids.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mission: Kitty Rescue

Today we saved a whole family of cats. There is a family in our neighborhood who have several outdoor cats. They don't really take care of these cats. They refuse to have them spayed/neutered. I doubt they have ever taken any of them to the vet. They only let them in the house when it's a pregnant cat who is about to give birth. They let them stay in for a few weeks, them kick them all out, generally asking everyone in the neighborhood if they want one of the kittens. Today, the daughter shows up at our door asking if we can take in these 3 kittens she has with her. They are newborns, still have their eyes closed. I ask if she can get us the mom, too. She says yes. I bring the kittens in & get them into something warm, while Dea takes a carrier & goes with the find mama kitty. They find her & get her in the carrier. We called animal control to come get the whole family. We already have 3 cats & a dog. We can't take in an unknown cat, who has likely never been to a vet & could have who knows how many diseases, & her kittens. Animal control will take care of them. The kittens will stay with mama kitty until they are old enough to be weaned. All will see a vet & get shots. All will be spayed/neutered. Then, they will all be put up for adoption & go to homes where they will hopefully be taken care of properly.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

From M&Ms to Boiling Mercury on the Grill

I made a comment today that this is the kind of weather that proves M&Ms lied. I then had to explain to Jay that I was talking about M&Ms' slogan "Melts in your mouth, not in your hand," because we don't watch regular TV, so he hasn't seen a lot of commercials. This innocent comment on my part spawned a conversation between my husband & son about things that melt vs things that don't melt. That conversation, of course, involved metals. They started discussing the melting point of metals, so I looked it up for them. We discussed the melting points of various metals. Then, they moved onto boiling points of metals, which we also looked up. While discussing the boiling point of mercury (about 674F), we questioned whether we could boil mercury in our oven. So, we had to go see how high the oven went (I can honestly say I had never bothered to look before). Since our oven only goes to 525F, we obviously couldn't boil mercury in the oven (not that we would, we did discuss why that would be a bad idea). We could, however, boil it on the grill, as my husband has gotten that to over 700F. Though, we obviously wouldn't actually try it.

It was an interesting conversation. This is the kind of thing I love about our life. We will go off on these strange tangents, research odd things, and go from talking about M&Ms to why we shouldn't boil mercury on the grill, all in the course of one conversation. This wasn't school. It wasn't planned. It was just one of those things we ended up discussing out of sheer interest & odd chance. We have conversation like this all the time (several times a daily, usually). We start on one topic, end up on something seemingly unrelated, researching, debating, questioning along the way. I think that living like this helps our kids to truly understand that you really do learn for the rest of your life, that education is not limited to "school." We are not afraid to admit when we don't know something. We routinely look up things to find or verify an answer. We debate. We question. We discuss a large, though somewhat odd, range of topics. We sometimes make unusual connections. My husband & I both continue our education formally or informally all the time. The kids see this. They participate in much of it. I very much hope that this modeling of constant learning helps lead them in that direction. I don't care what they want to do when they grow up. They need to decide that for themselves. I will never push them toward or away from a career choice. However, I do want them to always continue to learn. I want them to love learning new things. I want them to always be curious.