31 August 2009
So, I understand that sometimes, you wind up here looking for something and not finding it, but meeting a new friend and learning something unusual anyway. One of the most popular searches that brings people to my blog is for "work boxes" and how to do them.
Elf ears? I've done that search myself! Here ya go.
Welcome, all you reasonably normal, sane people searching the internet for unusual, but at least semi-understandable things. But some searches are a little creepy. Thankfully most of these folks don't stay here too long.
Did Jaycee Dugard homeschool her children? Oh, my goodness. Um... ya think? This is one of those few times where I have to tell you... it's a rather moot point and who cares if the kids can read...
Or here you were, looking about online for some posts about "used underwaer," and you wound up looking at my son's birthday pictures. It was probably a bit of a disappointment. I don't know quite what you expected, but whatever it is is probably not regularly featured here. Sorry.
There were also assorted "homeschooling bad"- type searches that reminded me that sometimes when we set out to find out about a topic, our biases direct the direction in which we're looking.
30 August 2009
And what effected this change? How did you show them that you meant BUSINESS, and thus turned the school district administrators into quivering jelly-blobs, begging to give your child the "free and appropriate education" you knew the kid needed before, but didn't know how to arm-twist the school into providing?
Did you hire a lawyer? Research some loophole in the law yourself, thus becoming able to chant the educationalese lingo-bingo magick spell (while waving the wand you constructed of cherrywood and throwing silver glitter) that unlocks the keyhole of expensive accomodation?
No! You bought this product, as advertized on my facebook sidebar. For only $48, you could have this handy-dandy binder, with little pocket folders to hold IEPs and progress reports. And dividers. Dividers show you mean BUSINESS. Maybe I should look around and see if they sell rolling trunks, too, because if a big binder will scare administrators, what could I do with a whole TRUNKFUL of paper?
Maybe I shouldn't be so sarcastic, because looking around at the other areas of the website show me that there are some actual useful books that could be helpful for special-needs children. They're a bit on the high end of things price-wise, though. And one of the links on the site tells me never to refer to my children as "autistic" because that's not who they are. That's just one aspect of them, just like me being fat.
I've changed my opinion on that one. Really? I haven't changed my opinion so much as thought through some of the implications of the vocabulary. I want my autistic children to be as functional as possible in this world, while we all work together to make the environment a place where they CAN function. Oh... and it has a "Welcome to Holland" link, too, which I don't think adequately describes parenting autistic children.
Have you seen any odd or overpriced products as late?
29 August 2009
Hemant Mehta writes in The Friendly Atheist that while the story itself is disturbing, of particular interest is how the fellow was caught because he acted suspiciously toward some children while distributing religious literature.
This Garrido guy says that God talks to him from a box? He's obviously not ok in the head. I think a larger question would be whether the Christian religion ITSELF promotes this sort of action.
I can't say that it does, but there are several areas I'm going to admit I don't understand in relation to sex and the Bible. I'll have to post an interesting video on this very thing. I suppose there are wackos out there who interpret the Bible all kinds of interesting ways (liberal, conservative, or just plain weird). But does the Christian religion LEND itself to being twisted in that way? Or do some mentally ill people gravitate toward a "god" explanation for what they do and how they feel?
People like to bring up the Crusades and that sort of thing from way back when in discussing a religious overview. Historically religion, politics and just plain power plays get so mixed up that I can't imagine that any of us can know more truth than the basics. That Jesus, God incarnate, died on a cross. That He was buried. That He rose on the third day. That through Him is the forgiveness of sins.
Ooh, did you see anything about the Republican Party in those last few sentences? Me, neither.
There are a lot of side-issues we like to get all caught up into every now and then. Dresses or not. Homeschooling, or not. Are you Catholic? Whether that means you are a Christian, or not. The translation of our bibles. Whether we speak in tongues, or tithe.
When I read stories like this, I am just awestruck. And not in a good way. I want to look away. I want to help. And I want to pretend that stuff like this doesn't go on right here in our country. But it does. I know of whole groups of people who have had abuse issues in the name of Christ, and to this day are silent. It's over. And it's not over. God willed it. And yet He did not.
Oh, no. I don't have any deep thoughts on the issue. But I do have deep sadness when I read these things. I don't know whether they should be reported. I don't know if those things were truly meant for my eyes or not. I don't want to look at sensational news. But I don't want to look the other way when abuse happens. I think... I just want to acknowledge here that this woman and her whole family have been harmed.
Before I go, I thought I'd post a small but interesting comment from that blog post:
"Mental illness clouds the issues here. Researchers have found, for example, an autistic child who fixated on memorizing the model numbers of thousands of cameras while simultaneously having absolutely no interest in photography. It’s entirely possible that someone could fixate on the god-talk, pass out fliers, go to church, etc., while still not being religious in any meaningful sense of the word."
Wow. Now, I promise-swear I've never kidnapped anyone, etc. etc. ... but those words have stuck with me. Could we get so fixated on the this and that in the Bible or in what we're doing for God or whatever that we TOTALLY MISS IT?
28 August 2009
I wonder what silly spoofs about America are on the web in China? And what our accents sound like to them? D was doodling around on the internet and researching "Spongebob Hitler." Well, I suppose this is close enough. Do you think that the rubber dog poop is "hirarious," too? :]
27 August 2009
But look what I found while looking about! The Confederate States of America has its own website, and YOU could apply for citizenship! See, Lee surrendered... not the CSA Government! Southerners are just in occupied territory. All kinds of grand ideas about how the CSA will generously allow Northern business interests to continue to operate in the South after the government takes its rightful place are outlined.
We will study the things in the textbook, but we'll also take time out to do things like make a model of the Bastille and have a bit of fun.
Here, we're staying a few months on the Civil War. Our Bob Jones curriculum tells the story of the Civil War in brief outline. It's probably written by a Southerner because the curriculum includes the holiness and devotion of the Southern commanders (list six reasons Stonewall Jackson is one of the greatest generals of all time!) and emphasizes the fact that most Southerners didn't own slaves, the South had very little in the way of weaponry and factories and able-bodied white men ready to fight, etc.
And you know, they're right. Of course, it doesn't follow that slavery was the "right" thing (and I think our curriculum makes that pretty clear). More that, nobody likes to feel bossed around and having their rights taken away, even if one of those "rights" is to harm another person under the law.
One rabbit trail we happily followed was finding out more about Jesse James. Click here to see those adventures! (This post might pop up first... if it does, just scroll down.)
Now, everyone outside our local area will tell you that Jesse James was a "bad" guy. Here? They have festivals for him. And look-alike contests! You can see his farm and museum. Or the bank he robbed. They even have a documentary at his farm about how he was truly a great countryman, and this whole robbing trains thing was the North's fault (they started it because they didn't let the South alone).
So anyway, to balance our curriculum a bit, we are watching the Ken Burns Civil War documentary. Elf has been visibly upset through most of it. It is very hard for him to watch. He doesn't see that much real-news violence and that sort of thing, so even the paintings of battles are difficult for him and he is sad for the drummer boys and the slaves, and the men... Well, everyone. He says that he wishes they didn't have a war anyway.
We are also using Evan-Moor History Pockets. This history is told more from the Northern perspective and features a section on "famous abolitionists" and the like. Elf and Emperor are colouring the pictures of the various Union and Confederate soldiers based on a chart. They're also learning a bit about life in the armed forces and later will be doing some recipes. (Modified slightly. I refuse to serve squirrel or "worm-castle" biscuits. Thanks.)
I tend to concentrate on whether the children are learning about a given thing and nevermind the gaps. After we're done with this curriculum, we're going to do a world overview for a while. Which I think will actually be much tougher, the reason being that when one doesn't cover something in depth, whole countries and eras are going to be skipped. My children may just emerge from that year-long (or two!) study not knowing where Zimbabwe is located. Most people at least will not quiz my young kids at the local Feldman's. Speaking of which, we MUST make the trip out there next baby-chicken season in the spring. This place has the entire line of Farm-Boy clothing AND wrenches as big as your arm. G was not surprised to see this stuff. He said no, it's not a joke. You need that for tractors.
(OK... I TOLD YOU we went on rabbit-trails here.)
Now, every month or so, I write a few lines under each subject and give an update in my log book. This is usually where I realize that wow, we haven't done science in a few weeks or whatever. I tend to do intensive work in social studies for a few weeks, and then intensive science work. It seems too much switching around, combined with inevitable rabbit trails, is just too hard to keep track of if I try to get to every subject each day.
So why don't I just lay out my schedule and follow it? That's a good question. I think when the children get older, it will be necessary. For now? Nah. Though I do follow the math curriculum very strictly page by page. I just don't necessarily do a full "lesson" each day. I do it based on how long the children will reasonably take to get something done. So, some days we will just do a few problems, and other days we can zing through and get a lot accomplished. The main idea, however, is that the children learn the math. Promise you that 20 years from now, it won't matter what workbook they used. It will, however, matter if they can't add and subtract. :]
26 August 2009
At least back in the day, if you wore that crap to school? Your day would be disrupted and you'd go home with a fat lip. Not to mention that you are disrupting everyone else's day because THEY feel the need to go beat you up. Not that that's nice! Just that that IS disruptive, regardless of whether you have the RIGHT to wear it and feel safe at school both at the same time. And yes, it DOES disrupt teachers' and administrators' time to have to deal with the petty fighting that results. But you just go ahead and assert your rights because you need to be uniquely you, whether it inflames argument around you and wastes staff time and messes up the learning environment of the other 1,200 students or not.
Actually, I'm ok with people being allowed to wear gay pride T-shirts if other speech isn't stifled. Confederate flags! Maybe even a Nazi symbol! Beer and cigarette ads! Whatever would be acceptable and lawful at your local Wal-Mart ought to be able to be worn at school, right? Maybe even a cross or a Biblical saying, or a Christian's opinion?
See, Christians need to shut up. It's ok for everyone else to have an opinion, even and offensive or blasphemous one... unless they're one of those intolerant types that like, believe in Heaven and Hell and stuff. Wear your local church's "Islam is of the Devil" shirt, and get sent home. Wear your "There is No Devil" shirt, and I guess you're ok. Because those existentialists don't get everyone around them upset by proclaiming truth and all that.
You know... I'd be ok with these kids being sent home if school policy were more uniformly applied. Speaking of uniformly doing stuff... and uniforms, might as well. Everyone wear a plain blue shirt and plain blue pants. (Denim is ok.) Require it. Then watch people all get upset that their "freedom of expression" is being trampled upon. But I think the public schools would rather just send home the Christians and be done with it. Those Christians can be such a pain sometimes. Bet you these are the annoying type that pray over their meals and evangelize, too.
Disclaimer: As a result ofa friend's questions by email, I feel I need to add the following:
No, I don't think this is a "nice" shirt. It's not something I'd let my children wear personally. I hope that I didn't come off that way. I only meant to state that offensive material, if allowed, ought to be allowed across the board. I think the "Islam is of the Devil" kinds of shirts inflame people to no good purpose. I don't think Paul ever went to a Greek temple and went, "Oh, your gods are SOOO lame. Mine is better. Nyah, nyah." That's not the Christian "attitude," in my opinion.
What I was advocating for was fair treatment. That means if the "Islam" shirts go home, so should the gay pride shirts and the other offensive items. Thats' all. :]
25 August 2009
Or perhaps they did nothing wrong, we can never know these things, etc. etc. Therefore, in these circumstances, the reason must be that God somehow needed to "be glorified" through mass carnage. I mean, everything in life is supposed to be good if it "brings God glory." He didn't have enough to start with (He must be limited, you see) and so he needed some extra this week to get Himself by.
Maybe I'm just not a very good Christian, but stuff like that makes me wanna puke. That, and the idea that YES! healing is for today... but... If you're sick, just keep praying and going to the doctor. Sick still? Keep praying and do spiritual things like "push through and touch the hem of His garment." Did you give a "special gift?" Someone no doubt would tell me that the reason all my prayers are not answered is because I haven't done these things lately.
Very nice theology. Maybe, just maybe, I've done them and done them and done them and done them and figured out it hasn't worked. Past a certain point, maybe it's foolish to keep doing them. Maybe, just maybe, God wants me to accept things as they are or leave them alone *for now* and come back to them later. I don't think you can test God through prayer in some simple "if/then" loop.
OK, disclaimer: I do believe in God. I believe in the inerrancy of scripture as proclaimed in the Bible. I think we should NOT be tossed on every wind of doctrine, but I also don't think we should hang on to things just because that's the way we've always done it. Very nice if you want to wear a dress, but I don't see where (at least in our culture today) my wearing pants is immodest. Things like that are extras and/or personal conviction. If you're so together that wearing a dress or not is a big issue for you, congratulations! Some of us are still struggling with other stuff like drug addiction, gossip or just plain sour attitudes. So you just go with that if you have that other stuff together. If you don't? Well, at least you'll be looking good as though you do.
And I believe in prayer. I can tell you that after prayer, my son Elf was totally healed of his asthma. He's doing so well, I can scarce believe that this used to be a chronic condition for him. I just don't see that it follows that others weren't as deserving or whatever. All I can say is, "YAY! I'm glad God did something this time," and just praise Him for that. I can't pretend to understand the whys of it. Only that sometimes, it happens.
One thing that sort of bothers me... well, a lot... is this idea that pastors on the radio have been doing of late. They'd ask their local atheist friend to pray for 30 days to prove or disprove the existence of God. This has to be the silliest thing I've ever heard. Watch those heathens get saved by the score! Woo-hoo!
IMO, one of four things will happen as a result:
1. Somehow, God makes Himself known to the atheist in a powerful way. Even though the atheist was not a believer when he prayed. Even though prayer from an atheist is rathermuch akin to my talking to the Santa Claus in my rafters that I don't believe in and expecting an answer. Hey, I can't limit God so I suppose this choice *could* happen.
2. The atheist was already a secret believer, and this "test" helped him come out of the closet. He then has a good reason to say that supernatural things have happened, thus "convincing" him that it's ok to be a Christian. It might lose him a few of his atheist friends, but it would give him some street cred with his new peer group.
3. The atheist has so thoroughly bought into the power of suggestion that he has somehow hypnotized himself over the last thirty days. Maybe if I prayed to Allah for 30 days, fasted, spent time only with Muslims over that time, etc. I would become a Muslim. (NOT an experiment I want to try. Thanks.)
4. The atheist becomes even more hardened to the gospel message because the whole experiment was a crock and he doesn't feeeeeel any differently.
Now. Despite all that I have written, I have to give you a praise report. D was able to see his Granny one last time, and was able to be with her when she died. I am thankful to God that this time, it seems that He has made the timing perfect. D was unable to get out of appointments last Wednesday or work on Sunday (he maintains computer systems, and YOUR sabbath therefore must be his workday sometimes, as that is when the system is unused. Not that he goes to church anyway). He left Wednesday afternoon and got there late that night. He was able to spend Thursday and part of Friday with his Granny and be right there when she died. Saturday morning, early, he headed home. Slept a bit Saturday night and off to work Sunday morning.
I don't know why things worked out so well (considering the circumstance of her dying, which was imminent!). I think sometimes we can just say "thank you," knowing we don't know the whys of everything. Nor can we.
24 August 2009
What do you think?
Personally, I think part of the reason vouchers and the like will never really happen on a large scale is that everyrone recognizes that the wrong sorts of children would go school-jumping all over creation. That would ruin stuff for the kids in the "good schools." You know, the ones whose parents paid over $39,600 in school taxes just last year? And have tutors from $ylvan Learning Centers, a housekeeper so Mom doesn't get distracted from getting her nails done, hair fixed, dogs groomed and... oh yeah! parenting.
Just nobody wants to say it politically because it would look all classist and racist. And the reason it would look all classist and racist? We've been keeping track of which classes and races do well on "the test" for a long time. This tracking somehow leads the rest of us to being less classist and racist. We can't just look at it as School A or B anymore. Maybe we never really did.
Go ask a realtor if they've ever been asked by a buyer to be steered away from "those" neighbourhoods. Ask someone who will give you an honest answer. Rich people don't buy land in the middle of the 'hood to build their mansions. They live near other rich people so they don't have to talk to trash like me or look at my dandelions or meet my black neighbours.
But they're not racist! Those schools in the rich places? They're open to anyone who has the money to move into their neighbourhood. They're very sure to teach the children the proper way to think about diversity and multiculturalism and la la la. Our school newspaper once made the comment that our school is diverse because we all wore different colour Benetton shirts. (Yes, it was the 80's.)
The truth? They don't really need to fight racism in the Richie-rich schools, because there are something like three black kids in the school and they've learned to act just like everyone else. No one really needs to learn to get along with others not like themselves in these places. They learn about Hispanic and black children from a book. Maybe they'll even invite a Native American in to testify to the fact that the beautiful houses they live in on those rolling hills... used to be the land of his people. *sniff* Aw, how sad. We feel so guilty. Thanks for that talk, byyyyye!
If public schools were open on a first-enrolled, first-served basis, and there truly were education "vouchers" that would enable families to escape "failing" public schools... well, those poor families might send their kids *here,* the reasoning goes. And we don't want 'em.
Parents like me *know* the local schools are bad, but we're afraid of change because as bad as things are here, they could get worse! Go ahead and ream me in the comments. But I've seen some of these kids from the Kansas City Public School district. WOEFUL grammar. Absolutely horrible. "What a 'C' look like?" should not pass for an utterance I'm expected to understand. And "ain't?" Ought not be used at all, let alone with the word "no." You make my head spin, and I'm not sure if the "no's" cancel out or not, but since the "ain't" isn't a real word, should I disregard that part and count your statement as a single negative?
Well, and as little as we have in this world, we can at least sell our houses with the selling point that we're in CityName School District. Eliminate that, and our houses go down in value. People in the cities will stop unloading their mansions for $240,000 (no kidding, but needs a little TLC).
Well, it would be a mess. I don't think it's ever going to happen, honestly. I think it's something that politicians like to talk about... while they move to the suburbs so their children go to nice public schools, or just outright send their kids to Sidwell Friends, deal with a whole stinkin' week of criticism, and move on from there.
Well, JJ said I was cynical... Was she right??
23 August 2009
If you heard that, what would you suppose that meant?
Police in New South Wales (a state in Australia) are not releasing photographs of "incidents" or are downplaying events so that the general public can feel safer. Don't you like feeling safe? That's a nice feeling. We wouldn't want things like "murder, rape and armed robbery" happening nearby to spoil that ambience. So, the newspeople will just read "incident," and you'll just feel so much better, now, won't you?
I have to state that it bothers me greatly to see autopsy images and/or film of violent crime scenes in the news in sensational stories. (Click here for gruesome photo!) When a crime happened six months ago, please do tell me that the victim was bludgeoned on the head. Do I need to see a picture? No, thanks. I would like the family to have that bit of privacy on the victim's last day here on earth.
Certainly the court DOES need to see these things, and my apologies to the family. Certainly in fairness to the general public, we need to hear that some poor woman was struck dead while she was hanging laundry in the backyard, or whatever. Does the government need to get involved in who may speak of these things? Perhaps there is a perceived need for this because some media folks can't practice self-censorship.
Or the tourism/ real estate business might suffer. Wouldn't it be *interesting* if the people in the neighbouring houses could sue an offender after a crime took place because it decreased their property values? An interesting concept, though criminals have a peculiar knack for having zero money while in custody and bunches later on with book deals and movies.
22 August 2009
The paddling rule? Still on the books. Probably will be forever at this rate. The board member I wrote to before about this being a ridiculous thing to do in 2009? Has not responded to me or acknowledged my letter in any way. Which really bolsters my faith not only in public education, but in the idea that someone in an elected position is accountable to the voters. Go her.
Patrick is taking theoretical chemistry, Spanish III, gifted English, AP World History, Digital Electronics (something with "circuit boards?"), Algebra II, Honours Science and Orchestra (he plays cello). He has quite a bit of homework each night.
He was to write some sort of English paper about the deeper meaning of a satirical comedy yesterday. He came up with some theory about how Wallace and Gromit explore the idea of "taking care of the environment." Good grief! But Patrick explained that he had to think of something "liberal," because all the gifted English teachers are liberals. And the process of "education" involves giving the person assigning the work what they want, right? When he gets a job, he'll have to do the same thing. Right?
I guess I can't argue with that. But it saddens me that he feels that way and wouldn't write what he truly believes. I know that he is learning and no longer receives strange comments in the margins like, "The only race is the human race" on his paper when he is discussing Frederick Douglass. He'd rather see things like, "Excellent thought!" and talk of the environment and saving our earth instead.
Well, whatever. He's making the choice to stay, and I couldn't very well jump in and be his theoretical chemistry or orchestra teacher on a moment's notice if he wanted to come home tomorrow, anyway. My job is to sign the papers saying that I've read the "please don't run with beakers full of chemicals because someone might get hurt" rules and have discussed them with my child. (Hey Patrick, did you read all your papers? Ok, I'm signing.)
Patrick thinks his science class will be particularly fun. It's a brand-new teacher, too, and he sent a form home to fill out about his fave classes and sports. I told Patrick it's ok, he probably just wants to "get to know" the students and isn't data mining. He decided that his favourite sport is chess and his hobby is Pokemon league. :]
Overall, Patrick seems to be doing well in the senior high so far.
21 August 2009
20 August 2009
Or something. Most of the headlines that are truly seared into my brain get there because I need to wait for the computer to be fully logged-on before I move my mouse to click that X on the "Welcome" screen. "Welcome! You've Got Mail!" proclaims AOL. "Here's an eyeful of, 'Why Thongs are Bad for Your Butt.' Ooh, and you tried to rush the computer while it was warming up and x out, did you? (evil cackle) Now it's gonna take *longer* while you wait for the computer to unfreeze. Enjoy!"
How did I get onto that tangent? Oh, yeah. Celebrity news? And what I WANTED to get 'round to talking with you about was that it seems like the politicians, celebrities and even people on the ADVERTISEMENTS, fer crying out loud, all seem to get the same sort of treatment in the news.
Well, there's nothing like popping on to NBC for the extreme liberal news. It's news that I could have written myself, if only I were that enlightened. I guess I never knew that the flu and an orgasm sneeze (or something, I didn't click it to find out, ok?) could be confused or that certain celebrities and/or politicians are gay (post that under the "politics" subheading), have health issues (post that under "health"), are "speaking out" against this or that (front page, baby!), or better still, have a beautiful beach home ("leisure" section. Mention the celebrity/ politician has a home in that town, and make the rest of the article have nothing to do with him... just the town).
I think I'm far, far gone down the old Christian path. Logical reasoning no longer works with me. I just feeeeeeel that the following story is downright weird. Ready?
Elizabeth Edwards is doing an interview with nbc.com, which is an international web publication. Ostensibly millions of people are reading. And she's there to talk about how her philandering husband's alleged "love child" should be DNA tested... "quietly." Shhhh.
Oh! And to tell you that her kids are getting ready for school and everyone's happy! Happy! Happy! at the Edwards home now. Everything's just settled so nicely.
As Cookie Monster would say, "Me think she just promoting new book. Me think that all it is. Now all this talk make me hungry for cookie."
Yeah, it makes about that much sense.
19 August 2009
Wow. What's sad is that every now and then, I've seen this sort of thing before, especially in churches that like to use the word "emergent." I've read a few different things about "emergent" churches and I'm still not very clear on what they are. One pastor announced that they knew they WERE an emergent church because he was wearing jeans on a Sunday morning. SO not getting that. (No, that's not where we attend. Thankfully.) This is one of those "it's funny because it's ALMOST true in a lot of places" videos.
Annnyway, I thought y'all would like a little levity here a second. Kinda snotted all over the screen a couple posts back, so it's time. I found a new (to me!) blogger, and her posts about forbidding video games is so funny and spot-on, I'd like to encourage you to read it. If you can get your own kids off the computer, that is.
"The Mom With the Brownies" feels that video games are not only a great way to have fun, but that forbidding them can be a sort of a showy one-upmanship in the game of parenting:
"Maybe they want accolades from others or whatever, but this sort of self indulgent thinking can really inhibit their children from achieving their full potential in our modern world.
"'Modern World' I know that is a buzz word. Some parents want to shelter their children from the Modern World. They want to keep them held back to the time of horse and buggy when civilization was simpler or they at least want to hold their children back to the days of Pacman so they, as parents, can actually understand the games. However, unless they are planning to raise them in a commune or as an Amish person they are sorely kidding themselves.
"Let's give up the fantasy, shall we? Our child will grow up very soon and probably need to work in this modern world. I don't care how many gardens we plant or how well we teach them to recycle and can foods, they'll still need to live in the modern world so give up the 'no technology' fantasy. Wake up! We aren't raising children we are raising adults!"
I love reading other people's rants. Of course, I don't agree with everything she has written, and am a bit more conservative in the video game department. G has a *very* hard time readjusting after/during video game time. Autism'll do that to ya. It really is all-engrossing for him, so I feel I often have to limit this for sanity's sake. But Patrick? He could be allowed to play it all day if he wishes. So long as I get help when I need it and he keeps his grades up, I'm happy. And yeah, I get the "no fair" thing from G. Sorry, guy.
I do limit the technology at home as well in that G is not allowed to surf the internet without direct, someone right next to him supervision. Because. Don't ask. Patrick? Wherever he wants to go. I just check the history now and again, and it's kinda boring. Pokemon, Pokemon, Pokemon. Oh! More Pokemon. Maybe an email or school research website here and there.
There are also some really awful video games out there. Halo? Grand Theft Auto? Not in my house. Spongebob? Ok. Super Mario Wii Kart Dash Party Number 28, and a bunch of other similar titles? Yep.
The kids' brains haven't fallen out yet. You know, when I hear of extreme extremism, I have to wonder if it's fear or conviction doing the talking. That, or a new parent. I had a friend who, when she was a new mom, did not let her older children eat any sugar. At all. It was breast-feed, oatmeal, green beans.... and wow! A sugar-free first birthday cake. Really. Party down 'cuz it was 1994.
I think we were all extreme back in the day. :]
18 August 2009
Well, not that it isn't tough to parent autistic kids. Sometimes it feels devastating; it really does. Mostly because it's hard to find places where my child fits in or where as a parent, we don't have to hear helpful "suggestions" about our child's bratty behaviour. Oh, yeah! "Bad choices." Same thing.
You know, sometimes we parents who are further along on the "acceptance" journey can really say some nasty things to people who need a little acceptance of where they are in struggling to deal with stuff themselves. I'm not quite sure where I fit on this myself. Sometimes, I'm ok and happy that Woodjie made a smilie face, or Elf learned a new poem or whatever. Other times, I'm going, "MYYYY goodness, these kids are never going to be independent, and I'm going to be old soon! What to do??" So, yeah. Some days I wish my kids were "normal," and other days I'd snap at you for using the word "normal" in my presence.
On the other hand, maybe these Autism Speaks folks really want to provide a service and make some money for themselves at the same time. I see nothing wrong with that, really.
So, I checked out the toys. The First Story Reader looks like fun, and I wanted more information about it... like... price? What it comes with? Whether we can drop it on the floor ten times and be ok? But the website doesn't seem to work.
It must be neurotypical. :p Meh, whatever. In other news, I'm *hoping* to post pictures of a new book soon! Um, as soon as I get it! A special one for Woodjie.
I haven't had much of import to discuss with you-all of late. In truth, D's Granny is very, very ill. She is probably dying. It's just a very hard time for D's side of the family. They live in Ohio, so it's a bit of a distance. D has already used his vacation up for the year. He has a lot of work he needs to do.
And I've had some ER trips and this and that that have cut down on D's productive work time because I can't effectively panic at the ER without someone here to watch Woodjie. (You remember our lovely ER trips, no? G got called a "faggot" this year, thus requiring him to prove his manly 14-year-old heterosexuality by slugging the offender... and then there was the doctor/ CT scans/ ER / overnight in the hospital for stomachache thing, and me falling UP the stairs like an idiot... I think that's all just since March.) We've also needed to take G back and forth to his aunt's house this summer. He just does so much better out on her farm, but that's a three day trip each time (drop off and pick up) because of sleepover time.
D wants to visit his Granny. He doesn't know how much longer she has. Could be days, hours or weeks. Probably not longer. We also don't want him to lose his job. It wouldn't be just for that... but that PLUS all the other stuff I mentioned PLUS the economy. Oh! Or just because. If this blog post disappears, it's going to be because D read it and said, "Don't write about my business," and made me delete it because it mentions his job. (Hey, you would be skittish, too, if you had to support eight people on your income.)
Already, D is reasoning in his mind and is not sure what to do. If he goes and plans a trip, he will not make the funeral. Should he see Granny now, or go comfort the family later? And there is the "a lot of stuff at work that MUST be done" factor, as D has only just returned from his vacation time. (Which we spent mowing the lawn and shopping at Sam's Club, mostly. Seems the time just starts and we figure out how to live with each other and get along in the same space, and then it's over.)
The family has opted not to tell Granny what is going on. She apparently has dementia, though I've never noticed it in my phone conversations with her. They have done all they can do, and nothing more but pain management and the like is going to be happening. I think they've told her that they can no longer fight the cancer aggressively, but she has not put two and two together.
It just stinks. Would you please pray for Granny, and for D? The family is just having a very hard time.
15 August 2009
14 August 2009
Our first lesson instructs us to make up our own pirate name and make a pirate flag. Emperor made a "no odious French people" flag because of a reference in one of the early chapters. His pirate name is John.
Elf didn't want a pirate name! He wanted to just be his real name. No, no, no! he didn't want to choose from the list of pirate names, which include Salty, Scurvy and other choices. Can he just be called Elf? (But, there are no elf-pirates, kid. Besides, the whole point was to expand our horizons just a little bit and play along and be silly.)
No. And besides, his foot hurts. After much arguing and my telling him that if things go just wrong and he got a terrible infection, his entire leg would have to be cut off and I don't think our insurance covers prosthetics if it's your fault your leg came off... (Yes, I was being outrageously overworried about things, and he knew it.) He consented to getting a little peroxide on the cut finally after I told him I would take a picture for the blog and we'd call him "Red-Toe the Pirate."
So, here he is.
Did you just go, "Nevermind the stupid half-rotten fort. Why are they dredging for PCBs? And WHAT is a PCB?" and want to look that up? Hm. I did. PCBs are contaminants in the Hudson River that General Electric is paying to clean up. Um...
I lived in New York as a child. Near the Hudson River. Probably drank that stuff for years. Is that why my children are autistic? I found myself asking that stupid question, despite being a member of the "stupid things people say causes autism" group on Facebook.
But you CAN get "chloracne" from it. It says so right there. Do you know what "chloracne" is? Zits you get from exposure to certain toxins. And do you know what helps it? Eating potato chips with olestra in 'em.
So maybe if I feed Woodjie some Olestra, he will speak in full sentences. No, no. Maybe the answer to all life's problems must be dumping all the Olestra in the world into the Hudson River. Works for me if Obama pays for it.
I'm still not clear on where the "stuff they dredge up" goes when they get these PCBs up. I mean... it has to go somewhere. Hopefully not Missouri.
And how do they figure out that Olestra helps chloracne? Did some guy come into his doctor's office and go, "By gracious, after I ate 17 bags of these chips, I pooed my pants and about half the living room trying to make it to the toilet. But look how clean and beautiful my face looks!"
And how did they figure out most anything? My brief perusal on science blogs shows me that scientists like to use Greek (yuck!) and math (double yuck!). It's never, "I know ten people who ate Olestra stuff, and they all got the farts after so bad that..." It's some sort of formulaic thing with "control groups" and whatnot. How do they pick who gets to be in the "control group?" I remember trying to qualify for some stupid control group and they told me I was too white, too rich and too educated. (And they are? Too stupid. As if my preschooler is at any advantage because of these factors. You're testing whether the kid knows his ABC's and stuff. Is the poor black family going to come to you and say, "Well, we wanted to teach our son his ABC's, but we could only afford up to the letter G." You morons.)
Elf and Emperor do not do workboxes per se in their homeschool. Sometimes I will gather sheets they need to do for the day together into a packet. More often than not, though, some sort of teaching has to be done in the middle of things. I haven't quite figured out how "workbox" families deal with that. Maybe they don't have several littles and the older child can just ask for help then. For me, though, I have to teach based on when the little children are quiet or otherwise occupied. :P
Woodjie, however, does puzzles and bears in his workboxes. One of these days, I'm hoping the difference between pigs, bunnies, chickens, ducks and cows just magically sink in. We were working on it, but he isn't ready, so that's getting put away for now. But I think it qualifies as a "fall" thing because I intend to pick up that idea and work with him on it a bit later when it is not so frustrating.
Another post I've enjoyed over at Bronwyn's blog is about altering books for children on the spectrum. Already I have evangelized our speech therapist on the idea, and she is preparing a book for Woodjie. I'll bet you he loves it. If you have a special-needs kiddo, this is definitely a post you want to check out.
13 August 2009
Well, what do you think? I'm not understanding how French officials can think it's "unhygenic." Is it less "unhygenic" than a thong bikini? I guess if "exposing skin" is equal to "hygiene," then I wouldn't get upset if some random hairy naked guy sat on my couch and picked at his toenails. That would be ok.
And Sarkozy wants the burqua banned? I don't get that, unless one is speaking of covering the face as well in public. I could at least see a remote security issue with that. But otherwise? Sounds a lot like general dislike of Muslims. Which... fine. Just say that that's what it is and be done with it. If it's your country, go have fun with that. Make all immigrants to France sign a "Death to Allah" pledge before they come in, renouncing all Muslim heritage and swearing loyalty to nominal Catholicism. It isn't like Saudi Arabia is holding weekly welcoming parties for incoming Christians, so, hey! Whatever you want on that, because it's not my country. We Americans just have enough going on in our own backyard before we worry about what kind of swimsuits are legal there. Just let's not pretend about it being "unhygenic," mmmkay?
Anyway, from the *picture* it looks like something I would like to wear to the pool, minus the headgear. It is modest, but not weighty. I think it would be nice if it came in, say, a cow pattern. Then I could feel as though people are making fun of my *swimsuit* and not me when I'm in the water. It would be perfect. :]
But on the other hand, when an accusation like this comes up, wouldn't it be useful to have an actual picture of the woman and the "offending" garment? The thing could have weighed 50 pounds and been unsafe. I don't know the lady! Maybe she had lice or something and it really was a bit... unhygenic. Maybe it was just BO and the pool operators thought of an excuse really quick.
In any event, newspeople, pictures of actual events and places would be nice. Otherwise, if there is a news story about me, please run a picture of Brooke Shields circa 1984 instead of my actual photo. Then write in the caption that this photo is SIMILAR to what I look like. That would work for me. Thanks!
11 August 2009
10 August 2009
Yes! You read that correctly.
YES! Mom is going to let him keep it.
YES! In the kitchen.
YES! She went and got the pet herself. She's crazy! But it was free, you know.
There were hundreds of them crawling about in the bottom of the trash can after collection time. D "innocently" asked her to bring in the cans, and that's when she saw it.
YES, I was about to puke. But yes, I called my boys out to check out what maggots really look like. There's something different about seeing their wriggly awfulness up close, rather than just reading about them in a book. And I couldn't believe Elf convinced me to let him keep one. As a pet. Do you know how "fun" it is to reach your arm way, way down in there to "collect" a maggot in the super bug observatory?
Ah, but Elf was having SO much fun watching this thing wriggle about on our window shelf. Those things are super-fast, which you would hardly expect. Thankfully, it was safe in the bug observatory lab and I went off to go about the (yewh) task of rinsing out the wriggly garbage cans before putting them in the garage again. D is laughing his head off that he is getting out of this task. Oh, and even more fun for him? Sneaking up behind me occasionally and scaring me with "maggot touch" to freak me out. Yeah, *that* was fun.
So off I go to rinse these wretched garbage cans. D comes out with the bug observatory. LOOK how the maggot can wriggle through the air hole! Here ya go, and he hands it to me. With the jumpy-quick maggot wriggling near my hand.
I'm screaming my head off, rinsing things with the hose and nearly puking all at the same time. I'm sure the neighbours heard and saw my weirdness but know better (by now) than to ask. Not that I would be able to explain that the commotion was about our pet maggot.
NO, I didn't get any pictures.
Do you ever get the feeling they're trying to pass off shoddy goods on the least squeaky wheel sometimes?
Oh, but see, unlike in other professions, teachers can never be unfit for their positions. I know this is something like my third pasted "comment" in a week, but this one was just too fun to pass up:
"...We see people everyday try to tell schools and teachers how to do their jobs. You don’t tell doctors, lawyers, car mechanics, judges, politicians, street sweepers, hamburger flippers, etc. how to do their jobs. Do you cashier shop at when you go to Target? Or do you just get what appears to be the shortest line? Do you mechanic shop when you take your car to the Ford dealership for maintanance? Or do you just give the service manager the keys to the car and let them handle their business?"
"Please 'moms', cut out the foolishness over what class your child is assigned. I, an insider in the system, am telling you that these people are BASICALLY THE SAME. There is no difference between Ms. Simpson, Ms. Harper, Ms. Zimkowski, Mr. Johnson, Mrs. Elliot, or Mrs. Brown. They are all the same."
OOooooo, goody, insider opinion! I feel almost like an insider myself, reading over precious secret information not meant for laypeople's eyes. All teachers are basically the same. So, like, if your teenage son got "Mrs. Mary Letourneau" for a teacher this year instead of "Mr. Jacob Smith," that there would be absolutely no difference. Wow! I didn't know that. How stupid of me to think that!
Ok, cheap shot. Most teachers aren't molesters, and most homeschool moms don't live in urine-drenched hovels, ok? But equating moms who complain about their kid getting Mrs. James instead of Mr. Jones with crazy people who inspect cashier credentials at Target is a bit... strange. If I were a compliant sort in Target, the worst thing I'd get is a bit of poor service. Sort of a different thing altogether if I feel the teacher isn't a good fit for my child.
And yeah, when I take my car to a Ford dealership, I AM mechanic-shopping. I take my car there when it needs special Ford work as opposed to the generic change the oil and filter and get me out in seven minutes-type place. And I pay the difference.
And we don't tell politicians how to do their jobs???! What planet is this lady from?
Come on. This doesn't have to be a "personal" thing. It doesn't even have to be a "professional" thing. Some types of children do better with some types of teachers. I think we all know they spread the difficult kids around to the various teachers in any given grade. But if YOUR kid were one of the tough ones to teach, would you want him in Mrs. Patient or Mrs. Grumpy, One Year From Retirement's class? I thought so. It doesn't mean that Mrs. Grumpy isn't a great teacher. Just not for your kid. Patrick actually does better with the Mrs. Grumpy types, if they are strict rule enforcers that don't deal with girly gossip. Elf? Sometimes he needs a minute to "transition" from one activity to another, and Mrs. Grumpy doesn't bend very well on that.
That being said, are some parents picky? Yep. Are some parents overly picky? Yep. I mean, I've been on line behind some insanely picky people at various Customer Service departments. There is just no pleasing some people, and in fairness, it isn't as though the public schools can weed out the riff-raff. It would be nice if a reasonable approach would be taken sometimes, though. I really couldn't see myself complaining about a teacher unless I foresaw some obvious discord. And you know, while there IS something to be said from learning from people who are not like ourselves, there are limits to that. I know plenty of people who have looked for new jobs because they couldn't stand a coworker. But we expect students to do something we can't?
I think we do, sometimes.
09 August 2009
But it seems when you're reading blogs or news stories, we get the extreme "three-year-old admitted to Harvard University" or "homeschooler, age 17, unable to name alphabet letters despite 4.0 GPA from Mom and diploma printed by Kinko's." Here's a little gem from the comments on this article (my comments are in red):
My poor niece was “homeschooled” by her pathetic mom instead of attending school.
(Are you crying already? It always seems to be someone's niece or cousin when stories like this come up. Or it's a coworker's child. Rarely, if ever, is a family criticised for sending a child to public school; only homeschoolers, somehow, should get criticism for their child's educational skills or lack thereof. And my. Are you not so angry that the "pathetic mom" can just homeschool her own kid? Just like that? Without you and I being able to say, "NO, you can't homeschool your kid. Because you're pathetic!")
My niece has no skills, talents or academic abilities, although she thinks she is above average. (We have a clairvoyant commenter! He must be fun at parties.) She can barely read, and cannot do even the most basic math. At age 18 and a half (I could see 18, but 18 and a half?!! Shocking), she has yet to pass her GED.
She was mostly kept home to keep her mom company. (Mostly. That, and it's hard to watch daytime soap operas when you're at school. Oh, and dang. At school they'd expect you to change your clothes every few weeks or somet'in.
Really, I'm kinda surprised this person didn't state that the mom "mostly" wanted to keep her home to abuse her and/or rent her out as a prostitute to get crack money, because that's one I've heard every now and then, too. Well, ok, maybe this commenter is trying to be unbiased... wait for it... wait for it...)
I imagine they’ll live in their urine-drenched hovel with their ten cats until they die.
GAH!! Commenter was doing so well there for about half a second.
At least in a real school the kids can find out what normal people are like, and can possibly find escape from wretched homes/families.
Because homeschools are fake schools. And you know, the family in question was "pathetic" and not normal in the first place before they homeschooled, so it's probably a good thing they never put their kids into public school. I mean, imagine all the "normal" people, seeing urine-drenched hovel-living opportunities with ten cats. We wouldn't want them to "escape" from that usual sort of everyday averageness for the excitement of cat fur and smelly pee.
(Yes we tried to help her.)
Awwww... I'm snuffling with the commenter's genuine Christian generosity. Is it just me, or do you also think that the "help" entailed telling Pathetic Mama that "you ought to put the kids in school so they can see what normal people are like," and then him wondering why the lady is so stinkin' hostile...?
I'm sure all of us could point to plenty of great public-school-educated kids, and plenty others who are presently incarcerated. The point?
Next time some dad gets a gun and blows up the whole family, I'd like the news media to take a "I can't believe they sent their children to PUBLIC school. Tsk tsk. That's what happens when you isolate your kids from the real world" tack when reporting the series of events and see what happens.
Like they'll really do that. But hey, when Benita Jacks goes nuts and allegedly (covering my butt here for legal purposes) kills her four children who were supposedly being "homeschooled," the media is all over that. And why aren't there tighter controls on homeschooling? And how could this happen? And why this? And why that?
Um, the lady was just nuts? Her kids were technically truant if she didn't follow the basics of the law? Um, more regulation does nothing but make you feel a bit better and add to your tax bill.
But my point being, I'm pretty sure most of us are just plain old average. Can't we just be average? Nothing special either way? Do you feel that homeschoolers should have to be better than public school kids at academics to somehow justify the fact that they're staying home?
Because really? Most of us are pretty boring and have average, boring families. It just doesn't sell a lot of magazines to print that up in an article.
Certainly the great President Obama is America’s staunchest advocate of free speech, but mind you, free speech only goes so far.
Like it doesn’t justify anyone yelling theatre in a crowded firehouse. Or vise versa. Or bad mouthing the leader of the free world.
I agree with the President. And, as a patriotic American will carry out his directive: If I hear or receive anything fishy, it is my duty as an American to report it. Which, by the way, I already did.
My Uncle Jerry, who drinks a lot of beer, is organizing something he calls “Sons of Liberty groups”.
I don’t know if it’s legal, but they’re using the internet to contact people all over this country to become members of this citizen security organization designed to protect unpatriotic scallywags who speak against President Obama’s exciting new health care reform bill at Town Meetings.
The website Obama listed that I used to report him was easy and simple. And worked like a charm.
Uncle Jerry’s justification was something I hadn’t heard of so I assumed he probably made it up.
But then I heard that In St. Louis, among other placees, patriotic union members were goaded into a scuffle or two at the aforementioned town meetings. And dimwitted Republicans are using that as an excuse to organize.
Totally innocent, these law abiding union members, who are not affiliated with organized crime in any way in any major eastern U.S. cities, are being scapegoated by nasty Republicans who can’t fight with words, but have to resort to violins at these town meetings. Did I say violins? I meant violence.
Uncle Jerry, who is also a hunter and gun collector, today was visited I guess by government law enforcement agents. I spoke to his wife, Joan, another Republican who says first they confiscated his guns without giving Jerry a receipt (like who cares, who needs guns)? Then they drove off with Uncle Jerry in a big black car headed, they said, for their nearest big city, Springfield, Illinois. Apparently, he’s now at some federal facility deciding whether to sign to a sworn statement of loyalty to the President. And as a supporter of health reform.
Incidentally, when Uncle Jerry phoned home, his wife told me that the rube is considering not signing the loyalty statement. Said if he signs it, he’ll be home tomorrow morning. If not, he’s an idiot because they said they’d take him to some reeducation center outside of Washington DC at some place that starts with a Q. Quan something. I don’t know and I don’t care. I hope he learns his lesson. Disagree with ObamaCare and you could be up the creek. After all, he is our President.
Organize people like my brain dead Uncle is doing will only lead to problems. Uncle jerry is in extra trouble because I heard him call Obama scum in front of their children. I think it’s a federal offence to take Obama’s name in vain.
These un-American Republicans and Libatarians are in for some big trouble. Because Obama fully intends to use his power to achieve right thinking agreement.
By informing, I’m getting an Obama silver bracelet in the mail plus the incentive of $100 cold hard cash for every subversive Republican I turn in. They’re easy to find here in LaCrosse where I live.Lots of people are saying bad things about Obama loud so I can hear. They seem to think they have a right. How wrong they are.
Tomorrow is Saturday and I’m getting to the mall just after it opens to see what I can hear.
Obama says people like me are his eyes and ears.
This is the first time I’ve been really active in politics and I’m really enjoying it. Plus I’m getting non believers off the streets, and making money to boot.
This is a great country. I can’t believe the Republicans have stooped so low to do so much to hurt it.
08 August 2009
I know what you're saying. You're going, "Wow, Mrs. C. Why are you going to go spend $10 on girly-looking items when you can have the kid wear a muddy, stained shirt decorated with a dinosaur skeleton and some grape juice for absolutely free?" But you see, I've noticed that when I dress the girl up like that, that she gets treated differently.
By differently, I mean "like every other boy in the family." D will come home and say hello to all the BOYS. Instead of saying, "Hi, Woodjie! Hi, Girlie!" he'll go, "Hi, Woodjie! Hi... Boy-ie! Well, but you look like a boy today, kid." Then he wouldn't ask, "Where Pretty-Pretty gooooo? Where's a Pretty-Pretty?" He'd just walk away after giving her a noogie like the other boys. And we just can't have that. Little Miss Pretty-Pretty deserves better, you see.
D says that if only I would "coordinate" the outfits properly, he wouldn't make that sort of mistake. I imagine he thinks that the grungy "bears playing football" shirt with blue and orange stripes goes with one of her pink pants? No? Ok, what does it go with? Not the leopard-skin looking stuff. Not the red things with flowers on them. Nor the purple velour pants with the ruffles.
Just Woodjie's old jeans. Yeah, that goes together... but you're back at square one that way.
So, the girl can wear several of Woodjie's old jeans and shorts if I sew little girlie embellishments on them so that they are appropriately sissified. But they need proper shirts to go with. I saw a really innnteresting T-shirt at the thrift store today that was a likely candidate. It was pink and had a little boy ruffian pictured on it with the words, "Tough Guys Wear Pink" across the top. I thought about getting it for Rose as a political statement, but then I thought D would probably have a fit, or at least get rid of the shirt.
I bought some pink zippy sleepers and assorted fleecy tops for her to wear this winter. While I was there, I was also instructed to look for leather material or leather belts. D likes leatherworking, you see, and he can cut off the hardware and re-use it, or even cut belts into smaller sections and make bracelets. So, if I saw good belts or leather jackets, I was supposed to get these and bring them home. I brought home two jackets.
One, I found out later from D, is not real leather. Well, it sure felt like leather, and it was worn enough that it no longer had any leather smell. (Um, maybe because it wasn't real leather in the first place? Ok.) This coat will do for the little girl when she gets older, though I think it is a little out of fashion. I'm not one to talk if I dress the kid in prairie dresses, though.
The other jacket was hideous. Remember the Michael Jackson leather coat look in the 80's? This coat was red and black and looked like that. I figured D would tear it up and use it for practice sewing or scrap. Otherwise the bold label reading, "Last Woman on Earth: The Sin of Seduction" on the inside would be a bit off-putting. D took a look at this 98-cent monstrosity and told me not only is it not leather, but did you read what it says inside here on the label? You did?
And of course, he's making fun of me all day for spending 98 cents on the Sin of Seduction. I put the stupid "Last Woman on Earth: The Sin of Seduction" coat back into the plastic bag and tied a knot in it so that D would stop flinging it around the room and talking about how he's feeling seduced. Now the bag is in the car for D to take back to the thrift store next time he goes. But I think he is having too much fun discussing Seduction at the Thrift Store, and do I want to see the bag in his car? It's in the back seat. Heh-heh. *nudge*
I am never going to live this down.
06 August 2009
05 August 2009
Last time I went, I found the *kewlest* coat for Woodjie. It was navy blue with wonderful Polarfleece lining. Plenty of cargo pockets on the front. Awesome zipper. It looked like new! Perfect size. Oh, bummer. On the front is printed, "I AM THE SILENT MAJORITY." That's all I need, to call more attention to the fact that Woodjie doesn't speak. It would be akin to buying your blind kid an "I DON'T SEE YOU!" (tm) brand coat. I guess I could have bought it as a political statement... but nope.
I also saw the following, and no, I didn't get any of these items:
* half-open package of Depends undergarments
* Almond colour crib with pastel beads and slats about 4 inches apart. The crib had pinching metal parts attached to cracked plywood. Disney characters on the back! Price? $30!
* Someone with infant twin girls unloaded a bunch of brand-name stuff, but all in size 2T and smaller. Is it just me, or do you think IVF when you see expensively-clad mini-matching kids like that? Hey, nothing against twins. My dad is a twin, but back in the day you had to get your twins by... well, you either got twins or you didn't. Not that I am jealous of anyone who has twins or anything. No, indeed. (Ok, a little. But I don't have a willing husband and money for IVF.)
* Lewis and Clark in gold-painted macaroni noodles on green felt. With beans. Really. In someone's cart. Really!
*about 50 copies of "The Spy Who Shagged Me" on VHS. 99 cents!
*obviously unread Bibles with inscriptions from loving grandparents. Sad, sad commentary on life right there.
*smelly shoes with dirt still on them! Not checking the price.
*"High School Musical" and assorted Rock T-shirts... for toddler girls.
Ah, well. Last time I went, there weren't many great finds. Maybe next time. :]