Friday, September 27, 2013

Not the Only One

My sister has been helping to empty out the building from the homeschool co-op she taught in last year. She brought home a book of very funny poems, "It's Raining Pigs and Noodles" by Jack Prelutsky. I laughed so hard when I read this one, I just had to share it. Leftovers in the refrigerator are one of my pet peeves, and I detest keeping food until it is beyond eating. I consider it a peculiar brand of living in denial. No, nobody wants to eat that. No, there's not enough to serve again for another meal. NO, it's not expensive enough to justify wasting our precious fridge space! NO, WE AREN'T GOING TO EAT IT FOR LUNCH BECAUSE IT WILL BE SO FREAKING BURIED BEHIND ALL THE OTHER LEFTOVERS THAT NO ONE WILL FIND IT! THROW! IT! AWAY! What is the deal with saving a half cup of overdone broccoli, four shavings of green pepper, and three-quarters cup of pasta? Ugh! And the worst is when there's a good deal on old produce. It's grabbed up to be cleaned and preserved, but what really happens is that it sits on the counter for a few days while no one has time to clean it, growing a nice infestation of fruit flies to destroy all the other GOOD produce. Gaaahhhh! Anyway, this made me feel better.

Deep In Our Refrigerator
by Jack Prelutsky

Deep in our refrigerator, there's a special place
For food that's been around awhile... We keep it, just in case.
"It's probably too old to eat," my mother likes to say.
"But I don't think it's old enough for me to throw away."

It stays there for a month or more to ripen in the cold'
And soon we notice fuzzy clumps of multi-colored mold.
The clumps are larger every day, we notice this as well;
But mostly what we notice is a certain special smell.

When finally it all becomes a nasty mass of slime,
My mother takes it out, and says, "Apparently, it's time."
She dumps it in the garbage can, though not without regret,
Then fills that space with other food that's not so ancient yet.

Yep. Enough said.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Onward and Upward

I finally broke down and got a notebook. The electronic kind. I figured there was no reason to get one with all the computers at school and everyone here having them too; but then Mom's computer stopped working wirelessly, condemning it to the upstairs office where there is no place to put it except on the floor; and there are so many more students this semester than during the accelerated ones that computer access at the campus is iffy. Plus, I decided it was time to completely disconnect the old dinosaur computer I had in my room, since Andy is becoming far too savvy with YouTube.

All of this right before I discovered that many of my ASL tests/projects this semester will require webcam. So it was time to shell out the money. And I'm not sorry I did. I got a secondhand Google Chromebook, and it seems to be just what I need. Small and light, but not a touch screen. I'm happy with it.

The Princess is talking. A lot. She started telling everyone to "Stop!" recently. That's what they tell her to say at daycare, instead of screaming and hitting. So of course she started saying it whenever anyone spoke to her, looked at her, etc. Lol. My sister has been telling her that's rude, so what did she replace it with? "SUT UUUP!"

Yep. Loud and clear. At the top of her voice. So polite. Big brothers are such good teachers. Oh, and uncles too. Especially the 17-year-old ones. The ones who berate me constantly for not making my kids better mannered/more controlled/less picky/you-name-it. Maybe we could just call him "Uncle Hypocrite?" Hehe.

She has fallen in love with the "Little Bear" show. I found a few of the DVDs recently. It's such a favorite of mine. I absolutely love Nelvana productions, and this is the best. I also replaced our Planet Earth and Blue Planet collections with my latest Financial Aid refund. Ours were quite destroyed, and I personally feel no home is complete without them. Such amazing views of our planet! Meanwhile the boys have discovered MineCraft, and it's all the rage at school. I'm actually rather glad. It's one game where they aren't killing each other and they can build things. And although I still prefer Legos, those tend to cause friction with my Mom, who wants everything cleaned up the instant it's not being played with any more. Virtual is better for now, particularly with the cold weather coming.

I'm so grateful this summer has been cool. I hope it doesn't foretell a bitter winter, but I can always get warmer. Oh! That reminds me that I made out wonderfully at the kid's consignment sale this past week. I got all the clothes they should need until next spring, with the exception of a winter jacket for Andy and snowboots for both boys. We have time for those, however, so I will keep checking the secondhand stores and the sale next month near our church.

One of my courses this semester is "Experiences In Diversity." It's fascinating. I had no idea that intersex births (infants born with ambiguous genitalia) were so common (roughly 2 percent), or that surgical correction is automatically done in the U.S., which has essentially the same effect as female genital mutilation. That's terrible. I am a firm believer in allowing children to make life-altering decisions for themselves when they are of age, if their health is not at serious risk in the meantime. And these surgeries often carry long-term complications too, so the risk would have to be greater than that.

The more I learn about scientific reality, the more I reject the religious perspective that sex was meant for procreation alone. Everything in nature goes against that. Infertile women and men would be unable to enjoy sex if that were true; and to avoid hypocrisy, shouldn't the church refuse to perform marriages for adults past childbearing years or with a family history of infertility? I had this argument just briefly with our priest before joining the Orthodox Church, since of course the Church's position is not to accept practicing homosexuals at communion. They talk about the immorality of sex outside of marriage, but Delaware recently began to allow gay marriages, making that guideline invalid. So the actual issue is that sex without the possibility of procreation is not condoned. Yet they do not forbid couples who are past childbearing years, or who have decided not to have more children, from having intimate relations. And intersex persons pose a similar problem. I do not think it right to expect that certain persons refrain from sexual relations their entire lives based merely on the way they were born.

According to our professor, the Olympics did chromosomal testing on their female athletes for a while in an attempt to prevent transgender women from competing and having an advantage. They had to stop because so many female athletes turned out to have a Y chromosome, yet were born female by all appearances. Since female is the default fetal state, it would appear that every now and then a male fetus simply fails to develop male genitalia and reproductive organs. That should tell people something about the reasonableness of this strict approach to gender and sex.

Anyway, food for thought.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Fall Semester

So, this was my first week of classes in a regular (non-accelerated) semester. The nice quiet college campus is suddenly flooded. My classes are significantly larger than the previous ones, 3-4 times larger. Well, except for ASL. I'm taking the second level this Fall, and not many students go beyond Level One. Our professor couldn't be here for the first class, because she broke her leg in Greece and they wouldn't let her leave the hospital in time. I feel bad for her. She's a very energetic lady and I'm sure it will gall her to have her mobility hampered. So we will have a sub temporarily.

This semester I decided to take all my classes at the campus and put the Princess in daycare 5 days a week, with the idea that I will be able to do all my schooling there and be present and unencumbered when I'm here. I think it will work out well. I'm waiting until next month to start Work Study, because my sister is having another baby and my Mom will be out there helping her for part of this month. That means I need to be home more to help with my Grandmother's care. I'm hoping the transmission in the old Jeep I'm driving holds up until I can get the money for a new car; it's not doing well and cold weather will probably end its sputtering life.

The IRS approved my claim for Innocent Spouse Relief several months ago, but have still managed not to actually refund any of the money yet. They cleverly avoid giving any concrete time frame, but always fall back on the idea of "90 days" or "8-12 weeks." There have been two sets of those so far, with excuses at the end for why that particular 90 days didn't actually mean the money would be refunded by then, just that the next step in the process would be taking place. Ugh. I'm very annoyed that they deceived me into thinking it would come last month, because in anticipation of that I rejected the unsubsidized Federal Student Loans I was eligible for, which I could have used to put a down payment on a car that runs well and doesn't cost $0.33 per mile in fuel to drive. The subsidized loan I need for ordinary day-to-day expenses.

My ex is in psychiatric care again, this time in another city. I would like to hope this time there will be some sort of breakthrough, but statistics say it's highly unlikely. The boys are still asking when he will come back to live with us again. Meanwhile he's leaving messages implying he will soon commit suicide and trying to tell me about his latest plan for leaving money to the kids. I don't believe it will ever happen - the suicide or the money. He's just desperate to keep me involved. I won't tell him that, however, because I don't want him to perceive it as a dare. I hope he doesn't kill himself; I just can't waste any more time worrying about whether or not he's going to. I gave 12 years of my life exclusively to him, counting the time we lived together before our wedding, and I don't have any more to give. He only takes away from us, and that's all he has ever done. At no point since our marriage was I better off with him than I would have been on my own. On the contrary, I was much worse off. So he can find another shoulder to cry on now, while he steals from the pocket below it, and I wish that person luck. They'll need it.

I plan to start an exercise program at the Y this fall too. I really need to stretch more and tone my back muscles with all this sitting. And I need the interaction. So I'll be looking into that tomorrow.