Monday, April 28, 2008

gas prices

I know in Europe gas is sold by the liter and it is even more expensive than it is here, but wowza! It's over $3.00/gallon now, and they say it will probably hit $4.00 before the end of the summer. It seems like it has gone up awfully fast in the few years. I remember it wasn't too long ago when it hit $2/gallon. My husband are fortunate that we are able to share a ride to work, but we won't be able to do it forever, and when it costs $40-$50 for a tank of gas, we do what we can to make that tank last all week.

Now the paranoid part of me is starting to kick in. George W. Bush and all his homeland security forces have made traveling by air to be a pain in the a$$. It's harder now to get a passport, and the government is keeping more tabs than ever on our movements. What we bring on the plane, where we go, who we travel with, is all kept in computers somewhere. So the paranoid part of me is thinking that maybe, just maybe, this gas price thing is part of the plan to keep us from traveling. It's a lot easier to control the masses if they don't travel far from home, right? And it is yet another way our personal freedoms are being stripped away from us. Remember when we could just "go for a ride" for the fun of it? I remember getting in a car when I was younger and deciding to "go north" or "go east" and just drive wherever I felt like it. Ended up with my tires stuck in the sand, and needing a tow truck on Cape Cod once when I did that, but now... drive to the Cape just because I have the day off from work??? I don't think so! And those jokes about driving to Detroit just to go to a diner for some midwest cooking? forget about it.

Anyway, I know the cost of food has gone up too, and I'm always in shock when I see our electric bill, or the bill for our satellite tv service, but there is just something creepy, something disturbing, about the way gas has gone up, and all these wars and everything. I can't quite put my finger on it, I just know it's wrong.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Get the lead out!

Back to the mommy side of my brain--

When will manufacturers get the message that they need to stop using cheap paint in China, and elsewhere, and get the lead out???

I just found out that there was lead in the Winnie the Pooh potty chair that we bought last year. Fortunately we haven't been using it for our daughter since she prefers to use the big toilet, but it was only by chance that I found out about it. The manufacturer's remedy is to send a sticker to go over the contaminated part!! I don't think so! This is not going to cut it. I think I already threw out the "chair" portion of this thing anyway. We've been using it as a step-stool. My husband is going to make sure that it continues to be used only as a step-stool. The lead is in the back of the chair supposedly. So if your kid sits on the chair, the lead is getting on his/her back. You may think that is no big deal because most people don't "potty naked", but I can tell you- when my daughter first started potty training, she liked to strip down, and from what I've heard that is pretty common.

This is not the first toy that we've had lead issues with either. We had a Fisher Price medical toy set that had lead in it too. Consumer Reports said so, but Fisher Price refused to recall it. That is still sitting on the top shelf of the pantry, waiting for us to figure out how to dispose of it. Eventually I'll just put it in the trash I guess.

Meanwhile most pediatricians are ordering that kids get blood tests for lead poisoning every year. Of course our insurance covered the expense, but it's no surprise that health insurance costs are rising too. So ultimately the cost comes out of our pocket. More testing because of more problems and recalls equals more expensive health care. And if they just stopped using lead paint, we wouldn't need to do so many blood tests. Getting blood from a 2 year old is no picnic either I might add.

Maybe that's what we should do! Make all these manufacturers hold down a 2 year old while a blood test is done at the doctor's office. Ha.

Anyway, there are lots of websites out there about getting the lead out, but I just wanted to speak my penny's worth on the subject too. It really is outrageous. Lead paint in houses became illegal back in the 1970s because kids were chewing on window sills and getting poisoned, and yet here we are 30 years later, and it's still in the toys. Doesn't make any sense.

No Hillary Clinton

Wow. Just discovered today that there are a whole lot of of anti-Hillary Clinton websites out there, and blogs etc. Awesome!

My husband was telling me that she is a convicted felon, but I can't find anything to support that so I don't think he is right. I don't see anything showing Bill Clinton was convicted either. Bill was disbarred from the U.S. Supreme Court, but I don't see anything proving he was convicted for felony either. Oh well.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

your tax dollars at work

Thought I would share this. Recently it was brought to our attention that the snapping turtles in the campus pond are eating the baby ducks. Upon hearing this, one of the librarians wrote this:

Dear Mr. Snapper,

While it is true that turtles have to eat too, studies have shown that ducklings, because of their high fat content are a major source of the bad cholesterol that can clog arteries and create heart problems as we grow older. It's in your best interests to ease up on these bad snacking habits and to cultivate a healthier lifestyle. Perhaps you should consider becoming a vegetarian.

Feeding the ducks has been a longtime delight for the students and young children in the area. Of course not every crumb goes down their throats. A lot ends up on the bottom and gives bottom feeders like myself a much needed supplement to my diet. If there are no ducks on the pond, especially cute little babies, no one throws any bread, and I lose an important source of food.

Thank you,

Ms. Acinopterygii (Catfish) Siluriforme

Name: Janet Hughes
Published on: April 19, 2008


Vote for Ron Paul in November for president. I know he has already withdrawn from the race, but he was the only candidate to vote against the Patriot Bill, and the Patriot Bill sucks. Hillary Clinton and Obama voted in favor of the thing and that really peeves me, and so did McCain.

And if you can't bring yourself to vote for Ron Paul, then vote for someone else who isn't going to win. Let the powers that be know that we need more than 2 candidates to choose from because all in all, the Democrats and the Republicans aren't very different from each other.

Stepping off the soap box now. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Equal Pay Day at UMass- Equal Pay for Women

I got this in my email today. The irony is that the event is about 90 minutes long, and I can't afford to go. I get only 30 minutes for my lunch break, and I'd have to claim the other 60 minutes as "personal time". I don't have a lot of personal time to spare. I need to save it for when daycare is closed, or my daughter is sick, and things like that. Now my husband on the other hand has lots of time to spare. He didn't have to take a 12 week maternity leave after all. Plus he has a better job, a better union, and better benefits. Of course he doesn't have any interest in going though. I think it's pretty ironic. The people who could benefit from this event can't afford to take the time off to go to it, even if they are providing a free lunch!

Here's the ad I got :


April 23, 2008 at 12:00 in the Cape Cod Lounge Student Union Building, UMass/Amherst

On April 23, 2008 Everywoman’s Center and the UMass Labor Center will host Dr. Evelyn Murphy, President of the National WAGE Project author Getting Even: Why Women Don’t Get Paid Like Men and What To Do About It!, who will be speaking about the reality of current wage discrimination against women in the United States and what we can do about it at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. Cecelie Counts, Legislative Representative for the AFL-CIO will speak on the status of federal pay equity legislation. A light lunch will be provided.

Equal Pay Day
was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages. The day, observed in April, symbolizes how far into the year a woman must work, on average, to earn as much as a man earned the previous year.The wage gap is even greater for most women of color. Women working full time - not part time, not on maternity leave still earn only 77 cents for every full-time male dollar, and nothing has changed in more then a decade.
Here is what it looks like over a lifetime:
  • If you're a young woman who graduated last summer from high school, you will earn $700,000 less than the young man standing in line with you to get his diploma over your working life.
  • If you graduated from college, you'll lose $1.2 million compared to the man getting his degree along with you.
  • If you graduated from law school, medical school, or got an MBA last summer, you’ll lose $2 million over your lifetime.
These gender wage gap calculations are figured by comparing the earnings of all women who work full-time with the earnings of all men who work full-time. It's unfair, its discrimination and it's illegal!
Come to this important gathering to hear these dynamic speakers address the legacy and current reality of wage discrimination! This event is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. Additional sponsors include: Women’s Studies, Social Thought and Political Economy, the Political Economy Research Institute, and the Status of Women Council.
For more information: call 413-545-0883 or

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Will Hilary ever quit?

So Pennsylvania is doing their primary today. I hope Obama wins for the Democrats. I really wish Hillary would bow out and we could get down to Obama vs. McCain. Of course I don't like either one of them, but I'm sick of Rodham Clinton already. She's going to lose, she should just get out of the way and be done with it.

More kid stuff- potty training

In the "things you'd never thought you would say" department-
Honey, that's your belly button, not your pee-pee.

My daughter tried to pee like a boy the other day by squeezing her belly button while standing in front of the toilet. It was pretty hilarious.

She also thought she could pee in the sandbox, not so hilarious. Fortunately I caught her before she followed through with her plan.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Dear Grandma

Grandma, I miss you. I know you are still alive, but since you live in a nursing home now, it's hard to reach you. And since you can't hear well anymore it is hard to talk to you when I see you. You told your son/my uncle not to bother getting you a phone because you can't hear people when they call you anyway. Sigh. I remember when I used to call you so often I had your number memorized. I still have it memorized from so long ago. But you haven't had that house in many years. I think you sold it when I was 22 or 23 years old. Another lifetime, or two ago. You and my father had phone numbers that were very similar, only the last 2 digits were different, and sometimes I would call you by mistake, but I usually found something to say anyway. I miss you, and you aren't even dead. I try to write, but it's hard to find the time, and sometimes I don't have much to say. I just want to reach out to you and say something quick. I love you I'm thinking of you. My allergies are bothering me, but I am otherwise well. I wish I could call you to say I was coming for a visit. What day would be good? Instead I'll have to surprise you, and hope that my timing is okay. I hate "dropping in" like that, but I never know when I call the nursing home whether or not you are really getting the messages I leave anyway. I have some pictures for you. Will you have room for them? Should I put them in a photo album for you? Or frame them so you can hang them on the wall? I used to see you every week, but now there is so little to say, and so many other things to do that I don't visit as much. But I think of you every day. You'll be 90 in a few weeks. Amazing, but I miss you anyway. How old were you when we slid down the hill in the toboggan? How old were you when you washed my hair in the kitchen sink? Or read stories to me? I miss you Grandma. You used to be so great, and I know in my heart that you still are.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Supposed to be creative, right?

Too much mommy talk, not enough b.s. stuff. Need to get back to the politics, the rants of life, and the everyday craziness that goes on in this world. Right?


And there was a story I saw yesterday about an 8 year old girl in Yemen. The court dissolved her marriage to a 30 year old man. She had asked for a divorce because he was raping and abusing her, but by dissolving the marriage they made it so he couldn't get married to her again somehow. In the process they also made the girl's family pay the man $250.00. They didn't say why but I assume it was a refund for what the man paid for her. So in Yemen it's okay for young girls to get married, but they have to have hit puberty first. Obviously this girl hadn't, and I don't even know how long she'd been married before she spoke up.

So as bad as the war in Iraq is, and as horrible as our politics are in the U.S.A., I'm glad I don't live in Yemen. Otherwise, who knows? Maybe I would have been married when I was 12 or 13 years old so that my parents could put a few dollars in their pocket and not have to take care of me anymore. Sad.

And we're back to parenthood again, aren't we? Sigh.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Today is her birthday

Today is Abigail's official birthday. She got a new Sesame buddy (Zoe) this morning, and gifts from Aunt Jo and Grandma Mary. This afternoon I'm going to surprise her at daycare with cupcakes, and then tonight we'll go out for dinner with friends. When we come home she'll get her new toddler bed and another Sesame buddy (the last one for a while-Ernie). I expect she'll have a great afternoon/evening. This birthday stuff has been a lot of fun. Tomorrow I'll take her for her check-up at the doctor's office, and then we'll go out for dinner again probably. That will probably wrap up the birthday stuff. Yay! My baby is now a Big Girl. Well, little girl really, but not a baby anymore.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Abigail's birthday party on Sunday

Abigail's second birthday is fast approaching. Yesterday we had grandpa T. over and let her open a few gifts and have some cake and ice cream. She had a lot of fun opening the presents and playing with them. The first thing she got was a tricycle which she climbed on, but we wouldn't really let her ride it in the house. It was the right size though, and I'll say more about that in a second. Next she got a set of Duplo blocks from Grandpa R. She immediately built a huge tower with them, and did it as fast as she could. It was fun to watch. Sometimes she would pause for a second to tell us that it was a "blue" block or something, but mostly she was pretty intent on her mission.
Next up was a Silly Mr. PotatoHead suitcase. She put that together a few different ways and seemed frustrated that there were extra pieces. Grandpa T commented that she put it together wrong- 2 ears on one side, 2 arms on another. I told him that was the point of Mr. Potato Head- to think outside the lines and encourage her creativity. It was fun to see what she came up with.
Finally she got a giant box of play food which she took out of the box one piece at a time and handed it to Grandpa and anyone else who would take some. At the bottom of the pile was a cash register. She didn't like it when it made noise unexpectedly, but she was pleased with all the food she got. Today she was playing with it again. After she opened up her gifts we had cake and ice cream.
Daddy lit one candle on her cake, and she blew it out and then we sang "Happy Birthday". She did such a good job, daddy decided he wanted to tape it, so we did it again, and then again. She loved the attention and had a huge smile on her face. It's too bad the other grandparents weren't able to be there. There is no way that video or pictures are going to be able to translate how much fun she had. She didn't eat the cake but she gave Grandpa a few sprinkles "dots". Oh, and I should add that she actually was the one who decorated it. While I was busy frosting the cake she dumped a whole container of sprinkles over the top and spread them out, so it was truly her cake.
Grandpa didn't want to stay for supper, so after he left we took the trike out for a ride. It has a push bar on it. So Abigail rode, but didn't pedal, and I pushed. She had a great time. Oh, Grandpa also left behind some Sesame Street magazines so Abigail can indulge in lots of pictures of Ernie and her other Sesame street friends.

Her birthday isn't officially here yet so we still have a little more celebrating to do too later in the week.

Friday, April 4, 2008

got the counter in...

Well it's not pretty, but I got the counter in. Might still tweak it a bit. Added a simple profile too. wasn't going to do that, but oh well. It's done.

Wouldn't it be nice if...

Wouldn't it be nice if the people who drove you crazy were required to donate to a fund to send you on vacation?

Then again I suppose that means I'd be paying for a few vacations!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

advertising and visitor counters

Well I debated whether or not to put advertising on here, and after reading through the terms of service, I decided "why not?" I'm just curious to see if it adds any traffic to the website mostly.

You'd never know I was married to a computer geek. I still haven't figured out how to add a visitor counter to the blog, and I've been trying to figure it out for at least an hour. I guess I'll just have to ask him how to do it. I kind of didn't even want to tell him that this existed yet, but I guess he was bound to find out sooner or later.