Friday, January 30, 2009

Camping, pirates, and other fun stuff

We've been busy lately so I thought it was time to give a little status update...

Today Fiona went to see a pediatric opthamologist(which is apparently better, or at least snootier, than an optometrist, at least if the Doctor's reaction to being called the wrong term is any judge). Despite the snooty factor, I liked this Doctor and her staff. They were very nice and great with kids. Happily, Fiona doesn't need glasses yet, although with a diagnosis of "nearly normal" vision that may change eventually.

While discussing the family history, and in particular Saskia's vision problems, with the assistant I found out that her one really bad eye is actually a treatable medical condition... if it's treated before the eye stops developing, which happens around the age of 7. Shit, she IS 7. Sure wish that optometrist at Lenscrafters had mentioned this before. So Saskia has an appointment in late February (this woman is so overbooked) to see if there is anything that can be done for her. Of course I'm kicking myself for not finding out about this earlier, when her vision might possibly have been improved to the point where she wouldn't need glasses except for reading. The worst bit though in Saskia's opinion is that the treatment involves wearing an eye patch over her good eye. Can't imagine much worse for a self-conscious pre-pre-teen than going to school looking like a pirate. I can only imagine how awful the tantrums are going to be if she does need to wear a patch. Argh.

In happier news, yesterday we booked our first REAL vacation since 2004 (not counting weekend camping trips with friends). I am so excited, we rented a cabin up near Traverse City, in the Sleeping Bear National Forest area in August. We are going to be right on a lake, with canoes, boats and swimming a few feet away as we step out the door. Some very good friends went there last year and had a great time, they went to a different place each day and all were gorgeous (trust me, I've seen the pictures). Oh yeah, and the best part? OUR FRIENDS RENTED THE CABIN NEXT DOOR! I'm so excited, and so are the kids. The thought that they can get up each morning, run outside and jump in a lake with their best friends has got them screaming with glee. And that they get to spend a whole week with their friends is better than any present I could come up with. I can't wait to sit out in the morning with my friend and watch the kids play, or watch the men barbecue something while we toast our toes in front of a campfire. Vacation here we come!

Let's see, in other news, we celebrated the induction of 3 new girls into our Girl Scout troop last Saturday, and rededicated the 11 girls who were with us last year. I must say, I grow to love Girl Scouts and in particular MY scouts more each time we do something like this. It's great to watch our girls grow up, becoming more thoughtful and more patient. It's great getting to know them and know that you are an important person in their lives. I truly care about and enjoy the company of ALL of my troop members and I'm so happy to know that the work that my co-leaders and I do for these girls is valued by them and their parents.

Lastly, I joined a "small group ministry" at my church which had our first meeting this past week. It was very interesting, a little intense, but thought provoking too. The best part was carpooling with a neighbor and getting to know her better, I'm very happy to find a kindred spirit close by and look forward to more thoughtful conversations with her and other members of my church.

That's probably more than enough for one post, besides, the nasty, messy kitchen is calling.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dirt Room

Blue October's new video "Dirt Room" premiered today. The album goes on sale in March. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Life Resolutions

I didn't make New Year's resolutions this year. I think I was too busy to stop for a moment and think about what they should be. But I had a lot of time to think in the last 24 hours and I've decided to try to make some New Life resolutions. New Life, because I don't want them to just last for a year, and because they are something I started as soon as I woke up this morning. A new perspective if you will. It's very simple and revolves around one simple sentance: I will work to be healthier in body, mind, and spirit.

Body: I will respect my body. I will nourish it with healthy food, some exercise, and enough sleep. I understand that I will not run marathons or turn into a health-food nut overnight, and that I will continue to have many days that I do not succeed at meeting these goals, but I will overall increase my health level.

Mind: I will take steps to improve my mind by reading. I will let go of negative thoughts and people which make me feel bad. I will focus on the things which make me happy: my family, my friends, and my volunteer work. I will make my life, and thoughts, less chaotic and more organized through better scheduling and more self-discipline.

Spirit: I will nurture my spirit through meditation, and through the small group ministry I have joined at my church. I will focus on making myself, my children and my husband happier to create more peace in my home.

In order to help me implement these things, I am going to have to focus very intensely on what is happen in my home, my body, and my mind. Which means I will need to spend less time distracting myself with the Internet and surfing and may not be around as much. Wish me luck, I am happy and excited about the potential of this decision and hope I am strong enough to carry it out.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inauguration

I thought the rush of emotions I felt when President Obama won the election was over, but listening to the inauguration on NPR today it all came rushing back. I do believe that this election is not only historic for all the reasons we've already heard, but because it represents a shift in American focus from one of partisanship and petty bickering to one of getting things done for the good of all. I believe we have a chance to finally make the world a better place for our children, and I believe that though the next years are going to be extremely hard, there is no one better to lead us through them than our new President, Barack Obama.

Excerpted from President Obama's speech:

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it)."

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

CPSIA or : One of the stupidest things the government has done in a long time

Many of my blog readers (all 10 of you, LOL) already know about the impending economic disaster called the CPSIA, doomed to hit America in February, but I am writing about it myself because I am so concerned with it's impact. My friend Cristina has a great post about the impact of this legislation on small business owners which you can read on her blog. She also includes a list of things we can do to protest this legislation so if you haven't checked her post out already, please do so.

Now, I'm concerned about this legislation on a number of scales. Of course I do not care to have lead in my children's toys, but since I rarely bought plastic crap from huge chains anyway I never had all that much to worry about anyway. Still I agree that regulating children's products mass produced in overseas factories is a good thing as I don't want any child to have suffer from lead poisoning. The problem with this regulation though is it is far too broad. As many others have pointed out, it will destroy small businesses and grind production of specialty items for children to a halt. For example, the folks at Boutique Cafe called around and found that testing just one of their custom made shirts would cost them $1,025-$1425. Talk about insanity! The end result will be that big chains and mass producers (from China, where everything with lead content came from originally) will be able to test one of a batch of say 100,000 Dora dolls, and sell them legally, but any small business owner or maker of custom toys, clothes, bedding etc will go out of business. Tell me how this is good for our economy OR our children's health? Because I'm fairly sure it would be easier to slip a bunch of lead infested toys through in a unit of 100, 1000, or 100,000 than a unit of 1.

As scary as all of this is, it gets worse. I was shown a blog post today on C3 about the effect of the CPSIA legislation on libraries. Even if you aren't a librarian, as a tax payer or patron you need to be outraged at the huge costs libraries are going to incure due to this legislation. The costs of children's books (which have to be tested although who ever heard of a kid getting lead poisoning from a book?) will soar astronomically. Libraries won't be able to have book sales to raise funds anymore. They won't be able to have give-aways for summer reading programs, they won't be able to accept donations. They may not even be legally allowed to lend the books they have on their shelves now! Even computers and equipment in the children's area may fall under this regulation and have to be replaced or tested. Considering the absimal state of library funding to begin with, this legislation could very well spell the end of children's libraries (and children's librarians too) as there is no way libraries can cover all of these costs.

Still not scared? Say you don't buy from small businesses and you don't attend libraries. Do you ever had a garage sale or shop at one? Buy or sell something on Craig's List or Ebay? Get your kid's clothes at Mom to Mom sales? Well forget it. Even second hand sales are covered by this legislation which means all of those sales will become illegal without testing of the products. How many stay at home moms, families and internet sellers will lose supplimental income, maybe their only source of income in some cases?

So as you can see, this impact of this legislation is far reaching and utterly terrifying. If you are as scared as I am at this point I highly recommend you take action by taking one of these steps (borrowed from Cristina's blog)

What can you do?
1) Email or call the CPSIA - the office of the CPSC ombudsman 888-531-9070.
Comments on Component Parts Testing accepted through January 30, 2009.

2) Email or snail mail your representatives.

3) Call your representatives. For their contact information just enter your zip code.

4) Make your voice heard by voting on this issue. The top 3 in each category will be presented to President-elect Obama.

5) Sign the petition.

6) Spread the word! Write about this on your blog. Tell others about this issue and encourage them to do the same.

7) Join others in fighting this cause.

Join the etsy community in the virtual chat with CPSIA Small Business Ombudsmen or send a handmade children’s item that will become “hazardous goods” as of 2/9/09 to Bobby Rush, founder of H.R. 4040.