Psalm 23:4 - Pit Bull Translation

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for I am the baddest dog in the valley"

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Facebook comment

Dogs wouldn't chase cars if they all didn't "run away".

I'm sorry to bother you with this mindless comment. Someone on a dog forum I belong to posted it and I just had to say it somewhere.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

EMS Abuse

During my marathon shift over the weekend we were busy. So busy in fact I had a hard time keeping up with my paperwork. I ate two meals during those 30 hours and both of them took me 3 reheatings to finish my plate. Most of the shift is a blur now. But one call stands out clearly in my mind. Not because anyone died or was seriously ill or injured. Not because it is a rarity, nope just the opposite, these types of calls are all to common. This one stood out for me because it sums up about how our emergency medical services system is abused. And as an extension of that abuse money is wasted and someone who really needs help is going to have to wait longer to get it.

We were dispatched to an apartment complex that has an entire section devoted to government subsidised housing. We always know when we are in the section that is subsidized since it is a pig pen. There are always men hanging out in front of the buildings, smoking and drinking and doing nothing. I hate going in those buildings. There is always trash in the hallways and God only knows what else. The buildings smell, some like urine most like garbage. Not all of the individual apartments are filthy, some are well kept, but most are gross. We tape the bottom of our pant legs to our boots in some of them to keep the creepy crawlers out. This particular apartment wasn't in bad shape. But like most of them there were at least 10 people living there. The call came in as a maternity. A 15 year old girl, 34 weeks into her pregnancy thought she was in labor. We arrive on scene and there is a large group of people standing in the living room around a girl laying on the sofa. She is holding her swollen belly and moaning. Since she's a minor I ask around to find out where is her mom. One of the women steps forward and said she's the mom. I get a basic story about what is going on from her and go over to examine the girl. She might be in labor but of course she hasn't been paying attention to whether the pains come and go or if they have been increasing in any way. Just that at this very moment she is in pain. She hasn't even called her doctor. Yep, a great help this one's going to be. She tells me she has had prenatal care from the beginning and this has been a normal pregnancy. She and her mom want us to take her to the hospital. So we haul her butt out to the ambulance and get her secured on the litter. Mom said she isn't going to ride with us she's going to follow us to the hospital. And she does, right on the ass of our ambulance all the way.

Here in lies my problem with all this. Why is this girl going to the hospital with us? She can walk. She's in labor. Big deal. I've done it three times and walked my ass out to my car and my husband drove me to the hospital. She didn't bother with the husband part but her mom is with her and she obviously drives. So here we are, tying up an ambulance on this bullshit run. What about the people who really need an ambulance (more on that later)?

So we get her to the hospital and take her right up to labor and delivery. They confirm what we already knew. She's in the early stages of labor. It's gonna be a while.

So then there is the icing on the cake. At the hospital I collect her insurance information for our billing department. She and her mother are on welfare. So my tax dollars are paying for this girl to have a baby at 15 and for a totally unnecessary ride to the hospital in my taxi ambulance.

This is a perfect example of why I am against government sponsored health care. There is an entire class of people abusing the system that we have. This is just opening it up for more abuse. You can guarantee that if people had to pay for an ambulance ride out of their own pocket so much of these abuses would just stop. But since they just hand over their "get a free ride" insurance card they don't think twice about calling. We have plenty of uninsured people in this country. We don't have people without access to health care. I know because I pick them up all the time and take them to the hospital where they are taken care of and they are cared for whether they can or can not pay and whether they are insured or uninsured.

We need to put a stop to the abuses our health care system endures. The insurance companies need tighter regulations. They need to make a profit but they shouldn't be allowed to take peoples money then dump them when they get expensive. Or refuse to insure them because of pre existing conditions. I also don't think it's right to have a number cruncher override a doctors decision. But how many doctors order tests to protect themselves from lawsuits, not because they are medically necessary. I can't blame them, but what a waste of money. Tort reform limiting lawsuits would be a good start.

Maybe one day we will be able to tell a patient to take themselves to the hospital when an ambulance isn't really necessary. Insurance companies are pushing for just that very thing. I see their point. It costs a lot of money every time one of our ambulances rolls out the door, somebodies paying for it, the insurance companies, and in many cases the taxpayers. In the end we are all paying for it.

I'm sick and tired of paying for 15 year olds having babies and drug addicted idiots living off welfare. Or the lonely elderly woman looking for company who calls for help so she can go to the hospital for some company and a hot meal. Or the 20 year old male who has abdominal pain. Suck it up, go out to the car and get a ride. Your mommy follows the ambulance half the time anyway. One of my favorites is the person who has been sick for days and waits until 3 AM to call for an ambulance. What, after three days of being sick all of a sudden now you need to get help, you couldn't wait until morning to call your doctor?

There are many legitimate reasons to call an ambulance. We carry drugs that can save your life. Whether you're ill or injured we are trained to help you. But we are not a taxi. There is nothing that galls me more than taking someone to the hospital and having a family member ride right behind the ambulance. If my lights and sirens are not on during the transport and you can follow the ambulance then you should have driven the person to the hospital yourself.

Two weeks ago we had a call of a male with chest pains. We were not out on a stupid call and was able to respond right away. He was having a massive heart attack. Due to our quick work he is alive today. That is the way it's supposed to work. His outcome wouldn't of been as good if he had to wait an extra 10-15 minutes for an ambulance to come from further away. He was in the cath lab in under 30 minutes from the time of the initial call. They put two stents in his heart and he has no permanent damage. This is because of the speed in which we got him there and the treatment we were able to provide. Those kind of results don't happen when I'm out playing taxi to someone who really didn't need us.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Did you think I forgot about you?

I'm just coming off a 30 hour shift at the squad. A very busy 30 hour shift. I'm not sure what my middle name is right now. I'll get back to you after some serious sleep.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who knew that in a country with oceans on both sides that finding fish caught or raised in the USA would be so difficult

I have this recipe for Talapia Scampi. It is yummy. The best part is everyone in the family likes it so there is no bitching and complaining at dinner when I make it. In fact, there is never even a flake left over no matter how much I make. I don't make it often because fish is expensive and the whole house smells like fish for a couple of days after I make it. I don't like that. But now and then the need to enjoy it overcomes my thin wallet and my adversion to lingering cooked fish smells.

I made up our two week menu and my shopping list to go with it. There were cheers all around when they saw Talapia Scampi on the menu for this week.

I didn't have the heart to tell everyone when I got home that there wasn't a domestic talapia fish to be found in the area. I'd even settle for North American Talapia. Farm raised in China was all I could find. The phrase "farm raised in China" just scares me. This was also on the label: Contains additives to preserve and enhance color. I think I actually shivered right there in the seafood section.

There has to be a seafood store somewhere around here. One that sells fish that aren't chemically enhanced. One that sells fish that may have actually swam in an ocean at some point. Not just flash frozen after spending its pitiful existence in a filthy tank. I don't have a problem eating fish that are grown in a fish farm. It's probably the only thing that's going to save our oceans from overfishing. But China isn't exactly known for it's enviromentally healthy ways. I'm sure they aren't too concerned with the enviroment of a farmed fish.

No doubt the groan of another disappointment will be heard if I can't locate a real seafood store in the next few days.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rescued Dog Thwarts Car Jacking

A wonderful story about how even dogs that have been horribly abused can make a huge difference in someones life.

Prayers for my Puppies-update

We got the results back from the blood work. Malka's didn't show anything more than we already knew. She will continue on the antibiotics and extra fluids for two more weeks then we will retest her. Since we really don't know how old she is, we've only been guessing, and since pit bulls age so gracefully, she could be much older than we think. That's what continues to worry me. She's going to need your continued prayers.

Mickey's blood work came back great. That hunk of muscle is healthy as a horse and his liver function is perfect.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Prayers for my Puppies

Please keep my fur kids in your thoughts and prayers. Both of them are having some health problems right now. We thought they had urinary tract infections but the urinalysis came back showing Malka had a +3 protein in her urine and Mickey had a +2 bilirubin.A +3 protein means there is a problem with kidney function. It should be zero. A +2 bilirubin could indicate a problem with liver function. The number should be a negative number.
Later today both will be having follow up blood work.
Both are asymptomatic at this time for kidney or liver problems and the vet said not to worry because urinalysis isn't the most accurate way to test bilirubin and Malka had a recent UTI that may of caused some infection to travel to her kidneys. She will continue on antibiotics for now until we get a more accurate picture.
I'm trying not to worry. It's not working.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

BSL - The Harsh Reality

Breed-specific legislation (BSL) bans or restricts certain types of dogs based on their appearance because they are perceived as “dangerous” breeds or types of dogs.

It is a cruel type of law that does nothing to protect people and punishes responsible dog owners. It's just another example of a feel good law. They are costly both financially and to the responsible owners of the targeted breeds.

Picture this if you will. You've had a dog for years. It is a loyal family pet. Your town has a problem with loose dogs roaming the streets. You never paid much attention to it though because you don't let your dog roam. You're pet is neutered and receives regular veterinary care. Some of these roaming dogs attack a jogger and he is severely injured. The person identifies these dogs at pit bulls. The local media grabs onto the story and they next thing you know some legislator is writing up a law to ban "pit bull" dogs in your town. Right now let's just gloss over the point that a "pit bull" isn't even a breed. People are freaking out. They demand that something be done.

Now in the beginning pit bull owners didn't believe that something like this would happen. This is America after all. Common sense would prevail. They were sure of it. They wouldn't punish responsible dog owners? After all, even identifying a "pit bull" is not as easy as it sounds. Jump on over to this site and take the test. Then let me know how many times it took you to get the right answer.

Well, in many areas common sense didn't prevail. Laws were passed and thousands of family pets were turned into shelters and destroyed. Or confiscated by animal control to meet the same fate. All it took was a phone call from a disgruntled neighbor and you're beloved family pet could be seized. Pit bull owners who wouldn't part with their dogs moved out of the towns or went underground with their dogs. Afraid to walk them in public they hid them. They would forgo veterinary care for fear of their pet being seen in public. As I type this I am reminded of how Jews in Europe hid and feared for their lives as the Nazi's took control.

Let's not feel comfortable by thinking you're safe because you don't own a pit bull. They are not the only targeted breed. There are 75 breeds of dogs that are targeted by BSL for one reason or another. Some you would expect to see on the list. Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepard Dogs, and Akitas are a few. What caught me by surprise was seeing the Labrador Retriever, Airedale Terrier and Australian Shepherd on the list. Want an eye-opener, google "BSL lists" and take a look at how ridiculous it is. Somewhere in this country some town has decided that the Pug is just to dangerous to live there.

One thing that scares me is you don't even have to live in these towns to have your dog taken from you. If you're breed is on this list and you travel through an area with BSL they can and will take your dog. There are many stories of this happening but one story sticks in my mind. A couple was traveling down Int 95 through Prince Georges County, MD when they got a flat tire. Their dog a female American Pit Bull Terrier was in the car with them. A police officer pulled up to help them and seeing the dog confiscated it. The next morning their lawyer filed an appeal to get their dog back. They were notified that the dog had been destroyed after being brought in the night before.

There are groups all over the country fighting these laws. They have had some success, but it isn't easy. Study after study has shown that these laws don't work. There are laws, when enforced, that will protect people from dangerous dogs. They are working.

Dog bites in this country have been on the decline for years. Even as the number of dogs in this country has more than doubled during the same time period.

So what do you do? Be proactive. Get to know your lawmakers and talk to them about your concerns before something happens to bring up the subject. Make sure your dog is a breed ambassador. Get them out in the world so people can meet real pit bull owners and their dogs. Most importantly don't pretend that it can't happen where you live.

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania BSL has been deemed unconstitutional and is against the law. That hasn't stopped several communities from enacting these laws. They are being challenged in the court systems. I watch these cases like a hawk. Where we used to live our local representative knew me, how I felt and had met my dogs. The kids wrote letters asking him to protect our dogs from BSL. Now that we live in a new area we have to start over. But that's okay it will just be another person on our side.

Punish the deed, not the breed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Food Chain

Nibbles, age 6

Did you know that guinea pigs purr? It's a sweet sound. He's getting really old. Daisy tries to get into his cage. She got her foot bitten for the effort.

Daisy, age 2

The dogs ignore her. Unless she runs by, then they can't help themselves, they chase her. It's a routine. Run, chase, yelled at to stop. She lays on the back of the sofa and flicks her tail at them.

Malka and Mickey

They think they're at the top. We let them believe it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Let the games begin

This afternoon Baseball Boy had his first practice for this years spring baseball season. He had a pretty good time. He reported some very talented burpers on his team. He was especially impressed by the kid who could burp the alphabet.

His coach seemed like a nice guy. I was pleased that there seemed to be some teaching of game basics instead of just letting the kids figure it out by themselves. This is the first level that they have pitchers instead of using a pitching machine and it was fun to watch the kids all try to get the hang of throwing the ball across the plate. I had the laugh when the coach reminded everyone about wearing a cup even just for practice. Seems these young pitchers get a little carried away with themselves sometimes.

We had the usual assortment of overly enthusiastic parents. The father who was micromanaging his kid from the sidelines. The mom who told me that this is her sons third year playing and she hopes he likes it this year. As usual I can't turn my filter on in time and asked her why she even signs him up if he doesn't like it. She was saved trying to answer when her son got hit by a ball because he wasn't paying attention. Yep, I could see he was lovin' being there already.

But overall the kids looked like they were having fun. There was a lot of kidding around and silliness you get when you put a bunch of 8 and 9 year old boys together. Following directions took a distant second to making the kid next to you laugh. A little rough housing and a lot of mud. You could hear the burps and silly noises across the entire field.

Yep, this has potential to be a good baseball season.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

One disappointment after another

Normally I don't feel too bad when something happens and my kids are left disappointed. Life is full of ups and downs. If they don't learn to handle the downs when they are young and relatively minor (at least to the adults) how are they going to handle the biggies when they are older.

It seems like every time they turn around lately something doesn't work out that they had been excited about.

A much anticipated play date canceled because of a change in religious school schedule.

A reading class one of them had been looking forward to canceled due to a death in the family of the teacher.

Having to leave their theater group early because of a dentist appointment.

A "date" that had to be postponed due to illness.

A mothers helper job postponed due to illness.

A trip to the zoo canceled due to a broken toe.

A sleepover canceled due to one of the kids not being ready to do it.

All of this occurring over the course of a week. At times like this I repeat to myself "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." But, as the tears fall over and over again even that seems hollow.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Longer School Days?

I'm taking a break in my story to talk about an article I read today. According to the article Mike Feinberg, co founder of the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program), feels that children benefit from longer school days and even though schools around the country are cutting their hours, and in some cases their days to save money, he is increasing the hours each day the kids spend in school and even adding two Saturdays a month to the schedule.

In January 2009, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "I think the school day is too short, our week is too short, our year is too short." And he was referring to a five-day week, 180-day school year, let alone the truncated version that many cash-strapped districts will provide this year. Take away time, take away learning. As the co-founder of the Knowledge Is Power Program, a national network of extended-day public charter schools, I know there is no substitute for the hours a student spends with an effective and inspiring teacher.
The last sentence is what really matters. If students had effective and inspiring teachers I wouldn't be homeschooling. Sure there are wonderful teachers. But the system is set up to drag them down too. Teacher's unions protect bad teachers leaving them to damage children and pulling down the entire system. Education is not a"thing" you can buy in a store. It is a philosophy taught by the parents, nurtured by the teachers and embraced by the student. Until the system that confines our children for a hundred and eighty days a year, subjecting them to test after test, inspires them to learn, nothing will change in the education system. KIPP's programs appear to be working because of the overall effectiveness of their teachers. Also, as a charter school they are not bound and gagged by the requirements so many public schools are. This I believe is the key to their success. Public school systems don't set out to fail our children. Teachers don't set out to squash the love of learning from our children. Pouring more money into the system won't fix it. Adding hour after hour, day after day to the school calender won't change a thing and may do more harm than good. It's all about quality, not quantity. Just like so many things in America, the school day is full of waste. Wasted time, wasted money, wasted effort. That's where schools should start looking. Pouring more hours into the day and more money into the system isn't the answer.

Comparing schools in the US to other countries is like comparing apples to oranges. Their entire system is different. Not just the hours or the money they spend. Parents don't value education in this country like in many other countries. KIPP is proving that it doesn't have to start at home but the kids who need a program like KIPP wouldn't even be necessary if parents truly believed in the value of education, then put the effort into passing those values on to their children.

What I've noticed that many (not all, of course) parents are happy to just ship their kids off to school and let the school system deal with them. That causes the school district to shift from educating kids to housing them. That creates an environment for kids who really want to learn to become discouraged. Standardized testing which affects funding causes the schools to focus on the tests instead of learning. Who can blame them? Most of them are surviving on a shoe string and can't risk losing funding.

I don't believe more hours or money is the answer, at least now. First you have to fix what's really wrong. Then work to improve from there. A new paint job on a junker just makes a shiny junker. It's still a piece of crap underneath.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How the heck did a full time working Mom wind up being a homeschooling SAHM? Part 2-Live or Die

Some people say if they didn't have bad luck they'd have no luck at all....

I think that's a load of crap. I'm more of an everything happens for a reason type person. As you've probably figured by now the rabies test came back positive. I had been bitten by a rabid cat. And just to make it a little more interesting 3 days had gone by between the time of the bite and when we found out.

I get my hiney over to the hospital to start the rabies vaccine series. The doctor was pissed. Why did I wait three days? Do I know that once symptoms start you're dead? You should have come over right after you were bitten. Okay already! So what should I be looking for? Numbness and/or tingling at the bite site is one of the early signs. The problem with that symptom was I had that before I was bitten. Years of typing while entering emergency calls for dispatch had left me with a well established case of carpel tunnel syndrome. They said it would travel up my arm if it was rabies. So how long until I know for sure if I didn't start the shots in time. Ten days. So in ten days I'll know. Live or die. I spent a lot of time thinking about those three little words; live or die.

One of my only true fears is dying before my children are grown. Now I was facing that head on. The question was, had I given them everything I could while I had the chance? I didn't like the answer. Ten longs days and ten sleepless nights. Did I have regrets? Would I get a second chance?

Up until that time I was pretty darn pleased with the way things were going in my life. I honestly believed that if I died I would have no regrets. So why when that became a real possibility did all my answers change. Did I just not know better or was it denial of my true feelings? To this day I'm not really sure.

So ask yourself. If you died tomorrow, what would you regret? What didn't you do? I know some people who are making up lists of things they want to do before they die. I think it's kinda neat and might just do it myself. But a much more interesting list would be what do I need to change in my life right now so that I would have no regrets dying tomorrow. The lists may overlap in places but my goal would be to have nothing on the regrets list and something always on the to do list.

I'm still here. The shots were not fun but not as bad as I'd heard they would be. I was grateful they were available. The worst part was getting lectured by the doctors everytime I had to go to the ER to get the next in the series.

To this day I don't know why I went to work everyday during those ten days. I guess there was still a chunk of denial in the way. I certainly would not regret missing work if I was going to die. So why would I waste what little time I had left there. But I didn't ask those questions right away. In fact, it was almost 18 months later before I did.

That time I paid attention.....

Monday, March 15, 2010

How the heck did a full time working Mom wind up being a homeschooling SAHM? Part 1- Workaholic?

Hello, my name is Rusty's Mom and I'm a workaholic. I could picture myself standing in front of a group of others saying those words. Now is it denial or reality when I say, not really? I enjoyed my job but I also enjoyed my home time and looked forward to spending time with my husband and children. I mostly enjoyed making my own money, having the security. What if The Engineer died suddenly or found some cute hottie and I was left to raise three young children alone? Even BK (before kids) work was a huge part of my identity. I was a 911 dispatcher and had been for 21 years and worked at the vet's office too. I never hesitated to take home the on-call pager to pick up a little overtime either.

Helping people and animals and making decent money doing it. A great husband and three cool kids. The best dog ever. My life was sweet. Exhausting but sweet.

Because I worked 12 hour days the kids were only in day care two days one week and three days the next. It felt like a perfect balance between work and home. It also gave The Engineer full time parenting days because I worked every other weekend.

So what happened to change all this? Actually, it was two things. It started back when hubby and I decided to add another two legged kid to our family. That kid turned out to be Baseball Boy. But before conception occured I was bitten by a cat at the vets office. The cat was very ill when it was brought in. A family found it as a stray and wanted to help it. During the exam the cat bit me on the hand, drawing blood. Two days later the cat passed away and because of it's symptoms and subsequent death the vet decided to have it tested for rabies.

Some people say if they didn't have bad luck they'd have no luck at all....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Sad Reality

The sad reality of pit bull rescue is outlined in this post. Tough decisions are made every day by rescuers and foster families. I don't know how they do it. My heart breaks just reading about it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Under the snow

After a string of warm days our wonderland of white has melted away. Leaving in it's place a muddy wasteland.

Many treasures were found once the snow was gone. My husband's knitted hat, my gloves, an egg cleverly hidden by our chickens, a couple of baseballs and a softball. Several of our snowstorms were nor-easters so there are plenty of small tree limbs and branches scattered about too.

Our yard went from a white beautiful wonderland to a cluttered wreck.

But by far the most abundant item out there is piles and piles of dog poop. There is no scooping of poop during snowy times. As they go it is often quickly buried by another layer of snow. Or the warm mass sinks down into the layers.

Our three month reprieve from yard work is over. Break out the rakes, rototiller, shovels, lawn and leaf bags and the pooper scooper, of course. We're also going to need some weed and feed to help repair this pathetic excuse for a lawn.

It's going to be a lot of work this year because of the added repair needed from the pool installation but we have a great yard and I can't wait to enjoy it and share it with our friends.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

No good deed goes unpunished...

This was the post on Facebook today from a certain troop leader I know. The temptation to comment "you can say that again" under it was strong and I'm still not sure I'm going to be able to resist doing it.

As you now know we wrapped up cookie sales today. About two weeks ago our service unit cookie manager (SUCM) told me that we appear to be the top selling troop in her unit. All the numbers were not in but it was looking good for us. I don't even remember if I mentioned it to the other Cookie Mom. It was mentally filed under "I'll worry about that later." As things were coming to a close the SUCM met the other Cookie Mom and again mentioned to her that it looked like our troop was top sellers. We figured it would be really cool to be the ones to tell the girls.

So imagine our surprise, hurt, disappointment, and let down when one of the leaders posts to the GS Yahoo group that our group was the top seller. Then follow that up by the other leader posting how many boxes we sold and about how much money she figured we made. Talk about jumping the gun. All our final paperwork wasn't even done at this time. This was the response that the other Cookie Mom and I sent.

Hey (leader),

It's wonderful news and we are all very happy about how well the girls did. However, we were really looking forward to telling the girls ourselves. We worked pretty hard so the girls had the opportunity to make this a success and we wanted to share in their celebration when they found out. One of the only perks to being Cookie Mom(s) is being able to announce to the girls their success and hand out their prizes. We had hoped to be the ones to make this particular announcement.

We don't want to start a big to-do, we just wanted to let you know how we feel.
Cookie Mom 1 and Cookie Mom 2

PS. It is not necessary to thank us for our work. We were happy to do it for the girls, really.
Well, the response from the leader was quick and nasty. We didn't expect her to be happy but you would have thought we accused her of high treason. Her first complaint was that we responded directly to her email so it went to the group. Well yeah, if there is any hope of the moms not telling their daughters we needed to get that word out. Second complaint was that we attacked and berated her for announcing this. I didn't think so, in fact Cookie Mom 2 made me tone down the response, you should have seen my rough draft. She accused us of saying she had "evil intentions" and we were just mad because she "stole our thunder", which wasn't her intention. Please, dear reader, do you see any of that in our response. I assure you it wasn't even in my rough draft. We were upset, but not because we thought she did it intentionally to hurt us, just that she didn't consider that this might be something we'd like to announce. Let's not even get into the fact that this information wasn't even confirmed

So here's where we screwed up. In the beginning we had a problem in our troop. See, nobody in their right mind wanted to be cookie mom. So through a string of emails we decided to form a Cookie Team. The Cookie Team had a meeting. At the meeting we had the two leaders and us. First thing, right off the bat one of the leaders (who happens to be the one we are now having an issue with) informs us that she can be a part of the "team" but she is much too busy to be expected to actually do anything. The other leader told us she could help in the beginning but that she was going away on vacation for 3 weeks in the middle of cookie sales, and she's leaving in two weeks, so she would do what she could before she left. So we talk about what we need to know to get started and we each take "assignments". Since the one leader made it clear she didn't have time for this all she had to do was pick up some permission slips from the SUCM (who lives less than a mile from her house) and bring them to the next troop meeting in a week. The other leader was going to try to set up some booths at a bank. At the meeting we ask for the permission slips and she said she didn't get them but we could just go get them now if we wanted, which we did. So she now dumped the one thing she said she'd do right back in our lap. Okay, so much for that team member. So the other leader gets some booths set up and leaves for vacation. While on vacation she tries to stay in touch via email for the booths but it was getting to confusing with her away since most of the parents were approaching us to make the arrangements. So the Cookie Team became Cookie Mom 1 and Cookie Mom 2. We didn't bother to clarify this with our other "team members" since we were too damn busy actually doing the work. So the sale is wrapping up and CM1 and CM2 have everything under control. Damn, I digressed again. I was supposed to be telling you how we screwed up. We didn't tell the other two members of our so called Cookie Team that we planned to make the announcements to the girls and hand out their incentive prizes at a meeting. You know with everything going on you'd think we would have taken them into consideration. I mean I don't know why we wouldn't have told them. It's really only common courtesy considering all their hard work. Oh, wait a minute I have that backwards. Silly me. I'm all over the place aren't I.

So I'm wondering if it's just me. I mean with the weight of Jewish Mother Guilt always over my head sometimes it hard to know if I'm the guilty rotten party. I also sometimes get mired down by common sense. I forget that not everyone possesses that trait. So at close out we run our dilemma past our SUCM. See we lucked out, our SUCM is a life time super Girl Scout. Not only did this woman go through the entire girl scout program, she has been a troop leader, service unit manager and a cookie manager and her mother was some big boss honcho at Girl Scout HQ. This woman knows her Girl Scout stuff. So after running past her what happened she apologizes profusely for telling the leader that we might be top sellers, she had no idea this woman would do such a thing. She even said she'd remove her from the email list for cookie information if we wanted. She said what she did was totally inappropriate and that it is supposed to be the Cookie Mom(s) who gets the joy of sharing all the final numbers with the girls.

So now the other leader (who's back from vacation jumps in and wants to know how the Cookie Team became two Cookie Moms. After I explained it to her she didn't respond to my email. Guess she got my point. Oh and I cc that one to the other leader too, you know in case she was wondering.

The other Cookie Mom also sent a response to the leaders. Guess they got tired of it and never even responded to her. At least at this point anyway.

So my final line of my final email to them was "So please, if it involves cookie stuff, please run it past CM1 or CM2 before going to the group. It's all we're asking."

In the end the one leader (the one who posted the offending email) apologized. We said it was wrong of us to assume you knew these things. I'm sure they didn't pick up on the sacasm in that statement. I can tell you we have two very unhappy leaders who know they are between a rock and a hard place with this. Can you guess why? No hints..... Scroll down when you're ready to compare your answer.
Because we did a great job, they know it and they know no one else in the troop is going to do it if we don't. So they are stuck with us as Cookie Moms. And as much work as it was we enjoyed it and the satisfaction we got from helping the girls reach their goals and do so well was sweet. So we're going to do this again next year. So suck it up ladies, tomorrow's a new day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's Over

Today at 12:30 we met with our cookie service manager, turned in our paper work and the incentive awards to her and just like that it's over. After almost 8 weeks of thinking about nothing but cookies I need to find another way to fill my time. You know, like helping my daughter with her spelling or the bane of her existence, long division. Or helping my son with his reading and maybe help him study his Hebrew letters. Or maybe even come home when I'm supposed to instead of meeting parents to deliver cookies and collect money. Maybe spend some time practicing for my next belt test in karate instead of going to the cookie warehouse or the cookie cupboard. Maybe even read a book. Now there's a concept.

Well, all the hard work paid off. It looks like our troop was the highest selling troop in our service unit. The girls really stepped up to the plate, they should be very proud of themselves. The other Cookie Mom and I are very proud of ourselves. We've been told several times that a Cookie Mom makes or breaks a cookie sale. We feel good.

Of course, no good story comes to an end quietly and without drama... This one was no different.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Just needed some cheering up.....

Dance to the music!

Oh, to be young again....

Mickey is plum tuckered out.

A beautiful girl enjoys a beautiful park.

Summer will soon be here.

Don't run me over.

Oops, busted in the mud.

Conjecture, Lies and Speculation

Now that the truth is filtering through....

Once again it is obvious that the news media doesn't care about facts. One article I read said the medic was possibly stabbed. Another said he appeared to be beaten. Some said there didn't appear to be a weapon involved (well they guessed that one right). Others at least used the word speculation during their endless conjecture as to what happened.

One article even went so far as to say the subject who killed the medic was mentally ill and would be tried for the murder but would probably spend the rest of his life in a mental institution not prison. I expect this crap from the rag mags at the grocery store not a major news outlet.

So let's get this straight. At least this is what I know so far. The paramedic chased after the patient when he ran away. While running he suffered a massive heart attack. He fell to the ground and sustained a head injury. There was no physical contact between the medic and the patient.

I'm jaded so I don't really expect them to get it right, but I'd hope they would at least try to pretend that the truth is important.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Local Loss

Last night a 37 year old paramedic was killed in the line of duty. I worked with him as a dispatcher and he was a part of our extended EMS family.

We have a dangerous job, we just don't talk about it. We've all be hit, kicked and punched by patients to ill, either mentally or physically, to know what they are doing. It is part of our job.

I go to work every time with the attitude of safety first. I'm going home to my husband and children, that's my plan and I'm sticking to it.

But we all know how the best laid plans go sometimes. This was a reminder in case anyone was starting to forget.

He left behind a wife and two daughters. We will be there for them but their lives will never be the same.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Synagogue and kids

It would have been nice to know that ours isn't a particularly child friendly synagogue when it comes to services. They have one family service a month and children are only welcome to other services if they can show a "modicum of decorum". Oh please, modicum of decorum after spending the entire day in school then sitting through a 2 hour service without making any noise. Follow that with the sugar fest that is the oneg and it's a wonder they have any control at all.

Recently they had a family service and there were a lot of families. Isn't that the point of a family service? They should have been happy. We weren't at that service but I heard the kids were fine at the service but got wound up at the oneg. A certain person in a position of authority was greatly offended by the poor manners of the children involved. Should the parents of those kids involved corrected them? Well, yeah. But they didn't. Early the next week an email went out informing everyone that they needed to control their kids at the oneg. Sounded fine to me. Case closed, you would think.

But this person decided that the children did not fit their definition of a "modicum of decorum" and that the email just didn't get the point across. During the next service she has someone from the board of trustees read a note (that she wrote) to the congregation chastising the parents for the unruly children. We'll uh, the two families with kids who were there (and there were just two) weren't at the family service. Needless to say we were both insulted. Our kids are far from perfect and now and then we have to remind the kids how to behave but the way she made it sound our kids were animals. I thought it was ironic that the author of the note chose not to attend this service.

The father of the other family and I decided not to let this go. Over the next week we spoke to countless people, made several phone calls to the clergy and wrote letters to the board. We got our point across. The woman who initially wrote the note was over ruled by the others. We heard from someone else in authority that she was extremely unhappy with the note being tossed. We received support and an apology from the board. She had wanted it read before every service. So now when we see her she gives us the hairy eye ball. I just give her a big smile.

Friday, March 5, 2010

I am Vindicated!

My mother was the grammar police. She could not stand improper use of our language. You should of heard her rant when she'd find grammatical errors in a newspaper, of all places. Then I married a grammar cop. Okay, so he's not as bad as my mom but he hates when I write something and end the sentence with a preposition. I've heard it before, but sometimes a sentence just needs to end that way. We've even had a few arguments discussions on the subject.
So today I'm poking around on different blogs. You know, because I have nothing else to do. I come across Grammar Girl. Wouldn't you know it she has a write up on ending a sentence with a preposition. Guess what she called it? Grammar Myth #1. Ha, vindication at last!

If you just don't want to, or can't bring yourself to believe me head on over to her site and check out what she has to say. She even explained the Who vs Whom thing in a way I might actually remember. I'm still struggling with the lie vs lay dilemma. Maybe I'll understand that at some point in my life.

I may not be the grammar police but I do prefer not to sound like a moron. Also, since I'm supposed to be teaching my children grammar it helps to have backup. I feel free.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Things are not what they seem

I homeschool but I'm not Christian
I homeschool but we're not unsocialized
I homeschool but we're not home much
I had a midwife and gave birth naturally: in a hospital
I bottle fed my kids but used cloth diapers
I homeschool and my kids are vaccinated
I don't think fluoride is an evil plot
I'm an overweight middle aged white woman: with pit bulls for pets
I'm an overweight middle aged white woman who will kick your butt if you try to hurt my family
Most of the meals we eat are home cooked with no processed food.
I'll feed my kids fast food without guilt
I live in suburbia but have chickens in my yard
I'm a feminist who is a SAHM
I'm a feminist who would die before I gave up my bra
I'm a liberal who thinks people should be responsible for themselves and their actions
I'm registered Democrat but believe government is way to big
I rarely cry except at the end of sad movies
I'm Jewish and love bacon and lobster
I'm not vain but I dye my hair

If I think of more I'll let you know. What's yours?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Facebook comment.....

I have an account on Facebook but I rarely post. At first it seemed interesting but once I got it I realized it was stupid. I'm just going to put my comment here.

Rustys Mom is: sitting here feeling sorry for herself because she broke her toe at karate tonight.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Voice from the Past

I retired in 2002 after 21 years as a 911 dispatcher. It was a great job. I loved the work. Sure stupid people made it aggravating sometimes, but overall it was a very rewarding experience. When I was young and an adrenaline junkie this was a dream job.

Stupidest call: After a blizzard when people had been stuck inside for several days I received a call from a woman, crying, almost to the point of hysteria, because her power was still out and she had to go out but she couldn't get her car out because of the garage door opener doesn't work without power. I had her go to the garage, told her to look for a cord hanging from the garage door opener, told her it's usually red. She said she saw it and I told her to pull it. She did and lo and behold the door was released and she could open the door. She started crying harder and thanked me for saving her. God forbid this woman ever has to deal with a real emergency. Of course this was after answering about 300 calls in an 8 hour period so my patience had worn pretty thin at that point.

Second stupidest call: A man who wanted an ambulance because he found a tick on his stomach.

Third stupidest call: A woman who called and was upset because there were three deer in her backyard and she wanted them removed.

Alright, that's enough of that.

I feel weird saying this but I was a pretty darn good dispatcher. Something I got a lot of satisfaction from was training new dispatchers. Dispatching is a tough job to learn. They can only teach you so much in classroom training. Most of what you learn is through experience and having a good mentor to teach you once you're out of the classroom. That's what I liked to do. It seemed like I almost always had a trainee. I didn't mind taking them and they usually turned out pretty good so management was more than happy to keep assigning me new ones.

Best call ever with a trainee: One trainee I had was afraid to answer the phone. Kinda tough in our line of work, you gotta get over that. So I told him he was going to answer the next phone call no matter where in the county it was. Moments later a phone line lights up and I don't even give him a chance I push the button and pick up the extension to listen. Trainee: Police Radio, What is your emergency? Caller: A PLANE JUST CRASHED AT MAIN ST AND BROAD ST, ANY TOWN...OH MY GOD!!!!! I look over at my trainee and his mouth is open but nothing is coming out. He looks like a deer just about to be hit by a locomotive. I whisper to him, "Is it a big plane or a little plane?" That's just enough to break the moment and he goes on to handle the call. Needless to say after that one he was no longer afraid of the phone.

Sorry I digressed again. I promise there is a point to all this.

If there was one thing I didn't like about my job it was management. Oh, I know lots of people complain about their bosses. This place was run by a bunch of misogynists. Some were political appointees, some were members of the good ol' boys club and some were just pricks. Either way it wasn't an easy place for a woman to work. The only reason I survived in the early days was because I had big tits, nice legs and did a good job. As time went on it appeared to get better, but it really didn't. The boys just got better at not being so obvious with their remarks. It also helped that even though I had an easy going attitude, in general I didn't take any shit from the assholes. Oh, and if you have one that is particularly annoying, make acquaintance with his wife and watch the spineless wonder stay out of your way. Just saying.

Usually, when I got a new trainee management left the trainee and me alone. It was rare that I would hear from them. Other than the typical progress report the only person who cared was the one who did the schedules so he could know when to expect them to be able to work on their own.

So the next round of trainees become available and I'm assigned a woman who is just about my age. I'm going to call her "Mary." That's kinda unusual, mostly younger folks apply for this job. I like her immediately, she's bright, articulate and I can tell she takes no shit from anyone. Secretly, I wonder how she got the job (okay, she is slim and pretty), they don't usually like to hire women with that personality type. It didn't take long for me to notice that one of our bosses has a problem with her. He was up that woman's ass from day one. I had never had anyone from management question my training style. It was different from most others but it worked so they left me alone. Not this time, "spineless wonder" had it out for her. He hounded me to push her harder. He questioned everything she did. I never felt like I had to protect a trainee before but he had her so unnerved I had to run blocker to keep him away from her. Even with all this going on she was learning her job amazing quick. It wasn't long before she was on her own, but even then she would often come to me for advice on how to avoid conflict with this person. He also made sure she was given the worst shifts available, just to add icing on the cake. Why didn't she just quit? She was recently divorced and raising a young son on her own. It came down to money, she needed the pay and the benefits.

The years passed and other strong willed women were hired. Rumors floated around of conflicts, sexual harassment, intimidation and drug use involving management. At some point I decided that I didn't like my job anymore and wanted to spend more time with my young children. I retired and tried not to look back. Occasionally, I'd run into someone I knew who still worked there and they'd tell me how screwed up things were. I'd always walk away grateful that I left when I did. People still sometimes ask me if I'd go back there to work. I always say you never say never but I can not imagine working there ever again.

I'd heard that a law suit had been filed against management. A couple of women had asked me to testify. But to be quite honest, I had nothing concrete to help them. Sure I'd had an idea what was going on. But having an idea doesn't cut it in a court of law so it was easy for me to say, sorry can't help you.

Today I get a phone call from Mary. The strong voiced, self assured woman I knew is not who I hear on the phone. She sounds weak and exhausted. She tells me that she is one of the women involved in the law suit against the department. I wasn't surprised. She asked me if I would testify that when she was in training she was subjected, almost from the beginning, to harassment. I know this is true. I also know that it was a very long time ago (like 20 years) and my memory for details isn't what it used to be. I also know, from experience, what it is like to testify and be cross examined. Lawyers have a job to do and they don't care about the truth, they only care about getting their job done. They don't care who they shred in the process. I am at a point in my life that I don't think I can put myself through that. Mary hears the hesitation in my voice and starts to cry. She apologizes for crying but I understand she has been through hell. I have heard it from other ex employees of that department. She tells me she understands if I say no. I can't say yes, but I can't just say no without thinking about it, at least overnight.

I've changed in many ways in the last 10 years. I am no longer able to throw myself on the chopping block to help another. When you work as a 911 dispatcher it takes a little bit out of you every time you answer the call. I have used up all I have to give. I need to preserve what I have left for my family and closest friends.

So now I'm the weak one. I can't do it. I'm ashamed of myself for it, but that doesn't change a thing. I can not put myself, and by extension, my family, through it. I'm sorry I let you down.

I am but a shell of my former self.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Reason #3 why we homeschool

The Dramatic Rise of Anxiety and Depression in Children and Adolescents: Is It Connected to the Decline in Play and Rise in Schooling?

by Dr. Peter Gray

Someone posted this article on one of my home school groups. It's got it's share of psychological gobbley gook but cut through that and it makes some thought provoking points.

In our quest to "prepare" our children for their future are we damaging the foundation that their future rests on?

When I found out that our local school district only had half day kindergarten I was appalled. What the heck are they going to accomplish in 2 1/2 hours. Then when I found out that a short recess was apart of that time I just knew that this was going to be a complete waste of time. It's amazing how much I've changed since my first born boarded the school bus for her first day of school. Back then, for me, school was the best place for my kids to learn. They were giant sponges and school was the ocean of information where they could absorb all of it. They needed to be there to gain the knowledge to succeed. HA, how naive I was.

By sending my kids off to school the opposite of what I expected happened. They went from sponges to rocks. Sinking instead of absorbing. My oldest went from being a curious, questioning, excited about learning kid to a miserable, bored kid. Depression and anxiety was starting to rule her life by the end of first grade. There was no room for pleasure in learning when everything she did was micromanaged. Even if she finished her work early she was made to sit quietly and was punished for "sneaking" a book under her desk to read. Kids today don't even get away from it when they come home. Even in first grade they have homework and projects. By the time she finished all that she didn't even want to pick up a book and read for pleasure. She was too tired to go out and play. She just wanted to veg out in front of the TV for some mindless entertainment.

Child specialists say you should expose your child to as much as possible when they are young. Doesn't that contribute to the over scheduling that our children (and us) live with daily. Isn't too many choices adding to our anxiety and stress levels. Maybe we should go back to letting kids be kids and not filling their time with activities. It's something I need to work on myself.

By treating all children like they were cut from the same mold and by expecting them to all follow the same path we are destroying their creativity and individuality. We file them into classrooms and teach to a test. Grades are more important than learning. School is a period in their life that they just want to get through. Kids today often feel like their life is over before they reach their senior year in high school. Many of them don't even know what they want to do because they have had their hands held for so long they can't make a decision without help. Oh, they can give you open ended answers like go to college or join the military but what direction do they want to take there, so many kids just have no idea.

I hope you take the time to read the article. My ramblings don't even touch the surface of what the article was about. Even if you don't completely agree with it you can't deny that children today suffer from anxiety and depression in record numbers. Unlike what I call the "syndrome of the week" I believe that anxiety and depression really are becoming epidemic in our children.