Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tweaking the Wardrobe

On May 30th my children go to the same summer program which is run by their school district.  It's a bit weird for me to type that.  It's even weirder for me to say in August my children will be going to the same school.  They will have the same school day with the same school holidays. 

No more dropping off at two locations.  No more different pick-up times.  No more talking to two different sets of staff.  I can probably get away with scheduling back to back iep meetings.  It will be bliss.

What will I do with myself?  Go back into the work force. 

My husband is in a very precarious career.  He basically lives on grant money and in December a large part of his pay check will be reduced unless by some miracle a bunch of grants hit.

So we're sort of reversing roles in the fall.

I say sort of because my husband has better earning power than I do.  He has a ph.d in science (even if it's planetary, there's still power behind STEM fields).  I have a bachelor's in music education.  I think that explains it all. 

He'll still be the bread winner, but he'll have reduced hours or a wonky schedule depending. I'll be the one who works a normal 40 hour a week job. So really we'll be flipping the lead parent role. 

What's the lead parent role?

Basically it's who is more in charge of the basic parenting stuff.  For a very long time, it's been me.  I've taken them to school, picked them up, taken them to doctor's appointments, bought things they needed, planned birthday parties, stayed home with them on school breaks, etc.  I've pretty much done most of the work.  Not that I'm complaining.  I actually don't mind it at all.

But that's all about to change.  Now my husband, because he'll most likely have a more flexible job, will be the lead parent.  I'll shoulder a bit more than he has done in the past because my husband will still be working, but he's the one who will deal with the lion's share.

This will also be a bit weird.  I imagine there will be a period of adjustment.  Tears will be shed and miscommunication mishaps will occur.

What has this to do with my wardrobe?

Well, imagine yourself going from the stay-at-home parent to a professional job of some sort.  I imagine I'll still be working with children, but I doubt that wearing t-shirts is appropriate apparel for the work force.  Although I could be wrong about that.  If I wind up in day care, they basically wear very casual wear.  In any case, it's better to be prepared so I'm tweaking the wardrobe.

I'm looking at everything I have and pairing it down with the expectation that I'm going to have to purchase some clothing for work. 

And that's what's so awesome about using the capsule wardrobe system.  I haven't worn any of my fall/winter capsule clothing since March.  Today I took it all out of my closet and put a large part of it on and was honest with myself.  (And honest with myself that I need to get back off the couch and stop eating junk).

It's a lot easier to do this now because I've got a fresh pair of eyes.  While I value others' opinions, I'm the one who wears the clothes and if they don't feel comfortable or fit right then I have to live with that. 

I asked myself questions about each item.  Is it too loud (I like a lot of color but not for work)?  Is it too easy to see undergarments in (I mean what is with all these large arm holes these days)? Is it too short and you can see my stomach when I lift my arms?  Is it versatile?  Is it too worn?  Is the garment well made and able to handle whatever is literally and figuratively thrown at it? Can I bend or lean without a mishap? Will I miss it?

It made it very easy to cull a large part of these things out of my closet and easy for me to see that I could stand some more basic items.  For example, I had one cardigan, which is a staple, but it was fading badly.  True I could have refreshed it with a dye job, but I wasn't real crazy about the color or the cut.  Truth be told it reminded me of nun's habit like the kind the Daughter's of St. Paul would wear.  No offense to the good Sisters, but I live in the lay person's world.  People take me more seriously if I wear something less dated which is an expectation of my vocation in a way.  I also think it's a bit dishonest for a lay person to try to dress like a religious.  Even 3rd orders don't allow lay people to wear the habit until death. 

So what I am building is a work uniform of sorts.  As I said, I can't be exactly sure what a work uniform would look like, but having just the basics down and fewer suitable weekend wear clothing is what I'm going for.

Have you gone back into the work force or made drastic career changes that affected your wardrobe?  How did you handle it?  Let me know in the comments below.  I've been doing a lot of youtubing and googling over this subject to get an idea of how to handle this so your own experiences would be extremely helpful to me. 


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Free Speech and Legislating Morality

I follow a few Catholic people on twitter (okay it's probably more than a few) and was shocked to hear one say that he's basically against free speech.  The details were vague as these were tweets with limited characters. His reasoning is that we should, as Catholics, be against certain speech like racism.  And he's right that we should be against speech that is racist, but he's wrong in proposing that we should legislate all morality.  Let me explain.

Putting Government in a position of power over the Family


In Catholic teaching, we have a thing called subsidiarity.  I've spoken about it before.  Basically there are tiers to society with the family being the lowest and the federal government the highest.  A tier at the bottom is supposed to handle the most things and what it can't it gets to move up in sphere.  So the federal government is in charge of defending the country because a family would lack the resources and man power to do such a thing. 

In the case of regulating one's speech, I believe that the family is the best fit for this.  My own family is a great example of this because there are members of my family who have no problem with racist speech.  Despite being Christians (although not Catholics), I have a few people in my mother's family who say some rather nasty things.  My mother has in fact done some policing of this matter.  She's pretty much called them out on this and has told them that under know circumstances is it appropriate to talk that way.  I don't think that my family members need to be have some law in place telling them to stop speaking racist language.  What is most effective and leads to less problems is other family members saying it's inappropriate or co-workers or friends.  Peer pressure in other words.

What would happen if we allowed the government to regulate speech?

Well in other countries there are restraints on speech.  In the extreme there are blasphemy laws which protect Muslims and often Christians are the target of use.  Restraining speech also often restricts a Christian's ability to evangelize, which is something we are all called to do.  It never goes well when a country restricts speech because it is difficult to draw a line in the sand.  Historically countries have never been able to regulate it without restricting the rights of minority voices including Christians. 

Which leads me to my next point...

The Church doesn't believe that everything immoral should be legislated.


God allowed free will knowing that even though it was a good thing, bad things would happen as a result.  Free speech, in my mind, is like that.  Having the ability to evangelize, worship, protest immoral acts, etc are all available to Christians in the US because of free speech.  All other acts of evil happen in spite of free speech. 

Moreover the Church doesn't believe in legislating morality.  St. Thomas Aquinas actually has a test for whether something should be legislated and something should not be.  I believe legislating speech is something St. Thomas Aquinas would frown upon. 

Bishop Robert Barron actually talked about legislating morality in an interview on the Rubin Report.  He drew criticism for saying that gay marriage is not necessarily a front to fight on, but his point that we should not legislate everything that is immoral is still a valid one.  We can of course disagree about what things should and should not be legislated, but the fact remains that the Church teaches that not everything should or has to be.



So there you go, something to think about next time the argument is made that something should be legislated.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

I Know My Mom! A Comedy

Due to my son's principal leaving for another school in the district at the end of the year, the staff and students are doing some sort of special day for him on Friday.  Ergo all the mother's day stuff came to me on Thursday.  This was in his backpack.  I laughed over it.  My comments are in a different color.

I Know My Mom!
My mom's name is redacted.

I told my children early on what my real name was in case we were ever separated, and they needed to identify me by name and not "mom." 

 It's impressive really, son, that you can spell my name that accurately. Some adults can't these days because despite it being really common for centuries, there's soooo many iterations of it.  

 My mom's shoe size is 12.

Nope. No. No. Uh uh.  That's bigger than you're dad's foot.  I wear an unimpressive 7.5 C if you must know.

My mom's eyes are blue.

Everyone in our family's eyes are blue.  If they aren't, then we've got bigger problems as I took someone home from the hospital that I didn't give birth to.  This also means that my husband and I are more closely related.  We're like 64th cousin or something because all blue eyed people are thought to have a common ancestor who flipped the switch from the dominant brown to blue (which isn't recessive just different gene expression).

My mom is 35 years old.

Don't remind me. I'm betting half the kids in your class have parents younger than me.

My mom's favorite color is red.

Yes. This is common discussion in our family. I recently learned that your brother likes a lot of colors and your father stubbornly sticks to black.

My mom's favorite thing to eat is healthy things.

Ha! Actually son when it comes to eating healthy things versus dying young because of heart disease, I chose the healthy things because I love you.  I'd much prefer to eat the unhealthy things, but you won out over that.  

My mom's favorite thing to drink is tea.

Actually I like soda as much as you, but again I don't need to die at an early age so sometimes I drink tea for the caffeine content.  I drink tea to keep me awake because having you wake me up in the middle of the night isn't fun.  Please go back to sleep.   Most of the time you'll notice that I drink water.

 My mom's favorite thing to watch on TV is ads.

😕

What? I watch movies and youtube videos.

 On the weekend, my mom and I like to do homework.

 Well, I'm glad you enjoy it because I don't.

The thing my mom says the most is do your work.

I know priorities right?

I love my mom because she makes the best [scrambled] eggs.

😒

Well at least no one will accuse me of never feeding you.

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The HB Update

So HB is autistic.  And we've been pursing services for him in three avenues: the school under IDEA, private medical, and public through the State Department. I'm going to be outlining what's been going on through all three.  It's mostly for the benefit of family members, but if you are interested in how this all works or are yourself in the thick of disability life, feel free to read on.  I warn you that my typing is egregious and I doubt I'll do much to fix that.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

State Department:
HB has a case worker with the State of Arizona's Department of Economic Security.  They have a sub department called the Department of Developmental Disabilities or (DDD) for short.  They work in conjunction with Medicaid through a long term program for people with disabilities.  Despite being a minor, we attempted to sign him up part of the adult program which is called ALTECS (another annoying acronym).  You must qualify both financially, which HB doesn't have much to his name being 7, and medically. They give therapy.  We applied over a year ago.  Today we found out that he's not medically qualified because he's not considered likely to be institutionalized.  His DDD caseworker isn't sure where to go from here.  Fortunately he's still eligible to be under the DDD's supervision and there role is to ensure that he has an advocate for medical care.  What that means I don't know.  So my son's disabled but not disabled enough. I'm not sure how to react to that.  Because....

He falls under IDEA and has an IEP which a disabled child receives when they are disabled enough to need some sort of intervention.  His school provides him both with Occupational Therapy services and Speech Services.  We recently revised his IEP to switch him from an academic strategy to a behavioral one.  I pushed for and we have received and in school assistant.  It has made all the difference for him because he is developmentally behind in areas like emotional regulation, fluid reasoning, and socialization.  These are all behavioral pieces not necessarily academic ones.  It's a bit strange sounding I know.  HB has always been brilliant, but he can't focus himself yet.  He's developmental behind but not out.  I know because finally this year I've got him to take a shower by himself.  To explain it, he's known how to bathe himself for a long time, he just couldn't make himself do it.  Does that make sense?  It's like his little brain understands things but he can't seem to put them into practice after he learns them.  I have to push him to keep trying until he wants it for himself.  I think this is common among autistics which is why some children are mislabeled as being stubborn.  The struggle is real.  And we need all the help we can get.

Which brings me to the last piece, we've been getting in home help through private insurance.  We've been getting ABA therapy which is one of those tricky controversial therapies.  So far my husband and I are mixed about it.  We've already lost two therapists and we don't think they're actually trained people with degrees.  All of them have been young and in school.  It seems this particular organization cuts costs by hiring anyone with a high school diploma who can run an Ipad.  Then they train them.  This is then overseen by someone who has actually training and can make notes, suggestions, and changes to therapy.  It's all play but the idea is to sort of shape and mold his behavior in the same way all parents do.  My husband is under the impression that we could get trained ourselves and save ourselves the headache and money.  He's probably right.  We're supposed to be having a parent teaching session ourselves in a couple of weeks so I may ask then.  Personally I think that would be the smarter move for parents with autistics.  Teach us how to teach and raise our children since there really isn't some parenting classes when you bring home a child with autism like you bring home a baby.  If you ask me with the raising rates of autism, it should be something parents are taught to look out for in their baby's behavior.  I really don't think HB had colic at all as an infant.  I think he was always autistic so he cried more than typical babies do.

Has the therapy been working?  It seems to be.  He still gets upset.  He is human after all, but his physical aggression is at a normal level these days.  He's less likely to slam things around, hurt other people, or bang his head against the wall (although this has increased a bit of late I think in part because he's human and does get frustrated).  Some of it may be maturity and some may be the therapy working on his listening skills and his verbal skills.  I'm not entirely sure.  I have always worked with him step by step so it's hard for me to weed out what they've been doing versus what I've been doing too.  At any rate, we're sticking with the therapy for now until we decide it's not working or he's to a level that we as a family can handle on our own.

I hope this has been informative.  Sorry it's a bit incoherent.  I'm just worn out for some reason today.




Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Great Thing About Capitalism and Medicine

The Canadian healthcare system is technically not socialized medicine. I know you've heard this before, but bear with me. The UK is because their doctors are public employees of the government. The government in the UK sets the costs and pay the doctors.  Not so in Canada.  In Canada the doctors are private business persons.  They accept public health care insurance which is provided by Canada, but they aren't public servants of the Canadian government.

In fact when I was there, the largest field for doctors were dentists.  That's because unlike regular doctors who are locked into whatever the public insurance will pay.  Dentists aren't.  Canadians will pay supplemental insurance costs or they'll pay out pocket for care. So they set the market.  Interestingly so will some of the regular GPs. A sign on the door noted that if you didn't have your insurance card at time of service you would be charged 100 dollars.  They didn't care if you had insurance or not because it was a private business.  The downside however is that doctors were paid a minuscule amount compared to doctors across the border so their weren't as many doctors willing to work in Canada.  Therefore you had a smaller pool of doctors that you could choose from.

In the US, we haven't gone as socialized as Canada.  There are doctors now who are negotiating prices for service with patients rather than with insurance companies.  It seems to be able to save costs for both the doctor and the patient.  You can also do this with drug purchases.

Today I went to the same eye doctor my children go to.  I wasn't exactly thrilled with the level of service, but I liked the doctor.  That is until today.  My appoint was for 9 am. I arrived at a little after 8:30 to fill out paper work. I wasn't called back until 9:30 that's when I asked about the little sign on the counter.

It read initial and dilation appointments take 2 hours. 

She confirmed that yes dilation would be at least an hour of waiting.  This explains HBs predicament.  The last time I took him in they made us wait for a very excruciatingly long time.  He's autistic and having someone mess with his vision like that...well, there was melt downs.

So I politely told her that I have a child to pick up.  Then I was kind to the receptionist who canceled the appointment.  And I didn't reschedule.

On the drive home, I thought, "nope. nope. nope."  I don't ever remember having to wait that long.

So I looked into it and found someone else who doesn't even have to dilate your eyes.  They use a different technology that does something similar and takes less time.  They also take child patients.  And the women was really polite in answering my questions and my explaining how dilation affects HB.  I'm going to give them a try and if I like them, I'm also changing over the kids.

And I can do this because of capitalism.  I'm not obligated to stick to one doctor who doesn't fit my needs.  I can look for someone else I feel more comfortable with.  Just like I did with my dentist the other day. 

Hopefully this whole insurance fiasco at the federal level will work itself out soon because I look forward to being able to negotiate more with doctors if I want to rather than relying on finding doctors who take my insurance.  That's what I did with the midwives when I had Knee.

Capitalism is good for this patient.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Margaret Atwood and Bill Nye

Hi again. It's me. I've been mulling over the post for quit a while, but I wasn't sure if there was enough conviction to post it or just my general irritation.  I try not to post much these days unless it's worth posting because I simply don't have the time to write everything that dumps into my head.  When my children were younger, I had things like nap time and we didn't have an extra car.  Now I have to cart two children to two different schools while juggling therapy.  And by juggling therapy, I mean I need to keep my house at a presentable level constantly.  I can't forego dishes in order to type even if I would like to.

So my twitter feed has had numerous ads for the new Hulu movie based on a book by Margaret Atwood called A Handmaid's Tale.  I probably should have blocked the ads, but I didn't.  Every time they pop up I chew on the topic more and more.  Truth be told I haven't read the book.  I've only read a synopsis and viewed scenes from the 1990s movie version.  I don't think that I could read the book without feeling the need to take a shower and try not to vomit.  It's rather graphic and revolting at the same time.  I don't blame Atwood for this.  Sometimes you need to say something disgusting to get your point across.  I however don't think I need to read it in graphic detail; a synopsis is enough for me.

Atwood wrote the book in the 1980s at a time when she had concerns about conservative religious groups.  I think however she focused on a few select fringe groups.  In her book she creates a dystopian government where a pseudo-Christian group has taken over.  Because there is a shortage of children due to radiation poisoning and STDs (now called STIs), this group has forced fertile women to bare children for the nation. 

It's disgusting.  And yes there are cultish "Christian" groups who use women like that.  But there are many more Christian groups who don't.  To be fair, in Atwood's book she points out that Catholic religious sisters and nuns do not want to be forced into this twisted surrogacy.  I think her books are fair warning to watch out for these types of groups, but I also think it's unfair to think that people do not have brains.  There were groups of Christians who were slave owners but of the abolitionists the largest number of people were Christians also. 

This is also true of surrogacy.  The reason people use surrogacy is because child-bearing is being put off until later in age when it is more difficult to get pregnant.  Often this is because people put career first due to the latest wave in the feminist movement.  In other cases, it because gay men desire children. There are a great number of Christians who are deeply concerned about the sheer numbers of women who are being used to bear children for the infertile.  There are concerns that these poor women often from underdeveloped countries are being exploited.  And I'm not even talking about those who are being exploited for their gametes or frozen embryos.  It's important to point out that many of these people who use surrogacy or pay for gametes are those who identify as being left politically. 

But on the opposite side of the same political affiliation, there are those who wish to stop people from having children.  Bill Nye recently asked about "extra children" on his Netflix show.  His concern was the sheer number of people on the planet burdening the resources that we have.  Rather than calling for general conservation, less consumerism, less materialism, and more minimalism (which are all things Christians get on board with), his solution was to have a panel from population control groups and pro-abortion groups talk about limiting the number of children.  The sheer idiocy of this was not lost on me.  Bill Nye earned his fame on a children's television program.  Does he seriously want to shoot himself in the foot?  I guess so.

It appears the new "moral" way is to both limit the number of children that you have and put off having children so that you can exploit someone else's biological functions.  So while Margaret Atwood is right that we should speak out against using women for their fertility, she's wrong in who is exploiting whom.  It isn't the Christian right who is raping women.  The reality is it's the ungodly left who want to control when and how many children a woman bears.  For the record, I consider myself a moderate who sits mostly in the center. 

To this control, I say f*** that. Bill Nye and other population controllers, you have no right to control my fertility.  I will not stand by and watch my country turn to China, where forced abortion and forced sterilization are rampant.  I will speak up for the rights of women.  Fertility is a beautiful thing.  Stop desecrating it. 


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spy Wednesday: Day 43: Will I stick with It

As I said before, people have been asking if I plan on going vegan long term.  My husband has practically said that he can't eat that way (he could but he doesn't want to).  One of my friends, who's a former vegetarian but never vegan, says it's much easier now for her to build a meal than it was before.  She says it was much more difficult for her to be vegetarian.  I'm sure it's hard now, but not as difficult.  She doesn't eat pork or beef.  That said she does eat a lot better than I do (at least from what I've observed for all I know she crams oreos at night).

So will I?

Well not after Easter.

The problem is that my method of going vegan isn't recommended by anyone.  Cold turkey doesn't work.  There's a learning curve not just in how you cook, but physically speaking.  And I crashed right through it, which is bad.  Because it's more likely now that I will gorge myself for Easter.  I'm already struggling.  You may have noticed that my cravings for onion rings have overtaken me.

That said I've learned a lot.  A lot.  You've probably noticed by the information I've been pouring into the blog.  It is amazing just how much animal stuffs are in our food supply.  McDonald's french fries have beef flavoring.  Why?  It's a dang french fry!  All the way to my chai tea bags.  I caught that one because the Kosher symbol said dairy instead of parveve.  It doesn't even list that it used butter fats in the ingredient lists.  I had to look that up on the web.  Why?  Why?  It's chai tea.  That should be spices and tea, right??!!  It actually grosses me out a little bit.  Not to mention that although I'm not a coffee drinker, occasionally I need the caffeine to keep myself going. 

Incidentally I've learned a lot about porridge because that seems to be a staple in the breakfasting diet of vegans.   Porridge is mostly used in the British lexicon.  Americans tend to use the word hot cereal.  Generally though, the Brits tend to eat one kind of porridge so when they say porridge it generally means the oat version.  It's like Southern-Stated Americans version of Coke.  Yes, I know that not all colas or sodas are Coke. I kid you not when I say that I heard at the drive through someone say "a cheeseburger and a coke, please" and the worker responded with "what flavor?" to which the person responded with "Coke."  Because Coke just means any soda in the South.  It's the same in Britain with porridge.  Americans do tend to eat more than just the oat variety so it makes more sense to be more specific with cream of wheat, oat meal, or grits (which is made from corn).  Yes, I know there's more, but that would be an entire blog post and I've already digressed for an entire paragraph discussing why I've had to figure out what some British vegans actually eat for breakfast.  But if you are British, please be kind and say "oat porridge" or whatever.  Saves me the headache of researching hot cereals.

So how will I proceed going forward with my diet?

I'm not sure.  At the very minimum I will change some of my eating habits.  After I finish the box of tea, I'm switching to a brand that doesn't have butter fats in the tea bags.  That's a pretty easy one.  I've also learned that some foods I like better vegan like the vegetarian refried beans and the ranch dressing.  Some foods the change doesn't seem to matter.  Chocolate tastes like chocolate.

After that I think going vegan on Fridays won't be too difficult.  Limiting the amount of animal products and process foods should be gradual.  I'm not sure that I could give up things cold turkey and as my friend said, it's really difficult.  I really really like bacon.  And not even turkey bacon suffices (I really don't get how she can eat it and I've tried a bunch of brands).

Everything in moderation.

What I ate today:
Breakfast: home fries with nutritional yeast and ketchup

Lunch: bagel with avacado and spinach, coconut yogurt

Snack: protein bar

Dinner: ramen (don't judge me. I hate migraines.)