my opinions bring all the trolls to the yard

Tax Day yesterday! And like most Americans who are not part of the 1% who enjoy the 20% tax bracket and who end up owing more taxes than they paid…even if they enjoyed unemployment and under-employment during the 2014 tax year, we waited until Tax Day to officially file.

We also imagine that Janis Joplin would take the sting out of this when we drop it off at the post office. Yes, I was humming Cry Baby as I dropped it off. I stopped praying for Lord to buy me a Mercedes Benz a long time ago.

Then I see this tweet:

And, because Hillary’s campaign follows me and I felt like answering back, I did:

I had a thought, an opinion and I expressed it. Not a ringing endorsement for Mrs. Clinton. No. It’s just me stating that as I dropped my taxes off at the post office in between choruses of Cry Baby, I thought those thoughts too.

Which, of course, brought all the trolls to the yard.

Because, of course my tweet confirms that all I want is a hand out…for me…for my family…for everyone. And I am voting for Hillary too.

Trolls are discerning that way.

They also have nothing better to do with their time.

Here’s the thing dear trolls, especially the gentleman from Texas with your Broadus generalizations, although I am obviously a Democrat, I am not necessarily ready for Hillary. I like her. I like her a lot. I have always thought her to be an exceptionally smart woman. There is nothing wrong with a smart woman. Smart women are pretty awesome. But is she my candidate for 2016?

I’m not sure.

Yet.

Truthfully, I am not sure of any candidate who has so far tossed their hats into the ring. Some I can not agree with or endorse ever. Some I just don’t believe are qualified. And Hillary? I’m afraid that regardless of her qualifications what will happen will be four more years of the what we have right now. A President unable to effectively lead with a Republican Congress who have time and time again stated they will do everything in their power to insure that the President can not lead; which I can not imagine is a government for the people by the people.

Scrolling through the trolls’ timelines, it would seem that you all aren’t too happy with Boehner, McConnell, McCain and company either.

At least we can agree on that.

Sad that we can not agree to disagree.

Gird your loins, people! 2016 is going to be all kinds of ugly.

viva tutte le famiglie!

“No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed….procreation ‘must be an act of love’, saying: ‘You are born to a mother and a father – or at least that’s how it should be. …I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalog. ..The family is not a fad. In it there is a supernatural sense of belonging.”

Thus speaks iconic fashion designers, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana…

Domenico Dolce (left) and Stefano Gabbana at their latest ‘Mamma’ catwalk show (AFP)

because, you know, coming off of their triumphant Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2015 “Viva la Mama” show, where they celebrate moms, motherhood  and the family, they are also experts on family and parenting…as two men who have never been parents…ever…are.

I remember when I knew everything about parenting and raising up children…I was 18 and I was certain a family member was absolutely doing it all wrong while dealing with their strong-willed 3 year old. Being the expert that I was, I made sure they knew…and everyone else. Fast forward nine years later, I was dealing with my own strong willed 3 year old child and I realized that I would have absolutely bitch slapped 18 year old me if she was there in that moment telling me what to do.

Absolutely.

Positively.

Sometimes we need to just keep our expert opinions to ourselves.

Here’s the thing Signori Dolce and Gabbana, you are correct in that everyone is entitled to their own opinion…no matter how ridiculous in my humble opinion. I am a woman in a traditional marriage with my darling husband with our family (which you apparently celebrate). Four of our perfectly wonderful children were conceived by us in the, ahem, conventional way, carried 8 months or more and after relatively easy, short labors, delivered into our arms. Our 5th child, also conceived in love, but by means of “chemistry”, as you define it by a man and woman struggling with infertility. He grew for scarcely 6 months in another woman’s womb (his biological mother’s) and as god, fate, timing or whatever force of nature would have, he, soon after his birth, became my child…my husband’s child…our son…our daughters little brother. Our son made of flesh, blood, bones, a brain, a heart, a soul…not a plastic child but absolutely a real child…very much real for the last thirteen years.

Your opinions, whether from the heart or flippant, I find to be hurtful and insulting. I understand that they are in defense of “traditional families” whatever that is supposed to mean to the majority of thinking people all over the world in 2015. Families today, in my neighborhood, my workplace, my city, my state, my country, literally all over the world can be defined as a mother and father and children, or a mother and mother and children, or a father and father and child, or a child and aunt and uncle, or foster parents and children…and on and on and on. Children are conceived in love by intercourse and in a laboratory, via IVF, via surrogate or sperm or egg donor. And children are adopted. While you have been designing and creating fashion for more than 30 years, the last 25 years as an RN in the NICU I have been privileged to witness the creation of more families than I can possibly keep count…families with straight parents, married parents, co-habitating parents, separated parents, divorced parents, single parents, gay parents, grandparents, adoptive parents, parents who struggled for years and years with infertility, parents welcoming a total oops in spite of the best birth control out there, jailed parents, addicted parents…name it and I will confirm for you that yes, those kind of parents too…all parents to real, living and breathing children…no matter how they were conceived…children, all part of a family…perhaps not your kind of family but still, nonetheless, a part of a family.

Yes, Signore Gabbana, we do need to “respect the ideas of others”. Here is mine…

A child conceived via IVF, born to another woman calls me Mom and is very real, very natural and absolutely my child. Everyone is entitled to express their own opinion no matter how ridiculous. But a living, breathing, loving human child remains, always, real…

and at 13 sometimes too real!

Viva il bambino sintetico!

Viva la famiglia!

Viva tutte le famiglie!

 

parental supervision advised

Recent events in the education of my favorite son have proven to be pretty exciting these days. Last month, after months and months of planning, preparation, education and communication our school district went live going digital with over 23,000 Panasonic 3E tablets issued to all the students in the district to be utilized in the classroom and for students in grades 4-8 to take home with parental permission and high school, well, I don’t know because I have no student in high school. But based on what I’m seeing in social media world, high school students are taking their devices home.

Going digital is every where. It’s now and it’s real and it is in pretty much every workplace setting…whether we like it or not. It only makes sense that we equip and educate our children…all of our children. Of course pretty much every child out there is tech savvy already with a strong selfie game by the time they are two. But for those who do not have access at home, here is an opportunity and it is exciting. At least I think so.

For months and months before the big day, our school district was informing us what was coming. Regular discussions and presentations were at school board meetings. Information was being sent home, updated on school web sites and the school district web site. The local paper published articles regularly as well. Teachers were discussing at back to school nights and individual teacher conferences what was to come. There were parent meetings with members of school board, faculty and Panasonic offered all over the district where parents could have the opportunity to ask more questions, actually see the devices and even play with them late last year. Up until the big Go Live day schools regularly sent home updates via flyers, monthly newsletters, emails and robo-calls. Our kids had assemblies talking about the Big Day and, at least under our Big Top, we heard about it from our very excited student. Technology was coming to our schools. A parent had to be literally living under a rock not to know what was coming. We knew under The Big Top since before last year at this time that this was coming…and we could not wait.

Then the day came just last month and Ta-Da!!!

We opted to give Daniel permission to bring his home on weekends and the day that he received his device because we wanted to see it too! As Daniel started it up, he carefully explained to us the dos and the don’ts of caring for and operating his tablet/laptop. He basically recited nearly verbatim the clear handout (with pictures) in English and Spanish that was sent home to the parents. We praised the boy on his care for his device to which he shrugged reminding us that we told him he has to take good care of his technology always.

Don’t you just love it when your kids actually listen to you and do what you say?

Me too.

Also, he added, Mrs. B. spent a great deal of time prepping his class with the basics of their tablets/laptops. Thank goodness because Mom and Dad appreciate his prompting as we get ourselves acquainted with it too.

So six weeks later, the local paper wonders how the students are doing with their devices and discovers that cracked screens from students stepping on the devices…as they are getting out of bed is the biggest reported problem. No actual numbers are reported, but the district assures that it is small number comparatively.

Of course the comments immediately flood the paper’s social media sites because people are clearly upset about this…this is a big deal. Comments pour in all mostly pointing fingers at schools, the school district and teachers because clearly THEY are not being responsible. One parent loudly, shrilly complains that the schools had not adequately prepped parents and students for this. Schools are not teaching her children safety and and responsibility. Technology is important but some parents don’t want their kids to use it or access it….she expresses these comments via Facebook using her iPhone. And the “amen corner” chimes in.

But here is a novel idea…How about parents take responsibility to teach their children to take care of all the technology devices they use and what websites their children access?…Yes, I asked that.

Why does this remind me so much of sex education with our kids and parents of my kids’ friends suddenly realizing that when their kids are 12 that OMG, the school is going to talk to them about their changing bodies and maybe sex and they are just kids and OMG!!! They are going to talk to them about that!!! We haven’t even had THE TALK because they’re just babies and OMG!!!

It’s simple to suggest that parents need to take responsibility here. It is too simple. Parents, who clearly are tech-savvy enough to shrilly comment all over social media of the evils of tech in their child’s school and tech being forced upon their child via their iPhone should be able to pass on some of that to their kids. Given the fact that most toddlers I know seem pretty adept navigating mommy’s smart phone or their own tablet to play games or watch Frozen for the jabillionth time, I would imagine the small group of #MUSDgoingdigitalconcerns parents have kids who are savvy enough…the leader of their group has a high school aged child who I imagine is quite busy on twitter, tumblr and kik. Shame on her for not passing on info to her mom who claims having no knowledge until December 2014…and since mom chose to judge my parenting when we engaged in a thoughtful debate on this subject…shame on mom for not being on top of her child’s school activities as well as perhaps her child’s online activity.

As another parent expressed: I am a bit concerned as to why the children/ kids/teens are allowed to “go to bed” with their tablets. It is a learning device, a digital book if you will…. parents should be supervising the usage of these things, the tablet should be put in a backpack or put away on the table or something, these items should not be being broken and used as a baby sitting device.

Disagree all you want, but truth of the matter is the parents need to step up and be responsible for their kids actions.

I’m sorry #MUSDgoingdigitalconcerns mom but all of your apples and oranges and slippery slope arguments fall flat. We were prepped. We were given ample time and the forums to express questions and concerns. Our kids have been educated in class on the care of their devices and safety. We have been repeatedly also informed of basic device care and safety for our children while using their devices. Ultimately we as parents must choose to continue to support, encourage and educate ourselves and our children of the care of their devices and safety…as responsible parents do. Like sex education, or morality, or basic respect for people, animals, places and things, ultimately this is the job of the parent, including you, #MUSDgoingdigitalconcerns mom, to be present, be aware and teach our kids proper respect for things given to them. If your kid was irresponsible enough to take the device to bed to be “doing homework” and crack the screen, I imagine that you are engaging with me on the Bulletin’s Facebook page via your iPhone with a cracked screen.

Yes, I went there. You question my own parenting in our back and forth discussion implying that I don’t care for my child’s safety I think it’s fair.

Ultimately, it is one of MUSD’s students who pretty much said what needed to be said: I personally think the tablets are awesome if used correctly. I have never been more productive. I am a senior in high school and the tablets have allowed for me to get a lot of small assignments done between passing classes, allowing me to reduce my workload at home. Also, in applying to colleges it’s really nice to have all the materials necessary at my fingertips. During lunch and brunch I fill out scholarship applications-something I had to wait to do until I got home to my computer before. Although I use my tablet for the intended use of improving my educational experience, I am highly aware of their misuse. I have classmates who got their tablets and downloaded games immediately and only waste their time. My peers are extremely careless when it comes to their tablets so it’s no surprise to me that so many are broken. I don’t think the tablets are the problem. The problem is the students’ individual negligence towards them. Whether we like it or not our future will be ruled by technology so it is really great that MUSD is giving us this advantage over the students of other districts. Of course there are going to be problems with the tablets, but learning to deal with them is exactly the type of ‘real-life’ application every body claims to want in their education.

and then a teacher, I know personally, who admittedly struggled with the going digital process shared: I have so enjoyed the last few days with the students having their own computers. I guess I wasn’t surprised things have gone so smoothly, since we were towards the end and most of the bugs had been worked out. The kids have amazed me not with how much further ahead of me they were, which I expected, but how much they were willing to help each other out. I did find I had much to teach them (especially about word processing), but for much of the time my job is to just stay out of their way. They also are taking a whole new interest in completing their work and behaving in class. I realize this won’t last, but you can’t fault me for enjoying it while I can…

Back it up #MUSDgoingdigitalconcerns mom. You sit down and focus on your kid’s safety and use and care of their digital device and I will with mine.

 

for the calming effect on the nervous system of humanoids

We have a pretty awesome son in law, in case you all don’t already know. Hearing that his dad-in-law and the guy who married him for love and infinity and beyond to his gorgeous wife, he wanted to do something for him…because love and gratitude and the fact this guy let him marry his baby girl and even married them, his baby girl and the son in law.

We hear that this is a favorite shot from their wedding day because while the groom and bride were so nervous, the officiant/Daddy/Dad in law seemed to be having a really good time.

He was, Hollie and Ben. You all wouldn’t be old married folk if he wasn’t having fun standing up there with his buddy/baby girl and the man whom she loved. But you all already know that and have known that through the years together.

So Ben came to visit his Dad-in-law bearing a special gift, a gift he knew would be the right gift.

Yes, a tribble.

In the 23rd century, an enterprising trader named Cyrano Jones procured an interesting and adorable little creature. These tiny furry beasties had a calming effect on the nervous systems of humanoids – well most humanoids, anyway. They were called tribbles.

These tribbles, when they’re not busy being cute and purring, were prodigious breeders. As one country-doctor once quipped, “Well, the nearest thing that I can figure is that they’re born pregnant – which appears to be quite a time-saver!” In fact, their ability to multiply is so incredible, they can fill an entire cargo hold in three days – that’s one million, seven-hundred seventy-one thousand, five hundred sixty one tribbles… assuming one tribble with an average litter of ten producing a new generation every twelve hours. That’s some impressive breeding, right there. It would make any man want to high-five any tribble, except tribbles don’t have arms.

This tribble, however, is genetically altered to be sterile. Or so we have been told. God, I hope so! Our Big Top is crowded enough already.

Meanwhile, this tribble proved to be the perfect gift as after Ben, the son in law, left; Ben, Bill’s nurse, was pulling the venous and arterial lines from his groin which meant 30 minutes of seriously, hard pressure applied to those insertion sites to insure that there would be no bleeding from those big blood vessels. The tribble purred and cooed a lot as Bill hugged it tightly during that time. Thinking he his definitely not a Klingon.

Good thing.

Oh, and thank goodness for Bill’s tribble!

The same day that Bill went to the hospital for chest pains, it was announced that Leonard Nimoy, Spock, also was.

Coincidence, yes.

And Friday morning, as Bill finally came home to The Big Top, we were greeted with the breaking news that Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock, had died. And being the nerdy family that we are, we honored Mr. Spock and celebrated Bill’s homecoming the best way that we knew watching some of the original Star Trek series, including, but of course, The Trouble with Tribbles, because, seriously, what else is there?

The House of Cards, Season 3?

Yeah, there’s that.

Whatever. 

We’ll catch up soon enough. For now we are watching Star Trek on Netflix starting with The Trouble with Tribbles…cuddling with our tribble, of course.

LLAP yo!

 

the perks of being a Snow Queen’s mommy

It’s cold out there today. I know because Al Roker told me so…it was 47° in Miami, Florida where he was reporting this morning. I also know because of everyone sharing this morning.

Oh you Siberian Express, you! I don’t miss the kind of cold that freezes the snot inside your nose…Not. At. All. This blast of icy cold is getting serious because in Kentucky there is a warrant for the arrest of a certain Snow Queen.

All points bulletin!!! Harlan Police Department has issued an arrest warrant for Queen Elsa of Arendelle, Suspect is a blonde female last seen wearing a long blue dress and is known to burst into song “Let it Go!” As you can see by the weather she is very dangerous. Do not attempt to apprehend her alone.

Clearly she can’t be bothered because she is much too busy making appearances here in the Central Valley and the Bay Area making little girls and boys wishes come true. Also she wouldn’t dare freeze my neck of the woods because the cold does bother her mommy!

I’m sorry everyone else seems to be freezing…really. For what it’s worth, it’s foggy and snowing here in the Central Valley right now.

At least it looks like snow.

Don’t worry, I might not be freezing but I am suffering because almond blossoms and allergies.

Stay warm my friends.