11/20/2014

Oh the Naivete!

So apparently there's one arm of the Sleepy family that leans to the left. Like really, really far to the left. This became semi-apparent in 2008 and only continues to get more and more ridiculous. I'd like to say that they're into social justice and have good hearts but...really I think they just represent the idiocy of people who don't bother to think beyond lunch tomorrow.

Regardless, one of the cousins posted today a link to some former military person's petition for "executive action" on immigration because he's part of a family with "mixed status" and apparently one of the few who have actually managed to have a family member detained for being in the country illegally. And so he's asking for the president to circumvent 200 years of the rule of law and instead govern by fiat. Of course, Obama's no stranger to doing that, so I suppose it's not hugely unreasonable to want to ask him to do it again. And given his propensity for doing just that, I suspect it'll happen regardless of what sane minds would want.

But what had me shaking my head was the supposed rationale for this additional clemency for those poor people who find themselves running afoul of the law because they chose to stay in a country after their permission to do so ended. Apparently, letting these people stay and become citizens will somehow give us billions of dollars of income tax revenue in just one year.

Now, I ask you...do people honestly believe that a group of people who have no problem flagrantly violating the law by staying in a country illegally and dishonestly (and pretty it up with whatever term you want, if you are in a country after your allotted visiting/school/work time has ended, you are there ILLEGALLY and not leaving is DISHONEST) -- but those people who have no problem being scoff laws as far as residency, when given clemency and a chance to stay are suddenly going to be honest, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens?

Riiiiight. That's what's going to happen.

11/19/2014

Oh, Barbie.

So apparently there was a book about Barbie being a computer engineer published in 2010 that ended up being the topic de jour in my Facebook feed today. Why did it take four years to be noticed? Well, it's a Barbie book so I'm guessing that it's not generally being read by hundreds of thousands of people. Mattel has apologized.

I was considering putting my own two cents in about how that book should look, but in actuality, there's a site where you can improve the book yourself. And this is one delightful use of said site. So really, my work here is done.

I will go ahead and add my voice to the many others out there, however, who have to wonder how Mattel--even in 2010--managed to allow such a thing to be published. It's hard enough for women in the sciences (and in computer science in particular.) Do we really need Barbie playing into the stereotypes? I mean, sure, it's nice that she's *trying* to design a computer game, but do we even have to go so far as to assume that games designed by girls have cute, fluffy robot puppies in them? I mean, really. If you look at the game design world and the kick-ass women who work in that field, they're not all about the fluffy robot puppies. (I suppose it's nice that it wasn't a heavily endowed, bikini-clad robot puppy, but perhaps that's a post for another day. Because as far as sexism goes, the game industry has a way to come themselves if they want to move out of the era of misogyny.)

But more to the point, in my mind, I continue to wonder why we look to things (things! As in TOYS!) like Barbie to be role models for our children. Can they help teach good manners and morals. Sure. Should they be role models? No. Especially when there are so many fabulous REAL role models that you can use if you want to take the time to talk to your kids and encourage them to read outside the sphere of this week's hot toy.

So, without further ado, a brief list of suggestions for role models to investigate if you're looking to encourage your daughter in the sciences. (And yes, I'm being lazy and linking to Wikipedia, but you can find better, deeper resources from there and it's a handy place to get an idea bout whether or not you care to explore further.)

The point is...we don't need Barbie if we're looking for inspiring influences for women in science. They're already out there, working, innovating, and combating the ridiculous stereotype that Barbie perpetuates in the first place.

The next Barbie book I hope they publish? Barbie Gets Medically Necessary Breast Reduction Surgery to Save Her Back.

11/18/2014

Some days...

It really just doesn't feel worth it to have gotten out of bed in the morning.

Grump. Grump. Grump.

That is all.

11/17/2014

Mawwiage is what bwings us togevver today

This weekend, the hubs and I took off to the wedding of a friend. Seeing as how we both moved up a notch in the old age-bracket tic boxes this past year, the days of wedding attendance have been rather long gone. It's been at least five years and that was one of hubby's younger cousins and doesn't count, really. (Family weddings are a different thing than friend weddings. I can't explain it, it's just the way it is.)

Regardless, having been on the inside of a few conversations about the outlandish amount of money our friend and his fiance were spending on this shindig, I have to say now on the other side of the event that either saner heads prevailed and they really scaled back from what they said they were spending or I have no idea where the money went.

Last I heard, the general bill was going to be in the area of $60K (Plus or minus a bit here or there.) I'll wait until you can breathe again, cause if you're like us, you choked and nearly died when you read that. But other than the sit-down dinner with filet as an option, I don't know where it went. There were essentially zero flowers at the church. The bouquets were long stemmed roses tied with a 2" ribbon that I hope they made themselves because really...why would you pay a florist what a florist charges to do something so simple it's not even worth a Pinterest pin? There were a few centerpieces at the reception but nothing to write home about. And so it goes.

What really struck me about this thing though wasn't the quandary of the money, it was the fact that ceremony itself was roughly 20 minutes long. And I'm being kind and rounding up. And then there was a two hour break before the cocktail hour at the reception venue. That went on for an hour (seriously, they were militant about it being a cocktail HOUR despite the fact that everyone, bride and groom included, was there at the start of the thing). Then dinner for two hours (and why, WHY would you do your first dance before feeding your guests? Just feed us already, then do your dancing.) And at that point, we'd been away from home for close to six hours so we called it and left. Before the cake. I have no idea what time they finally got around to the cake.

Honestly, if you're planning on making your wedding an event that lasts more than maybe 3 hours, you need to state that pretty clearly on your invitation so people can make informed choices about attending. Especially when you make it a no kids event. (I don't get the no kids thing, I really don't. To me, weddings are about family, so kids should absolutely be there. Throw in the fact that you just asked someone to shell out $120 to a babysitter because you decided you needed to stretch your event out for a full freaking day and, well, I feel a lot less bad about the fact that I didn't shop off your million dollar registry.)

So congrats to my friend, but next time I seriously may just send a card and be done with it. Cause wow.

11/14/2014

Volunteerism

I run a program for kids at our church. It's a program we had when I was growing up. I love it -- it's near and dear to my heart -- and I'm thrilled that it's available for my kids to participate in. However, as with so many things at church, it's run by volunteers (heck, I'm a volunteer) and it seems like the majority of the world doesn't actually subscribe to the same ideas behind volunteering that I do.

So I bring to you, my list of Volunteering Dos and Don'ts

Do:

  • Look at the list of places you're needed and find one that fits with what you enjoy doing and have time for. 
  • Show up five minutes early. This, for volunteers, really is "on time."
  • Ask how you can help, even if it's outside of your "job description"
  • Commit. Understand the length of your volunteer position, what's required, and what breaks are available. Volunteers who only come when they "can" (i.e. feel like it) are less helpful than empty positions.
  • Be dependable. (See above)
  • Enjoy yourself. If you're having fun, that will shine through in your work. See the first bullet for step 1 in making this happen.
Don't:
  • Grumble about how you could have done it better. There are most likely leadership positions available, if you want one, step up!
  • Grumble when the leader of the activity asks how things are going in your area. Just like with your job, most things have some kind of chain of command structure. I promise you, the leader isn't trying to micromanage or take over, they just need to know what's going on since the buck stops with them.
  • Be late.
  • Fail to notify your immediate supervisor and the person overall in charge if you aren't able to make it. Sooner is always better than later.
  • Feel entitled. At the end of the day, everyone is volunteering for the same purpose. Keep that purpose in mind as you work -- most volunteer opportunities embody the idea that it's not about you.

11/13/2014

On TMI

I'm unclear if it's just that I run in bizarre circles (very possible) or if the women of today have simply lost all sense of decorum (also very possible), but it seems as if lately the last tiny speck of decency has flown out the window and TMI has become the utter norm.

For instance, dropping off my littlest at the church nursery on Sunday, I was chatting briefly with the worker who I know by name but who is, hands down, not someone I consider a friend (close or otherwise). She's simply the woman who watches the baby during church. I know her name and that she's single and I can peg a guess at her age, but haven't spent much time thinking about it. I only recently discovered what she does for a living (and she ran the same class when my older boy was in it, so I've "known" her for several years now.) Innocently enough, thinking I was passing the time until the boy found a toy that would entertain him while I slipped off, I asked, "How's your weekend going?"

She replied, "Oh, well, my little red friend showed up yesterday, so that put a damper on my plans."

Really? Really!? Just say you're not feeling 100% and leave it there. I promise I'm just going to say, "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that." Because I don't even know you well enough to dig further into your symptomology if you tell me that much. That's how not friends we are.

Sadly, this seems to be a trend. Is it meant to be part of some feminist movement? Do they feel they're breaking down some taboo wall? Realistically, any person who has made it through the sixth grade knows about the general inner workings of the female body. So it's not as if you're educating the world at large by going on about such things. But I'm finding more and more people are using this as an excuse -- and then wanting to go into crazy detail.

I've had volunteers for a church program I run let me know they're not coming because of cramps. (And then even more detail behind them that again, I don't care about.) Do they do this at work? I'm guessing they probably do. But why? Why do we accept this? I can basically say that, across the board, I don't need details about any of your bodily functions.

Am I the only woman who feels this way? I'm pretty certain that guys aren't on board with all this talk (and I've been in the room where women are going on about their cycles with men who are not their husband or doctor present, so there's certainly a group of women who seem to feel it's a necessary and important part of general conversation.) I wonder, sometimes, if men were to start talking about their morning wood if women would be expected to take it in stride. If we were to say to a coworker getting in at 10, "Hey, running late?" And they were to go on about how they had such a forceful erection they had to lay in bed for another fifteen minutes if we would just smile, nod and go on about our day. Because the women who respond to the same question with commentary about their cramps and flow volume really aren't much different.

Better than that, can't we all just agree that we don't need to talk about these things to people other than our doctors, spouses, and children (and the children is only in an age-appropriate teaching about their bodies kind of way, not filling them in so they are scarred for life with too much information)?

And if not...could you at least leave me out of the conversation?

11/12/2014

Random Dreams of Redecorating

Or maybe renovating. I'm not sure which this falls under. Having lived in our current home for going on 15 years now (well, 15 in the spring), I look around and I feel antsy. It's not that I want to move (oh golly I have no desire to move. Bleh. Moving...*shudder*) but it just feels like we need something shaken up a bit.

Of course, the budget for any shaking up is miniscule (i.e. basically 0), so for right now it's just daydreaming (though I may talk the hubs into letting me play with rearranging some furniture this weekend. Why does he have to be involved? Because what I'm thinking of means moving couches from upstairs down and downstairs up and...I can't do that alone. Otherwise I'd just do it.) Anyway, current day dream? The master bath.

For those who've been through a master bath redo, you're probably shuddering. I suspect it's a seriously huge pain in the backside. But it doesn't stop me dreaming. See, we have this garden tub that takes up a goodly portion of the room and I think it's been used...four times in fifteen years? That's on the generous side. I'm just not a bath person. I don't understand the excitement of sitting in hot water with half of you outside the hot water getting cold while all the dirt soaks off you and then...you just keep sitting in the junk that washed off you, so it resticks to you? Why? Once you're done with the bath, don't you need to go take a shower to clean off from the bath? And so...what's the point of the bath? Plus you're just sitting there. Watching your skin wrinkle. Trying to pretend your chest isn't freezing. (At least in a hot tub you can submerge to your shoulders and there are jets. Or in a pool you can move around.)

So. Garden tub. Waste of space. Enter the dream world. In the dream world, I would yank the tub and split the space between a larger shower with a bench (you know those really nice walk-in showers? Love those.) and (here we get to a bit of the possibly crazy) a sauna.

A sauna, you ask? For now, yes. The idea intrigues me. I've been in a sauna a few times and have fuzzy recollections that it was pleasant and relaxing. And, unlike in a bath, you can actually read in a sauna without fear of the book being totally ruined (though admittedly it's high humidity, it's not the same as it dropping into a tub full of water and bubbles.)

I haven't pitched this to the hubby yet. I suspect he'll flop onto the floor and laugh until he cries if I do. So for now, it's a random daydream. And on the plus side (well,at least for hubs) it's likely that the longer I wait, the more it'll change into something else.

Besides which, I'd really like new floors before we get to something crazy like the bathroom. Cause almost fifteen year old carpet? Yeah...it's struggling.