Monday, December 17, 2012

Somber reflections

Somber reflections

I have been reading Facebook comments all weekend and watching CNN among other sources trying to understand the tragedy that occurred in Connecticut over the weekend. I think my biggest frustration with the coverage is the plethora of misinformation that was put out in the wake of this tragedy regarding who the perpetrator was, what his relationship was to the school, and the speculation related to why he did it. I admit I had the tv on once I heard about what had happened, but it bothered me to listen to the speculation and hype that surrounded this event. I want to hear the facts, as released by the authorities, rather than anonymous sources who seem credible. Although I feel this way about a lot of news coverage, whether it is election coverage, celebrity speculation, or high profile trials. In some regards, one can no longer trust the media for accurate reporting because of all the "expert opinions" being touted and judgments being rendered before all the facts are in.

My heart just breaks for the families affected by this tragedy. Justin, Alexis, and Kajsa are all the ages of the victims and I cannot imagine losing even one of them! We have had our share of tragedies that occurred over the holidays that have forever changed the face and tenor of those holidays for most of us. The same is true now for those families. I also think the are dialogues that need to begin, especially surrounding the issues of mental health, mental illness, and how we as a society deal with these vulnerable individuals. A very brave mother wrote a widely disseminated article about her experiences with her 13 year old son who has been violent with her and made threats of self-injury and how hard it is to get adequate services for him prior to something horrible happening, resulting in legal action. As unpopular as it may seem, I believe there is a need for long-term, non-prison related treatment facilities where individuals who need them can be treated away from prisons or places where they could either be negatively affected by or negatively effect the lives of others. Mental institutions are no more negative than nursing homes in my opinion, any more than group homes or treatment centers are. I also believe in orphanages, places where lost children can grow up cared for with a sense of connection, identity, and self-esteem. They have to be properly staffed, and have some structure to them, but be places where there is some accountability, resources, and support available to support as high a quality of life as the individual is capable of. I am one who agrees with the concept of least restrictive environments, but there are individuals who need structure and organization in order to function at their best.

I also believe we need to have open dialogues about how best we can support families in crisis, which is, in my opinion, even more important than discussions on gun control. Something is seriously broken in our society when we don't have the appropriate resources available to help individuals in need. We need to have alternatives available because one-size fits all just doesn't work!

Anyhow, that is m rant/opinion. I am praying for those families who were affected by this shooting, including the first responders and others who had to deal with the aftermath of such a terrible situation.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

It's beginning to feel more like Christmas

I have a couple of major gifts done, have the gifts for the 6 grand kids well in hand, and am now starting to think about decorating around here. The sad part is there is lots to do but I have NO energy or drive to focus on it. It's a grey and gloomy day outside and all I really want to do is sit and knit, with an afghan over me, lots of lights on, and either a good movie or my audio book on. It's a cocooning type of day and that isn't realistic for me. Instead, I have laundry in the washer, my Zune primed with a collection of short stories I want to listen to, and after blogging, I will head for the sewing room. Honestly, I am excited to work on gifts for the little girls (I am making doll clothes wardrobes for all of them--even Skye is at a stage of dressing and undressing her bitty baby "Susie". Heck, we had to buy Susie diapers last time we were at the bx (baby alive diapers--the doll that eats and poops). She is thrilled, and each diaper gets much practice with on and off before needing the new one, heeheehee.

I know what I want to do for my husband for Christmas, and we are discussing what to do for the "big kids". The girls posted lists for us, but the boys are a bit harder to decide on because they are less specific in their wants. I also know what I am doing for the nieces already, so my shopping list isn't too huge. I suggested a trip to St Charles for tomorrow to my spouse so we can browse the specials there--I prefer crafted, one of a kind gifts any day over commercial stuff for family members. I for sure am going to Minneapolis over Christmas, taking Reimond and probably Patrick with me. Aurora said she is staying home, as is Dan (because he has to work), and the jury is still out on whether or not Brie and her SO will come up with Skye. My first trip in ages that I won't be bringing Skye with me! It's gonna seem odd!

I have started Reimond's hoodie sweater, a pattern he picked out and chose the colors for. I am keeping careful track of the pattern because I am knitting size small for the circumference, but size extra large for the length! The boy is tall and skinny! This was my reward to me for finishing another project that will remain picture less for a bit until after the holidays because the recipient reads this blog :)

Reimond is back on track at school and I am very relieved. Brianne had a mini meltdown after bombing a chem lab final this past week, but she did better on another test and here chem final is next week. She is working feverishly on a final paper for her American history class, and will be done with the term next week. Aurora too is taking finals next week and one of her tasks with a friend who is also a classmate was to choreograph a dance and perform it. They have been practicing it and while I have only seen the video of it I am sure it will be fun.

Dan has a job at a local convenience store/gas station and works varying hours each week. Patrick is still in the market for a job and is feeling frustrated at times with all the time on his hands. Video games, reading, and hanging with friends can only occupy so many hours of the day. Eric has assigned the boys with chores to take care of to help fill in their free time Nd they are following thru for the most part.

Skye is doing ok. She had another upper respiratory virus last week and still has a nasty cough that wakes her at night. She is my girl when she is here, attached to me by an invisible leash most days, but the other day she was Eric's girl and it was adorable! Speaking of Eric, he did finish off and pass both of his classes and officially has his BS degree in criminal justice. Not sure when he will get the actual diploma as he didn't walk at the ceremony (he had to work, and wasn't thrilled that the graduation was being held in a high school auditorium). They have had a few things come up at work and he is picking up numerous ot shifts. This wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't on overnights right now and these shifts have all been day shifts, messing with his sleep schedule something fierce. He's working one today, then back on nights Monday night. Blech!

Ok, it's time to change the laundry over and the move to job C. And maybe light a candle (they smell so good) along with turning on more lights :). Hate grey skies with a passion!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Trying something new!

My daughter told me about this blog she found that has challenges as themes to blog about. So far there are 55 or 56 of them, and it's a way of exploring who you are and sharing your story. I decided to give it a try, and while I may not do them in any sort of order, I figured it would be a nice change from strictly rambling about the family. It's from and the first challenge says "If you were forced to go back to the olden days what ten modern conveniences would you want to take with you?"

Lets see:
1. My e-reader because it has so many books on it that I want to read, many of which are the classics I never read in high school or college, that I had gotten free shortly after I got my Nook.

2. My cell phone, because I like the ability to talk to family at any time and any where. It's small, easily portable, and I would have a hard time living without it.

3. My Zune, because it houses all my favorite music and if I knew I would be going back in time ahead of time, I would be sure to fill it as fully as possible with all the possible music and/or audio books I might ever want to listen to, just so I wouldn't be without them! (Thanks Liisa for the 32g upgrade, even if it is older and boxier than my old one).

4. The Nintendo game boy and/or the Sony PSP, along with all the games we have for each. I love my video games, and while I wouldn't presume there would be televisions, I would hope there was at least electricity so I could keep things charged and useable.

5. The Internet/wireless connections so that I could use my phone to make calls, etc. even if no one else could access them but me. Selfish, but true (although I am thinking of it existing strictly for making phone calls. I could probably survive without the Internet, but not without a telephone).

6. My sewing machine, so I could have the ability to sew garments, quilts, and other items of necessity or beauty quickly and enjoyably. I can embroider and sew by hand, and even enjoy doing so, but the ability to do it fast is gratifying.

7. If I have my sewing machine, then for sure I would need my laptop and my thumb drive for storing and transferring designs and patterns (man I hope there is electricity! Lol).

8. My washing machine! I love hanging things to dry, so I don't need a dryer, but I hate washing lots of things by hand, unless they are hand knits or delicate (blue jeans by hand?/ shudder).

9. My bread machine because bread is a staple and I have trouble with all the kneading and mixing by hand. And that leads me to my last modern convenience:

10. My mixer, which I got for Christmas last year and adore. It makes mixing dough of any sort so easy and accomplishes it with little fuss or muss. If I had to I could probably mix and knead bread dough in it, but then again, while the bread is being made in the bread machine, the mixer is available to make other things in.

That's my first challenge response. It's actually harder than one might think. So what would YOU want to bring with if you had to go back in time?