A Fresh Guest Post

Well, Oldest Son and Darling Daughter have left for home; tomorrow we head down to Cincinnati for a holiday visit with Jolly and The G Man.  I don’t know if I’ll post between now and next Monday, but for now here is Miss J’s offering for my holiday blogging guest posts.  She is having a great time in college and we are so proud of her!

Initially when I got asked on what to write for this blog several ideas popped into my mind. What should I discuss if it’s essentially anything I can share about? After several seconds it was easy for me to determine on what I should share- Texas A&M. Currently, I am a freshman at Texas A&M University which has drastically changed my life and not only in the “growing up” factor but realizing how much of a family A&M is.

A&M has been called many names: A cult, family, Aggies, Spectacular, etc. Going into becoming an Aggie, I didn’t actually realize how unique of a University it was. I remember my senior year of high school I was applying to different schools and thought over and over on what and where I wanted to go. There were so many options for me to determine and actually A&M was on the bottom list of schools I wanted to go. A&M is a very traditional campus, very conservative and a military base ( We have the largest ROTC type style in a public university. We call it the Corps of Cadets). Frankly I’m liberal, not country and the idea of going to a college town was not on my list of places I wanted to live. Whenever everything got settled down and realizing A&M was the best college rated and cheapest (in state compared to other schools) and only three hours away from home (which I realized I would be home sick and I was), we all decided going to A&M would work. Of course I was excited no matter what- going to a huge university of 50,000 students, having so many opportunities there was really no way I COULD NOT be excited.

After graduation, I went to fish camp- the first tradition at A&M for any freshman; I actually realized how much of a family the school is. Fish camp is a camp we have out about an hour or so away from College Station (where A&M is located) and it shows you all the class yells, and everything A&M has to offer. Being a stellar experience, I was that much more excited to be an Aggie. All my biased outlooks on the school diminished and I realized what a “family” of that size of a population really was. Yes A&M has so many traditions and can be seen as a “cult” but it is amazing how many people are passionate about their school and care about it. I highly suggest to anyone to go to an Aggie football game. The student section doesn’t sit, we have yells that everyone does which is led by the yell leaders, and we each class as there class yells. With 50,000 kids knowing all the same yells, same traditions, it is just an awesome experience to be a part of.

After I got to college I realized how many things I wanted to do. Like anyone else essentially, growing up is a huge factor and challenging experience in your life. So many opportunities to do and be whatever you want to be that it’s almost overwhelming. The best thing for me anyways was getting into this Social Justice and Environmental organization at A&M which is called One Love. We deal with environmental issues, local issues (Potlucks), global issues (Mocha Club), we have a social committee and other things we do around campus. Not only has this organization changed me, it has also helped me have such a ensuring experience for my first semester. We went to Galveston to do a beach clean up, held events that are what our organization is like, and just did events weekly that we had going on around campus.

Not only do I now realize how many options I have ahead of me, I realized how many passionate people there are out in society. Truly, I know that A&M and College Station is the best fit for me. Next year becoming an international mentor and still being in One Love, I’m that much more ecstatic on who and what people will I meet following my years. I hope everyone has a splendid New Years and enjoys their next year following as well.

A Note From The Young One

Remember last week when I said I’d enlisted my kids to write guest posts for me and told them they could write about whatever they wanted?

Yeah.  You’ll note that this post is heavily foot-noted hyper-linked.  You can thank me later.

Oh, and yes – we’re working on the poor boy’s lousy self-esteem.  ::rolls eyes::

Alrighty then. When I first started to type this up, I thought to myself  “Hmm… What can I say that would appeal to a bunch of adult women that think I am the cutest thing ever?” I can’t put pictures of me shirtless, or else the FBI would be knocking on my door. So, I decided to do the next best thing – random crap!

So, I finished my midterm exams today for school. I think I did alright, I guess. I’m just glad they’re other with.

Speaking of exams, on exam days I bring my friend that I shall dub “Mr. NightShade”, or”Mr. IWantToStartAMetalBandCuzI’mCoolLikeThat” (while “Mr. IWantToStartAMetalBandCuzI’mCoolLikeThat” is more accurate, “Mr. NightShade” is short), home to hang out until his parents come pick him up. We do interesting things.

1. $#!* our pants playing Dead Space

2. Listen to endless metal (my ears are just fine, thank you)

3. Complain how we will probably never live out our artistic talents

4. Fail to make toast

My friends at school are weeeeird.

Speaking of art, I’m actually writing a story. Now, this is actually good, because everything else I have written have been direct parodies of popular movie genres. This, however, is actually a serious story. Well, as serious as I can make it anyway.

It’s a sci-fi story with… Uhm.. Aliens and robots and stuff.

Would be nice to actually be able to like, write this story. Crap.

Speaking of crap, people are nagging me to get Clock of Doodie: Black Cops (Call of Duty: Black Ops) for Christmas this year. I’m sorry, but no. Who likes to play the same generic FPS military shooter every single year? You might as well watch the revisions by George Lucas of Star Wars – they’re exactly the same as before but with stupid edits and GREEDO SHOT FIRST DRAMAMAMAMAMAMALAMNA.

Speaking of Star Wars, The Forced Unleashed 2 was a dissapointment.

Speaking of dissapointments, ever played any of the Silent Hill games after 4? I cried inside.

Speaking of the number four, forty-two is the answer to everything.

Speaking of Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, that book is awesome.

Speaking of books, I need to read more.

Speaking of reading, we sure do have alot of books downstairs.

Speaking of downstairs, (blahblahblahblahblahblahblah)… I don’t remember where I was going with this.

That’s me alright. *sigh*

A Jolly Little Guest Post

Last week, when faced with holiday stress and a martini I decided that I needed some help to keep the blog going through the first of the year.   So I called all five of the kids and asked for a guest post, telling them they could write about whatever they wanted.

Because I’m a nut like that.

Here’s the first of them – Jolly, being the proud mama she is, responded the very same day.  We’ll see if the rest of the them come through for me.  No GUILT or anything, you guys. 😛

Two years ago on Christmas Day I woke up really early very excited to open up one gift. I unwrapped a pregnancy test and took it to find out I was pregnant. I was so excited; I have wanted to be a Mom my whole life. Looking back pregnancy was great! It makes you excited, nervous, scared, happy, and a whole lot of other emotions. I was hoping to have a little boy and soon enough at 17 weeks we found out it was a boy!

He arrived with a bang. He decided to come about a month early and that morning when I was driving to get my fiancé from work (he had gotten in a car accident a week prior so we had one car at the time) to go the hospital with me a crazy thing happened. On the 101 freeway in Los Angeles, CA my tire blew out. So there I was in early labor on the side of the freeway waiting for my fiancé to show up and get us to the hospital. Just a couple of hours later our baby boy had arrived.

The first few weeks are the toughest. Hormone levels drop and I was waking up every three hours to feed the baby. Right around 6 weeks I felt normal again and my little baby had his first smile. Everything just became really easy and fun from that point on. Taking care of a baby is just exciting. I love every minute of motherhood. The hard part is trying to deal with a failing relationship or any relationship really. Trying to figure out what is best for you child is hard. Should I be a single mom? Will my son be negatively affected if we do spilt up? What can I do to make this work?

After months, I mean a very long time and it is still a process now, we decided to end the relationship. Now we are finishing moving into our own places and a lot of worries arise. I still love my ex fiancé a great deal but I know that being together is not best for anyone. It’s a very hard thing to do, leave the man you have a child with, the man you have loved for years, the man who has become your best friend. I’m not worried about being a single mom because for me I have been since my son was born. I have worked full time and been a full time mom as well and it’s just awesome to know that everyday I get to come home to my toddler and watch him learn and grow every day.

The truth is that it doesn’t matter if I am single, sick, or poor all that matters is my son. He really brings joy to me every day and I love him very, very much. I have learned in this last year that all I need is me and I can do it. So I am hoping to start the new off as a happier person than I have been. This time of year all I need to cheer me up is my son so here are a few of my favorite pictures of the G-man.

Hangin’ With The Grands

Hi, everybody! Grandma does this blog thing called the Spin Cycle an’ this week it’s about “collages” an’ she said I was gonna be in it. This worried me, since I haven’t even started pre-school, but Grandma says it’s not about school – it’s about pictures.

Like she needs an excuse to take pictures of me; every time I turn around she’s got the camera out.  I didn’t even know what her face looked like till I was 6 months old.

So, Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Young One (who seems pretty old to me) came down to Cincinnati last weekend to visit me and Mommy and we had a great time!

First we went swimmin’.

After my demonstration of the fine art of splashin’, everybody said they were tired and hungry.  I wasn’t tired, but I figured lunch sounded like a good idea, so we went to Grandma and Grandpa’s new favorite fast food place – Culver’s.

After a healthy lunch of roast beef and green beans (although I may have preferred a grilled cheese sammich, apple juice and frozen custard – not that the Grands would ever actually feed me something like that when we’re by ourselves, you understand), we headed to Carter’s baby store where Grandpa and Mommy did a little shoppin’ and I terrorized the staff kept busy by playin’ Legos with Uncle Young One and chattin’ up the ladies.

Then we stopped by Half Price Books, where I helped Grandpa pick out a  little light reading.

I got to spend some of the time at a neat place called a “hotel” where I got to watch Mickey Mouse and Spiderman and Grandma spent a lot of time saying, “No, G – you can’t play with that.”  Which I basically ignored.

Eventually, we headed back to my and Mommy’s place.  We watched Toy Story, Grandpa read me stories, and I modeled my Halloween costume for everybody.

Does this make my butt look big?

Education According To Beloved

I was surprised when Jan asked me to guest blog and wanted me to take on a Spin Cycle. Of course I was immediately shocked that Jen’s subject for the week would be something I knew about. I said, “The Spin Cycle is the Retail Inventory Method?!?” Fascinating stuff, but the topic turns out to be education.   Even odder that such an educated person would think I could even compete with her on this subject (Dr. Oz is still changing his shorts after last week).  As a disclaimer I take full responsibility with everything offensive in this post and all credit goes to Jan for being so well edjumacated at picking good guest writers. Oh, and for the record, although I have more education, Jan is much better educated than I.

There are so many ways to go with this subject because an education is the most valuable thing in the world for all of us; yet it is highly over-rated.  Like I tell our kids, everything we know is ultimately self-taught.  Nobody can teach us if we aren’t willingly and actively learning.  We all know people who refuse to learn – sometimes never starting, many times stopping so far before maturity, let alone death. We all learn and retain experience differently and in different ways and most of what we learn is learned outside the hallowed halls of academia. Most of the best educated people I know are self taught and most of the knowledge we rely on every day isn’t available with a degree – there isn’t even a degree available for the Retail Inventory Method (can you imagine?).  Why does it take a college degree to drive a bus fly an airplane, but only a high school degree to be the mechanic who keeps it in the air and keeps us alive?

And this is where I think education is overrated: the system fails us from elementary through post-graduate school.   We Americans want to pride ourselves on universal education while we herd our children off like sheep to institutions that are bogged down in bureaucracy and politics.  Where hard working teachers have their hands tied by regulations and standardized testing.  I am not a particularly religious person, but I don’t think anyone can teach without teaching principles and values – and of course the “public” school must honor and respect everyone’s values so much that they can’t teach any values.  I give teachers all the credit in the world for fighting through this for our kids and trying to teach and reach them, but they know that passing tests and learning aren’t the same thing.

For the price we pay for this system you would think we were getting a great return. In Ohio the average spent per student was $10,173 in 2008. On average there are 25 students per teacher.  Let’s apply some simple math here: do any of us think the teacher is making even a reasonable fraction of $250,000? How many of us would drop everything and become a teacher for half that (the other half would cover overhead)?  So you tell me why we don’t have privatized elementary schools or voucher systems? Do we really think we couldn’t do better than Big Brother? Do we not want choice?

So now we have a high school graduate (many still don’t have even an 8th grade education – but they are moved along graduated). Our anxious seniors are getting increased pressure to go to college to compete in a global economy – often unprepared.  Parents will spend a life’s savings and kids will mortgage 20 years of loans to earn degrees that bring them no economic benefit.  It always seemed silly to me that one couldn’t go get a two year degree and actually learn a trade or skill – say computer programming – and still be able to turn around at the end of two years and progress to a Bachelors degree. Wouldn’t that make them better prepared for a specialized field?  No child, you have to spend the first two years of a four year degree (which you are paying for now) on liberal arts. You know – all that stuff they have been teaching you over and over and over again for the last 13 years in the public school system.  Only then can you get a four year degree.  Oh, and they will let you take meaningless four year degrees like Psychology when to get economically justifiable work in that field you need a Doctorate.  Why wouldn’t a good business or trade degree better prepare the average person for a global economy, or better enable a student to pay their way through school to eventually help some poor sucker off the couch?

And let’s go all the way here and question the closed associations (the AMA or ABA for instance), unions, and other barriers that prevent very well educated intelligent people from contributing in a free global market without the right “educational” credentials.  Why can’t Gary Taubes write one of the best researched and most educated books on diet and not be a Doctor? Why does my barber need a state sponsored “license”? If I get a stupid looking haircut I just won’t go back.  The USDA insists on being present and adding an undesired cost to my meat when it is butchered by the people I choose to process my meat.  I don’t need USDA to tell me they are trustworthy nor do I need to know whether or not they have a degree to know they are very intelligent people – especially when it comes to cutting my meat! I like to surround myself with intelligent and educated people…some of them have even been to college.