Friday, October 31, 2008

Pre Halloween Celebrating

I don't think that Jack is celebrating, but his dismay is your delight!

Jack as Woody the Cowboy, he isn't amused.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Really Mean It

I really, really mean it. If someone is willing to live on just a few hundred dollars a month, because they are lazy, I am totally willing to let them. I wouldn't live that way, would you? Very few would. We spend more dollars every year subsidizing the rich than we ever spend on the poor. When we eliminate the small number of those misusing the welfare system because they are lazy, who is left?
There are the less intelligent, And I know that Ramsam or any of you would not find my own personal son undeserving of care, but where do you draw the line? My boy's IQ is 51. Is 60 considered smart enough? How about 80? To be able to hold down a job and earn enough to live on their own. I sincerely doubt that 80 is enough to be able to do that. What about the mentally ill? How do you decide who can and can't work? If you are bi polar is it that you only have 2 manic episodes a year? How do they afford their medications if they keep getting fired twice a year? What about the schizophrenic? Who? When? Under what circumstances? Who decides that some should go hungry and homeless because they deserve it? In my own personal thought system, it isn't ever right, no matter why. The poor are us, and when my brother goes to bed hungry so do I. I know we can do this, reduce poverty and hunger. Each and every one of you, particularly those of you I have met in person, I know would not turn a hungry child from your door. On this we can agree. You might disagree on my view of how we can work on this, and I might disagree with yours. But I know you care, and I do too. If we all work on this, in our own ways, the poor will be fed.
I just think it is important for you to understand how and why I came to my viewpoint.

Here is some info for you, on the U.S. and other countries and their poor. Do not forget that the children account for a large amount of those in poverty in our country.

Social expenditures and child poverty—the U.S. is a noticeable outlier
All advanced industrialized countries make an effort to reduce the number of children who live in poverty, but poverty remains a harsh reality for many children in every country. Child poverty is defined as children living in households where income is less than 50% of household median income within each country. Although children bear no responsibility for living in poverty, they are penalized not only in childhood but later in life if their health or education suffers from a lack of resources.

All economies face the trade-off between how much money should be spent and what level of childhood poverty is acceptable. The data used in the figure below compare social economic expenditures and child poverty rates of the United States to that of 16 other rich, industrialized countries that, like the United States, belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The United States and these other countries face similar global conditions with respect to trade, investment, technology, the environment, and other factors that shape economic opportunities. Thus, this comparison provides a yardstick for gauging the commitment of the U.S. government to reducing child poverty and its lifelong effects.

You will have to click on the link to see the graph
Link to study that I forgot to mark

The figure clearly illustrates that those countries with higher social expenditures — as a percentage of gross domestic product, or GDP — have dramatically lower poverty rates among children. The blue line in the figure shows the correlation between expenditures and child poverty rates for all countries. Individually, the Nordic countries — Sweden, Norway, and Finland — stand out, with child poverty rates between 2.8% and 4.2%. The United States stands out as the country with the lowest expenditures and the highest child poverty rate — five times as much as the Nordics.

The paucity of social expenditures addressing high poverty rates in the United States is not due to a lack of resources — high per capita income and high productivity make it possible for the United States to afford much greater social welfare spending. Moreover, other OECD countries that spend more on both poverty reduction and family-friendly policies have done so while maintaining competitive rates of productivity and income growth.

And Yet Another One

Because I have been given much, I too must give;
Because of thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live,
I shall divide my gifts from thee,
with every brother that I see
who has the need of help from me.

My dear friend Holly wrote most eloquently expressed her opinion and after begging asking her nicely if I could post her email to me.
How about those of us who have reasons we don't work, need a cell phone for safety. By the way, you can't file for "non-income" tax credit if you don't work. You don't get the economic stimulus check and you don't get a check for doing nothing! Trust me as someone who hasn't benefited from the recent checks and tax credits. There are people who are part of God's plan who for whatever reason are unable to do "nothing" in other eyes because they are serving God in the way he intended for them too, it still takes the "sweat of thy brow" and we DO earn our keep and work hard, just don't get paid in cash. We get a greater reward. I suppose in the end, our payoff will be greater. Funny, even with all this, I feel richer. Oh, and I still manage to give. I call people who need an uplifting word, I mail a note of encouragement, I offer part of my drink to the thirsty and I give life to a child who would not have had one. Too bad I don't "work".

Thank you darling, you said it better than I could of.

Look What You Have Done!

You have gone and dragged me into even more political commentary!
First, Ramsam's comment: "I don't say this to cause a fight, but I was raised in a house where we were 'destined to be poor' and dad took money from us as we babysat, cleaned houses, etc, to support HIS habit of driving the streets all day and shopping at DI. MY mom cried in the bedroom most days and we never went to parties, played sports, or signed up for anything that cost a dime.

I was 'the selfish one' ( my parents words) because I earned my way and made a living for myself, I even bought my own car, and while I did help at Christmas and do things that I felt were important for my family, it angered me so badly to watch my parents.... they didn't work much because other people always bailed them out, so I disagree with you due to my first hand experience. They were total 'second handers'.

I love the fact that I can work as much as I want to buy what I need, and when people on welfare apply for cell phones (and get them) or get a "non-income" tax credit (check for doing nothing) it does anger me. Where is the drive and motivation in that? It is definitely NOT part of God's plan to do nothing and reap a reward. "By the sweat of thy brow" do we earn our keep, not the sweat of the brows of those that are willing to work hard.

Do you have more than one car? Do you have a cell phone? Why? You should give them away right now, because there are people who probably need them more than you and can't afford to go buy them. You should give away all your cute needles and yarn and craft stuff to people who want to do crafts but don't want to use their own money to buy them......

those concepts don't make sense!

But I am independent, and I think both parties are screwed up! I try to vote with what lines up with my own morals, and that is so different for everyone.

And I still love you and still want to read your blog. This is just another take on it. I respectfully disagree, but you give me much to ponder.


I wrote this as an email for Ramsam, but after calling my mom and getting her permission to post it, I think I will post my reply here.

And yes, I do see your point dear, I really do. And I am not demeaning hard work, nor the necessity of hard work. Just two things though. What about people like my little man, who will never be able to work? Should he go hungry and homeless because he is disabled? Many of the welfare cuts are affecting people just like him, when there isn't enough money, they take it from the poorest, not the richest. Don't forget welfare and Medicaid cuts affect the poorest of the poor. The widows, the orphans, those disabled in mind and body.
What if you stood before the Lord, angry at your father, and He told you that your father suffered from a mental illness? Is he then undeserving? Who are we to decide who deserves charity and who does not? Why would anyone want to live as your father did? I find it hard to believe he chose that out of a healthy heart and mind. When Christ fed the 5000, He did not sit down and give everyone a worthiness interview, He fed all the hungry. He told us to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give to the least. Not judge them, not find them undeserving of our love and charity.
Second, not to lecture you, but I doubt you have ever been really poor. Have you known that it was going to be below zero, have 20$ and know you could either put that in the propane tank or feed your children? Have you gone to bed hungry? Have you sent your children to bed hungry?
Take this scenario. You live in a very small community that is over 100 miles in any direction from a town. You live in a trailer. The unemployment rate is over 90% because there are no jobs in the area. There is no industry, no area to be employed in. You have no running water, you use water from a pipe at a neighbors house. When your children need a bath, you heat water on the stove and pour it into the tub, water you carried bucket by bucket into the trailer. No running water means no toilet. Have you been without a toilet? It means you go out to the outhouse to use it. If you are the mother, and you don't want to take your three year old out in her pj's in below zero weather, you have the children use a bucket in the trailer and then the next day, in two feet of snow, take the stinking bucket out the outhouse and pour it in. You own no car, and no hope of getting one, there is no car dealer in town, you don't have a job, you can't save any money because every dime you have goes into getting enough food and propane in the tank for the winter. Without the propane, you will freeze to death like the family that lived the next street over. You water down the tomato sauce with water, so there is enough to cover the noodles. You can not move anywhere, that would take money you do not have, nor do you have any hope of getting any. You look at your wedding ring and wonder if you pawn it, will there be enough money for propane and food?
My darling Ramsam, I lived this. As a child, my mother struggled to make sure that we didn't go hungry, but there were times when she knew there would be no food the next week without a miracle. It took me a long time to realize that my mom didn't water down the tomato sauce because she liked that way, but because she didn't have a quarter for another can of tomato sauce. I know hundreds of families who live like this.
You have no idea how richly blessed you were to even be able to get a job. If you lived where my family lives, there would have been no job for you to get and there is no bus system to take you where there are more jobs. You have something the people I know do not have. Hope and a vision of a better life. For the families I know, it just isn't a reality. The stuff they see on TV is nothing more than a fantasy, and like most fantasy's, ungraspable.
I am one of the lucky ones. My mom is an extraordinary person, and she was able to find both the vision and the means to attend college, perhaps with some the "welfare" programs you feel are unnecessary. She has worked very hard to get where she is, and yet, she too feels that all should have shelter and food, no matter what. No child and no adult in this country should go to bed hungry or cold, not ever, we have too much and there is no reason besides an attitude to punish the poor that it happens.
I believe with all my heart there is enough for everyone. That there should be a level no person should fall below. All should have a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. We are the only industrialized nation that allows for people to fall below this level. For whatever reason, mental or physical that people can not, or won't work, going hungry will not "teach" them to get off their butts and get a job. You are a white woman raised in a middle class area. I understand that you do not have the experience to realize that race and class play into poverty in America. You might have not been able to play sports because of the choices your parents made, but you did not go to bed hungry at night.
You are right of course, there are people who will take advantage of the system, who will buy alcohol with their welfare dollars, but does that mean we should make welfare cuts? Should all be punished for the sins of the few? What if you knew that only a small percentage of people misused the system? 90% of the people who come off their lifetime allotment of two or three years of welfare dollars will stay below poverty level, even though they are working. Even if they went to school for those two years, what kind of job could they get with two years of school? Most end up staying at jobs either at minimum wage or just above, with no hope of ever getting out of there. And that my friend is what I am talking about. Thank you for your comment, and I appreciate the opportunity to expand on my thoughts and feelings on this. Very few people will experience real poverty or have a chance to see it. But I have, so I am asked to raise my voice for those who do not have one, or haven't found theirs' yet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mountain Monday is Interrupted by This Political Rant!

Things while looking up here at Masion Tangled, I am still feeling stretched a bit thinly trying to juggle my family's needs. My mother was released from the hospital yesterday and is currently recuperating at home, under the watchful eye of nearby family members. If things weren't so crazy here right now, I would take off and spend some time with her, and you know what? Maybe I will anyway!
Anyway, I will get to my MM post tomorrow, right now, I am really pissed! I try to stay away from politics on my personal blog, because it seems to be divisive and I get enough of that in real life, I don't need to bring it on in my virtual life.
Although those of you who might post something political, I am not afraid to voice my opinion on YOUR blog! bwaahaaahaa!
Anyway, one of reasons why I love being LDS, (Mormon) is their amazing stand on charity and good works. As many religions and beliefs preach taking care of the poor, the needy, the outcast, my Church does also, and I love them for it! This value of the LDS braids quite neatly into my cultural value of "Wacantognaka, the Lakota word for generosity, means to contribute to the well-being of one's people and all life by sharing and giving freely. This sharing is not just of objects and possessions, but of emotions like sympathy, compassion, kindness. It also means to be generous with one's personal time. The act of giving and not looking for anything in return can make you a better person and make you happy." (Lakota Values) See what a nice neat match that is? It is beautiful and it makes me happy to have it as part of my inner self.
I would hope that no matter which political party you belong to, that first and foremost you are a human being, and if you are also a member of the LDS church, or any belief system that values charity, good works and kindness, that you will refrain from disparaging other members of our Church, or any other belief system based on their political party. All Democrats are not evil communists/socialists and all Republicans are not money grubbing, greedy, selfish people who don't care for the poor.
I will say though, that if you think that being poor in this country is what people deserve because they have been unwilling to work, find a job, "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" etc and that it is entirely unconnected to race and class, perhaps you will want to find another blog to read, because I am not one of you.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Good News

The scope thing went well and they didn't find any dead parts of intestine, which was the doctor's biggest fear. They did find an active ulcer, but it had stopped bleeding. They are keeping her until Monday, much to my mom's dismay, but my sisters and I think it is for the best. Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers. With my mom out of the woods, I am feeling much better and less like I am going to lose my mind any second.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Update on My Mom

First, let me thank you for your outpouring of kindness, prayers and good thoughts. I think I would lose my mind if I had to worry all by myself. (Not that the kids and Bald Man aren't concerned, they are!) The bleeding has slowed down, and her blood pressure is stablized. She hasn't needed any more transfusions and that is good news. She is tired and in quite a bit of pain. Her eye is very painful again, plus she has other medical problems. They feel like it is safe to prep her for tests tomorrow and they won't be doing surgery immediately. My sister is there in Rapid City with her so she is in good hands. I could pick up and go, but honestly, it will make my mom mad. She hates it when people fuss at her. So I will wait until we get more news. As long as it isn't too serious, I will just plan a trip to go see her when she is feeling more up to company. Right now, my plate is just too full for me to cope well with everything. The Princess is really struggling with some life decisions at the moment and my heart is filled with worry as she struggles. It is really hard to sit back and allow your children to make their life choices, especially when you know if they choose wrongly, the consequences will be major. It was so much easier when they were small, and a choice would carry such minor impact. Being a mother parenting adults is not an easy job! Tonight, I will have to place both my mom and my children in God's hands, my hands are too small and weak for this job. I am praying for a good nights sleep for all us, we need the break from the worry. Thanks again my bloggy friends, once more, you were there when I needed you.

A Better Explanation

Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers in my behalf and my mother. I really, really can't bear the thought of losing her, she is so much a part of my life.
I re read what I wrote and realized it sounds like she got life flighted for her eye.
Let me back this truck up a bit. A few weeks ago, my mother was having a lot of pain in her eye, she went to the eye doctor who told her she had a strep infection in her eye. Some days after that is when her cornea was perforated from the infection and all the liquid behind her cornea had leaked out and her cornea was now flat. She has had TWO emergency surgeries now to patch up her eye, but last night it began to leak again.
AND to top it off, she began bleeding from her colon in the wee hours of morning, and had to call my niece to drive her to the local Reservation hospital. They worked on stablizing her from her extreme blood loss with IV fluids and some transfusions and then she was life flighted out to Rapid City. We do not know why she is bleeding so badly or what is going on. My sister is driving in her car, and will meet my mom at the hospital. Your prayers and good thoughts are much appreciated.

Too Much

My mom was just lifeflighted from the reservation hosptial to Rapid City. She began bleeding last night, and her cornea is perforated from an infection and the aqueous humor that is behind her cornea is leaking out. I am undone with worry. My sister lives nearby and is on her way behind the helicopter to be with my mom. Anyone know what that enough button is? Cause I have got to push it before I lose my mind.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Meet and Greet With a Side of Whine

Ha ha! Not my whining, but the whining of those who had wished and hoped these pics had disappeared forever!

First up, Whitney R, because she was the hostess. Her hubby was handsome and quiet. Her sister was pretty and talkative. She and her hubby farm tatoes in Idaho, they even brought us some. But the yummy potato gift will not save her from this!

The pic is fuzzy, but still!

And now, onto more victims bloggy friends.

Teresa RamSam and Moi.

Me and Jillene. She was the one who invited me, so she is VERY special to me!

(Special enough that I put up a pic that was better for her, but MUCH, much worse for me.)

There is actually a funny story to this picture of Ramona eating. The bread came in a basket at the table, and when they put this basket in front of Ramona, and especially after she said, oh taste these chips, I thought it was a basket of appetizers and wondered why she was hogging them all. Then I had to apologize for touching her sandwich. She is a good sport thank goodness.

This is Kristina trying her hand at needle felting.

Of course a good time was had by all, and that little get together was my one bright spot in rather horrific series of days. Let's get together again soon, okay??

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Who Is A Hero?

Take this lady:

Add this lady,

And who do you get? Danielle from An Eagle's View that's who!!! She is my new hero. God bless her. She saved my memory card!! With her incredible advice, I was able to go to this website, download a FREE program that rescued the pictures I had deleted yesterday!!! I bow to the awesomeness of Danielle. All pay her homage.
And now, back to your previously scheduled Mountain Monday.

Autumn in Utah is a glorious riot of color. Behold the splendor surrounding me. I look up from my computer and I see before me, color on the mountainsides.

I got a new toy for my baby, (known as the camera to others) it is called a lensbaby. There is one area that has a sharp focus, and around that "sweet spot" the sharp is surrounded by gradually increasing blur.

Now isn't that prettier than just a regular picture of a yellow leaved tree?

How is this for an artsy shot?

Ms. HoneyBee was thrilled to pose for the camera.


Little Man enjoying Squidling

On Sat, we took Little Man and the Pea to the pumpkin patch. First we had to navigate the corn maze.

And sorry Whitney and Kristina, the meet and greet pics have been saved. If you are happy about it, go hug Danielle, if not, go kick her! But that will have to be another post, with RamSam and her "basket" of appetizers, and me and Jillene. Tomorrow, you have been forwarned.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Autumn In The Mountains, On Monday (Update)

Or not!!!

GAAAHHHH!!!! I am sure you can hear my scream from where you are. 300 pictures, gone. Sigh. Sometimes I hate computers. No mountains, no pretty yellow and red trees, no June Bug, no pumpkin patch. Gone, gone, gone, like a puff of smoke, as if they never existed. No meet and greet, no Jack, no Pea and Little Man, no Squid. Nope, they got eaten by the computer who then refused to throw them up. Ah well. Good thing they are all fairly replaceable. The kidlets will still be here later and so will the mountains and trees and fuzzy little bee. Dang, and I had some really good ones! Let me say, this is a perfect ending to a really sucky five day run of pure crap. See ya later, my apologies for the non post.

*****Updated to add*********
How the hell did that happen? Well, since Kristina the Blog Queen asked, I, a mere, peon, must answer.
First, you must set your Adobe to delete the pictures off your card as they are copied on the computer, BUT (this part is very important if you wish to repeat my stupidity) you must FORGET you told the computer to do this. Instead you think, like always, after you have copied everything, you will have to go and delete them off your card. Be sure to remember the part that isn't going to happen.
Second, you must have a minor glitch with Adobe as you are loading the pictures, and find, after they come off the card, (and have been deleted, but you don't know that) that they are all single pics in your picture folder, instead of neatly stored in a folder named MM Oct 20-08.
Third, you must make a folder named MM Oct 20-08 and have, about 300 pictures that now need to be moved to the folder.
Fourth, realize you need to hold control, and click on every single pic that needs to be moved, and then realize the computer is copying them into the folder and leaving them lying about untidily and singlily in your pictures folder.
You then get really, really frustrated and after moving them to the folder, do wholesale deletions and emptying of recycle baskets, because you keep hitting ctl-c which copies, and now you have many, many pictures.
Fifth, you decide to get rid of everything and just start over, because this is soooo not worth it.
Sixth, realize when you go to look at the card, that you told it to delete everything after it went on the computer and you have no back up.
Seventh, scream.
Eighth, decide this is the cap on a really sucky five day run of a suck fest, of which the meet and greet was the only good part.
Yup Whitney, the lettuce pic is gone. Gone.
P.S. I am not completely stupid. I reset my Adobe to leave the pictures on the card until I tell it to. Seemed the wisest thing to do.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The One I Have Been Avoiding

I have so many things I want to tell you about, including the meet and greet I went to on Friday. But the thing I MUST talk about, is the one I have been avoiding.

Two years ago, our family had one of our proudest moments. We were able to attend the graduation of my niece/cousin* from medical school.

For blog purposes, I will call her Bright Star. How can I express to you the honor she brought to our family? How proud we are of her? How amazing she is, her struggle to get through medical school, even with the death of her fiance, and having to restart a year because of it? Bright Star is the embodiment of one of the Lakota values, Wacintaka or fortitude.

Last year Bright Star was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. She is too young, we all cried! Just in her early thirties, just a year through her residency. She is too young, she has too much to do to take time off for this. This week we found how the cancer has spread to her liver and bones. The prognosis is grim. Our family is grief stricken. I have so wanted to blog about other things, to pretend this isn't happening to my niece. I can't bear to think about it, because it is breaking my heart. But if I ever want to blog again, I needed to tackle this, and let you know. Please, please. Help find a cure.

*This post explains the niece/cousin thing

Monday, October 13, 2008

Native American Day and You Won't Believe It!

First off, Happy Native American Day! Today is a day where on the Rez, all the tribal offices are closed and we celebrate just being ourselves. Perhaps with a collective palm to forehead and the exclamation, "What were we thinking?"

The part you won't believe. Yesterday we woke up to this!

It snowed off and on all day. I am just in shock about the whole thing. It isn't even really the middle of October yet. The only good news about this, is that it supposed to be in the 70's by next weekend, so whoo hoo for the return of Autumn.

The snow cleared out the smog and the sky is so, so BLUE. BEHOLD!

I was showing Bald Man the pictures I took for you today, and he asked me where I took them from. I said the Target parking lot whilst I was picking up Little Man's meds. Bald Man responded, "well, you don't have to tell them that." But I decided I would. So you could be envious that even the Target parking lot has a view so incredible. Amazing, huh?

Be sure and click on the pictures for a bigger view of the photograph. They are amazing. Not because I am such an incredible photographer, but because I have a good camera and it is hard to improve on God's beautiful handiwork.

Here are my favorite pictures from this last week.

Isn't my little Squid strong?

June Bug touches the ceiling

The Pea holding her cousin and very proud of herself!

Laughing girls!

Yawning Squid

Whoo hoo I got to go to a blogger meet and greet. On your left is my current blog crush, Kristina from Pulsipher Predilections and the ever funny Jill to your right is from Thou Shalt Not Whine. We had so much fun! If you want a run down of the other bloggers there, I will let you go to Kristina's site, she has the list up.

I made Kristina a little needle felted piggy, since she has a love of all things bacon.

More from the snowy walk:

I like to think this next picture is where summer, fall and winter all met together under a tree, one snowy day.

At some point this evening, I will post some more pictures up at my photoblogPlaying With Pixels Hope you enjoyed my week, I am rather tired, so I KNOW I did!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Day Late and a Mini Contest

Nothing horrible happened yesterday, the day just got away from me. Of course part of my business involved going in search of some awesome mountain pics for you!
Fall and snow.

My family arrived home on Sunday evening. The funeral went fine and the visiting with family was appreciated by everyone. Bald Man got a taste of the new and improved Little Man yesterday morning. Bald Man emerged from the bathroom after showering the boy and asked, "who is that little boy and what did they do with our son?" The foulness is so remarkably reduced that is just startling.

Little Man and the Pea were very happy to see each other.

While my family was gone I had a chance to go to a fiber arts show and found myself under the scrutiny of a very disapproving alpaca! I took a picture and now I will give you the chance to caption this picture

ala I Can Haz Cheezburger!
The winning caption will be saved and displayed prominently on my blog until I decide to move it. The winner will also be given a copy of the captioned picture with full rights to display it also! Think fast, the end of the contest is next Monday or so...