politics


For Part 1, go here.

These pictures are from three years ago when we were at my parents’ house for Thanksgiving. Since we do not have piles of leaves in our immediate area, it was like an amusement park for my girls.

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A short story about the half-Hispanic/half-Iranian boys from the last post. The girls were more rude to them than the other boys in class. The boys were not actually rude to them, but just avoided them. One day for their art class, most of their class was late except for the two boys I liked so much. As people trickled in, the seats filled up, and of course the last seats available were the ones by the two. The most obnoxious girl of all came in last, and there was no place for her to sit except beside one of the twins. She made a HUGE scene. Not being a “real teacher” and having little “teeth” last year to effectively manage problem behavior, I told her to sit down or go back to her class. But those nice boys got someone to trade with them so they were next to another more unpopular student so the mean girl could sit with her friends. I do not know if she thought about that, but I hope someday the memory is at least a small wake-up call.

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Chic is the top of her class. Last year she was in 1st grade and was in a classroom with 1st and 2nd graders. She was ahead of everyone in reading, spelling and math. We knew long before Chic ever went to school she would be a star scholastically, so we have worked with her since before Kindergarten to help her understand that although she understands school subjects better than a lot of people and is ahead, she is not better than anyone. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and just  because she can do some things  better than most kids does not mean they cannot do some things better than her. She understands this. We have made every effort to assure her humility, and it seems to have been successful. But this does not mean other parents have done the same. Chic is mocked severely for being ahead of her class. This happened a little last year, but to a greater degree this year.

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Although Chic easily overheats, she does not like wearing shorts to school because they show her muscular legs. She has not a bit of fat on her body, but her legs are bigger than all of the rest of the girls, and they make fun of her because she is different than they are.  Yes, she can run faster and jump higher than any of them, and she is chosen for teams right away, but because she looks different, she is fodder for derision. (And seeing other behavior in the children, I sometimes wonder if part of it also has to do with her pale skin and red hair.)

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Forgive me for being irritated that I am doing all I can to raise well-behaved, good-mannered, kind and caring children who do their best to excel at whatever they attempt (at least the first one–the jury is way out on whether the second one will even care about excelling) when it seems like the parents of my daughters’ peers are not bothering to raise them much at all and are apparently modeling inappropriate behavior. As parents I feel like Prince Charming and I might have failed Chic because we taught her humility, not how to face the bullies. We wanted to make sure she would not be a bully. We never dreamed one so successful in everything she does would be treated with such disrespect. (We are diligently working on this now.  Should we tell her when people make fun of her legs to say, “At least I don’t have skinny bird legs like you!” No, that is not how we believe anyone should be treated. But it is difficult to teach a child  humility without putting them in a position of getting squashed in school.)

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When I was in elementary school, I remember my parents talking about a relative who married an African-American. (Let’s go back more than 30 years to near the very center of the United States.) During the discussion these words came out of my mom’s mouth: “It doesn’t bother me what they do, but it’s the kids who will suffer.” That caught my attention. I said, “Why does it hurt the kids?” Both of my parents explained that they would be neither “white” nor “black,” so neither family or race would fully accept them. I asked why. They explained how people do not accept people not like themselves. I said, “But your making the statement in the first place shows that you think they are different.” I loved my parents, and I truly think there were not much better ones put anywhere in the world, but potentially a filter in what they said in front of my brother and I would have been wise at such a time. Statements like that in front of children would likely encourage children treat the “unfortunate” children differently in most cases. It is no different today.

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My belief is that most parents — if they even think about it — want their children to be replicas of themselves; they want them to have the same opinions and beliefs. (Maybe deep down I want that, too, but if it happens, I want them to arrive there on their own, not because I told them to or showed them no other options.) Most parents in my realm (I can only speak for my small corner of the world) have not been educating their children to accept all people as I attempt to educate mine. Maybe in more cosmopolitan areas there is more tolerance for people not like oneself, but I have not seen much in the places I have lived.

But I am going to say that from my experience in Blogland, there might be tolerance for people who are different in ethnicity, but not a lot of tolerance for differences of opinion. No, not everyone is like that, but I really am amazed at the statements I see coming out of blogs with abject criticism of people with differing opinions–not just criticism of these opinions, but also of the people who have them. (And if you are reading this, you are likely not the writer of one of the blogs to which I refer.)

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I am much too cynical realistic to think the lack of tolerance in the world is ever going to dramatically change. But I can assure you, it will not even budge if people cannot handle a viewpoint that is not their own without attacking (even mentally) the person who holds it. And if people cannot refrain from attacking people not like them, no matter in what way, I do not see a better future for anyone.

This is the end of my “tolerance” post. It was originally one, but it ended up way too long, so I cut it in half. There will soon be more on things that I believe relate to this topic and society in general and how all of that relates to our family.

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Note: I have no pictures for this post, so found some old ones of South Dakota and Colorado.

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Much of what I think I will say in this post has been in my head for months, really for at least a year. It started to gel into something I wanted to write about last October and November near the elections. Chic’s school held their own elections, and it was not a pretty thing in my opinion. I mentioned this last year, but as a reminder… they voted on the actual presidential candidates. My personal opinion is they should have thought of another way to teach about the election process because all the kids did was ask their parents for whom to vote. When Chic (age 6 at the time) asked Prince Charming and I, we did not tell her. We instead told her as much as we thought she could understand about the positions of the two main candidates and let her decide. We believe it is our job to shape the values and principles of our children, but not necessarily their opinions. Yes, values and principles will affect opinions, but we do not believe in telling our children what to think about every little thing. Long story short, Chic got her voting preferences from her best friends at the time which happened to be for the losing candidate. Being a volunteer at the school, I knew she would be very much in the minority, so I told her to keep her “opinions” to herself. She did, but the other “party” was pretty belligerent about getting others to tell their preferences. Ridicule was rampant for those with whom they did not agree. Chic kept quiet, but it still bothered her that being a supporter of “her” candidate would cause so much ridicule. After the election it was even worse. Because she was quiet about what she did, it should not have been as bad, but the bullies (which was pretty much everyone who voted differently than she–from 1st grade through 8th grade) assumed that people were quiet because they were the losers, so she was harassed anyway. (Had her candidate won, I do not believe the tables would have been turned for those children are among the very. few. well-behaved ones in art classes.)

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That attitude lasted ALL YEAR LAST YEAR.  Students continually asked me for whom I voted. I would not tell them for many reasons, not the least of which I do not think it is the responsibility of teachers to try to form political opinions in their students. So because I would not tell them, they attempted to ridicule me. Of course I did not put up with this, but it just made me wonder what in the world goes on in their homes that they have nothing better to do than disparage people they perceive to be not like themselves. And it did not end there; it continued into the first six weeks of this school year. Intolerance clearly starts at young ages.

Chic goes to a school that is affiliated with my church. About 30 minutes from my house is another similar school sponsored by another church of the same religion. Many members of my church who believe in Christian education send their children to the “other school.” When we first moved here, Chic was nine months old, and we almost immediately started getting hit by the people who sent their kids to the other school telling us why we should do the same. There were so many reasons why it was a “better” school than the one actually sponsored by my church. But I have to tell you the biggest reason. People actually said OUT LOUD to me, “The new school is sort of known as the ’white school,’ — the one sponsored by the church is the ‘Hispanic school.'” Seriously????

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Now if these people knew me at all, they would have known those were the wrong words. If I had no other reason whatsoever (which I had plenty), I would never send my kids to school where the parents of the students (which would show in the students of themselves) thought they were better and elite because they were “white.” OK, I am white. I am pale, lily white. As far as I know, I have little else besides Irish blood running through my veins. My daughters are paler than me and have strawberry blonde and red hair. But I would NEVER go to a school because there was more of “my kind” there; I would prefer to have diversity. Last year in Chic’s classroom, there were 16 students, and she was one of the two who did not have beautiful, smooth, dark skin (were not Hispanic.) Did that bother me? Not in the least. I never even thought about it,  unless I remembered those idiotic words people said to me and sat and looked at the kids. Then I smiled.

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During last school year, two new students entered in the fall. They were twin boys in 8th grade. I loved them because they were so polite and well-behaved (as opposed to the other 8th graders.) But they were outcasts to their class. Why?  Because they were not fully Hispanic. The 7th and 8th graders were in one classroom.  There were 17 of them, and all but those boys were Hispanic. They were half-Hispanic and half-Iranian.  Sometimes I wonder why I can still be so shocked by people, but I can, and this was one of those extremely shocking things.

To be continued… (Friday?)

Sunset.Mountains

The photos below have nothing to do with this post. I had no pictures to put with the post, so I just took a series that I was pretty sure would never make it to SkyWatch Friday. This is a sunrise about 3 weeks ago. The pictures were taken within about two minutes and I think include the view from every direction from my house.

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click photo to enlarge

Before I started blogging, I hesitated quite a long time to do it, even though pressured to do it by two of my cousins. The main reason was time. I  knew I did not have time. I still do not, as evidenced by my irregular posting and visiting. But another reason is that I thought it was a bit narcissistic. I thought WHO CARES about the daily happenings of anyone else.  Before I dove in myself, I spent several months reading other blogs. I realized they are not all self-absorbed. (I do not read the ones that I think are.)

However, I have been thinking about my blog lately because one fairly regular reader and commenter once said something like “whatever your blog is about.”  I laughed (I often laugh at his comments; he has a wonderful sense of humor whether or not he means to be humorous.) because it is true.  My blog has no theme. I knew it would not, but it is glaringly apparent when compared to the blogs I visit. Most could be categorized as something. Mine cannot. It is about me. It does not get much more narcissistic than that. And this post will probably be the worst yet. Thank you to all you who come here even though the topics are so varied and there might be three sentences one visit and an epistle the next. And for putting up with me.

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Today I did not really want to say anything about September 11 because so many others have. I also find it irritating how something so tragic that drew a nation together for a few days (or an afternoon?) is now often used in a political sense to tear it apart. (Certainly not everyone, but I have seen plenty of  “Remember 9/11, and be sure you remember why this event makes me right in my political opinions.” I have seen this from opposing viewpoints. Can we just remember a tragedy without being disparaging?) I rarely mention politics in  this space because I hate politics. I hate extremes. I think all sides have extremes. I think the extreme left and the extreme right both want to take away freedom–just in different ways that appeal only to them. (My viewpoints make both sides upset, so if I really got into this, I would likely alienate my entire readership.)  I hate statements that have little other purpose than to be inflammatory. I hate it when people can dish it out but cannot take it.  So I choose to avoid the topic entirely–most of the time. Which is why I was going to avoid any mention of 9/11.  But something compelled me to tell my part of that day’s story. I was pregnant with Chic. I was at work. The tiny television in the Conference Room was on for people to watch the horrific scene over and over. (I am personally not a fan of watching the same tragedy over and over.) Then the Pentagon was hit. Just a couple of weeks before that Prince Charming had been doing an internship at the Pentagon. (Leaving my pregnant self home alone much of the summer.) What was horrible before was real then. But real for me was not, and will never be, what real was for the people who lived and worked  in New York City and Washington, D.C. on that day or who lost someone. They know real. The rest of us just speculate.

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click photo to enlarge

In my car today, on the way to drop off some stamps and to pick up Chic, I suddenly started crying about my mother. There is  nothing special about today in relation to her, but maybe I was thinking about the 9/11 loss. Chicklet was talking to me, and I could not even speak. When I started blogging, I thought I would write a lot about my mother. About her life. About her death. About her 10-year dying process. But I have written very little. Some days I want to just unload it all. But part of me is afraid. The few times I  have discussed her before, the reactions have not been at all what I expected. My reason for wanting to share her story has to do with lessons learned. It is not about me at all. I do not want sympathy or consoling words. I want people to understand what happened and why. I guess I do not know how to say it in a way to make people understand, or else I am not ready. But today, I missed her.

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Last Friday (or Saturday, I don’t remember when it went up) I did a post and said I would see you on Monday. I did not. The day had several totally unexpected things happen (I spent most of the day in front of the computer working on things for Art Class), but ended well (and also unexpectedly) with an afternoon/evening with our “gaming friends” playing Settlers of  Catan–Cities and Knights. (And have been behind blogging since.)

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click photo to enlarge

Now for some more random (and hopefully lighter than the first two sections) things…

1– I  have decided I do not like cooking much right now. Nothing has changed, really, but I get SO. MUCH. ACCOMPLISHED on days I do not cook. I am great at multi-tasking, but I think I hate it. When I cook, I want to focus on cooking. When I cannot focus on it, I think I would rather not do it at all.

2– Our electricity has been flashing lately for every thundercloud that goes over. I realize this is common in some parts of the country (southern Missouri, for example), but it is not common here. And it is starting to get on my nerves because I am at a computer so much of the time.

3– I have two times a day when I can think–really think. Those times are when I exercise and when I cook. (And cooking might involve so many other things that it does not count.) But I am thinking about a post relating to my aerobic activity which is biking (usually to school, but sometimes in the neighborhood). It will mostly be a rant, but I cannot get it out of my head.

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click photo to enlarge

4– My husband is gone. He will be gone most of the weekend at a seminar related to his position at church. I hate it when he is gone. (For many reasons not the least of which he is not here to have water boiling on the stove to add to my bath when it gets cold–because I do not like running water in the tub because the wait for hot water is too long.)

5– Tonight’s bath is scented with Black Amethyst from Bath and Body Works. I was not into that scent much during the heat of summer, but I am liking it a lot again now. (Have I told you how absolutely glorious September is in this part of the country?)

6– My biggest project of the week has been doing my taxes. No, not estimated quarterlies, but the ones that were due on April 15. The last few years we have filed for extensions (even though we always get money back) because I do not have time to do them (and Prince Charming, forgive me, is useless in this area). But they have NEVER been this late. If I were married to Daryl (which I think is impossible because neither of us are lesbians, though neither of us oppose them and their relationships, and who also has a wonderful 9/11 post today), she would have divorced me by now for how long this has taken. Prince Charming is just happy he does not have to bother with financial things.

7– I really, really, REALLY do not like word verification on Blogspot. Really.

8– When I grow up, I want to be her.

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The Good:

Yesterday was crazy, but the craziest part was the part spent in the jury assembly room for a federal district court near downtown Albuquerque.

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My summons came quite some time ago. I begged off for having two children and no daytime childcare. No one cared, but I never got called to appear… until yesterday. I begged again, saying I would have to bring my 5-year-old with me. No one cared.

So yesterday after doing some of my weekly work at my church which I normally do on Wednesday, Chicklet and I went to the jury assembly room. Chicklet had a backpack stocked full of necessary items for surviving an undetermined amount of time quietly. Lots of small toys, coloring books, food and most importantly, her “home blanket.” Chicklet had also been made to understand very clearly about quietness and sitting still and in the courtroom she would have to be dead silent.

After checking in, we happily found a sofa where we spent the next two hours. Probably 45 minutes of that two hours was a very nice, very polite man doing an orientation for us. He was truly a jewel of a man because all but a couple of the questions people asked were the type that had I been in his place, I might have snapped, “Did you not listen to what I have been saying for the last 15 minutes?” or “Did you read ANYTHING we sent to you and gave you today?” I must say this man and his staff were efficient and friendly. (Quite an unusual thing for my part of the country, actually.)

I had a feeling once we got to the court room they would let us leave because there were strict rules prohibiting things that caused distractions–things like gum-chewing. I was thinking Chicklet could be a much bigger distraction than the rudest of gum chewers. But she was being SO good. I knew she could not be that good for a whole trial as she would get too tired to behave properly, but she was so good yesterday, I began to fear they might not send us home.

A lady (friendly and efficient) came in and said they were getting ready to go, but she needed to see two potential jurors first. I was one of them. They dismissed me before the courtroom! We had been there two hours, but got to leave and were home in time to get a quick nap in before going back to school to pick up Chic. When we left Chicklet almost threw a fit was a bit disappointed because I had prepared her for the courtroom and we never got to go, but all in all, this was GOOD!

But it is even better. Usually I am not home on Wednesdays. That meant that this week I would not be home TWO days which totally wreaks havoc on my schedule since I am always busy and working on something. But everything I usually do on Wednesday got moved to Tuesday this week. Usually that would have been an inconvenience, but after being gone all day yesterday, it is so lovely that I am home today! I choose to believe that God was looking out for me. (Yes, I believe in God. If you do not, that is fine. Call it the Universe or something.)

The Bad:

I need to lose weight. OK, a lot of people do. And I am not the poster child for obesity, but I am also not skinny, or thin, or even close these days. In fact, I weigh my all-time high–which I have only weighed once before after some very specific circumstances. The bottom line is that I like to eat and for the past two years, exercise has been sporadic due to bronchitis, ankle injuries, bronchitis, more ankle injuries and more bronchitis. But the past summer has been good. My aerobic activity is exclusively biking now (does not do further damage to my ankles) and I made Chic start biking on her own so I did not have to pull her in the bike trailer. (She more than doubles the weight of just Chicklet.) The goal was to prepare Chic to be able to ride her bike to school while I go along with Chicklet in the trailer.

We have yet to ride to school since school has started, and we only got to do one trial run before it started. This means I am not getting enough exercise. (But I am eating as if I am!)

So last Friday, we were set to bike to school. First, Chic’s bike had a flat tire. (We Prince Charming had not changed her tubes to the self-sealing kind which are necessary for this trip.) So I decided to do it anyway with Chic in the bike trailer–it’s only half the 11 miles since I drop her off. We were headed out early, and Chic started talking politics. (She’s 8.) I got so engrossed in this conversation (trying to explain things without clouding her opinions with my own) that I missed the turn to where we park to start biking. I did not realize this until about a mile later. It was too late to go all the way back, or we would be late to school, so I thought of a place we could park closer. When I turned, Chic realized she did not have her backpack. I had no choice but to go home. THAT was a disaster. The school traffic near our home is horrendous. (The last two mornings it has taken me 13 minutes to go half-a-mile. I live about 8 miles from Chic’s school, and the drive is 40 minutes.) I knew we would be late if we came back that way, so I went another way–hoping to save time so I could just go back home and bike with Chicklet. Traffic the other way was horrible, too. I nearly witnessed 4 separate accidents. (People here are not known for polite driving.) There was unexpected construction, and it was just a mess. I was wondering if God was trying to tell me not to bike that day. (I decided, possibly stubbornly, that it was something more evil that did not want me to exercise.)

Late to school. Late home, but I decided to bike anyway–even though Fridays are extremely busy days, and that one was worse because we were having guests for dinner the next day. We got loaded up and headed out. I was a big ball of stress, and when I was rounding a corner early in the ride, I almost wrecked. I did not know what was wrong, but my bike was sliding. I got off, and saw this:

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The trailer had caught the edge of a curb and flipped over, and I dragged it through the rocks. Chicklet was not moving or making a sound. I could see rocks inside the trailer by her head which had to hit the ground. This was a BAD accident. Someone who had seen it driving by stopped to help. But all was well. No major damage. Not a scratch on Chicklet who is the type to screech at the top of her lungs for the slightest thing. So the bad turned out good.

The Beautiful:

Recently I got gifts from two separate blog friends.

First is from Leia of We Love Luna and Bonjour Luxumbourg. I love ALL this stuff. I love that it is cute and is in French. There is even a little book in French to read to my girls.  Can I read French? No, but I’ll learn enough to read that book about that cat. Go visit her. Luna is a gorgeous cat, and Leia is all kindness.

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Also, Fishing Guy sent me this beautiful example of his photography, in the nice frame. He even printed something else in case I wanted to change it. (Why would I, but how nice is that?) Go visit him, too. His blog has always got something different on it.

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And the rest of you just make me happy with your nice comments and generous visits. You are all beautiful.

Flag at Visitor's Center in Zion National Park--July

Flag at Visitor Center in Zion National Park--July 2008

When I first started blogging, I said that I would likely not enter my words into the political arena. I have kept true to that, I think. (Although I have left a comment here or there on political posts.) But today these things are nagging me, and I just have to say them.

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But FIRST…

SO much more important than any amount of politics, it is my cousin’s 40th birthday! As is tradition for our family, I have not sent her gift yet (part of it is done and did not require my creating a package, so that was easy), even though it was my full intention to send something exciting and ON TIME since it was her 40th. Maybe if you all go say Happy Birthday on her blog, it will be as good as something big I could have sent. (I even knew what I wanted to do, but now it is too late.)

(I was going to insert a picture here, but I thought an unauthorized one might get me in REALLY big trouble!)

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OK, back to the politics.

Jeri at In the Gutter said something to this tune a few days ago and has earlier said it on her blog–where she basically banned political discussions.

Why do people have to be so NASTY about it? Can people not just express and opinion and not be judged as a person because of it?

I rarely voice my political opinions. For one thing they are complicated. I would call myself an Independent, but there are not a lot of good choices from that category; I cannot fully embrace either of the major parties in our country. A lot of people who know me would naturally assume I would be of one political persuasion because of my lifestyle. Others think the exact opposite because of the things certain opinions of which they are aware. But truthfully, I am a mix of everything–and nothing.

A bigger reason my political opinions are not worn on my sleeve is because of the reactions of people who disagree. This is completely annoying to me because if they disagree with me, I obviously disagree with them, but I take extra pains to not treat those people as lesser human beings because they disagree with me. Those people usually do not go to the same pains on my behalf. (I am tough and can handle it, but it irritates me.)

Yesterday evening, I was walking with my daughters to take one of their friends home. The parents had a campaign sign in their yard. I asked if I could have it tonight so I could use it for a base when I need to put out signs at school. (For our Fall Festival, I made signs and put them on real estate signs that cost me $15 each. One was stolen the first day. I am now trying to collect less expensive signs.) They had an extra and told me they would be happy to let me have all (and they knew where to find some that had been thrown in the street), but they jokingly said I had to put the sign in my yard until the election was over. That was about 26 hours, so I decided I would. I guess I should not be surprised, but the sign was gone this morning. Why would someone want to steal it?

When I was riding my bike to school this morning, I there was a sign that had been twisted and thrown into my path for the candidate opposite of what was in my yard. Why would someone do that?

Why would people put opinions on their blogs that go beyond opinions on policies and platforms, but instead disparage the people who might disagree with them? Do people think there is only one way to look at things (their own)?  Do people think that it is just fine to say all who disagree are idiots, for lack of a better word? Call me crazy, but I think that people of all persuasions come to my blog and most others. I know I would not throw vile comments about those who disagree with me in any way out on my blog. From looking around, I know there are a lot of people who disagree with me, but I like those people anyway. I have met so many wonderful, interesting and considerate people through blogging. Some have political opinions similar to mine, some do not. Some, I have no idea. It does not matter; it is not important to me.

An interesting side note to this is something I have learned from my first grade daughter. Apparently there is quite a lot of political discussion at school. She has asked both Prince Charming and I who we are voting for (although we share common ideals, we do not necessarily vote the same on every single office/issue). We have told her, and she immediately says that is who SHE supports. We have tried to make her understand that she should not support anyone just because we do, or because her friends do, or because of ANYONE but instead to base her support on what she believes. And she is too  young to research and have a belief system that would pick a candidate, but we do not want to cram our opinions down her throat. (I wonder why any parent would.) Anyway, we told her that at school, she does not need to tell everyone who “she” supports because she does not understand enough to know who she supports. I guess she has kept that to herself, but she has reported back who others support. I found it hilarious because I teach these kids once a week. There is a clear division of political preferences. The children who cause trouble in class, refuse to follow directions, do not bring assigned materials to class, etc. are of the same political persuasion. (Or I should say, apparently their parents are. Obviously being 6 and 7 years old, I hesistate to say they have true political persuasions other than those instilled by their parents.) The kids who follow directions, listen in class and clean up after themselves are of the opposite political persuasion.

This was NOT a scientific study, just an observation. It did not include every child I teach. It made me laugh because I would have never predicted such a thing. If only I had the time to pursue a doctorate… I have so many discertation topics rolling around in my head.

I have gotten a bit side-tracked here, but have one more point to make. The BIGGEST reason I do not voice my political opinions is because when I encounter people who do, they usually do it loudly and annoyingly and often obnoxiously. (I am not saying that this is always the case. There have been a few blogs I have read that voiced their opinions in a rational, tolerant manner.) Someday I am sure I will write a post about “negative role models,” but for now I will say that sometimes what I do, or do not do, is because I do not want to be like someone else. My keeping my politics to myself is largely because I do not want to be like many of the people who do not.

So tomorrow, can everyone be nice again? Most everyone is nice most of the time, but then it gets to politics, and it all falls apart. I know I am tired of all of it. I do not even watch television so do not get that bombardment, and I am STILL tired of it.  It bothers me so much that we exert such energy into criticizing one another for our own beliefs and opinions. I believe that energy could be better spent for worthwhile endeavors.

I promise to be nice tomorrow (but I am pretty sure I have been nice in the past) and to almost NEVER post about politics!

One of the blogs I subscribe to is 10,000 Birds.  Though I am not a serious birder, I love to see birds, and see new ones, and sometimes identify the ones I am seeing for the first time.  The people who write for this blog are serious ornithologists.  Sometimes I feel like an underachiever when I go to that site because I do not get as serious about it as they do.  But I love to see what they are doing anyway.  Maybe when my life is different, I will spend entire days/weekends/weeks/months working on my life list of birds and knowing their scientific names.  For now, however, I go there for enjoyment.

 

Image Credit.  (I know this is in the wrong place, but I cannot figure out how to get it in the right place!)

 

Today they referenced an interesting article about the shortage of Clownfish that has happened since the movie, Finding Nemo,  was released.  People “needing” these fish as a pet are not the only reason for the shortage, but it plays into it.  It makes me wonder what people were thinking when they watched the movie.  Was it not about not harvesting wild fish to have as pets?  (OK, that was not what the movie was about, but the message was there.  At least I thought it was.)

 

Something you will find little (and I thought none) of on this blog is politics.  I really have no use for politics.  Politics often creates zealots, and I do not believe that I am one.  And truthfully, conversations with zealots (from any political persuasion) get on my nerves.  My opinions are my own.  I live by them and act by them and vote by them.  But I do not try to convince anyone else that I am right, or that they should believe what I believe.  In fact, I am guessing there are very few people in the whole world who really understand, or even know, my political opinions and persuasions.  Actually, probably only S, my Prince Charming husband does.  But even he and I do not discuss politics often because he can be a zealot (if for no other reason than he has a good time playing Devil’s Advocate), and I do not like those types of conversations. 

 

With all of that said, this post is probably a little bit political.  Let me make it clear that I am not judging anyone for owning a Clownfish.  I am guessing that most people who own them do not have any idea there is a 50% chance that theirs came from the wild.  My question is why do the pet distributors (or whatever they are called) go get them out of the wild to keep up with demand?  It seems to me that if they did not, the prices would go up, and eventually people would stop buying them.  Of course a market would be gone, or certainly not as lucrative as it is now, but what of it?  Does any market last forever?  Does any business that lasts have to find new markets and new products? 

 

Before I was a stay-at-home Mom, I worked for a manufacturer in the automotive industry.  I did not work for an automobile manufacturer, but a supplier of non-cosmetic interior parts—things that could not be seen and were therefore more generic than some components of the car.  Our business changed courses constantly.  We could not make the same thing and expect to keep in business for a year, let alone forever.  We could not even make the same  types of things and expect our business to grow, or even remain steady.  We were always having to find new ways to apply our product. 

 

How much more important would it be to change directions and focus when the item in question is not a renewable resource like my company manufactured, but an animal that maybe our grandchildren (if you have small children like I do) will never get to see, and will especially wonder about, because I KNOW that movie will still be around in 100 years!

 

And one last thing.  Though it is my opinion that pet distributors have been irresponsible in this area, all of us need to be more responsible consumers.  Ignorance can be bliss, but only for ourselves. 

 

Off my soapbox for now.  I PROMISE not to be here very often!

 

By Louise Cannon

 

p.s.  My 10th anniversary is tomorrow.  I am probably already on an airplane by the time you read this.  I have some posts scheduled for my absence, but I will not have computer access while gone, so I will not be checking your blogs or answering comments.  I will catch up as fast as I can when I return.  (Monday’s post is about Prince Charming.  I know some of you can hardly wait for that!)