Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cross Country and cuteness

My oldest joined the Jamestown Cross Country team this year.  It is her second year of high school and her first year on the team.  And today she is joining 7 other girls and 8 boys and taking a bus to Great Meadow Manassas for the Virginia State Cross Country Competition.  It is her first year as a runner and she's going to states. (!) who knew?

One of the things the girls do as they enter conference and regional competitions is "secret sister" presents. K's secret sister is a senior and K thought it would be fun for her to have something to remember her senior year of high school and cross country.  So she made her this pillow out of an old cross country t-shirt the coach had lying around.

She cut the t-shirt out and made an applique.  She made the pillow out of left over white fabric she found in the sewing pile and some left over green craft cotton was made into a fringe.  K wants to ask the other girls on the team to sign it with a sharpie.

on the Jamestown Athletics website: "Congratulations to the girls cross country team for finishing 5th at the 2013 Region 4A South meet on Wednesday, November 6 at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville. They qualified for the State 4A meet on Friday, November 15 at Great Meadow in The Plains. Leading the way for the Eagles were Madison Karnes (16th), Kathleen Yates (17th), Gaphne Glueck (23rd), Haley Simonsen (26th), Shannon Bryce (27th), Lauren Simonsen (41st) & Avery Gillem (54th).
All-Region 4A South honors went to Madison Karnes (2nd Team)"

at Regionals

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Che, Hemingway, and Change: free write

this is free write style. I'm still sorting my thoughts.

I recently read "Killing Che" a novel by Chuck Pfarrer which I found very interesting.  I do not know much about Che and I think I want to learn actual history about the man and the movement and what he stood for.  In the book there is reference at some point to Russia backing Che and the movement he was involved with in Cuba, but then cutting him loose later because he'd turned to Maoist Communism instead of Marxist.  I mentioned this to my husband's brother Patrick, and I said I didn't know there was a difference.  Patrick is a history buff and took several classes that overlapped with military history as well, raised his eyebrows at me and said "oh yes there is.  A big difference."  Something else I need to go learn about.
I tie this into Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" because there is a conversation in the book in which the Spaniards that the American is fighting with start asking about the United States.  And land ownership, and isn't there corruption? And the American says yes, there is corruption by the corporations.  And the Spaniards ask why is there no revolution then?  And the American says, taxes.  Taxes are supposed to stop the corruption.

yes, it is a novel but consider what Hemingway writes:
"Is the land there [United States] owned by peasants?" [Augustin is one of the Spaniards]
"Most land is owned by those who farm it.  Originally the land was owned by the state and by living o it and declaring the intention of improving it, a man could obtain a title to a hundred and fifty acres."[Robert Jordan is the American helping these Spaniards fight for the revolution.]
"Tell me how this id done" Augustin asked. "That is an agrarian reform which means something."
Robert Jordan explained the process of homesteading.  He had never thought of it before as agrarian reform.
and they go on to ask do you have communism? and Robert Jordan says no this is done under the Republic. And then another Spaniard asks do you have no big proprietors? And Robert Jordan says many.
"Certainly.  There are many abuses."
"But you will do away with them?"
"We try to more and more.  But there are many abuses still."
"But there are not great estates that must be broken up?"
"Yes.  But there are those who believe that taxes will break them up."

Robert Jordan explained how the income tax and inheritance tax worked.
"But surely the big proprietors and the rich will make a revolution against such taxes.  Such taxes appear to me to be revolutionary.  They will revolt against the government when they see they are threatened, exactly as the fascists have done here," Primitivo said.
"It is possible."
"Then you will have to fight in your country as we fight here."
"Yes, we will have to fight."

I think about that.  "taxes" and what they mean.  What they mean to small business owners.  For example.  My Pilates instructor and I were talking about taxes; her husband is a contractor.  Last year they owed 1/3 of their income in taxes.  One third!  Together they make less than 100K a year.  They have 4 children.  They are helping pay college tuition for two of them and they paid 1/3 of their income in taxes.  How is that okay?  I do not have an issue with taxes per se.  We need roads, police officers, teachers, schools, and so on.  Personally I would argue for a flat tax. But even if we meet in the middle and agree that a scaled tax is the way to go, a person earning $90 thousand dollars should not pay $30 to state and federal taxes.  That is insane.

I keep thinking about President Obama's first campaign for office.  The images of him:

from I hate the media:
reminded me visually of images I have seen of Che Guevara.  I went on a hunt for a historical poster of Che which led me to an interesting history behind the iconic portrait by the Cuban photographer Alberto Korda.  

and this freaks me out. Do you know what was done in Spain to landowners and capitalists?  Do you know what Che did in Cuba? from Cuba Archive"Che led Marxist revolutions in Mexico, Congo, Bolivia, and most successfully, in Cuba. He took quite seriously the Marxist view that only a violent revolution would install communism in society pg 5" Che Guevara executed political "prisoners" without trial, he said to a British journalist that if the Soviet Union had not betrayed Cuba and removed the nuclear missiles he would have used them. The cost in Cuban and US lives was worth the political goals in Cuba. pg 9.

from Hollowverse: Whilst contemplating the final defeat of capitalism, we must decide who is at its head, and it is the United States of America.5

from an open letter to Urban Outfitters by Thor Halvorssen regarding a T-shirt with the image of Che Guevara: "We urge you to consider that the image of Guevara represents tyranny and repression for the millions of people who have suffered under communism. Fifty-three years after Guevara's rise to power, Cuba is still ruled by the Communist party, while all alternative political parties and dissenting civil society groups are outlawed. Any expression of dissent is considered a subversive act, a free press does not exist, and the government regularly imprisons those who speak out. Mr. Marlow, the Cuban government of today, a legacy of Guevara, is the most repressive regime in the Western hemisphere.
These facts forced Polish lawmakers to recently propose a ban on t-shirts with Guevara's image, as part of a previous law banning fascist and totalitarian propaganda." 

There are stories from Spain.  When the revolutionaries took over a town, and they marched all the business owners out into the town square and shot them.  For owning a business.  For being capitalists.
All this talk of "fairness."
I do not trust the word "fair."  
I worry about my country that elects a person into office whose campaign tried to associate with a violent revolutionary. twice.


Saturday, November 2, 2013


I didn't post these last week as I was posting about Halloween instead.  This is my neighbor's house.  As I don't follow baseball I rely on them to let me know when Boston is doing their magic.  One year they made a sign that said "We believe."  Thursday on my way in from walking the dogs around 10 AM I saw them leaving, presumably to get the kids to school, in their shirts.  You know they were up late watching the game and then celebrating.  I enjoy partaking in the celebration vicariously.  Then I can mention to my brother via FB, "oh yeah, Boston is in the World Series," like I know what is going on.  He is a big Boston fan too.

Incidentally there were several bearded Red Sox trick or treating Thursday night! (in Virginia)

Friday, November 1, 2013

sneaking lying repeats, what is it about elementary school?

So Dragon was hard to parent when he was small. Like from the minute I met him through about 5th grade.  He really came into his own in 5th.  Now he's in 6th and he has his moments but he's settled down a lot.
Just in time for Bitsy to take over.
Bitsy is now the reason we lock the pantry. It used to be Dragon, who would sneak in and take a weeks worth of potato chips and hide them in his room and leave the wrappers under his bed or in his backpack.  Now it is Bitsy.  When I was away I left the pantry stocked up on snack foods for their lunchboxes and I bought fruit snacks at Costco.  Imagine a Costco sized box of fruit snacks.  Those are treats.  I do not usually buy those.  But you know, I was away and I wanted the kids to have some things they do not usually have.  So I bought fruit snacks.  And Klondike Bars for desert.  And garlic bread to go with dinner, 8 loaves.  Odd, the garlic bread is still all in the freezer.  We'll eat some this weekend as Tim is away.  We don't eat it when he's home because it has butter - the whole "dairy is evil thing" (yeah, I'm not *quite vegan. He is.  I was for 6 months. He made the mistake of buying me a carrot cake from the Carrot Tree with cheese cake icing for my birthday, it was good, and he lost me to the dark side.)
I digress.
I heard from the babysitter that a stash of fruit snack wrappers was found under Bitsy's bed while I was gone.  I heard from one of my other kids that they got fruit snacks in their lunch once, and then they were gone... sadly this caused the babysitter not to take Bitsy with her to play at Kidsburg.  Instead she left her with K who had homework to do.  That is another story.  I am not sure how I feel about that.  Yes, consequences are consequences but when dealing with a child who is going through what I know will be a very *long stage of lying and stealing and hoarding and lying some more I am not sure that the babysitter is helping me or the child here. (and K had homework to do. She shouldn't have been babysitting. I was paying her.)
Last week I was back home, and on Tuesday Bitsy turned 7 years old.  We do presents in the morning. Getting ready to catch the bus I found her presents in her school backpack and took them out.  We do not take our presents to school because it is against school rules.  Also, there is a kid in Bitsy's class who asks the other kids for their stuff.  So see, Bitsy isn't the only one with "wanting" issues.  Wednesday I took a bag out of Bitsy's backpack that had Bitsy's presents and MLyon's ipod in it.  I am not thrilled to be policing backpacks.  I had to do this for Dragon.  I resented it.  I was not always able to shield him from my resentment.
This isn't just because they are adopted.  But I feel like because they are adopted it is "more."  It is more often, the stage is longer, it is more.  The non adoptees will snitch a sweet snack or a cookie or something here and there but they don't hoard them.  I do not worry about them inviting roaches into my house.
And do not tell me to just get rid of the sweets and snacks.  A.) the other kids went trick or treating last night too and should be allowed to have some of their sugar despite the fact that I know Bitsy will eat all hers in a day and start eating everybody else's.  B.) Teachers use sugar as rewards at school so they get it there, and come home with it. C.) other people (hello grandparents?) constantly give the kids sugar to bring home. D.) Dragon started stealing money to go buy his own once he figured out what a vending machine was.
I think what gets me is the frequency of the offense and the fact that they never own it and they are never sorry.  I stole once when I was 5.  A Raggedy Anne ring that was on a child's night stand when I was playing at her house.  I got caught.  My mother was mortified.  I had to give it back.  I don't think I stole again.  I worry because I do not see Dragon and Bitsy learning this lesson.
And frankly, Dragon wore me out.  I am not looking forward to dealing with this for the next 4 or 5 years with Bitsy.  And then Little Hawk after her.