Monday, August 24, 2015

Trying to Get Sorted Out

I just wanted to stop by and let you all know what has been going on.  I've been very busy, but in addition to that I've been dealing with all this medication stuff.  It's making me feel crazy.  Even though I know the reality is that I'm not.  I'm tired, but not because of the usual stuff.  Several days ago I started having insomnia.  It's par for the course when taking the medication that you may end up over-medicating and end up with the side-effects which are common for having hyperthyroidism (that is you make too much hormones instead of what I have which is that on my own I don't make enough). 

Normally I can sleep like a champ.  In fact with the hypothyroidism (sans meds) I could easily sleep 10-12 hours.  I knew it wasn't healthy or feasible so I usually didn't, but it was possible.  Now I sleep four hours, wake up, and can't go back to sleep for several hours.  It's exhausting, but in a different "I think I'm going crazy" sort of way.  My writing is all wack.  And my poor husband has been bearing the brunt of someone who is desperately trying to control their emotions.  At one point I felt more energetic and myself but it wasn't long until I slid down into crazy-ville.  So I'm hoping to get my meds readjusted.  I have a doc appointment tomorrow and we'll see what they suggest doing.

Thanks for your patience.  And I'm sorry if I bite your head off in advance or break down into sobs.  It's not easy for me to maintain self-control.  I feel at times like I'm drowning.  Just know it isn't you.  It's me.  So I think for a little while at least, it's best for my internet buddies if I just stay silent for a bit until my brain and the meds find a happy medium.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My Incident is Not Unusual

I mentioned what happened on Friday to some friends of mine and the Husband pointed me to this recent news bit...

DCS spokesman Doug Nick said the reminder comes after their recent semi-annual report, which was gathered between October 2014 through March 2015, showed the agency received more than 25,000 calls. Only between 12 and 24 percent of those were actually substantiated.
Basically people are making allegations against parents which are "not true or pranks."  My friends said practically all of his neighbors have been reported for child abuse even though there's no actual abuse or reasonable suspicion of abuse.  It's been so bad that the police are starting to crack down by reminding the public (via this news piece and how my friend heard it on the radio) that they can earn themselves jail time, a fine, a misdemeanor for making false reports. 

It's that bad.  So Hubby believes the woman made that call not because she was being altruistic in someway (concerned about us walking in the heat) but because she thought I was being rude for walking off.  In other words, she did so out of revenge.

On the one hand, it makes me feel better because I now realize that the police are aware that people are doing this.  In this day in age a person doesn't have to go out of their way to be vindictive by finding pay phone.  I'm sure her cell phone was in her car.  Thus it's becoming easier to lie.  So now I have less of a concern of being labeled. 

That's really sad that people are doing this to other people.  It's also diabolical.  So if you would, please send up a few prayers on behalf of the State of Arizona.  Lying is a major sin especially if you are deliberately doing it out of a sense of revenge.  Our Mother of Mercy, pray for us!

Friday, August 14, 2015

In Which a Busy-Body Calls the Police on Me

This is mostly to document a strange incident that happened today....

Usually I leave the house sometime after 1:30 to go pick up HB from school.  He gets out of school at 2pm.  The school doesn't have busing for our neighborhood.  They actually encourage children to walk or bicycle or scooter to school. It's in the school's newsletter.  It's pretty normal to see parents walking to pick their children up from school and I've also seen children walking back home.  I live across the street (practically) so I just walk.  I carry my children in a red radio flyer wagon.

Knee was with me.  He was sitting in the wagon.  We were about half way to the school's front entrance when a small compact dark green car pulls over.  I'm thinking that this person is just asking for directions.  So when the window rolls down I just stop.

The lady in the car (she looks like she's a brunette) asks me if I know what the temperature outside is.  I'm a little puzzled by the question and she cuts in and tells me that it's 110F.  I realize that it's hot outside, but okay.  Then she asks me about the wagon.  What's it made out of?  Is it plastic?  Freaked out by her strange line of questioning, I start walking away while saying yes.  I kept walking.

We have a cross walk to the school and I watched her make a U-turn and go in the opposite direction.  I walked up to the school's over hang and sat down with Knee.  We had water with us (I always carry water) and so we drank and cooled off.  A few minutes later a sheriff's cruiser pulled up.

My initial thought was "okay, what is going on.  That lady is starting to freak me out."  He asks me about the incident so I relay it to him.  Then he tells me that he got a call that some lady with a red wagon was "beating on her kid."  Flat out lie.  I don't even think I was talking to Knee who sitting quietly in the wagon when she pulled up.  I tell him no nothing like that happened.  He asked me if I was walking up to the school to pick up an older child.  Yes, yes, I was.  He asked me if I lived close by.  Yes, yes I do.  Then he asked me to write down my name, a phone number, my date of birth, and Knee's name.  So I did.  Then he left.

Hopefully nothing comes of this.  I was doing absolutely nothing wrong.  I'm not sure why this woman lied.  Yes, it is hot.  But it's perfectly legal for a parent to push a child in a stroller or a wagon to a bus stop or any other destination.  It's also perfectly legal for a child to walk home from school on their own or with their parent.  I wasn't disciplining Knee in any way.  I have no idea why she would think I was beating on him or anything like that.  The most she might have seen was me opening up the water bottle for him so he could drink it.  Or perhaps me talking to him because he was so excited to be holding a couple of quarters in his hand.  He sat in the wagon the whole trip but occasionally he likes to get out and walk too.  The wagon is stored in the car port of my home out of direct sun light so it doesn't get very hot.  

I'm just baffled.

Update: Just for evidential purposes, according to Bing maps, the walk from my house to the school is .4 miles and takes 7 minutes to walk.  This is if I don't take any short cuts through the school's playground.

Update: Actually the above in incorrect (apparently I needed to put in the actual address because using just the school's name put in another part of the neighborhood.  I looked at the map more closely).  It's only .3 miles and a 5 minute walk.  It's slightly longer if we're going to the front door and shorter if we're going through the playground.  You can see the school's playground from my backyard, but I have to exit my neighborhood before crossing the street.  Needless to say it's between a quarter to a half a mile walk.  Not a big deal at all.

7 Quick Takes: #RedemptiveSuffering

1) My meds are truly life altering.  And no, I don't mean that I feel better.  I still feel my same sucky self because it took a while to get to this point so it's going to take a while to heal.  What I mean is that in order for my meds to be effective I have to 1) take them in the morning on an empty stomach 2) wait an hour before I can ingest anything besides water and 3) any vitamins or pain meds I have to wait 4 hours later at least to take.  So if I pull a muscle I have to live with it.  I get a head ache.  I must suck it up.  And if I'm still so tired in the morning, I cannot drink any caffeinated beverage (and yes, you coffee lovers that means coffee too) in the morning.  Talking about redemptive suffering.  And I'm sucking horribly at it.

2)  It's been officially a week of school.  Knee is set to be evaluated by the school district for speech therapy in September.  So for now we are frustrating each other.  I have learned that my youngest child is irritatingly a perfectionist.  We built and painted a toy boat.  I've never see a three year old get so upset that the least bit of wood is not blue.  He's also getting into drawing.  He makes really nice people figures, but usually it starts with him wanting me to draw and him saying my people "look silly" in other words wrong.  Finally like I'm stupid or something, he decides to draw him own persons which may or may not result in his being unhappy with his own product.  I used to like arts and crafts.

3) HB on the other hand has also been having off days.  He got into a scuffle with a friend.  He also told me this morning that he doesn't like his school because "it's boring."  I can sympathize.  I'm sure it's annoying to have to work on basics like colors, counting, and letters when you are reading books.  His problem is not academics; it's social skills.  I'd try to get him promoted a grade to avoid the boredom but AZ discourages it for kindergarten and socially he's behind.  I am hoping to get a meeting with the psychologist to address many of my concerns (like his current habit of spinning) and what the education plan is for someone like him.

4) Hubby's been working like a maniac lately.  He's also been goofing off a bit lately too.  Last night he got home around 11pm from playing a board game which he said took an hour to explain.  An hour?  And that's not even playing it?  I swear who are these people and why do I call them my family.  I think I'm in the wrong house.  They are way too smart and more industrious than I am.

5) Oh, and the latest popular thing to do is call someone stupid.  I think that it arises from me yelling at my computer and calling it stupid.  My 3 year old picked it up and now it's "HB is so stupid" and "Dad is stupid"  :/  The irony is not lost on me that no one in my house is in fact stupid or close to being so.

6) I haven't been doing much this week if you don't count house work and phone tag.  I kinda like it that way.  Makes it easier to get used to this new schedule.

7) I'm really having a hard time coming up with 7 takes.  So I'll just wrap this thing up.

Thanks to This Ain't the Lyceum!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Catholic Movies You May Not Know Are On Netflix

I spend a lot of time scouring for decent Catholic movies on Netflix.  Some are more obvious because they have a Biblical theme.  Some are Christian but are distinctly Protestant (and thus sometimes heretical).  Personally I like to find something that is Catholic, but rather than being Biblical based integrates Catholicism into the story.  Here are some of the movies on Netflix that I've discovered:

1) Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)-
I actually grew up with this version.  It's based on the memoirs of the Gilbreth family.  There's no indication that the family was Catholic, but this version of the movie aligns well with Catholic teaching.  There is a scene where a lady from Planned Parenthood (yes that one. although at that time they were peddling birth control and not abortion.) comes to visit the family about the mother heading up their Monteclaire Chapter.  The joke is that Dr./Mrs. Gilbreth is the mother of 12 children.  There's a great dynamic between the parents as well and with the children.  There is a 1952 sequel called Belles on their Toes, but Neflix currently doesn't have it.  It takes up the Gilbreth family's life after their father dies suddenly.

2) The Perfect Game (2009)-
This film is about the Mexican Little League Team that won the 1957 Little League World Series.  Although the film takes liberties with the historical events, it's clear that faith plays a huge part in the story.  There's also some ecumenical stuff going on there as well.  After the priest has to return back to Mexico, the players refuse to play without a blessing.  A Protestant minister steps in to help shepherd the flock as it continues to travel through the United States.  If your concerned, there's no indication that Protestant minister has any intention to convert the boys.  He's merely there like any chaplain would be for a solider.  It's quite touching that he would care so much for a group of very devout Catholics.  Some parts may not be suitable for young children as the film also touches on racism and some of the characters drink heavily.  I would view the film first to decide how best to bring up the topic of Christianity and racism during that time period with children.

3) My Italian Secret (2015)-
I love a really good documentary.  This one is about how different Catholic Italians- from religious to lay- including the cyclist and Tour de France winner Gino Bartali helped hide Jews during WWII.  I don't recall seeing anything particularly graphic but given the content you may want to discuss the history of the Holocaust with your children before having them watch the movie.

4) Rudy (1993)-
This is one of my father's favorite movies.  It's another based on a true story sports film.  This time it tells the story of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger and his determination to enter Nortre Dame and play on it's football team.  He is helped along the way with the support of friends, family, support staff and students at Nortre Dame, and clergy.  It's not a movie for very young children.

5) The Children of An Lac (1980)-
This film is based on the true story of the evacuation of the Vietnamese orphanage, An Lac, before the fall of Saigon.  While the dialogue and acting is at times trite, the story itself is very moving.  If you look carefully you will see that Catholicism and a pro-life message is at the core of the movie.  There are currently 6 million Catholics in Vietnam, which is a small minority.  So the fact that the head of the orphanage is portrayed as a Catholic is so beautiful.  The movie isn't particularly violent (you see blood-less dead people and soldiers carrying weapons).  So I would say it's okay to show to an elementary age child while discussing the downsides of war and the belief in the dignity of all persons.  For older children, you may want to include a discussion about the Vietnam War and that Vietnam today remains one of five nations that is communist which places restrictions on religious freedom (similar to those in communist China).



Saturday, August 8, 2015

Laudato Si In Your Home: The True Cost of Overconsumption

One of the things Laudato Si spells out is our over-consumption and the way it hurts people.  There are a couple of documentaries that deal with the economics of having lower prices and over-consumption.  You can watch them both on Netflix: The True Cost (2015)

  Trailer for The True Cost on TrailerAddict.

And if you are more of the conservative type, try this one: Death by China (2012)

 I want to draw attention to a couple of things both of them briefly mention.  In True Cost, it's pointed out that we feel guilty stocking our closets with clothes so we donate them.  Those garments end up in Haiti which is destroying industry there.  If you have clothes you cannot wear, give them to someone in your own back yard.  If you can't sell them, put up a Craig's List ad.  You would be shocked how many poor people comb Craig's List looking for basic items because they can't afford to even buy used.  Contact a local refugee organization in your area.  As my former boss put, these people are getting off planes with literally the clothes on their backs.  I'm sure they'd appreciate having something nice to wear for job interviews.

Secondly in Death by China, remember that a number of goods you are buying are made by political prisoners.  Priests are making Christmas tree lights in forced labor camps (all Christmas tree lights are being made in China).  I recently read a book about Chinese Christians in forced labor camps because they worshiped in illegal house churches.  China wants to keep out "foreign imperialists" and so it's government has set up churches that view the Chinese government as the head of these churches.  They even produce heavily edited Bibles to emphasize this point.  Anyway, this woman was able to get out of the camps and given asylum in the US.  In Death by China, they talk about her taking apart and reassembling lights at her sponsor's house.  She said she made those very lights in her forced labor camp.

Do not avert your eyes.  Buy consciously.  Buy cautiously.  Lesson over.

Friday, August 7, 2015

7 Quick Takes: #GoodNewsBadNews

CC License: Sunshineconnelly at en.wikibooks
 1) Turns out that I do indeed suffer from hypothyroidism.  My doctor gave me a script for thyroid medication.  I'm to take it and in 8 weeks go back for another blood test to make sure it doesn't need to be adjusted (it's pretty common that it has to be adjusted).  Every year I'll have to have blood test to make sure the medication is working.  Thankfully I don't have an enlarged thyroid or thyroid cancer.  This just seems to be run-of-the-mill hypothyroidism.

2) This is also good news for me spiritually.  Hypothyroidism causes a myriad of health problems including fatigue.  I chalked up my sloth to my lack of will power.  I knew I was exhausted but I thought all moms feel this way.  How come I can't seem to get a grip?  It's true that I could improve in this area, but now that I know there's a medical problem, I feel much better.  It's a venial matter not a mortal one.  I can stop beating myself up over it and give it God.  I can trust in God's mercy (and medical science) to help get past this sin.  Such a relief.

3) HB started his first day of school yesterday.  They are really on top of things.  I wanted to make sure that the substitute was aware that he was autistic so I wrote her a little note describing things (I have no idea if she has any knowledge of autism or what her background is).  The school's speech therapist called me personally to tell me that he was interacting with students and laughing at jokes.  She thought he was adjusting well.  Made me feel better.  Autistic people don't always handle new situations well.  He came home telling me everything that happened and admonishing me for forgetting his "lunch pail" (I guess you take the kid out of Canada but you'll never completely take the Canada out of the kid).  Don't worry.  I did send him lunch money and specifically instructing him that he was going to buy his lunch.  He didn't quite understand what that meant until lunch time.  After we got home, I went through the school menu with him to show him their lunches are more interesting (and kid-friendly) then mine are.  More choices.  Warm food.  Win-win.  He's buying lunch again so we'll see how he feels about it.

4) While I had her on the phone, I asked her about speech for Knee.  The district does speech for 3 and up.  She gave a referral for their early learning center.  I'll have to call them up after I finish lunch.  She said now is a good time to call because they'll be setting up stuff now.  She said it's good that I've already had him evaluated and should just get the paper work on that sent in.

5) Oh, and I forgot to say the rest of my labs are fine.  My liver functions are normal.  My cholesterol is excellent so chances for a heart attack are super slim.  I'm not anemic (which runs in the family) and the doc thinks if I take magnesium on a regular basis that I should be able to knock out my migraines for good.  Having good health is such a plus.  When the body is not functioning properly it can take a hit to ones soul.

6) Hubby is doing well. Work seems to be going decently for him although his previous employer wants him (and the rest of the crew) to churn out a paper by September.  His health seems to be good too.  Although he did have a polyp a few years ago, which is unusual for his age.  So he'll have to go in for regular screenings for the rest of his life.  The good thing is the likelihood that my husband will die from colon cancer is so slim since the polyp was caught so early.  The funny thing is there's no family history of colon-rectal cancer.  So it's truly a miracle.  One I didn't put into prospective until mentioning it to my doc.  "Wow, that young and no family history." she said in amazement.  Yep, we're blessed.

7) Usually I have a 7th one, but I guess I'll just leave you with- my schedule has been messed up lately so I apologize for not churning out a Laudato Si in your home yet.  I'll get on it when things have gotten into a better routine.

Thanks to This Ain't the Lyceum!