A Little Ray of Sunshine

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Expected disasters

I've been looking over some of the homework I did from the Captain Dave site (www.captaindaves.com). A lot of the potential disasters he lists just don't seem very . . . disastery to me. Severe thunderstorm. Hail. Flooding/Flash flooding. Extreme high heat. Drought. High winds. Severe winter weather.
Perhaps it's because they're common around here. I can remember two seperate winters as a child when we lost electricity for twelve hours or more. The underpass floods every spring, and whenever there are heavy rains. The creek in my parents' backyard floods frequently, too. And it's been a drought for as long as I can remember. I even remember asking my dad once "How long does it have to be a drought before they decide this is normal and the previous years were abnormally wet?" (The weather records in this area are perhaps a century at best.)
Thinking about it, well, yeah, if you weren't used to all these things, perhaps it could be a disaster. If you paniced when the electrical lines went down and it was twenty below out, yes, you could create yourself a nice mess. If you didn't know it was stupid to drive through water on the road, yeah, you could get yourself into trouble.
And I have to remind myself that there are places where people don't irrigate crops. I lived in one when I was at college. It still just seems wrong, in some fundemental way, not to water crops.
The things that seem more like proper disasters from Captain Dave's list would be tornados, wildfires, earthquakes (at a distance, the 'nearby' fault line is the Wasatch Front), volcanos (fortunately, the historical erruptions were rare and slow), train wrecks with release of toxins/nuclear products, some sort of nuclear/atomic-involving disaster at the INEEL, fire, plague or biowar, or regular old nukes.

A thought on attitude

Attitude isn't really quite the right word for this, training might be closer . . . well, you tell me.
My husband and I were sitting at dinner the other day discussing various things. (I recall talking about mortars, I having seen them from the fireing end, and he from the downrange end. And somehow we segued to this.)
He related this little anticdote, about his mother, Meme, and an old family friend, Mrs. F.
There was some rioting going on, but nothing much, and the two ladies were walking down the street to market. Suddenly some gunshots were heard. Mrs. F looked around. "What do you think is going on, Anna?"* "Anna?"
"Shh." Meme was under some bushes at the side of the road, waving franticly at her friend to get down.

Meme, having lived through a revolutionary war, reacted first and worried about what had happened later. Mrs. F reacted the other way around.

Many people think they are prepared for some sort of disaster or sytemic collapse. But how do you train for that, except by living through it? That's not to say that everyone who thinks they're prepared is entirely wrong, just that some people may be surprised to find that they are physicly prepared but not mentally prepared.

*Anna is not my mil's name. It's as if a modern American girl was given the name Muriel and decided to call herself Mary instead. Ironicly, my mil's given name translates to one of the more popular names for baby girls in this country now.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Clipping Coupons--on living with less

Everyone knows that clipping coupons is a way to save money, right?
Well, maybe. Think for a moment why companies print coupons. Do you really think they print coupons out of the goodness of their hearts? Nah, companies don't have hearts.
Coupons are a lure to get consumers to buy a product. While they offer a discount on a product, they are not cheaper than not buying the product. It is a waste of time to clip all coupons and a waste of money to use them all.
There are two types of coupons to use. One is for something you would buy anyway. If you always buy a particular brand of conditioner, then of course, clip the coupon for that brand.
The other is for a luxury item that you like but do not normally buy because it is too expensive. Something that is a treat, that you buy on occasion, but not regularly.
It is nearly always cheaper to buy a non-brand-name item than the same item in a brand-name, even with a coupon. I am a brand snob on some items. But I haven't always been able to afford to be. Some things I would prefer to not have at all than to use a non-name-brand item. Cheese, for instance, cheddar and parmasian, specifically. I will not buy cheddar cheese at the grocery store except for the Tillamook brand. (I can't spell that, but you likely know what I mean.) If the choice is going without cheddar cheese or buying some other brand, I'll go without.
Parmasian I only buy from a little butcher store downtown. We don't have it very often. We both can't stand the sawdust that comes in the jars at the grocery stores that calls itself parmasian. Naturally, if I see a coupon for Tillamook cheese, I clip it. I am a cheese snob.
Some products it doesn't make any difference. I can't taste a difference between Viva and Flavorite milk. The boys don't say anything. (My husband's lactose sensative, only uses powedered or canned. He has no opinion on the subject.) So I buy the cheap stuff.
However, the difference between Windex brand with a coupon and regular Sam's Choice without a coupon is in favor of the Sam's Choice. So, I buy that. The way I clean, nobody knows the difference. (Why, yes, that is a slur on my cleaning practices.) I certainly don't notice a difference. The mirrors in the bathroom get toothpaste spots on them just as quickly either way. And . . . you don't really mean anyone washes little fingerprints off their windows, right?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Anyone who sees a link to police brutality/corruption, please drop me a note? I'm engaging in a campaign to convince my mother that police are NOT NECESSARILY her best friends. I don't want to scare her to death, merely make her rethink her idea that if you are trying to follow the law you won't have any trouble.

I don't want her telling my boys that if they get lost they should look for a police officer to help them. I don't care to have to tangle with the child welfare idiots on top of the other pile of idiots mentioned in the post below.

We already sat down and calculated the percentage of money she actually gets paid for playing piano for Eastern Star after taxes. She's disgusted with Bush's supreme court nominees too, which is a good start.
Dad, of course, thinks Clinton was better. (He likes to be contrary.) I told him I didn't think Clinton was better, but that gridlock was better. Dad insisted that the federal debt and deficit both went down during Clinton's two terms. I'm pretty sure they did not. But I was a teen then, and not following politics so closely. (I recall the deficit being less than orriginally projected, but not less than a previous year at one point.) Anyone know where to find that off hand?
Otherwise, I shall Google.

Dad thinks taxes need to be raised to get rid of the debt. I replied that rasing taxes wouldn't work, directly, because people are too close to broke. That it would be easier (and less likely to cause massive disaster, at least at first) to run the printing presses top speed. Is my argument sound? Dad didn't think it made much sense. I suspect he doesn't really realize how close to broke people are in this country.

Ah, the things discussed at the three-year-old's birthday party.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Perhaps best edited . . .

Suffice to say that after dealing with the idiots the government hires to try to prevent us getting more information, I thought better of naming specific government organizations too . . . blatently. I told Blogger when I started this not to list me on Google, but that doesn't necessarily proof it against all web-searchers.

If you have permanent residency based on marriage, you must somehow prove to a nameless, faceless, beurocrat hundreds of miles away (in this case in Lincoln, Nebraska, wherever the heck that may be) that you did not get married just to get permanent residency. There are people who, in fact, do this. There are native-born citizens of this country who will marry you, if you wish to immigrate, for a price, for the five years you need to be married to get the permanent visa. (The price is not always in currancy . . . which is probably why having children is not considered sufficient proof by itself.)

Prooving that one is in fact married for the purpose of marriage and not for immigration, by documentation, is pretty darned difficult. Enough to reduce me, who does not usually swear (has better shock value that way, you know?), to excercizing that part of my vocabulary.

It seems that providing noterized affidavits from people who know we live together may help. Now we just have to track down people who actually physically were in our various rentals. After all, people who didn't live in the same town as we did at that time can't be sure we really did live together. And then, which of those people could actually do something like that within the time we have. The government requires the documentation by Nov. 30th. This elimantes a lot of people.

It really would be easier if my husband were illegal, in a lot of ways. But then he wouldn't have the option of becoming a US citizen in a few more years. (Assuming we get this mess sorted out to our benefit.)
On the other hand, it might be nice to live in the tropics. And at least over there, you can figure out who gets the bribe (and they'll outright tell you how much they want), so you can always be sure your government-involving issues come to the proper conclusion. I'd rather deal with a government official whom one can buy than one who just likes having the power to push people arround.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Happy Birthday Big Boy

Today is my eldest's third birthday. He's having a bit of trouble with this, apparently the result of us telling him that he is two years old for the last year. "You're three years old." I say. "No, Mommy, I'm two years old!" and out come two fingers. Sometimes we have two on each hand appear, and then we talk about how two twos makes four.
Having kids is fun, mostly. Aside from the poopy diapers. And the "Mommy, I pooped." from the not-quite-potty-trained-yet. Usually while holding up the evidence.
So, I have to go make a birthday cake. And pizza. He loves pizza. Of course, everybody loves Mommy's pizza. We got him lots of fun toys (cheap, too, Walmart had a toy clearance sale). So did Nana and Poppa. He's going to have a great party this evening.
He's growing up awfully fast.
Yesterday, after our Eastern Star meeting, I did some home school evangelism with my mom, to a lady who has a little pre-school-aged granddaughter whose daddy works from home and wants to homeschool her, but the girl's mom (grandma's daughter) is worried about socialization because the girl doesn't want to play with other kids. I pulled myself together and reached back to my seven-year-old feelings about other kids. (Mostly, they're all stupid.) And I said, "Does she socialize well with adults?"
Grandma: "She really doesn't know any other adults except her parents."
Me: "When I was a kid, I always liked to talk to the little old ladies at church because they didn't talk down to me like the older kids did. I couldn't talk to the other kids my age because they didn't understand what I was saying. You should tell her mom to introduce her to people who will talk to her at her own level, not at the level they think a kid her age should be."
Grandma: "Oh. I never thought about that."
Me: "Tell your daughter if she'd like to talk to someone who was homeschooled, she's more than welcome to give me a call."
Grandma: "Okay, thanks."

So that was fun. And a very dear friend announced (after some prodding from his wife and daughter) that he had been elected Deputy Grand Master. He and his wife were my Bethel Guardians the year I was Honored Queen. Much cheering ensued.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

And in putting away . . . a tip for those with small ones

Did you know that a comfortable amount (for me) to lift of canned goods fits neatly in a babywipe box? Now I know why I'm always saving them. And we're always tripping over them. And the spares are neatly boxed up now (well, mostly, the tape is AWOL) should they need to go someplace.
And I can move them by myself without difficulty.
But I've still got more cans, and I'm out of empty babywipe boxes. Well, that's okay. There will be another empty in a month or so.

Book Recommend and a note on cloth diapers

I got this from the university library: Herb Gundell's Complete Guide to Rocky Mountain Gardening. This book applies to the high plains, high deserts, and other Rocky Mountain climates we try to grow stuff in. This is not your generic western garden book, with mostly coastal and great plains information. It mentions my town by name. It's an older book, 20 years old, so the variety information is probably mostly out of date, but it talks about how to improve our soil (clay) and watering during the winter and so on.
We're working on putting in garden beds around our home, some flowers out in front where we probably won't have fence, and regular vegetables on the south side of the house. (Our long side with the most windows is south facing, lovely so far. And I have a great view from the computer of the snow covered mountains.)
Mr. Gundell also has a section on houseplants and one on growing vegetables in containers. I'm about ready to try indoor tomatos again. When my husband gets his next paycheck, some (about $3) is slotted for hooks to get the spider plants (also known as airplane plants) hanging up again. Yeah!
And #2's here informing me I need to go change his diaper. It's about diaper washing time, too. Yuck. Hey, if you've never tried cloth diapers, but you've put them in your emergency kit for your children, you probably ought to try using them. There's a bit of a knack to it, and you don't want to be figuring out how to fold and pin them when you're in a hurry for the first time.
Oh, by the way, they're a great money saver. But only wash your plastic pants by hand, otherwise they fall apart too fast. They don't hold up to the agitator in the washing machine.