Core Curriculum Arguments, Like A Procustean Bed

Here we see a basic problem for Core supporters: they want the public to believe either that the Core is rich and rigorous, or that it is empty and just a floor, depending, is seems, on whom they are trying to convince to support it. So in one breath they’ll talk about the obvious need for core content, and in the next they’ll protest if anyone says the standards have, well, core content. This may be because there actually is no unanimous agreement on what students should read.

More here.

I see this a lot- arguments for Core are procrustean- cut to fit whatever it is the author wants to say.


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Another Parent Criminalized for Letting Her Child Play Safely Outside

Look at the trauma this one busybody woman caused these children.

What happened? The usual. A busybody saw that rarest of sights—a child playing outside without a security detail—and wanted to teach his parents a lesson. Roy might not have given the incident a whole lot more thought except that shortly afterward, her doorbell rang again.

This time it was a policewoman. “She wanted to know if my son had been lost and how long he’d been gone,” Roy told me by phone. She also took Roy’s I.D. and the names of her kids.

That night Isaac cried when he went to bed and couldn’t immediately fall asleep. “He thought someone was going to call the police because it was past bedtime and he was still awake.”

She probably has no regrets, and feels quite justified in her actions, although she caused them real and immediate trauma to prevent a trauma that largely existed in her imagination.

CPS showed up, and while they eventually closed the case, in the meantime they gave the children knowledge about an ugly side of the world they did not yet know existed- and they did not need to know at this point.

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Three More Hindrances to Frugality

time isn't always moneyYesterday,  A couple days ago,  I mentioned three hindrances to frugality that might act as sand in the gears of the frugal life. Here are three more:

4. Convenience-  Now, I know that sometimes we have to choose convenience over frugal choices that take more time.  My daughter planned on using cloth diapers with her first.  But when her baby was born and spent 41 days in the NICU, coming home on oxygen and a feeding tube, needing three different therapists every other week, biweekly visits to the ped, tube feedings every three hours, pumping every three hours…. well, something had to go. Cloth diapers were that something, and that’s the way things needed to be.*

However, when frugality gives way to convenience in many areas on a regular basis, we might need to re-evaluate.

Sometimes the problem is we haven’t really properly calculated the cost- we imagine we’re only spending a few pennies more when really, it’s ten, twenty, or thirty dollars more if we only counted the cost properly.

Sometimes there’s an unnoticed cost to convenience, to saving time, and that cost isn’t necessarily a financial cost.

Sometimes convenience becomes a bad habit- taking the easy way out once makes it that much harder to do things the frugal way the next time. Or any time.

5. Mixed up priorities (seek ye first…)- I think this one speaks for itself- we seek fulfillment in stuff, we think it’s most important that we look a certain way, or eat or live a certain way that isn’t conducive to living within our means (“yes, I’m trying to save money, but I couldn’t give my child a used toy for her birthday or just have spaghetti or fried rice for dinner, or wear secondhand shoes, or…”)
Sometimes we can fool ourselves that this isn’t what we are doing. Whenever you run into a little family problem- a child who lies, or is lazy, or you realize you have a character flaw that you want to work on- what’s the first response? Is it ‘what’s in my hand?’ or is it “what can I buy?” that addresses the issue?

6. Lack of imagination- we could also call this lack of creativity. Sometimes because we just cannot imagine an alternative, we end up spending money unnecessarily. Whether it’s substituting the cauliflower on hand for the corn that isn’t in a recipe, finding a way to make our own decorations, or finding ‘what’s in our hand’ alternatives to things to buy at the store, using the imagination can save money. And the nice thing about that is the more you use your imagination, the more creative you become.

I once saved money on a new bedspread simply by realizing I could turn my old bedspread over and the neutral flip side matched the bedroom in the new house perfectly.
How about you? What stories of frugal discoveries can you share?


Updated to clarify: With all that stuff going on with a special needs baby, *many* things had to go.

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July, 1918 Advertisement: Mix Patriotism with Motoring Pleasure

Vintage ww1 sales pitch July 1918

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When Life Gives You Dried Pears

dried pears What you see to the left is a promotional photograph of dried “Bella Viva Pears, Natural.” I bought 2 1/2 lbs from my co-op last month, for 16.80.

They were on sale.  Not pictured here are the stems, core, and seeds still attached to the dried pears I got.  This means they work okay for my second kombucha fermentations, although I find I like dried peaches much better for this purpose, but not as well for snacking, especially not for the little Bumblebee.  We have to peel or cut around her pear slices to get rid of the core and seed part, because the dried core is so hard it’s impossible for anybody to chew.


bengal spice autumnI found, however, that a dried pear slice or two works beautifully to lightly sweeten a steaming cup of Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice Tea.  The tea doesn’t precisely need sweetening, but the very light sweetening the pear along with the pear flavor is perfectly matched to the Bengal spiced tea (which is perfectly matched to the crisp, cool, fall nights we had this week).

When you’re finished sipping the tea, you can eat the soft pears- they now have the consistency of canned pears, but they’ve been heated and spiced by the tea in a symbiotic exchange of flavors- each is improved by the other, like a good marriage.

But you still have to spit out the seeds and discard the stem.  Also like a good marriage.

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Slice of Life, But Without the Salsa

I am having fun with my new phone. I like playing a Korean alphabet game on a free app called, aptly, Hangeul. It’s a boxing thing with a cartoon dog and a punching bag. I like watching K-dramas on it sometimes. I like playing Words with Friends. I like borrowing ebooks from my library. Today JennyAnyDots showed me Zedge, a free ringtone app. I have downloaded Taeyang’s Ringa Linga as a ringtone, G-Dragon’s Crooked, Tablo’s Airbag, as well as ring tones like “I’m Not a Monster” by the Korean band Big Bang which is my husband’s ring tone, and a Dr. Who theme for one daughter, and so forth.

In other news, I am doing the Whole30 this month as I think I’ve mentioned a few dozen times in forty-eleven posts. Still sticking to it, except for one mint I absentmindedly popped into my mouth as I was doling them out to the grandbabies.

Today, I made myself some whole30 compliant salsa with my last jalapeno pepper, lots of cilantro, onion, garden fresh tomatoes, oil and balsamic vinegar and korean red pepper- like, 3 cups of it (salsa, not red pepper). My plan was to put it on my eggs, my sausage, my avocado, my chicken for the next week or so, since the many jars of salsa we have in the fridge and in the pantry and my beloved Sriracha Sauce are not Whole 30 compliant.

My husband watched me make it. I poked at the huge pile of leftover cilantro and said, “That’s all I wanted of that so….” He said something about how it spoils fast so should be used up, and I agreed. Tonight I walked in as he spooned all but the last 1/8 of a cup of my salsa over his taquitos (a cruel choice of supper since I love them and can’t eat them this month) and then tried to finish it off by giving it by the spoonful to the Cherub, who doesn’t even care what she eats.

“What are you doing?” I asked. “And why?”

There was a…. conversation, let’s call it.

Summing up that…. conversation, he claims that he thought I told him to finish off all my freshly made salsa today and as fast as he could. He did not touch the cilantro and doesn’t believe it figured in the previous conversation.

I find it impossible to understand how he reached that conclusion and more importantly, I have no more jalapenos and I didn’t want to have to make it all over again, so I will just be doing without.

Which may or may not have something to do with the ring-tone I chose for him.

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Links: Family, Relationships, Parenting

“ the fact is that there is simply no reputable scientific evidence that anyone is born gay.

As stated by gay activist and history professor John D’Emilio, “‘Born gay’ is an idea with a large constituency, LGBT and otherwise. It’s an idea designed to allay the ingrained fears of a homophobic society and the internalized fears of gays, lesbians and bisexuals. What’s most amazing to me about the ‘born gay’ phenomenon is that the scientific evidence for it is thin as a reed, yet it doesn’t matter. It’s an idea with such social utility that one doesn’t need much evidence in order to make it attractive and credible.”

In other words, because the “born gay” idea has proved so useful, the fact that there’s virtually no scientific support for the theory hardly matters. It’s an idea that has worked wonders for gay activists and their allies.”

Here’s another excerpt:

in England, the pro-gay Royal College of Psychiatristsrecently backtracked on an earlier statement that homosexuality was biologically determined, now saying that “sexual orientation is determined by a combination of biological and postnatal environmental factors.” And while they stated clearly their belief that homosexuality was not a mental disorder and that it should be accepted, they added, “It is not the case that sexual orientation is immutable or might not vary to some extent in a person’s life.”

That’s why psychiatrist Nathaniel S. Lehrman, former chairperson of the Task Force on Religion and Mental Health said in 2005, “Researchers now openly admit that after searching for more than 20 years, they are still unable to find the ‘gay gene’” (in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons).

More here.

Narcissism is on the rise, especially with young people. It probably has something to do with the self-esteem push of the last few decades, and social media contributes.  Do you know one?

“Unlike people with other personality disorders or behavioral problems, narcissists can easily slip by undetected because they don’t appear to be ‘sick’ or ‘mentally ill’- They just seem to have an over-inflated sense of self-importance, a relentless need for attention and a lack of empathy. When you first meet them or get to know them, they might seem fun, energetic, outgoing and just a little egotistical, but this may or may not raise red flags. After all, it’s good to have high self-esteem right? Often they can lure you into their inflated self-importance and grandiose schemes.”


Protecting your children.  Clara was married for decades to a child molester, and she didn’t know it.  He was arrested:

“After John’s arrest and imprisonment, this is what John said to his son Jimmy whenJimmy visited him in prison.  In John’s words:  “Two things shocked me each and every time I abused a victim–How easy it was to get a child to act out sexually and how easy it was to get away with it.”  He is absolutely right, to our shame.

Please stop trusting everyone you think is a good, upright person!  It’s sad that we have to think this way, but….we do!  Ask questions — bold questions — to any adult who shows a special interest of any kind in your child.  That’s your responsibility as a parent!!!  In days past, we didn’t know better, but now we do.  We have no excuses.  Stop being afraid you’ll hurt someone’s feelings if you ask them, “Why do you want alone time with my child?  Why did you buy my child that gift without my permission?  Why did you give my child a ride home without my permission?””

Her son Jimmy writes on his own blog:

we need to observe behaviors, not personalities. Crimes are never created out of thin air. People don’t just “snap.” There are always behavioral indicators prior to acting out. This applies to murderers and it applies to child molesters. We need to be more observant of behavioral patterns that indicate problems and malevolence. I recently had a person give me a laundry list of red flag behavioral issues with a man at church–he’s giving gifts to young kids, he offers to baby sit, he takes particular interest in certain kids, he tries to isolate them by offering rides, he invites them to his house, etc. I explained that he is very high risk and should be removed from activities which include children, to which this person replied, “But he’s so nice and is highly respected by everyone.” My response was, “So what?”

One of these two families spends over a hundred dollars of month on beer and says they can’t stop because it’s a need, they have not other ‘outlet.’

A friend of ours has a baby with Treacher Collins Syndrome. Here’s a great video (he’s in it, with his big sister!) about it:

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Welcome, Baby

Our seventh grandchild was born last night, a very pink and healthy little girl.  Her mama might have been in labor 2 1/2 hours.

The Ladybug was already asleep and she is a sound sleeper, so Grandpa and I went over and picked up a very excited little Oppa and a very cheerful little macknae about to be displaced from the macknae position.  (If you’re not a k-drama nut, that’s the big brother and the youngest child)

Grandpa and I were discussing things we’d do with the kids, his plans mainly centering on something that would let him go to bed.  The boy in the backseat, who will be five in a week, piped up and said, “Well, what I think is that this would be a good night for a little guy/old guy night, just us guys.  And we can watch a movie on the BIG tv and have ICE CREAM and Grandma and my sister can stay downstairs.”


Well, Grandpa was so taken by the ‘little guy/old guy’ designation that he was ready to drive into town on the spot and buy ice-cream, but fortunately, there was still some in the freezer.


Just a couple hours later when we got the call that the new macknae had made her appearance, and her parents wanted all their children back under the same roof, the big brother was so excited he was practically vibrating.  I was getting a package of meatballs out of the freezer for them while Grandpa was getting on his shoes, and the Dread Pirate Grasshopper  was dancing around on his toes urging Grandpa and Grandma to hurry, because, he kept squeaking, “I don’t have any time to lose!!!  There’s no time to lose!! We must go!!”

So we did.  And he continued to be proud and protective and excited, and even the youngest, whom we expected to show signs of jealousy mainly because she already does whenever Grandma or Mama hold her younger cousin, was actually rather taken with her sister.  Not besotted, but not yet annoyed, either.  She waved at her, rubbed her head, touched her face in wonder, and generally seemed to think the baby was quite acceptable.

The middle sister had to be awakened to greet her new maemae (I watch C and TW dramas sometimes, too, and that seems to be the title for little sister), and she wasn’t nearly as interested. She seemed to wonder why she had to get out of bed at all.  Her Mama had been worried that if they didn’t wake her up, she’d be jealous and unhappy the next morning, and probably she would have, but last night, she smiled sweetly at the baby, and then went to snuggle with Daddy.

2014-09-12 22.32.59


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Four Links and Thinks

Watch the last four Presidents announce that we are going to bomb Iraq.

Help your child’s mind grow- another excellent read on praising effort rather than status quo (you worked hard, not you’re so smart).

The US government pressured Yahoo into handing over user data.

Steve Jobs was a low-tech parent. This is a really good read.

Hmmm. Wonder what it was he knew?

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That ‘Mystery’ Virus

flu shots prevent nonflu nonsenseI am scratching my head over this article about the latest disease scare, the ‘mysterious’ respiratory virus sweeping the US.  I have asked several people, including those who do vax and who have some considerable scientific knowledge under their belts, and the part that makes no sense to me doesn’t make sense to them, either.

So we probably know the mystery virus isn’t a mystery, it’s enterovirus D68.  And most people are going to be fine, but if you are immuno-compromised or have asthma you should be more wary.  In fact, the EC and her midwife think she probably had it, and the midwife is unhappy with how long she waited to seek medical care for it, and so was the EC by the end of it all.  She does have asthma.

And the virus is either common or rare.  It’s the Guardian, so our expectations should not be too high

But what I don’t understand the claim in the first sentence, second paragraph.

“Most patients recover quickly and on their own – treatments for the common cold often help, but it is a person’s immune system that actually beats the virus. Most children recover after about a week. Should a patient suffer severe respiratory trouble, doctors will facilitate breathing with intubation, if necessary.

There are no vaccines and antibiotics have no affect on viruses, but flu shots and other preventative measures should help. As with many viruses, D68 transmits easily, by way of coughing and contact with sick people or surfaces.”

Emphasis mine. What is the mechanism by which flu shots will help?  How is that a vaccine for one virus supposedly prevents a different virus?  Flu shots don’t even ‘help’ with other strains of flu!


We have a friend with a baby who can die fro a cold or the flu.  Yet he can also die from a flu vaccine, and his doctors (he sees specialists on a monthly basis, and sometimes weekly) last year recommended he *not* get the flu vaccine.  Later, he got sick with flu and had to be hospitalized, but his doctor reassured the baby’s parents that the flu vaccine would not have helped, because the strain of flu the baby had was not the one the vaccine was for.


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