Building Character

Is there any word that can describe today that hasn’t already been bandied about the internet ad infinitum? Hopeful? Overcome? Overjoyed? Awed? I am all these things and so much more.

Today is the next step on the road to rebuilding our National character. At some point in time America has become a hated country. Despised by the bad guys and good guys alike. Even friendly Nations have looked at us with a semblance of disdain.

As a people we have become spoiled and lazy. I am reminded of Ben’s assertions that whatever his infraction it is “not his fault.” We have become finger-pointers.

President Barack Obama has ushered in, today, an era of accountability… Both for Washington and each and every American.

“Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. ”

He has laid the foundation of his foreign policy.

“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

…We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”

And one of my favorite images from his address:

“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

I can’t wait to sit with Ben tonight and rewatch all the TiVoed footage of this momentous day. I am so excited to watch him soak up the significance. I am greatful that he will grow up in this new direction – growing as one with all Americans and our Nation.

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I prefer a shot between the eyes to a stab in the back any day

I have a problem. Well, I have many that I am aware of and probably even more that I am not. However, this matter touches on an issue that has been particularly challenging for me my entire adult life. Straightforwardness. I simply cannot abide the lack of it.

It’s not really an honesty issue because there are many reasons in ones life for a bit of dishonesty. I won’t get into them here just to save myself the holier-than-thou emails. It’s more about all the damn “political correctness” and circuitous routes people take to accomplish things because the more direct route would reflect poorly on them. This drives me batty! Since you’re probably completely confused as to what has be all buggered about now, I’ll just get into it already.

It’s the dang school district! Our Wonder Sitter is also Danny’s full time aide at preschool and PEEP (Preschool Early Enrichment Program which he attends to further his self-help skills) and is paid for such by the school district. This has been the arrangement for the past year. At this point you really need to know something about our Wonder Sitter. The “Wonder” portion of her name is not just an empty title. She is a marvel. I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that she is the best thing that has ever happened to us in regards to Danny. His mobility therapist can’t say enough good things about her. He fairly gushes about how he only has to show her this cane technique or that once and the next time he sees Danny he’s a pro at it thanks to our Wonder Sitter. Ditto with Danny’s Vision Therapist. So, when the school district’s people saw what a natural she was with Danny and his disabilities last year, they fairly begged her to jump through all their hoops (fingerprinting, etc) to become a substitute aide – which she did with Danny in mind.

Well, a few weeks ago (I thought I posted about it but guess not) I got a call from our case worker telling me that Danny was doing so well at his preschool that she thought he would be much better served by spending 4 or 5 days in preschool than he would only 3 days and one day at PEEP. Hello! We’ve been telling them that PEEP was worthless for 2 years now! Most of the kids are in there for language delays which Danny most certainly does. not. have. Yet they have insisted that it was the best class for him. Of course, I readily agreed to stop PEEP immediately and we have an IEP to formalize that on December 8th.

Then, last week, our Wonder Sitter was approached about aiding another special needs child at the preschool. She is completely non-verbal and has a feeding tube. Wonder Sitter, for all her talents, has no formal training. A child such as this is beyond her capabilities and she said as much to the district representative.

Coincidentally, two days later, she received an email from the district informing her that she needed to submit a paper detailing what it is like to work with Danny. In addition, she must list all the special needs children she has ever worked with, detailing their handicaps. The only explaination she was given was that there are other people that want her job.

What I think is really going on: I think the county only has funding for one aide at Danny’s preschool. Since Wonder Sitter refused to aide for the non-verbal child with the feeding tube they now must replace her with someone else. So they have now either asked for these items as a means of measuring experience in order to eliminate Wonder Sitter from the competition or, and this one makes me angrier, they have asked for the paper on Danny so that the next aide has a heads up on working with him.

Either way, I know they are not being up front with the Wonder Sitter about the whole issue. And by screwing with her they are screwing with us (our childcare situation) and they are screwing with Danny. If she is not Danny’s aide 5 days a week until noon, we certainly aren’t going to pay her the same salary we pay her now for a full day five days a week. That means she may need to find other work. That jeapardizes our childcare.

It also brings up another interesting question. Did the school district really think Danny no longer needed PEEP or was that just a convenient excuse to have the Wonder Sitter at the preschool the extra days needed to care for the incoming special needs child? The timing is suspect don’t you think? I can tell you for certain that I do not believe they have Danny’s best interests in mind when making decisions.

Mostly, I just don’t understand why they are not forthright in their motives. Everyone understands budget issues. Why not say so?

And the real question is… What should I do about this at our IEP???

A few feelings on last night…

Have you ever seen anything like it? Obama supporter or McCain. Republican or Democrat. Liberal or Conservative. Have you ever been a part of something that grand?

Is that what it was like when JFK was President? Because if it was, OMG. No wonder there was such devastation at his assassination.

I have to say that the actual vote counting was pretty anti-climactic. Is the Electoral College antiquated, or is that just me? But watching the reporters on MSNBC (admittedly pro-Obama) try to keep their cool, contain their growing incredulousness and not announce too early was priceless.

Once the official projection was made… my Lord. I have never seen such a thing. It looked like New Year’s Eve in Time’s Square… everywhere people could gather. (How do people pee in those crowds? Seriously? Do they wear Depends?) Crying. Texting. My phone was going off.

And our beloved Tim Russert’s son, Luke’s report from somewhere in Florida surrounded by a group of his peers… brought tears to my eyes for the truth of his words. I’m paraphrasing here: Luke said that the students basically felt that Obama was their president. The first one to represent their interests and their agenda. NOT their parent’s presidents. Obama will hear their voice and listen to them.

I’ll go them one step further. Obama makes me feel as if I am a part of this government. A vital part.

Oh, I can go on and on… but essentially it’s this. America as I have always known it changed last night. I was a part of it. I am proud of that.

Am I afraid for Obama? Afraid some psycho will hate the goodness and truth that lives inside him and seek to snuff it out? To my very bones. But if he is willing to risk it, so am I.

A new direction

I am overwhelmed. I am hopeful. I am tired.

I will wake up tomorrow in a country with an African American President Elect. My children will grow up knowing that anyone, if they work hard enough, can become President of the United States of America. Let the healing begin.

I can’t look. Are the results coming in yet?

“When we got into office, the thing that surprised me the most was that things were as bad as we’d been saying they were.”

~~John F. Kennedy~~
“Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard-working, honest Americans. It’s the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then — we elected them.”
~~Lily Tomlin~~
“In America, anyone can become president. That’s one of the risks you take.”
~~Adlai Stevenson~~
“The reason there are so few female politicians is that it is too much trouble to put makeup on two faces.”
~~Maureen Murphy~~
“There is no distinctly American criminal class –except Congress.”
~~Mark Twain~~
I’m just killing a little time until the polls close. I am strangely nervous. What if it is a big upset and McCain wins? Can I handle that? Of course, I’ll have no choice, but… I want so much more for our Country.
I want a new course. I want to have confidence in and respect for my President again. I want that hope that has been eluding us as a nation for so long.
I have no beef with John McCain. He is an honorable man, though I don’t necessarily agree with his agenda. But don’t get me started on Sarah Palin.
She is my punishment for disliking Hilary so much. I used to think Hilary’s “stand by my man” crap from the Monica days was a disservice to women and showed her as a power-hungry person. At least, Hilary is intelligent, consistent and effective in executing her party’s political agenda. Palin is not even in the same league. I saw an email the other day that summed it up nicely. It had a group of women holding a sign that said, “Mr. McCain, we did not wait 232 years for Sarah Palin!!!”
Only an hour and forty minutes before the first polls close. Hold me!

Don’t forget to vote. And keep your truck window closed

I have a very nice post about Obama but first here’s one about the truck I followed home from work.

There I was, minding my own business, when the rear window in the truck I was following slid open… and a butt popped out. I looked at it for a second or two.

It was young. Or female. Or unnaturally smooth and free of hair.

Then it sank in… “That’s an ass.” I looked at the clock on my dash and it was only 11:30 am. Granted, Daylight Savings Time just ended this weekend but even 12:30 pm is a little early for the moon to be out, don’t you think?

Back to our originally scheduled post:

I had a very heartfelt post written about why I think Barack Obama is the best man to lead our country at this moment in history. How having a Kenyan father and a white mother and being raised in an average household in the heartland of America has made him the epitome of the American Dream. Senator Obama does not seek the Presidency from an origin of privilege. His beginnings are humble. His family like yours and mine. Working class. One-time food stamp recipients. College educated on scholarships and hard work. Sacrificing for what was wanted and needed. How if anyone could understand what we as a Country of working class citizens are experiencing, it is certainly Barack Obama and not a man who cannot immediately recall the number of houses he owns.

Not only is Obama one of us, he is a learned man. And he inspires. There are those who say he hasn’t enough experience. Or that what he wants to accomplish depends on such an unlikely set of circumstance so as to virtually impossible. But inspiration is a strange thing. Hope and inspiration. Those two things can change the world. They can turn the most jaded of politicians into a believer again.

The bottom line is that I believe he can do what he plans to do. I believe HE believes he can do it too. And that, my friends, is a far sight more than I believe about most politicians. So he has my vote. He also has my appreciation for reminding me that this Country should be great. And that it can be again. It’s something I forgot after September 11th, 2001 and didn’t even realize it…

I had a post like that but I accidentally deleted it. Oops. Don’t forget to vote.

Pretty In Pink

You may have noticed the blog renovation… If you guessed that the new color scheme is all in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month then you must spend too much time reading blogs, talking to me or sitting in an oncologist’s office. Or maybe all of the above…

You will be bombarded this month by pink ribbons, media stories on breast cancer tragedies and triumphs and products on every aisle in every store asking you to contribute to the cause, finding a cure. That’s all wonderful. The publicity is needed – welcomed, in fact.

Just don’t let it stop there. Please don’t sit on your couch watching a news story about a young mother losing her battle with Breast Cancer and cry into your tissue. Then turn off the TV and think it can never happen to you.

I was 39 when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I had an 8 month old baby. My mother was diagnosed 6 months after I was. My friend, also a young mother, had two different kinds of Breast Cancer at the same time.

If you do nothing else, do your self breast exams. Know your body. If you detect a change at all, go see your doctor. It’s so much better to leave the doctor’s office feeling foolish for worrying… then to leave in shock with those words ringing in your ears. Breast Cancer.