Category Archives: issues

Saturday Soapbox #8: Don’t Text and Drive

The message is simple people. DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE.

DON’T DISTRACT YOURSELF WITH YOUR IPOD WHILE YOU’RE DRIVING.

DON’T SURF THE WEB WHILE YOUR DRIVING.

A week ago, my four boys and I took a road trip to northern Illinois to spend some time with my parents, to celebrate Thanksgiving early, and to go to the dentist. (What? You don’t drive 3.5 hours to go you your dentist? Then you obviously don’t have mine. He’s awesome.)

Most of this drive is interstate, and  that means 75+mph on two lanes. Fridays are the worst because people are headed somewhere. Like us, people were headed home for Thanksgiving or were just trying to make it home for the weekend. There’s definitely more aggression and distraction on Fridays.

Like the driver of the tractor trailer that damn near ran us off the road for instance.

I’m sure he was probably heading to his last drop-off before heading home for the weekend. Or maybe he was was trying to finish up so he could take a long-awaited week off with his family. Maybe he was just trying to stay awake.

Whatever he was trying to do, what he almost succeeded in doing was to put us into a guardrail as his rig swerved into our lane.

Punkin could see the driver from his seat. “He has ear buds in Mom, and he’s messing around with his iPod.”

It reminded me of an older man, I’d say a salesman by the number of shirts and jackets lined up on the pole strung from the hangers in his back seat, that I saw as we drove on Highway 20 last year. Being higher up than most in my Expedition, I could see down into his car. He was eating with one hand, drinking a coffee with the other while steering with his knee. There was a paper spread across the steering wheel, and a cell phone up to his ear.

I kid you not.

Did I mention he was going about 70 mph?

That’s some scary shiz. It scares the hell out of me if you really want to know.

No, I’m not a saint. I’ve taken calls in the car. Back in the day I texted while driving. But I have some serious cargo these days, and so do other people. There is no text or call worth hurting or possibly killing myself, my children, or any other person. You know what else I’ve realized? I’m not invincible or immune. Accidents can happen to me and mine just as they can to you and yours.

As an FYI, as of January 1, 2014, hand held cell phones will be banned in Illinois–no talking, no texting (which has already been banned) if you have to hold your phone.

Next time your cell rings or you hear a text notification, think about how important that call or text really is. Is it worth losing your life? Is it worth causing someone else to lose theirs?

This infographic is worth a look. I want to point out one thing ahead of time. The statistic for teens says that 13% admitted to texting or talking on mobile devices at the time of a crash. How high do you think that number really is?

intexticated-teens

Surviving The Storm: Essential Items Checklist

Destructive hurricanes and tornadoes which hit the planet in recent years have proved that you can never play it safe with Mother Nature. You never know what next ice storm or tornado can bring, which is why you must ensure that you’re always prepared for the worst. Having proper emergency supplies is what sometimes makes the difference between being safe and being in a life threatening situation. So, when the forecast says that the powerful line of storms is going to hit your area soon, you should equip yourself with enough supplies for surviving. Here is the list of the essentials you should have prepared.

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

A moderate windstorm can easily turn into a strong tornado which tears down roofs and breaks window glasses, so you must be ready for any eventual injuries, from scrapes and cuts to serious fractures. Having a first aid kit on hand will
provide you with opportunity for fast reaction and the ability to keep injuries isolated until the storm ends. Besides, it’s crucial that your first aid kit contains all necessary items, including: adhesive bandages of various sizes, medical tape, gauze pads, tweezers, small scissors, medical gloves, antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes, burn gel and preferably some pain-relievers.

Water Bottles

Water and food supplies

Hurricanes and other stronger storms can sometimes leave entire city areas cut off from the world, where water and food supply belong to the first things you must have prepared. Use your kitchen cabinets or a garage to store bottled water and the amount of food for at least 3 days, but make sure there is enough
for each family member. Count that you’ll need approximately 1 gallon of water per person per day, and include only non-perishable and ready to eat food such as instant soups, bread, canned meals, crackers, cereals, etc. It’s also good to have a manual can opener and a pack of single-use plates, cups, utensils and kitchen towels, since dish washing may not be an option.

Clean clothes

Lack of clean water and electricity happens very frequently during the storm season, so you must prepare enough clean clothes for every family member. It’s recommendable to wash the most of your laundry few days before the storm approaches, including everyday clothes, bed linens and towels. You can also place some crucial clothing items, such as underwear, in waterproof bags and put them aside, so you have dry clothes in the case of floods.

flashlight

Flashlights, lighters and fuel

Storms sometimes can cause a long-term power outage, so make sure you are equipped with a few flashlights, lanterns, butane lighters and fuel. It is a good idea to have a diesel tank to store a larger amount of fuel which you can use for power
and heating generators, car or lanterns. Also, prepare a spare package/s of batteries for flashlights, battery –powered universal chargers, portable radio or invest in self-powered lamps and emergency alert radios.

Sanitary supplies and prescription medications

You may not be in the position to take a shower during and after the storm, where it’s important to stockpile larger amount of hygiene items and household sanitary supplies. Fill your garage or shelter with several packages of antibacterial liquid soaps, feminine hygiene supplies, toothpaste, paper towels and toilet paper, wet wipes, cleaning gloves, household bleach and jumbo trash bags. If anyone in the house uses prescription medications, try to get spare amounts in case you are unable to visit a pharmacy for a long time. Don’t forget to include special medical items, such as hearing aids, eyeglasses, asthma inhalers, etc.


Not every storm which happens in your area can make catastrophic consequences, but it’s smarter to be fully prepared before it “knocks on your doors”, since that can maybe save your life.

Saturday Soapbox # 11: Homeschoolers, Opinionators, and Haters…Oh My!

Maybe I have PMS, maybe I’m disheartened by the lack of ‘The Season’ in ‘The Season’, but it seemed that there were an unusually large number of things that irritated me this week. I’m so grateful for Saturday Soapbox.

The whole point of Rhonda sharing this video with me was that we had just been having a discussion on how a few homeschoolers give everyone else a bad name.

The conversation in the video goes like this: The man interviewing the family asks the girl what 12×12 is, then 6×6. When she doesn’t know the answers to those questions, he then asks 5×5 (which she answers as 20 with the mother correcting her to 25.) The mother then says, “We’ve studied Genesis to Joshua. Not so hard on the math facts. We’re on Bible. That’s alright.”

The issue wasn’t that the woman taught the Bible which is what someone insinuated on my FB page. The issue was that a 12 year old girl (I’m assuming she’s that age because she looks to be the same age as Sweet Pea), didn’t know what 5×5 was-the most basic of math facts.

Quite frankly, I don’t care if a parent chooses to use the Bible as the only text book for their homeschool curriculum-it is the parent’s choice and right to choose how to school her children. My opinion is that by not teaching your child the basics in other subjects, you’re handicapping the child in real life situations. Hmmm, how much would 5 cans of soup at $3 a can cost? Math is kind of necessary for pretty much everyone. When things like this spread around, it makes the rest of us homeschoolers look bad. Homeschoolers are fighting an uphill battle in this country. I would prefer if you’d not make it any harder.

Alright, on to the next thing. I would love for people who aren’t bloggers to realize that if you piss a blogger off, especially one who doesn’t mind being a jerk, you will probably end up in a blog post.

Talking about the FB post I mentioned above, an acquaintance of mine piped in on the conversation that was going on there. I’ve known this woman for quite a while, 20 years at least. I know her to be a great mother and an AWESOME homeschool mom. BUT, she took it upon herself to take the argument about the HS mom not teaching math personally.

Not only did she begin to freak out about people judging her for not schooling her kids properly (which seriously wasn’t the case and wasn’t ever said) and for the criticism shown towards a Christian mom who chose to teach Bible (which again, wasn’t ever the issue), she chose to throw out an insult or two about my good friend and came terribly close to insulting my friend’s kids.

Now I don’t know about you, but my friends really do mean the world to me. I don’t have many, and those I have, I care about deeply. If you mess with my friends, I will cut you. And, of course, I’ll immortalize you being a butt on my blog. See how that works? So don’t be a butt to me or my buds, and you’re golden.

Lastly, I want to address something that has really been bothering me. IF you are a Christian, and IF you are one of the ones who insist that people say Merry Christmas because you’re ‘offended’ by a person ignoring your Christian sensibilities about ‘this season’, you are also a butt.

You CLAIM that you feel this way because you believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior and that Christmas is the celebration of His birth. You INFER that December is apparently reserved for you and the ones who feel the same as you only.

Let me tell you what I think. I think you’re a bully. I think you use the label of ‘Christian’ as an excuse to act rude and to make yourself feel better than other people.  I think you’ll look through the Bible to pick and pull Scripture that will help you feel that your actions are justified.

Using your religion, whatever it may be, as a reason to abuse others is never okay. (See this news story.)

It is okay to have views that differ from other people. In this country we have a whole Amendment in our Constitution that protects the right to voice our opinions about our differences. (Well for the most part we still can. The government has overstepped this greatly in a few areas but that’s for another Soapbox.) I know that Christians are supposed to evangelize. I get it, but hitting someone for saying, “Happy Holidays!” isn’t exactly spreading the love, is it?

And for the record, I’m perfectly happy with Happy Holidays. It could just as easily been a big ol’ fat “F-You!”

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A long overdue update

It seems in life, curveballs are one of the only reliable things. I’ve been thrown a couple of those in the last month which is one of the reasons that I’ve been so absent. There’s another reason too, and I’ll get to that.

I’ve been having some medical issues lately that involve a blistering rash reaction to sunlight, swelling of my legs and feet, joint pain, and a crushing fatigue.
It’s been a total bummer because I’m finally in my dream house, homesteading like I’ve wanted to do forever, and back in a place I LOVE <3.

I hadn’t wanted to go to the doctor, because…well…I just don’t like to. But, because my heart was also acting up (I have this thing where every so often my heart will do this weird thing with racing heart beat–like 120+ bpm when I’m just sitting still, skipped beats, and a really funky rhythm), I decided to go.
Continue reading A long overdue update

What?? No internet?!

Today marks  two weeks that we’ve been on the homestead. More importantly, it marks two weeks that we’ve been without both internet and reliable data services on our cell phones.

Let me tell you…it sucks.

I thought I’d be down with driving into town (it’s only 6 miles to the library after all) a couple times a week to write and do any other online things that need to get done. Oh, naive one…how silly are you?

interenet

Going to town requires a few things I don’t necessarily enjoy doing such as…getting dressed and making myself presentable. It also requires planning as the library isn’t open 24/7 like my old internet was. Then there’s the issue of my computer not wanting to connect with the library internet once we’re there. Awesome.

So while I chastise the boys for being so down about not having any internet, inside I’m throwing my own little tantrum.

I WANT MY INTERNET BACK!!

One would think with the technology available today, there would be reliable rural internet available. One would also think Sprint could get its head out of its behind and create a network that works like they say it does.

But alas, it’s not meant to be.

I did find a solution to the connection problem. I have to be sitting in the room with all the other computers while working on mine. So imagine me, sitting at a library computer open to one thing and my laptop open to WordPress. Nerd-dom fo’ sho.

Let me leave you with this today. We have the most amazing views.