Never was a Cornflake Girl…

Archive for July 2008

Well yesterday and today have sucked on many levels.  The National Guard decided to fake some sort of hostage situation in the building yesterday and I had to maneuver through police, military personnel, and the Red Cross to get to work.  Obviously I was late.  Then I had to listen to their “concussion bombs” and whatnot all morning, all the while fielding phone calls about what was going on and registering new students.

Today I had my rudest parent.  Compared to this time last year this lady was a pleasure to deal with, but it’s really not the best time of the month to be copping an attitude with me, if you catch my drift.  She was just a jackass and wound up asking for the number to the school board, which I was more than pleased to give her, but it generally pisses me off when people act all hoity toidy, like they’re going over your head to get you in trouble.  Go for it, call county, let them tell you the same damn thing I did, Miss Wait-Until-The-Very-Last-Minute-To-Enroll-Your-Children-In-School.

On a personal note, Jeremy’s debit card information was stolen so someone in Portugal was really racking up until we went overdraft and the party was over.  Now I have all those charges to dispute.

But okay, you didn’t click the link to my blog to listen to me bitch and moan, did you?  You probably wanted to hear the good news!  If you are a parent, this is valuable information that you likely did not know until now.  I didn’t.

For years, I have thought I had to vaccinate my children in order to enroll them in public school.  Both my kids are up-to-date and managed to receive their vaccines without any dire consequences, but I know people who were not so lucky.  I know the government has finally acknowledged the link between vaccines and autism, but they say that even with the skyrocketing rate of autism the benefits of the vaccines are worth the risk.

I say tell that to the mother whose sweet angelic little boy will no longer hug her or look her in the eye.  The mother who will never hear her daughter say, “I love you, Mommy.”  I’m sorry, but these things are priceless to me.  My eyes are brimming with tears now at the mere thought of my precious little boy never wrapping his arms around my neck again.

Nate lacks one more shot before he starts kindergarten.  And now, knowing what I know, he will never receive it, or any other vaccine.  Not for the measles, not for polio, not for the freaking flu.  What the government doesn’t tell you is that the flu vaccine will increase your chance for developing alzheimers later in life – by a lot.  That the polio vaccine, in its experimental phases in Kenya, likely started the HIV virus.  That vaccinating your child will not only increase their chances of being autistic, but can also cause paralysis, hepatitis, post-vaccinal encephalitis, blindness, kidney disease, or even death.

So you can trust the vaccines and take your chances, but you do have a choice!

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to vaccinate your child for public school.  Today a parent presented me, not with a shot record, but with a different form entirely.  The paper she handed me was an affidavit declaring her son expempt from vaccinations because they conflicted with her personal beliefs.

Apparently this is a FEDERAL law, and no state can refuse to accept this form in lieu of a shot record.  Senate Bill #942, Section 1, Chapter 7 states, in part, “Immunizations of a person shall not be required for admission to a school or other institution… If the guardian, parent, or adult who has assumed responsibility for his or her custody and care in the case of a minor, or the person seeking admission, files with the governing authority [i.e., get it notorized], a letter or affidavit stating that such vaccination is contrary to his/her beliefs…”

So you want a copy of the affidavit for your personal use?  CLICK HERE AND GO FOR IT!! And congratulations to your for making the decision to protect your child from the harmful side effects of vaccines.

Tomorrow night my church, Neshoba Unitarian Universalist, will hold a vigil for the victims of Sunday’s shooting and for the families.  I’ve talked to Reverend Bill about it and he says word about the vigil spread quickly; there’s obviously been a big response.

Despite my mother’s concerns, it really never occured to me to feel less safe about being so openly liberal.  Sure, I know the Obama and Pride stickers on my car open me up for vehicular harrassment and I know rednecks around here might even scratch my car up or leave ugly notes on it.  I just don’t care.

But even in Mississippi, I just don’t feel unsafe just because I’m a liberal.

Debra Haffner’s blog today made me think about that.  She wrote, in part: (Emphasis added)

As people of faith and advocates from a wide range of religious traditions, the challenge is to fight the temptation to feel a little less safe this week because of our commitments to social justice, to sexual justice. Surely, as Mr. McKendry and Ms. Kreager prepared for church that morning they did not know they would die that day because of their beliefs. I have had to pause in preparing this vigil and ask myself if I am prepared to do so as well. It is appropriate to remember that in the words of my senior minister, Reverend Frank Hall, this tragedy “reminds us to continue to work for peace and justice and…that there is a heroic quality in the living of our everyday lives.”

The first hymn in the Unitarian Universalist hymnal is “May Nothing Evil Cross This Door.” It ends, “though these sheltering walls are thin, may they be strong to keep hate out and hold love in.” May that love sustain us in the difficult days to come.

So, friends, do your beliefs make you feel less safe because of where you live?

The best part of wordpress is being able to blog at work. And read them at work.

Anyway, I apologize for my absence of late, but I have been working some insane hours trying to get all my 9th graders scheduled for the year. I thought I had an enormous amount of freshmen this year – after all, I had over 100 failures! But so far I have 480 students. Not bad. I’ll update you on that number after Labor Day. We will enroll a dookie load of kids through Labor Day, and we’ll also have a bunch leave, so that number will fluctuate a lot up until then.

So what has happened lately? Jeremy has started going back to AA meetings, which I’m really happy about. If he keeps going back, I can be really happy in our marriage. When he quits going to meetings it’s only a matter of time before everything goes to hell. I made my mind up to go to Al-Anon meetings again, as soon as work settles down enough to allow for that. Jeremy may even get a sponsor and I really like the guy a lot.

Yesterday was church, and Jeremy got to listen to Connie Barlow discuss the reptilian brain etc. I loved her story for the children, as she talked about how we evolved from monkeys and, before that, reptiles. She even put on an iguana hand puppet and sang an incredibly stupid song about our “Lizard Legacy – stayin’ alive!!” which cracked everyone up. Tonight she and her husband, Reverend MIchael Dowd, are hosting a workshop on Evolutionary Psychology and Evolutionary Brain Science, specifically focusing on how our inherited proclivities affect our relationships and sometimes aid in addictive behaviors. So I may go to that. Anyone in the area is welcome – it’s free.

And speaking of church, we lit a candle for Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church members yesterday after one of our church members announced there had been a shooting that morning. It is incredibly sad – two people have died so far, and 6 others are injured, 4 critically. Our church has a short statement of sympathy on our website, linking to Reverend William Sinkford’s (UUA President’s) statement. The church had been active in gay rights and women’s rights since the 60’s and was just recognized as a welcoming congregation. My church is also a welcoming congregation, which is a church that has completed a program to enhance their welcome of all people. Welcoming congregations work to promote acceptance, inclusion, understanding, and equity for bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender persons of all colors, races, and ethnicities, both within the UUA and in society at large.

I have not read whether the gunman’s motive was fueled by homophobia or if he was specifically targeting UUs for any reason, but a friend called today and told me she heard on the news that he had written a letter filled with rants about liberals. As anyone knows, a UU church is a perfect place to target a bunch of liberals, and probably one of the few places in the deep south where you can find us liberals in mass. The only thing I have found confirming my friend’s statements was an article quoting the Knoxville police chief as saying they had discovered a letter in the gunman’s car in which he stated a “hatred of the liberal movement.”

Obviously my mother is concerned about me attending a UU church right now, especially one in Tennessee, as there could be copy-cats or what have you. I don’t care… not only do I think that’s unlikely, but I damn sure won’t have conservative nutjobs taking away one of my few liberal pleasures the dirty south allows me.

My title is a quote by L.B. Fisher. I leave you with another by Adlai Stevenson:

I think that one of our most important tasks is to convince others that there’s nothing to fear in difference; that difference, in fact, is one of the healthiest and most invigorating of human characteristics without which life would become meaningless. Here lies the power of the liberal way: not in making the whole world Unitarian Universalist, but in helping ourselves and others to see some of the possibilities inherent in viewpoints other than one’s own; in encouraging the free interchange of ideas; in welcoming fresh approaches to the problems of life; in urging the fullest, most vigorous use of critical self-examination.

I can only hope that one day religious conservatives can adopt a similar practice of acceptance and self-examination. Then maybe we can worry less about them killing us.

You all should be on goodreads ya know. I mean, if you read. And if you don’t, why not? I always feel better about life when I’m reading more. When I was in grad school I read so freaking much it that, for the first time in my life, reading was not really something I did for fun. Don’t get me wrong, I liked a great deal of my assigned readings. Freshman year I even tore through textbooks and devoured anything my Deviant Behavior professor could throw at me, and I was absorbed by Anne Moody’s Coming of Age. But the fact that I was fenced in by someone else’s “to-read” list and had no time for my own created a stifling feeling in me that kept me from fully enjoying anything.

I went through a bunch of school papers today. I found so many notes in margins, scrawled to friends beside me. Doodles upon doodles, some of the professor in front of me. A letter to Michael when we lived apart, that of course I never mailed. But I was actually very relieved to not be in school for a little while. I feel I’ll go back, but not right now, that’s for sure.

Right now I’m enjoying really delving into my own to-read list. Life has been hectic recently, but I’ve been squeezing in reading time here and there. Jeremy’s been reading with me (Neil Gaiman’s Coraline). I have a stack of books I have been picking at but I’m mostly reading Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father. Sometimes I have to just stop and reflect. I’m so moved by Senator Obama. I’m not taken with him because of the trendiness of it all, the Barackafied slang, and not even because I’m so fed the fuck up with this administration and its supporters.

I’m moved by him as a person. I’m inspired by him and I genuinely like the man and respect him. Reading Dreams has caused that inspiration to flourish into what I can only describe as complete awe. I’m not only fascinated by him, I’m captivated. I don’t think McCain stands a dog’s chance against him. I have moved from a cautious optimism to an all-out certainty. Call it overconfidence if you choose, but I just do not believe there are enough Americans that are dumb enough and inspired enough to put Granpappy McCain and his heiress mistress in the White House. Not when they have a choice.

I’m not the only person who feels this way. Poking around the net I found this blog:

He inspires me in a way I can’t really truly explain in this short profile text… But, know this:

I’m not American, and he’s made me literally ‘‘loved’’ this foreign country;

I’m not a news addict, and he, he alone, has made me addicted to the Situation Room on CNN, with this Blitzer guy (lol);

I’m not a U.S citizen, don’t even live on the continent, just another black 22 y.o European guy, with his head as high in the sky as humanly possible, and yet, he’s managed to bring me even higher ! – Stephen Kebess, Belgium

So anyway, enough gushing. I’m going to continue reading. I honestly only stopped to google pictures of him throughout his life, just to get a visual of some of the people and places I’ve been reading about. This is not the sort of book one rushes, ya know?

Get on goodreads and tell me what else I should be reading – here’s my profile, and I’d welcome any friend requests!