Wait, I just thought of something…

October 12th, 2008

Ford is adding a MyKey system to their 2010 cars. It’s a separate key that is assigned to your car specifically for your teenage driver(s).

The key limits the car’s top speed to 80 mph (although I don’t know why any teenager needs to be driving that fast.)

The key limits audio volume to 44% of the stereo’s ability.

The key gives a more persistent seatbelt warning (it beeps obnoxiously until a seatbelt is put on).

The key also chimes at 45, 55, & 65 mph.

Personally, I think this is a great idea for teenage drivers. It would also be nice if it was able to somehow block cell phone use while driving. I just wish it wasn’t an optional package for new car buyers. I think this should be standard on all cars. I also think OnStar should be a standard safety feature but I doubt that will happen.

So, I’m 30.

September 22nd, 2008

Today’s my birthday. But if you ask Lexi it’s her birthday. About a week ago I got an early birthday present. Kevin bought and installed one of those under the counter radio/cd players. It also has an input jack for my iPod (which is why I really wanted it). We have 3 levels in our house and the main floor has no music. Now, problem solved.

I also got a cool bracelet and necklace from Ten Thousand Villages, the first two seasons of How I Met Your Mother and the third season of The Cosby Show.

Apparently since I’m 30 I’m supposed to be slightly traumatized by this. Turning 30 just feels like another day of 29, with the bonus of presents.

September 6th, 2008

With the elections coming up everyone seems to be re-examining their political beliefs and how government should work. And it seems like everyone I know in blogger land is taking the Politics Test, including me. My results suggested that I would be considered a socialist. And that didn’t really surprise me. I have an idea of what I’d like to see society look like but it’s just that, an idea. I’m grounded enough in reality to know that what I’m proposing probably won’t happen but I also know that on a small scale, it is something I can work towards and attempt to create in my own life regardless of the type of government we have.

So here it is. First, I need to say that I love the way the Church was laid out in the book of Acts and so my faith plays very heavily into this idea. Acts 2:43-45 says: Everyone around was in awe-all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s needs were met. (The Message)

This is something, as American’s, we have lost sight of (and there is more discussion on this here). There no longer is the mentality of helping out a neighbor simply because he needs help. People don’t often work together to pool their resources and live in community with one another.

People have gotten greedy. Sure, Americans donate a pile of money to various organizations, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t greedy. I think that if people were truly not greedy there would be very little poverty/starvation/famine/etc in our world (and I do realize that to fix those problems means more than just giving them money. There are corrupt governments, crazy military uprising and a whole host of other issues that need to be dealt with as well). But if people weren’t greedy for power or control or money or material possessions, would that corruptness in government even exist? Something to ponder.

What would happen if every American gave up one major toy in their life and donated the money to charity. And I’m talking toys like RV’s, boats, 2nd or 3rd cars, motorcycles, cabins, beach houses, grand vacations, expensive jewelry, plasma t.v. Seriously, that’s a ton of money. And that would be on top of whatever people are already giving.

Another part to the greed is people being selfish with their talents. Donating money is helpful, but often times it is not the answer to the problem. Sometimes in order to help someone out we need to give of our time. A lot of our time. Mentoring people on how to interview for jobs or how to manage a bank account. Helping people learn a new language, helping repair a home or car, teaching someone how to cook or sew or …?

So back to my ideal society. Here’s how I see it working:

  • It’s not forced. People choose whether or not they want to participate. What the people who don’t want to participate would do – not sure on that one. One option would be to move somewhere they did like the government.
  • It’s communal living. All resources (money, talent, time, labor, property, health care) are pooled and divided so that everyone’s needs are met. Again, this does not mean that I round up everyone’s stuff and dole it out in equal portions. It means that all the resources are available to meet everyone’s needs.
  • Health Care – could we do away with insurance companies and the red tape? That would be nice. Doctors and pharmacutical companies would also be pooling resources so if some was sick, the resources would be there to help them.
  • Government. This is where I feel communism (in its current form) fails miserably. Everyone in current situation is working and laboring for the country. The government is corrupt and the people are obviously not receiving the benefits of their labor. Now, if a government could be constructed in such away that they were actually apart of the people – their resources were part of everyone else’s resources. Another option is that the people are the government. The people as a whole vote and decide on policies and how society is run.
  • The mentality cannot be “I can do this on my own” Everyone who participates has to have the common goal of watching out for their neighbor. If you see someone is lacking in a way you can help, help them. Don’t assume someone else will take care of the problem. Here’s where my faith comes in again, it is about putting others before yourself. But remember if everyone is doing that, while you are looking out for someone else, someone else is looking out for you.
  • I’m a big fan of the “It Take a Village” motto and mentality. I don’t think people were meant to be solitary creatures. Everyone needs some time alone and some space, yes, but in general I think people would do much better if they were able to be a part of something bigger.

I’m not sure if this helps clear things up or confuses people even more. But there it is.

Market Place Money: Sean Aiken

August 31st, 2008

This is my favorite Market Place Money Story (of this week). Sean Aiken graduated from college but didn’t know what he wanted to do for a career so he’s trying 52 jobs in 52 weeks. He’s been working different jobs for one week each just to test them out. If the company wants to pay him he insists that they take his salary and make a one time donation to The One Campaign, so basically he’s volunteering for a year. He gets hired through a website he set up and you can also read up on his jobs so far. What I can’t find is how he’s affording to not get paid for a year.

Market Place Money: Feminine Mistake

August 31st, 2008

Leslie Bennetts is the author of the book The Feminine Mistake and says “says women who opt out of the workforce — or never join it in the first place — are putting their financial lives at enormous risk.”

You can read the whole interview here but here are a few quotes that I found intriguing.

Regarding financial planning:

All the investment advisers and financial planners that I talked to said that women have a tremendous tendency to leave these things to men. They may pay the household bills, but they don’t really involve themselves with the larger financial planning of the family.

Regarding becoming a widow:

The average age of widowhood in America is only 55. (according to the AARP)

Regarding the long-term planning and risks of being a stay at home mom;

I am not saying it’s not a valid choice to stay home with your children; I’m saying it’s an extremely dangerous choice and one that works out very badly for many women and their kids. In my book, I say was it really worth it to be home when your second child lost his fourth tooth if something happens to your husband and you end up losing your home entirely? I’ve talked to so many women who find themselves suddenly without a breadwinner and a lot of the adverse consequences of divorce in the society are really a result of the economic impact. Women’s standard of living plummets by 38 percent in cases of divorce, whereas men’s standard of living goes up by 26 percent. But it’s the women and the children who suffer. So I’m not criticizing the inherent worth or value of the decision to be home with your children, but I am saying it’s a very risky choice.

Before I get angry comments from all my stay at home mom friends, let me just say this: I am jealous of your ability to stay at home with your kids. But for me, being a working mom is not a choice because a) we need the income, b) staying at home is not in my nature (trust me, Lexi and I would kill each other if summer break lasted longer than 3 months), and c) while my family always comes first, I love my job and would feel like I was missing something if I wasn’t teaching.

I do agree with what she is saying about women needing to learn about their family finances and being prepared if something were to happen. Just something to think about.

My Candidate Can Beat Up Your Candidate.

August 31st, 2008

Yes, I know that roughly half the country does not like my choice for president this election and that’s fine. But telling me why your candidate is so much better and why mine is incompetent, arrogant, too old, too young, to rich, to elitist, owns to many houses, is a liar, is a moron; does not make me want to discuss politics with you.* Or discuss anything we may disagree on.

A healthy debate with reliable sources and facts that can be proven as true (even if they make my choice look bad) that I will participate in. Name calling, insulting and claiming you know how a candidate feels or what they are really thinking? That’s not worth my time.

I’m all for free speech and technically you do have the right to say those things, but does it help to convince someone to vote for your guy? If anything, it’s going to make me defend my guy even more. If you want to change my mind, prove to me why your guy is better qualified for the job.

*Just fair warning, I rarely discuss politics with anyone and I hardly ever tell anyone who I plan on voting for. 99% of the time I don’t even tell Kevin. I like the fact that it’s a secret ballot.

A story about the world’s greatest neighbors and how I am such a spaz.

June 30th, 2008

Today Lexi and I came home from our play date around 12:30. I pulled the car into the garage, put the emergency break on, turned the car off and got out. As I was unbuckling Lexi from her carseat I noticed that the car was moving backwards. Yeah, you read that right. It was rolling backwards and out of the garage with my kid half strapped into her carseat still inside. I couldn’t open the driver’s door because at the time my thought was “if I open the door, the door will hit the garage wall and wreck the car even more.” I tried to reach the emergency break through the window but couldn’t because now I was in danger of getting smushed into the garage wall. So the car kept rolling. And rolling. And rolling. Until it stopped. And it stopped because our neighbors have a nice picket fence directly across the alley from our garage. Okay, they used to have a nice picket fence. Now the have a mostly nice picket fence and a partly smashed up picket fence. The smashed part is about the same width as our car. At this point I am now back in the car and shaking because I looked at our neighbor’s yard and realized that if the fence hadn’t been able to stop the car, the car would have gone through the fence and over a retaining wall. With my kid in it. Don’t worry. Lexi’s fine. She thought it was pretty fun. I’m fine. Even the car got off with only a few dings in the bumper. And because we are honest people we left a note for them telling them to call us and offering to repair the fence. Several hours later they still hadn’t called but they were out back when we came home tonight. We went over, apologized (a lot) and they told us not to worry about it. Seriously. I broke their fence and their response was “it’s okay, we needed to replace it anyway.” So that’s the story about how we have the world’s greatest neighbors and how I am such a spaz.

Lessons learned today:

1. Always make sure the emergency break is completely engaged and the car is in gear.

2. Abby is a spaz.

3. If you are going to back your car into your neighbor’s fence make sure they don’t care and are planning on replacing it.

4. Honesty is always the best policy.

5. Shut the garage door before you get out of the car so if this happens again the car can only roll 3 feet and damage your own property.

Life As We Know It Is Over

October 1st, 2007

Lexi can climb. It was one thing when she learned to walk – gates and putting everything on the counters kept her out of trouble – but now she can climb. Since I’ve typed those two sentences she has climbed on a stool to reach the counter top. Her diaper bag is on the counter and she’s rummaging through it for a “NACK!” (that’s Lexi for snack). Now she’s climbing from the kitchen chair to the table. I’m waiting for the day when she realizes if she pushes the chair over to the bar stool she can scale those up onto the counter and reach the cupboard with all of her “NACKS!” in it.

(BTW, NACK is always typed in all caps because Lexi never asks for a NACK in a normal tone. She almost always yells it.)

Babies For Everyone!

September 9th, 2007

This list is mostly for me because I keep forgetting who’s expecting and when.

Rachel and Jonathan had Hannah back in April.
Harriet and Ben had Lucy in July.
Andy and Anna had Peter in August.
Steph and Josh had Caleb in September.
Kelly and Milo have a boy coming any day now.
Christy and Imad are expecting a boy in October.
Amy and her husband are adopting a boy who is due in October.
Lance and Tara’s baby is due in November.
Brick and Rhiannon are due in January.
Laura and Brad are due in January.
Aimee and her husband are due in January.
Becky is due in January.
Mandy is due in February.
Jenny and Matt are due in Febuary (I think).
And we are adopting but we haven’t been matched with a baby yet so it’ll probably be another year.


Stupid Plumbing

September 3rd, 2007

Something happened to our plumbing that is probably going to require a professional to fix. When you take a shower or bath in any bathroom in the house the toilet in the downstairs bathroom leaks and water bubbles up into the tub in that same bathroom. The water doesn’t come out of the toilet bowl, it comes out underneath the toilet. And I know it’s the water draining from the showers because it’s sometimes a little soapy, it’s warm and it’s clear (I dyed the toilet water blue to make sure it wasn’t leaking from the bowl). We think the wax seal under the toilet is cracked and that there is a possible clog somewhere forcing the water to re-route to under the toilet. Whatever it is, until it’s fixed we have to mop up the bathroom every time we take a shower.

Normally stuff like house repairs don’t frustrate me but they always seem to happen around the same time as other major expenses. We were hoping to put in a fence this month but I guess that will have to wait. And we have to pay for the pre-adoption class and home study (which is not cheap) so paying for a plumber is the last thing on my list of fun things to do.