Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving. I'd like to give a special thank you to those of you near training posts who have adopted a soldier for the holiday, especially the one who will be taking care of my Josh today.

The only news that we spouses hear regarding the general population is the news of protests or the indifference of our country. There are currently a lot of our soldiers in training out of state. The base they're at is set up especially for training soldiers to go to Iraq, and the extra population is noticed by the locals. Josh was able to get off base to go to a civilian church on Sunday. Many families invited him to Thanksgiving, offering to pick him up at the base gate. This warms my heart more then they will ever understand. My husband was called to the service of his country and someone offered him kindness and fellowship.

Those for and against the war both claim their love and support for our troops. Today, someone put both their religious beliefs and their love and support for our troops into action. This family is truely following the example of Christ. May God bless this family.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cleared of charges

A week and a half ago, I posted a commentary on sexual harassment and how both genders, male and female, need to do better in standing up for each other when sexual remarks and sexually uncomfortable situations exist. I stand by the opinion that men are targets of harassment as well as women and that both genders need to behave themselves in a professional manner.

I would like to report that the defendant in the case I mentioned was cleared of all sexual harassment charges. (Star Tribune Story)

To those who have read the original post, I have edited the post in order to preserve the reputation of the accused. I have removed the name of the accused. I have also temporarily removed the link to the story, as the accused name is still on that link.

It is my intent to also obtain a live link to the court ruling. I am working on that. If the month ends without a link, I will quote the finding, as I have been given a hard copy. If I am able to secure a live link to the court ruling, I will then re-instate the live link to the original story.

The Star Tribune published the story on November 5th, and the ruling occurred on November 2nd. I sincerely apologize for not conducting further research on the story to assure that a ruling had been made.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Soapy experiments

It's late and my mind is running. My cousin commissioned a batch of soap. He's a mechanic, and he's wondering if there is anything I can batch up that will help his hands. Even the industrial cleaner at work won't take away all of the grease.

So, I'm setting up a trial and error experiment to see what works. I'm looking for several levels of abrasive that I'll mix with a little vegetable oil and have him use each abrasive for a week. (Side note, one of the benefits of being a girl with oily skin is that I've been putting different levels of abrasive on my skin for years.)

My next brain storm is the one that I'm currently stewing over. What if I need something harsh (more base)? I suppose I could put some borax in the soap... but I have a few chemical tests cooked up, too. Most of my chemical tests are based off of house wife urban legend. But, there is something to be said for house wife urban (rural?) legend.

The two more note worthy chemical experiments are a Coke wash and a Dawn/Simple Green blend. Now, if either of these work, there is nothing I can do for him using my soap making skills as the lye would react badly with either product, and would likely take away some of qualities that would make either work.

So, why pay attention to house wife legend? Well, though I'm not the person who puts egg or mayo in her hair, I am the person who rinses with white vinegar and will treat my hair with olive oil once in a while. And why not? The vinegar gets whatever left over gook that shampoo doesn't remove, and it sooths my scalp. And I'd like to see a better oil treatment then just plain oilve oil. Anyway, there is some stock in house wife legend when it comes to cleaning products. Women had stain removers long before Tide came up with their pens, and a lot of these stain removers are probably just as good.

Anyway, now that I've talked about my experiment, I feel tired again. So, back to bed.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

That’s not the point of Genesis

I guess I’m not going to be a good parent. I’m not outraged that science teachers are teaching evolution, nor am I a huge fan of intelligent design. My views are not based on any particular research into either, rather my lack of interest in science. However, my dad is interested in science, and I share some of his opinions.

This is where I have a problem with both the fundamentalists and the evolutionists: The point of the creation account in Genesis is not HOW the world was created, rather WHO created it. And both sides get caught up in the HOW.

To atheist evolutionists: you’re a lot more religious then what you think. You worship science. Science is not a kind god. Furthermore, you insist your science says something it doesn’t. You insist science says there is no God. This is bad scientific theory.

To Christians: you are adding “and” to grace. Grace AND you must be young earth creationists. Once you add “and” to grace, you forget the most important work of God, the forgiveness of the sins of man through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Christ. Furthermore, insistence of calling the entire matter “intelligent design” makes “intelligent” the creator and not God. And it does nothing to draw man to God.

Though I didn’t study science in college, I do remember a little about setting up a statistical experiment. Just so I don’t get into something of little interest, I’ll skip over the explanation of null and alternative hypothesis. But, basically, you have to have a goal in your experiment.

The goal of science is to learn “how the world is created,” not “who created it.” The goal of religion is to draw man near to God. This does not mean that the two should never mix. It means that we cannot let our personal religious biases affect the way we pursue knowledge.

As a concluding remark, Pat Robertson is not God’s prophet. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict man of sin, not Pat Robertson’s. And if he’s going to be so legalistic about the sins of others, did Jesus not say that even those who call their brother “fool” are guilty of murder? Pat Robertson desires the death, the cold blooded murder, of individuals. I’m just saying…

Friday, November 11, 2005

The problem with meth labs

Ever have one of those moments when you REALLY hate meth labs? Well, I’m having one. I make soap. It’s a nice little hobby. It is fairly low maintenance. You make a batch; a couple days later, you cut it, and six weeks after that, you rub off the rough edges and make it look pretty and use it. The problem is that it occasionally gets out of hand; but that’s when you need to start a business.

Anyway, when I say that I make soap, I don’t mean that soap making kit you find at the craft store where you melt this stuff and pour it in molds. No, I take fatty acids and water and lye and make soap from scratch.

OK, so what do meth and soap have in common? Lye. My brand of lye has been discontinued in a spurt of corporate responsibility. Lye doesn’t make drugs; people make drugs, darn it!

Now I know how gun owners feel. My nice little hobby is becoming harder to do. I’ve been emptying shelves. It is my goal to have all the lye to be found in my suburb.

I have enough lye to make about a thousand bars of soap; I would rather not say exactly how much lye that is, but it’s a lot. When that’s all made, that means I need to either find a new hobby or start a business so I can justify buying wholesale.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Happy Veteran's Day

Kathleen Lee Bates said it best:

"O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife.
Who more than self the country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness And every gain divine!"
(From America, the Beautiful)

Thanks to the heros, Dad, Grandpa, Uncle Claire, Sid, the 34th Red Bulls, with special note to the 1-125 and 2-136, and most especially, my beloved husband, Josh.

Cousins rock

I grew up within easy distance of several of my cousins. Five of us saw each other on a weekly basis as we all went to the same church. Last night, my one of my cousins, Carl, took me out to dinner. We have established a routine. We go out for dinner, and then we come back to my apartment for tea (which I serve in my tea pot with matching cups and saucers).

Anyway, you don’t know how much people are watching out for you until you run into your neighbors. Paul and Cyndi live down the hall, and Paul is retired Army. We ran into Paul yesterday evening as we were returning for our tea. And I introduced them, we chatted for a few minutes, and then Paul left and Carl and I had our tea.

“Who was that?” asked Carl. So, I explained that Paul and Cyndi have been kind to me the last several months. “Does Josh know?” And I explained that Josh had met them and also found them very kind neighbors who have provided us with a lot of useful information. And so, because Josh approved, so did Carl.

Some people find this kind of intrusion as domineering. I don’t. It is women who do not have this kind of protection that end up in trouble. Carl trusts my judgment of character, but he doesn’t want me to get hurt and knows that I’m in a vulnerable position.

Moral of the story is: women, most men who show this type of concern are not trying to control you. They just worry about you and want to show that they love you. This is not anti-feminist, rather an honest acknowledgement of what the world is like.

I love Carl, too.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I’m a non-reporter

As a follow up to my earlier post , I don’t want to make SCSU or Campus Crusade sound like an unfriendly place for women who are sexually harassed. I’m really not sure because I’m considered a non-reporter. When weighing whether or not to report, time was my big factor. You have to report, then document; and you have to sit through interviews; and document… And, the first time, you hope that a forceful, “No,” will make it go away, so you don’t report or document. My second big factor was harassment is hard to prove. The one thing I was lacking for two and a half years was a witness. Once I had one, it was for one incident only, and many others either didn't believe us or thought that I had done something to deserve his remarks. Anyway, in hindsight, I probably would have reported early on in my freshman year.

So, if someone is in a situation where they are harassed, document the situation and tell your supervisor or teacher. If you are harassed by a supervisor or teacher, tell their supervisor, principal, or dean. Document the agreed upon measures to resolve the situation and have the authority figure sign and date the document. Then follow up.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Fun new game

Thanks to Kara the guppy, I found a new game. Google "yourname needs" and write down some of the more amusing results.

Here are some of my results:
Liz needs catchy slogan
Liz needs help, but doesn’t want to call police
Liz needs a positive behavior support plan
Liz needs your thoughts and prayers
Liz needs protection
Liz needs energy and she needs it now
Liz needs this birthday party
Liz needs to calm down
Liz needs to avoid the game
Liz needs to do some research
Liz needs to have some tests done
Liz needs help while you two discuss overpriced paint
Liz needs to increase the dividend – a lot
Liz needs to fill the void
Liz needs more information
Liz needs an interpreter
Liz needs to start doing normal things

Elizabeth needs corrected
Elizabeth needs to be careful not to loose sight of the practical details that are needed
Elizabeth needs to take her picture
Elizabeth needs to do more then pattern-match
Elizabeth needs to be protected from logging
Elizabeth needs work to become the place again
Elizabeth needs to come home now
Elizabeth needs to ask a few more questions

Good news on the recruiting front

The Georgia National Guard has exceeded their recruiting goals despite 90% of the Georgia National Guard serving in a deployment the last two years.

The best part of the Sunday paper...

is the comics. November 6th is worth it for Doonesbury and Pearls Before Swine.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Great new blog

Ever notice how we all concentrate on different traits of God? I guess it's what we related to! Well, here's a new blog that I enjoy. Kiwi focuses on love.

Both men and women need to do better

OK, I'm going to come out. I was a victim of sexual harassment in college and a lot of young men in my peer group did not believe me. I am one of those generally happy people that smiles all the time and says, "Hi," to people I know. In college, I had waist length hair, all one length, and it was good hair! And I am also known for my "full figure." So, even though I don't claim to be pretty, I was attractive enough because I was friendly and approachable.

So, there was this guy, BF, who was a couple of years older and would hang out with the Campus Crusade people during meals. I met him my freshman year, and was smart enough to have a bad gut feeling about him. There was nothing in particular, I mean, he was good looking, business major, and generally pleasent around everyone, but there was something about him that said, "Slimeball."

The first incidence was my freshman year when most of the Crusade people were off on fall retreat. I didn't go because I hate retreats. So, I was eating with another friend when BF joined us. BF waited for the other guy to leave, and, since it is rude to leave someone alone eating, I stayed. BF propositioned me for the first time. I was horribly embarassed, turned him down, and left very quickly.

Though I tried, I could not avoid BF. He would seem to ambush me when I was alone. I talked to some of my close guy friends about it and asked them to watch out for me. This continued for three years. Eventually, what made it stop, is that BF made a proposition while I was eating with my friend C. He thought that since no one was believing me, that no one would believe C, who was disabled. Lucky for me, someone believed C and me; and they reminded BF that I as soon as I had a witness, I would report him to the woman's center and wreck his career. They suggested that he leave me alone and learn to deal with women better.

Anyway... why do I say this now? Well, in today's Star Tribune, we find a story about a man who has accused his employer of sexual harassment; and I know what it is like to feel so powerless.

Jeffrey Golden said that being straight and male were two strikes against him at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in St. Paul, where he worked for a supervisor.

His lawsuit against the state of Minnesota now awaits a ruling by Ramsey County District Judge John Finley.

In court filings and testimony, Golden said he suffered for nine years because of his supervisor, and female co-workers.

Among his claims: His supervisor said heterosexual men are "total pond scum" and at the bottom of the "food chain." She stared at his crotch during meetings. A sexually suggestive poster of a man went up in their office. His personal belongings were vandalized.

Golden said that when he complained, he was assigned to an inappropriate job in retaliation.

The state, in its court papers, says there's no evidence as to who vandalized Golden's belongings. Off-color remarks by his boss did not rise to the level of harassment or a "hostile work environment," and his new job was a good one, the state claimed.

In an interview, Golden said he endured the pressure for so long partly because he hoped the state would resolve the problems and partly because he has a family to support. He left the agency in April 2004.
State offiicials, including Golden's supervisor, declined to be interviewed.*

And this is where men and women need to do better in protecting eachother. The one thing that really sticks in my craw about my own situation is that my acquaintances would not befriend BF and teach him the finer art of how to treat women because he wasn't cool enough or smart enough and did anyone else hear BF make the comments?

Men, when you hear inappropraite comments directed toward a woman, be a man and stand up for the woman. Women, same thing. When your friends send you those forwards about the stupid man, stand up say it's wrong.

There's a difference between caricatures and harassment is this: caricatures exaggerate a feature to make it stand out more in amusement to others. For example, that Twins commercial where a guy is sitting on his couch watching a Twins game. He pretends to catch a ball, he makes a mess of things and is having a great old time. That is funny because it exaggerates a trait that a lot of men have. The Progressive commercial is meant to show that men need women to get them out of trouble. This is wrong.

Let's start defending each other. This is not about being too sensitive. This is not about being too weak to take the heat. This is about treating eachother with respect; something people of good character should do.

*In the above mentioned case, the accused has been cleared of all charges. Link

Friday, November 04, 2005

And other thoughts

I have a head cold. It’s been in various stages of badness all week. I went home shortly after my really lousy interview on Wednesday. One thing that’s really sad about my current situation is that Josh isn’t here to make me Campbell’s Tomato Soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. I’m going to make myself some tear water tea. (And if you don’t know Owl, it is a good book to read when you’re down in the dumps. Not that it really makes you feel better, but it's nice to have someone else with trivial problems to be miserable with.)

A lousy job is a lousy job

I collect earnings and benefit data from randomly selected establishments as an occupation. And, often, I make a personal visit to the establishment. Twice a year, a senior staff member must observe my personal visit and critique my interview technique. I was observed the other day. And I did a horrible job.

I had a very bad cold, I was foggy, and I couldn’t find everyone’s number to cancel at the last minute. So, I was not in peak condition, nor was I in peak form. But the point is I did a bad job.

So, let’s talk a little about this situation. I was reviewed by a baby-boomer-black man, Gary. When we each do our write up and he is critical of my technique, is it because he’s a boomer and I’m an X-er? No. I did a bad job. Is it because he’s black and I’m white? No. I did a bad job. Is it because he’s a man and I’m a woman? No. I did a bad job.

And let’s take this a step further, Gary was aware of five other appointments that I had since August 1 where I did a good job. Is it the fault of some higher power that we happened to pick this one? No. The point is, we all have bad days, and when we do a bad job on a bad day, it is taken and learned from.

So, this said, I am being mature about the situation, trying to collect some needed information via e-mail and I hope to be able to redeem myself when my assignment is due.

Anyway, this is generally how professional relationships should work. However, women and other previously discriminated against groups have become vengeful against white men, especially those of the straight Christian variety. And this is where the entitlement attitude comes in.

Are we entitled to things or should we earn them? OK, we all know someone who was given a scholarship, opportunity, or job because of their gender or race. It sucks to be the person turned down, but we move on. But, what is more fun, and lets be honest with ourselves, the satisfaction of knowing you deserve something or having it handed to you on a silver platter? I prefer having earned something.

I agree with Mitch and Dr. Banaian that society, in general, discriminates against men. I also believe it is wrong. And this is the problem with our secular humanist society. “It’s all relative,” “what goes around comes around.” What these phrases are saying is that nothing really matters, including the dignity of men.

Dr. Martin Luther King, jr., said in his "I have a dream" speach that he wished his children be judged not by the color of their skin, but “by the content of their character.” What women are forgetting these days is the “content of character” part. Women, let’s take a look at ourselves as a whole. Who would you rather work with, someone of character, or someone just because he/she is part of a group that will promote workplace diversity? Hopefully both. But we are not being people of character in our dealings with men.

Our media is treating men as disposable; “Sex in the City” is a prime example. Our commercials treat men as incompetent. Our leaders are treating men as contemptible. We place our rights over our husbands. We place our rights over our brothers. We place our rights over our fathers. We have this queen-of-the-world-me-me-me attitude that needs to stop.

It all starts at the individual level. My influence starts with how I treat Josh, my dad, my cousins, my uncles. It continues by how I treat men in Josh’s life. It continues by how I treat my colleagues, my friends, Josh’s friends, the men I worship with, the men of my acquaintance. It continues by how I encourage my friends to treat men in their lives. It continues by how Josh and the others talk about me. It will continue by what we teach our theoretical children.

Look at ourselves. Women, we have become the brutes we accuse men of being. If, in a commercial, some woman was stranded with a blown tire, and she called a man to help her, would we stand for that? Women are not shown bumbling about a hardware store. Women are not shown struggling with a lawn mower. Why must we show men struggling with things?

Josh can cook. Josh can shop for groceries. Josh can do dishes. Josh can clean. Josh can do laundry. But most importantly, Josh is worthy of my respect. Not because he can perform housework, but because he is a wonderful person who is sacrificing his time to serve his country. And he treats me well. And he treats his mom well. Small children like Josh more then they like me. And… well, you get the point.

Women, we will not be happy by being manipulative, overbearing, demanding bitches. And, in fact, none of these qualities will make you successful. What will ensure our happiness is if we let others have an opinion, if we let others take the spotlight, and if we let others have what we want. After all, there is nothing like a friend.

To draw everything together: admit your failings. Don’t blame others if you don’t get an opportunity. Treat people with respect. It’s not about me, it’s about others.

Thanks to Dr. Banaian for the links.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Yup. That's my high school

Now, I swore to myself that I wouldn't give publicity to this act of stupidity, but I found something deserving of pride: my apathetic high school !

The bad news:

At Bloomington Kennedy, about 20 students walked out to join the protest. Most said they had excused absences; a couple said they didn't have excuses but were going anyway.

The good news:

Kennedy Principal Ron Simmons said that today was the second day of end-of-quarter tests at Kennedy. Any student who walked out without permission would not be able to make up work they miss today and their grades would be affected, he said.

And some things never change:

Andrew O'Brien, 17, a Kennedy senior and one of the organizers of the school's walkout, was disappointed that more students weren't participating. He said the timing of the protest during the testing period was a problem. In addition, he said it's been difficult to get Kennedy students interested in the issue. Students are apathetic about politics in general and about the war specifically, he said.

Poor Andrew. Well, at least he's a shoo in for most liberal of his senior class.