Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Will you Cross the Line?

The Black Friday planning is well under way!

I've been told that Wal Mart workers may be on strike on Friday. My stepmother, who is my shopping partner in crime, is a union worker and not allowed to cross a picket line. My father, now retired, is also loyal to the union and will not cross a picket line. However, since I am not part of a union, it is perfectly acceptable for me to walk in, with my stepmother's list, and buy everything that she needs. She's not one to be deterred by a technicality.

The whole thing seems a little silly to me. I've never been part of a union before, so maybe I don't get it. But these are the facts as I understand them. The employees of Wal Mart are upset about their low wages, part time hours, and lack of benefits. But here's what I don't get. If they're so unhappy, why don't they leave? And the standard answer is that it's hard to get a job, companies aren't hiring, economic times are tough, etc.

Exactly. Times are tough. People need a job. And if you don't like the company you work for, there are 50 other people waiting in line to take your place. Check out this pic:

I'm sure this Wal Mart employee is thinking, "go ahead and sit there... I'm going to get my paycheck now."
Hey, I get it. It probably sucks at Wal Mart. I know it sucks to shop there, so working there can't be any better. But at least you have a job. Suck it up until you're able to find something better.

But here's the part that really annoys me. So, from what understand, the employees aren't actually part of a union, they're just a group of people who are joining together to ask for more money. But my stepmother isn't allowed to cross ANY picket line.

"That's crazy," I said. "So if I'm just walking around picketing, with a sign that says 'Lovely is awesome,' you can't cross my line?"

"Well," Alice answered, "It has to be has to be a cause worth fighting for."

So, I guess the fact that I'm awesome isn't a cause worth fighting for.

What do you think? If you're shopping on Friday, will you cross the Wal Mart picket lines?

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Pinocchi Syndrome

Did I share this story yet? This is one of the many instances of BK's naughtiness lately.

A couple of weeks ago, BK came home with a novelty eraser, one that was shaped like a calculator. "Look at the eraser I got!" he said.

"Oh, that's cool," I answered. "Where did you get that?"

"Mrs. K gave it to me." Mrs K is his teacher.

"Oh, really? Why did she do that?"

"Because I've been so good lately."

Well, he HAD been good that week. And we HAD just gone to parent-teachers conferences,  where his teacher HAD said she was going to start rewarding him  more for positive behavior. I was inclined to believe him.

But Bug didn't believe him from the beginning. "There is no way that Mrs. K gave that to you," she said, "You're lying. You know you're lying."

BK was furious. "I am NOT lying!"

Bug was very calm, very matter of fact. "I know you're lying."

I intervened. "Now, Bug, you don't know what happens in BK's class. But BK, tell me: did everyone get an eraser, or just certain people?"

BK's answer was immediate and sure. "Only certain people. You had to be good."

"Hmmmm.... and if I called Mrs K and ask her what happened, would she tell me the same story?"


Well. That was that. I believed him. And I didn't think much of it.... except later that night after the kids went to bed I found the eraser broken in to three pieces. Well, that was a waste.  The whole thing was swept into the garbage.

But Bug wasn't ready to give up. She tracked Mrs. K down on the playground the next day. "Mrs. K, did you give BK an eraser yesterday?"

Mrs. K was confused. "No, Sweetie, I didn't."

Bug gave a triumphant grin. "I KNEW it! I KNEW he was lying!"

So, that led to yet ANOTHER phone call from the school, about how BK had apparently stolen a 49 cent eraser from the book fair and then lied about it.

Sigh. I just don't know what I'm going to do about that boy.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekend Update

Another weekend in the books!

Friday was uneventful. BK got in trouble at school (again) so he had to go to bed early. I sent Bug and The Agent upstairs to watch a movie while I spent the entire evening cleaning house. And I mean the ENTIRE evening. I didn't go to be until after midnight. My house was really messy (and, as I write this on Sunday night, I'm noticing that my house is pretty messy again. Wonderful).

My birthday was this week, so my parents came over on Saturday to celebrate! It was nice to visit with them. BK was still in trouble, so he had to spend most of the day in his room, but he did get to come out and say hi to them when they were leaving. Poor thing, he was so good spending the whole day in his room, and he only started crying once, near the end of their visit ("When are they going to leave?"). I hope he realized that hanging out in his room all day was no fun and it will change his behavior.

(If you don't approve of BK being in his room for 4 hours while his grandparents played with his sister, I open to other suggestions. I will support any idea that actually works, because Lord knows nothing else has worked so far)

Here's a picture of me opening my first present:

And here's me wearing it:

For those of you who don't read Pinterest Told Me To, this is called a Blardigan-- half blanket, half cardigan. You can buy it at Nordstrom here. I have been wearing it constantly since then.

On Sunday, the BFF and I went to lunch and then to see Mockingjay, The BFF loved it, but it was only ok to me. There was too much Gale and not enough Peeta.

selfie at the movies-- still wearing the blardigan

When I got home, I saw that our Christmas photos were ready:

So I spent the rest of the evening designing our Christmas cards and calendars for the grandparents.

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving week!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Apple Hill, CA

Wordless Wednesday here, here, here, and here.

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The Traumatic Child

I am screwing up my kids.

BK has been getting in trouble at school every day. And not just a little bit of trouble. I'm talking about the principal has me on speed dial kind of trouble. Spitting in a kid's ear. Stealing from the book fair. Pushing a girl to the ground. Throwing all the playground equipment over the fence.

He's only 5. This is not who we are. This is not who HE is.

I have tried every punishment I can think of.  I've spanked. I've not spanked. I've taken away toys. I've taken away weekend fun. I've pretended like it didn't bother me. I don't know what else to do.

I recently read this article about children who were adopted. The article says that adopted children, even those who were adopted from birth, suffered a trauma that most people cannot possibly understand. And although the article was a little hippie crunchy for me, the article made sense. No, BK didn't go through any trauma after birth. But when you spend 9 months attached to someone, being a part of someone, and then you're separated from that person at birth and you never see her again, that's got to be traumatic.

So now, whenever there's a stressful situation, these traumatic feelings come back subconsciously, so the child reacts however he can, usually violently.

The question is, how do you deal with that? The article recommends the 10-20-10 rule: 10 minutes of quality time in the morning, 20 minutes of quality time in the afternoon, and 10 minutes of quality time in the evening. The idea is that children who suffered a trauma need to know that the people who love them  will always be there for them.

So, I'm going to try this. The 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night will be easy, but I'm wondering how I'm going to do the 20 minutes in the afternoon. I was thinking maybe I could get his teacher involved? Maybe have him spend 20 minutes after school just one on one with the teacher, before he goes to his after school program?

I don't know. I'm really just guessing here. Dang kids don't come with instructions. Maybe he'll grow out of it? Again, he's only 5. And Bug had behavioral problems when she was in kindergarten, too.

What do you think? Is there any hope for us?

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Weekend update

We did a lot of stuff this weekend but now I'm feeling lazy and I don't know if I'll be able to write it all out.

I found out this week that I am getting passed up for yet another promotion, making it painfully clear that I suck at my job. The good news is that since everyone else is getting promoted, I'm gaining seniority in my current job! At this rate, I'm going to be able to get Christmas off next year!

Anyway, I decided I needed to take a mental health day, so while The Agent was at work and the kids were at school, I went and had my hair done. Ahhh... a day is always better after you have pretty hair!

This is mid-way through.... not  quite pretty yet. 

BK got in trouble at school yet again, so Friday evening was spent lecturing him on good choices and bad  choices. Poor kid just doesn't get it. He had to go to bed early with no movie and no fun stuff after dinner.

On Saturday, we got up and went to have pictures taken that will go on our Christmas cards. I don't know how The Agent and I looked, but our kids were so super cute! They may be naughty, but at least they're photogenic! I wanted to take pictures with my phone behind the photographer, but I didn't want to be that girl. I took pictures of them at the grocery store instead: 

After the photo shoot and after buying some groceries, I gave myself a Jamicure.

 I do enjoy my Jamberry, but this manicure didn't last as long as my last one. It's really cute, but I'm looking at my nails now and I see that they're already starting to chip a bit. Bummer!

On Saturday night, we went to The Agent's uncle's house for a game night. There were about a dozen adults and five kids, and good times were had by all, We took the trailer so that we could drink and then just stay the night without having to worry about getting home. It was nice to be able to put the kids to bed whenever they got tired and cranky, although I would have much preferred to have slept in my bed at night.

We woke up early on Sunday and drove home. Ah, home sweet home! Except we came home to a house that was a straight disaster. I spent maybe 30 minutes cleaning before exhaustion (or maybe laziness) took over and I plopped down on the couch. I had grand plans for the day-- getting the house clean, returning some clothes that I had bought for BK-- but all that went out the window once I sat down! I spent the afternoon making my blog Christmasy. Can you see the difference?

Looking for Luck, Love, and...

These weekends aren't very exciting once I type them out. Hope your weekends are more exciting!

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Friday, November 14, 2014

The Stores that WON'T be open on Thanksgiving

I've talked before about my extreme love for Black Friday. Two weeks from today, I will pushing through the crowds, getting the best deals I can!

That is, if there are any deals left. For although I will be up and ready to go at 4 am, it is likely that most of the really good stuff will already be gone, because most of the shops will be open on Thanksgiving Day.

Macy's, Target, JCP, Sears, Toys R Us, and Wal Mart will all be open on Thanksgiving Day, opening at 6 pm or even earlier. It brings a tear to my eye that so many stores are doing this. What happened to supporting family values? The workers are now going to be away from their families in order to go to work, and the shoppers are going to be away from their families because they HAVE to get the best deals. And there are some people that are already camped in front of Best Buy. TWO WEEKS EARLY! And for what? For a big screen tv? And if you're able to spend two weeks camping in a parking lot, do you even have a job? So maybe a big screen tv shouldn't be on your list of must-haves?

Sigh. But I digress. And I shouldn't judge. I don't know their situation. Maybe they're millionaires and don't need to work. Or maybe they are seasonal workers and this is the off season. Moving on.

There are,  however, a few major stores that will remain closed on Thanksgiving. I encourage you to do your shopping at one of these retailers:

1. Dillards- There are only three Dillards in California, but I am lucky enough to have one close by. This is a fine retailer, comparable to Macy's. Dooney and Bourke purses will be up to 70% off!

2. Nordstrom- Another fine retailer that supports family values. I've had my eye on this cardigan for over a year. It's normally $90, so I'm hoping it will be on sale!

'Bamboo Chic' Drape Front Cardigan (Nordstrom Exclusive)

3. Barnes and Noble- With so many readers going digital now, I am actually surprised that Barnes and Noble didn't give in to the pressure to open their doors on Thanksgiving. My stepmother is a foodie, and I will be getting her two cookbooks that are in stock there.

4. REI- This is one of The Agent's favorite stores. He has his eye on a new set of thermals!

5. Costco- OK, I won't be shopping at Costco on Friday, although I will probably be there at some point during the weekend, buying toilet paper or coffee pods. But it's nice to know that they will be closed on Thanksgiving!

Are you a Black Friday shopper? Do you go out on Thanksgiving? Are you reading this on your tablet while you're camped out in front of Best Buy? Let's hear it!

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