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Archive for March, 2009

It all started innocently enough, though with a hint of controversy.  It was my turn to lead my children’s preschool coop session the day before Valentine’s Day.  I figured that was an easy one–have them make valentines for each other out of construction paper.

The only problem was one of the coop moms has a real issue with that holiday, which she refers to as V-Day.  It almost sounds like a dirty word now.  We’re a very tolerant, respectful group, so we nixed the red and pink hearts and did a brief little lesson on friendship and how friends show their love for each other.  You can’t remind preschoolers too often that this involves sharing toys, talking kindly to each other, and refraining from hitting and other forms of violence.

My children made valentines at home, and I delighted them by making a cheesecake sporting a large red heart made out of strawberries.

Less than a week later, unbeknownst to me, the state of Missouri issued a report indicating people with certain political views were likely to get involved in dangerous militia movements and should therefore be carefully watched by law enforcement.  Those involved in subverting Valentine’s Day (in this economy that could be downright harmful to someone’s bottom line) were not mentioned.  However, the report did specifically indicate people who supported Chuck Baldwin, Bob Barr or Ron Paul for president, as well as those opposed to abortion, illegal immigration, the New World Order, the North American Union, the Income Tax, and the United Nations as being potential domestic terrorists.

I voted for one of those three for President, and I do oppose more than one of the items on that list.  Unbeknownst to me I underwent this transformation from somewhat frazzled stay-at-home mom to potential domestic terrorist.  So what did I do with my new identity?

I learned of this report, along with everyone else, towards the middle of March when an anonymous Missouri law enforcement officer leaked the report to Alex Jones and from there it traveled around the Internet.  By this point I’ve spent more time with those sweet preschoolers at coop, and I’ve had my midwife over to my home to check things out for the upcoming birth of my third child.  She wants to make sure I have all my birth supplies together, and that she’s familiar with my home to be able to most effectively assist me when the time comes.

These days I don’t move around too quickly.  I’m less patient with my children than I’d like to be, and all my innards feel incredibly squished by this growing little person while the rest of me feels rather whale-like and sedentary.  I’m a perfect choice for some subversive activity because looking at me, who would suspect anything?  I can just see the neighbors (with the charred remains of some once stately building in the background) sadly nodding their heads and speaking in shocked, soft tones:  “She seemed like such a nice person…”

On my last day of preschool coop duty, one of the moms developed an appendicitis and got emergency surgery.  Coop lasted several hours longer than usual that day.  Fortunately it was a gorgeous spring day, and the kids played outside while we referreed their squabbles.  “Please use your words!” was an oft-repeated recitation.  Got to teach these little ones early that diplomacy is a better first choice for conflict resolution than all-out war.

My family picks up our shares of raw milk, along with butter, cream and eggs from our local dairy once a week.  Some of the milk gets turned into yogurt.  It’s a simple process, really.  If you check my eBay shopping records you will notice a Very Suspicious Purchase from around six months ago:  a laboratory-grade water bath, the kind used to incubate microorganisms.  Aha, you say.  Just because I’m not too limber doesn’t make me any less dangerous.  I could be one of those bioterrorists.

Once a week I culture Lactobacillus acidophilus and whatever else happens to be in the innoculant yogurt.  I put a generous tablespoon of yogurt into several quart jars of milk, mix them up, and place them in the water bath to incubate overnight.  The next morning I have a fresh batch of yogurt.  Once it’s cooled off in the fridge, it goes into smoothies and other delicious treats.  Today, yogurt, tomorrow… well never mind.  You just never can tell with those crazies who vote for third party candiates.

The most harmful thing I did this past week was to in my mommy-brain fog, feed my child some forbidden foods not once, but twice.  Like just about every parent these days, I have a child with certain dietary restrictions.  In addition to my infractions against her diet, she also got into a few other problem foods on her own.  This week her body was reeling from the extra challenges, and it reflected in among other things, cravings for raw liver and butter oil, which I happily gave her.  She appears to have made a full recovery, and we will all be more careful from now on.

We got a surprise spring snow, and that gave us the opportunity to finally try out the sled my girls received for Christmas.  We bundled them up in their snowsuits, put them on the sled, and my husband pulled them all around this vacant lot across the street.  They wanted to build a snowman and have a snowball fight.  It’s rare that snow in Colorado is sticky enough to make snowballs, but this particular snow was perfect.  The girls built a snowman almost as tall as them and threw snowballs at each other and us.  I carefully documented the procedings with our digital camera.  We went home for a cup of hot chai and my husband got back to work.  I tried to clean up or organize some part of the house but didn’t get very far.  It’s much more fun plotting the next operation.

I do have one major failed operation to confess.  It’s now Lent and I very much wanted to do a meaningful daily devotion with my family.  I had both my girls stand on a piece of paper while I traced their feet.  Then I cut out their footprints out of their favorite color construction paper.  Each girl had 40 footprints, one for each day of Lent.  The plan was to each day read a Bible story about something that happened in a desert and the girls would each put up a footprint to symbolize them drawing closer and closer to Jesus as Easter approached.  The problem was the masking tape I was using absolutely would not stick to the wall for longer than a couple hours.  The footprints fell to the floor and spent most of their time there.  We also were rather sporadic about reading the Bible stories.  I tried several times to retape the footprints, to no avail.  Finally, my husband put us all out of our misery by throwing the maimed footprints away and that ended it.  I still think it’s a great idea, but I’ll have to think it through a bit more next year.

On the writing front, I’ve been writing a series of stories on how universities can conserve energy through various engineering changes and educational programs.  Although I do enjoy learning about how people are doing their part to take good care of the environment and use our resources more efficiently, there’s a part of me that can’t get over what’s now considered to be the biggest pollutant:  carbon.  Carbon?  As in, what all living things are mostly made up of, along with water.  Carbon?  As in the carbon cycle where in its simplest model animals take in Oxygen and give off carbon dioxide and plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, and everyone is happy.  Now, it’s all about reducing your carbon footprint.

I did manage to read one provocative book, called Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins.  He was an economist who would go to these third world countries and make these wildly optimistic projections about how their economies would just grow sky high once American corporations complete some very lucrative infrastructure projects, which the country had to borrow money to fund.  The whole point was to use the projections and projects to run the countries into so much debt that the US would always be able to hold the debt over their head and get what it wanted from the countries.  The other purpose was to provide a way for those corporations to make boatloads of profit.  I swear I don’t know this guy and never did.  Oh wait, his recruiter was the US Government, so I guess it wouldn’t matter much if I did.

Meanwhile, the report which would have profiled me already had its days numbered.  Baldwin, Barr, and Paul wrote a joint letter lambasting the ridiculousness of the report and demanding it get retracted.  Officials in Missouri quickly issued an apology for including their names in the report, but intended to keep the rest of the report as is.  It didn’t take long for the public outcry to become too much for the Missouri government, and they retracted the entire report on Friday, March 27.  They either learned their lesson or their next report will be classified (in which case let’s hope we can count on those whistleblowers).  A summary of the debacle can be found here, along with links to more pertinent information.

So now I’m back to being just a mom, writer, and whatever other hats I normally wear.  I might as well strike “potential domestic terrorist” from my resume.  After all, it was only for five weeks, and three of those weeks I had no idea.  Besides, it was only the state of Missouri that thought so, and I’ve been in Colorado all this time.

The threat of true terrorism is something we’ve all been conditioned to fear since 9/11.  Today, what I fear even more is the damage that can be done by ridiculous profiling and surveilance of ordinary people.  This particular report is just the latest in a rather long and disturbing series of incidents indicating that the so-called War on Terror has little to do with bringing actual terrorists to justice and much more to do with curtailing the freedoms of Americans, gaining our cooperation in this endeavor by holding the threat of another 9/11 over our heads.

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Not the kind where you get school or work off, but a fun one I’d have never considered celebrating…

This March 14 is National Pi Day.  I’m told the opening event starts at 1:59am

There are a number of web sites devoted to Pi and its great importance in our lives.  Many people memorize Pi up to several hundred decimal places.  Computers have calculated it out to a trillion decimal places.  You can see the first million digits here.

Apparently schools across the country plan activities to observe Pi Day.  I’m thinking maybe I should make a cheesecake.  For Valentine’s Day, I made a cheesecake, then made a heart with strawberries.  I think this Saturday I’ll make a Pi symbol with some kind of fruit on my cheesecake.  Any reason to make cheesecake is a good one.

Have a Happy Pi Day this Saturday.  Why not throw a party?

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