I found Jesus at the Dollar Store

In a moment that would make Herb Urban proud, I took Luna to the Dollar Store Monday. It was one of those great days where everything seems relaxed and we got everything done that was needed, so we went over to check out the Dollar Store.

As we went to walk in, a elderly gentleman stopped us. I noticed his American flag pin and the Purple Heart pin under it.  I noticed that he had one tooth. and halitosis. It reminded me of North Carolina (jk).  

He told us of the wonders of the Dollar Store. He spoke of the glorious toys and food items we could purchase. Then he told us the most amazing news of all; it only cost $1 per item! I was shocked and awed by this. (NOT!)

Then the wacko in him came out. He leaned close to Luna, who quickly grabbed my hand. He said "I know you are a good Christian like me…" Luna scrunched up her eyes with a look of WTF? and said "No, I’m Jewish. Mom was a Christian, but she’s not anything now". The Little Old Man (LOM) blinked and said "eh?" in the way that only the elderly can. Luna sighed, as she rarely suffers fools and repeated it louder, "I’m JEWISH, NOT CHRISTIAN". Well, LOM just smiled and said "That’s okay because Jesus loves the Jews and Muslims too. As long as you believe in G-d, Jesus loves you" (Gee thanks! I guess I can cross Jesus off my Christmas card list now…oh wait…is that a Birthday card list?) Luna squeezed my hand a bit tighter then. He then pulled out a special card. It had been blessed by a priest. It was a card with Jesus, a glowing heart on his chest, the little glowing halo (What is up with the Halo thing? Seriously, if you get it, please explain it) and the stigmata! Yes, I want my child staring at Jesus’ bloody palms. LOM then held out the card for Luna, and explained that it would protect her if she put it in her room. Jesus would watch her in her sleep if she put it there. (Should I place it right next to the Mezuzah on her door jam?) She looked at the card like it was covered in the swine influenza virus. She gripped even tighter. I took the card and told her that I would hold it for her.

LOM then went into a long speech about his late wife and his children and how Jesus saved them. I was finally able to break free and get us in the store. I leaned down to Luna and whispered in her ear "we’ll talk about this later".

I can understand this LOM was lonely. He had lost his wife. He had lost his teeth. But dude, when a small child clearly states she is Jewish, let’s not toss Jesus in her face, m’kay? Let’s leave it alone. I let him go on for a bit because I could tell he was lonely. I knew I could talk to Luna about this and she got it that he was weird and lonely. But seriously.

And yes, we bought 4 things at the Dollar Store for $4.20.
 

Guess who went on Vacation? Bullet format

  • When considering driving 8 hours in two stretches, make sure you bring ample snacks
  • Do have enough "good food" to bribe children to eat when they want "bad food"
  • Fruit roll ups are officially "bad food"
  • When driving through New York City, strongly consider a nice long and LOUD movie for the DVD player. You can actually listen to it because the traffic is so slow.
  • Counting license plates is still pretty cool, but much harder when the states have multiple designs.
  • Driving through 11 states takes a fricken long time
  • Playing "I Spy" in the Smoky Mountains can get dull (I spy something green. A tree? Damn, I spy something green, Another tree? DAMN!)
  • Hiking in the Smoky Mountains can be damn beautiful and restful
  • Staying with family? Not so restful
  • Staying with cousins that we love? Fun, but SO not restful with 5 kids under 7 in the house
  • When your spouse asks your child "You said you ate all of the Chicken McNuggets. What do you call THIS!" And she replies "Turkey" Do NOT LAUGH! We are NOT ENCOURAGING THIS (although, even I admit it was pretty funny)
  • When your spouse asks your child "Why are you being so childish?" and the other replies "Because she is a child", that is okay to laugh.
  • teaching your children hiking is priceless
  • Being in touch with nature is wonderful, especially when you have taught your kids how to avoid poison ivy, so they tell you every time you pass one on a trail
  • 9 days is a little too much togetherness.
  • But I love my family and hope we do many more of these trips

PSA: For men

A public service announcement for men

Menstrual pain SUCKS. This means we may be in a really bad mood. Don’t fuck with us when I am already in pain.

Bloated face might be a good indicator to not be stupid!

 

That is all 

Hey! Did you know those red octogons really mean stop?

Sunday was NOT A GOOD DAY at the SpaceFamily homestead. We had yelling and screaming, crying because friends had the gall to go celebrate Easter with their families. Stores were closed (except Starbucks. Thank you Starbucks for two kid hot cocoas). Bedtime SUCKED.

But yesterday was better. Soleil got off to school, Luna and I went on an Easter candy hunt, Jay drove off to work. We found some cheap Easter candy at CVS, I bought a few lottery tickets for Fun (like we would EVER win, NOT!) and I drove home to grab my coffee and drop off the candy before ice skating.

We were on our way to ice skating, when I noticed a police cruiser behind me. I pulled to the side and so did he. Hmm, instead of the normal panic and anxiety I get when I see flashing lights, I was calm and thought, "what did I do? I was going the speed limit…hmmm" He asked for the usual license and registration. I asked him, "um, can I ask what I did?" He said, "You didn’t stop before turning on this road." He then went off to his car.

I thought about it and for the life of me, I still can’t remember if I stopped or just did a "stop optional" AKA yield or what. I know I never blow through that intersection, but I figure it wasn’t wise to say "You know, I was on autopilot. I can’t tell you what the hell happened. Jelly bean?" (the Jelly bean may be taken as a bribe and besides, we are pretending that they are kosher for passover. Shh.. that’s what I told Luna anyway!)

Luna wanted to know what was going on and I explained that I missed stopping all of the way at the stop sign. (I know I must have looked, I never go without looking). Big eyes and scared, Luna asked "Are you going to get a ticket?" I said "Probably. I made a mistake. I still need to be responsible for it even if it was a mistake." Then the big friendly policeman came back and gave me a warning (thanks!). He waved at Luna and told me "Just be careful out there!"

I was amazed I was calm. As opposed to Saturday when I took my car to get 4 new tires (cha-ching!) and an oil change (more cha-ching!) and they called to tell me my back brakes were metal to metal (cha cha cha ching!). All total? $1300. I took a cup of coffee when I left. Not that I needed more caffeine, but if I was spending $1300 there, I was getting a K-cup of coffee dammit!

Then I saw Monsters-vs-Aliens with the kids.

****SPOILER ALERT**** 

So yesterday, Luna and Soleil were discussing MvA in the car. One of the characters appears to die, but really is changing from Insectosaurus to ButterflyasaurusButterflyasaurus. The following conversation ensued.

L: "What was his name again?"

S: "Insectosaurus!"

L: "But the he was ButterflyasaurusButterflyasaurus! But he was really a moth"

S:"Yeah. I saw his feelers"

L:"The feelers had the feather like stuff and only moths have that. Butterflies have antennae."

S:"They should have called him Mothosaurus"

Mom:" How about Mothra?"

Both:"That’s stupid mom!"

Sigh

 

And then the great hand reached out of the sky…

I wanted to share two things today that are sort of related(and a ramble warning. I am not sure where I am going with this…)

The first is a press release from my telescope. This is an AWESOME image in X-rays. 

The second is an opinion piece from Judith Warner, whom I don’t always agree with. 

So..how are these related? I often think about religion and morality. Do they have to be tied together?

Often I see comments on web articles that indicates YES. Atheists have no morals. Atheists reject God, and therefore are among the most evil creatures on the planet. Atheists suck the blood out of small children and want everyone to have abortions (okay, not the first part, but yes, I have seen the abortion accusation). But I disagree.

I believe that people can be good to other people just because it is the right thing to do. I believe that you can have your own sense of morals. I believe that taking a book that was clearly written by other humans to be your moral guide is a little dicey, but as long as you don’t force YOUR morals on ME, to each their own.

It’s that last bit that gets me. Why does my money have to say "In God We Trust"? That is someone else’s morals put on me. And this was added in the last century, which gets me even more upset that it is legislated morals. However, I still use the money. It’s part of our country and I try to deal with it.

What about homosexual marriage? Hey, it doesn’t bother me. But some people’s morals are offended by that. To those people, this violates all of the good things in their marriage (which I don’t understand). Several states have even legislated their morals to prevent people from marrying. Of course, these morals are based on their religion (and one passage in the Bible).

Then again we can’t forget abortion. Many people use this one issue as a black and white litmus test. Either you are with us or against us. On both sides of the debate this happens. It’s not just the people who use religion as their values, its the people who argue that if you are against abortion you are evil and full of hate. This is the grayest of grays in terms of issues. I

We have a lot of strange morals in this country.

Again, many morals are tied to religion. Some are not.

Why does our country have this need to be so black and white? Why do we humans need to see ourselves in everything?

The first link I posted was an image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The blue is a pulsar, spinning, excited, the remains of a star. The reddish orange is a cloud that is being energized by the pulsar. Many people see a hand in this image. Why are we automatically seeing ourselves in the heavens? Why do we make God in our image?

The second link is about religious patterns and traditions and if we follow them anymore anyway. Should we? Should we break free from religions?

These are things that make me think. I am pretty close to deciding that I am an atheist. An Atheist with morals. Yes, I am raising my children Jewish. Yes, I see the hypocrisy in that. Yes, I do get a relaxed feeling in either a church or temple or in a park. A spiritual feeling perhaps.

I am pretty sure that we don’t need religion to have morals, but one thing I am sure about…no body is sure about what life means anyway, most of all not me.

Guilt

On Tuesday morning, I went to turn on the water for the shower. As I stepped away to put in my contacts,(this is a carefully timed operation. I know that getting my contacts in is JUST enough time for the water to warm up, but also taking my medicines will waste hot water) I heard this hideous sound, like a leaf blower in the shower. Obviously, a leaf blower in the shower is just plain weird (or perhaps erotic if you are into showers with gardening tools), so I was quite confused. Instead of investigating, I just got in the shower. When I haven’t had my coffee in the morning, I often have synapses getting confused and running into each other, so it’s better to just shower and get my coffee. I have been known to wash my hair with shaving cream before since things aren’t quite working until I have my coffee.

When I turned off the water, the leaf blower was still going. Okay, I thought, it is not a failure of our plumbing. I looked outside and saw a crew of men from our landscaping company outside. That was it! I had spoken to Jay and he agreed that I could pay for the service of having our beds mulched this year. We do this ourselves every 2-3 years, but this year, I am overwhelmed. I just can’t keep up with everything.

This whole thing has lead to guilt. I pay a company to come and mow our lawn. I paid them this year to clean out the beds and put new mulch in. We pay Silvia, our cleaner, to come by every two weeks to do the heavy cleaning in our house. And I feel guilty about this.

I think the guilt is that we have the money to afford to pay people for jobs that we could do perfectly well on our own. On one hand, I know we just don’t have the time to be with the kids AND do all of this work. Something would have to give and it would either be the kids or the cleaning/yard. On the other hand, I know that helping others by keeping people employed right now is good. But somehow, I feel like this means I am some sort of "trickle down" Reagainst who is trying to make herself feel better with the fact that she is paying people to do what she could perfectly do herself.

I know, we can’t do it all. But the guilt. Sigh

Kindergarten Insanity

Friday, I took Luna for her kindergarten assessment. Our town does this in the spring to collect paperwork and arrange for the kids to have hearing testing, balance, fine and gross motor skills, language, etc. tested. She was very excited about the whole thing and within 30 minutes we were done and ready to go out to lunch (at Friendly’s of course, complete with Ice Cream)

And then the Insanity started.

What? You have not heard of the Kindergarten Insanity? Ah, let me explain.

Once your child realizes Kindergarten (with the Capital K) is coming, the insanity begins. They alternate between wanting to embrace the future and be a "big kid" and wanting to stay right where they are. In one minute, they could be running around independent and free. In the next, they are begging for hugs and snuggles and crying like a toddler. This is the start of Kindergarten Insanity. Being a young child, they can’t understand the subtle shades of grey that exist in our worlds. They understand a binary world of black and white. When you go to Kindergarten (this large abstract concept of Big Kids), you have to act differently, you will have new friends and you will be left in an alien world with out your parents. When you go to Kindergarten, you are no longer a Little Kid and you won’t get hugs and snuggles and people will expect you not to cry and you might even have to clean up your room!

The binary of their brains and the difficulty in accepting that they don’t suddenly become a new person brings on the Kindergarten Insanity. Sadly, it will last until September, when she realizes that life isn’t all that different and she really doesn’t lose all of her little kid ways… But until then? The Kindergarten Insanity continues!

 


BTW I am done panicking over the whole gifted thing. A few friends have given me the "oh, how bragging of you" look when I explained it, and then I had to explain all of her emotional issues that go with this. I am still concerned, but I will certainly be her advocate.

When normal appears to not be normal anymore

We’ve all heard how smart your child is. She does everything early. She have incredible verbal skills. She will have the best time in school because it will all be easy. She’ll be skipping grades. I wish my kids were that smart. You have it so easy. You must be proud of her. She’s such a little adult.

These are all things I have heard about both of my children. I know they are both bright. When Soleil made a mini solar system out of her snack in the toddler room at daycare complete with an asteroid belt, we knew this. Luna is bright as well. She remembered what Albino was a few weeks after we talked about it and told us about a woman she thought was albino.

We have normal kids. They play normal kids, they fight, they are picky with food, they get dirty, they push limits, they are normal.

And then they aren’t.

This weekend, while visiting my cousin, I spoke to her about some of the problems we’ve had with Soleil at school. We recently had a large issue to deal with and it is still around, and we are dealing. As I described other classroom observations, my cousin said "You realize these are classic GT issues".  I thought about it. I thought about my depression. And how I always worry that I’ve passed that on to her.

My cousin (who is a GT teacher) gave me two books to read. I arranged an appointment with the GT teacher at school who does meet with Soleil once a week. We talked about everything that I was concerned about.

Yes, Soleil is gifted, perhaps highly gifted. Yes, she has some social issues that are common with her type of thinking. Yes, she needs to be watched through the school system to make sure she doesn’t get lost. Yes, I need to keep up an open dialog with her classroom teachers and the GT teacher. YES she will have more opportunities to explore when she hits 3rd grade and the GT teacher works more with the kids.

This is very overwhelming. Most states recognize gifted children as "special needs". These children can receive an individualized education plan (IEP). However, Massachusetts is one of the few states that DOESN’T see gifted as a special need. The expectation is that they can work on their own or be given more work or help other students. This is not acceptable. I am very very lucky in that our town has one of the best GT programs in the state. But, this means she gets pulled out of her class one or two hours a week to work on projects that enhance her learning. Then she goes back to her classroom and doesn’t do her worksheets and writes Hebrew on them instead of draws dinosaurs.

I feel that this is a challenge. I have always known she is bright, but I never wanted to be that person who walks into school declaring their child is a genius and needs to be skipped ahead. Now, we have a whole new world to explore. A world where the rest of her friends don’t think the way she does. Where she feels left out. Where she doesn’t understand how she just insulted her friends when she thought that she was helping them.

Luna starts Kindergarten in the fall. We need to watch her as well.