Legacy

It is time for another peaceful exchange of power.  One unpopular narcissist will step aside to turn over power to another.  Both have their followers-rabid and unquestioning.  Both have their detractors-many also rabid and unquestioning.  Which will be better or worse is something only the next 4 years will be able to tell us.

However, this is the time to reflect on Obama and his legacy.  8 years ago, Barrack Obama came to office on a wave of public enthusiasm.  It was a historical moment.  Our president had dark skin.  America was ready to pull together into a color blind era.

In the past four years, America has experienced more racial division than in any time since the 1960s.  Conspiracy theories have run rampant–largely due to the hubris of the leadership in what information they give and with hold.

Obama has asked that the ACA be called the Affordable Care Act and not Obamacare, apparently because he takes such pride in his trademark bill.

Mrs. Obama no longer has hope.

In spite of its promising beginnings, by and large, Obama’s legacy is either laughable or non-existent.  Why?

Wherever Obama was born, he was socialized in other cultures.  As the president he has ruled like an African or Asian rather than an America.  He expects his word to be unquestioned law.  Meantime, Americans think their leaders exist to be questioned and mocked.

But cultural differences do not explain all of Obama’s short comings.  Obama has no respect for the people that he leads, and makes that position clear, especially when he is abroad apologizing for his country.  Memo to Obama we all have cable television and internet; we see you.  He is also sure that his agenda is better for us than our own.

In short, Obama is a good example of what happens when a leader puts his egotism above the success of his mission.  Hopefully, but doubtfully the incoming narcissist will learn from his mistakes.

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Writing Again

“I have to start writing again”  I tell my friend.

“You should”  She agrees.  She’s an English teacher.

I have been very busy.  I am working two jobs now.  One as a Special Ed. aide in the middle school I went to, oh so many years ago.  (Not so long ago that I didn’t find a classmate’s name carved into my lab table, but many more years than I want to think about.)  The other job is as a GED teacher at the junior college (which I also went to).  If I go to the gym I leave home at 6 am and don’t get home until 9 pm.

I have been sick recently with a flu like bug that I can’t completely shake.  This scared me enough I stopped trying to get to the gym every day, opting instead for the extra hour of sleep.

Then I have had a low level depression for some time now that saps my energy shortens my attention span.

However, this year I am going to be healthy.  I am going to focus.  I am going to push through the depression and beat the flu.  I am not going to give in.

Writing has always been part of me.  It is a way to clear my mind.  So I am writing again.

Reflection

Friday they took my old boss, who is 70, to jail.  “They led her away in handcuffs and she wasn’t able to say good-bye to her husband or kids” a friend reports.

I’m not sure how I feel about it.

The school where I worked was one of those “tough love” schools started in the 80s, when that was popular.  The school had grown out of a foster home.  Church men had asked if my boss and her husband, a pastor, would be able or willing to make a school for troubled kids who were getting kicked out of church schools.  The school was first set up to function like a home school foster home.  The staff all lived in the home with the students, available 24-7.

The school’s philosophy was picked up from here and there.  Compassionate care was a big part of the school’s philosophy–lots of light, exercise, and an accepting  micro-community that would teach people to live in the larger community.  Discipline was meant to be on the “Love and Logic” model–where consequences were immediate, logical, and somewhat unpredictable:  teachable moments rather than rigid cause and effect punishments.  Later influences included Steven Covey’s “7 Habits”, Gary Chapman’s “Love Languages” and at the very end Nancy Thomas’s RAD theories.

The school would take almost anyone as long as there was a bed.  I have not heard of a kid being turned away for being too bad, though I have heard of one rejected because he wasn’t bad enough.  There was also a strong tradition of never kicking anyone out.  When Terrance burnt the boy’s dorm, my boss fought to get him back into the school’s custody “We can’t let this kid think he can just act crazier to get out of things.”  In another administration, when Nick burnt the dining room, he was back as soon as he finished his term at the State School, reporting that The School was so much nicer than the State Home.

The staff were mostly caring people, but woefully undertrained, over stressed and under rested.  The School ran on adrenaline.  Dorm staff worked in alternating shifts of 26 hours on and 22 hours off on weekdays. Teams that were on Friday morning would cover the whole weekend, knowing the next weekend they would be off.  Later teams worked in 12 hour day and night shifts that would switch after the night shift served the weekend they would go back on days, and the former day shift would come in on nights.  Theoretically the night shift had only to sleep in the dorms, but there was always someone sleep-walking, trying to run away, having nightmares, slipping into the other sex dorms or even getting demon possessed.

Daytimes were not any calmer.  We were seriously the last stop before real life long institutionalization in places like jails or mental hospitals.  Then in the mix we had a handful of spoiled brats.  All of which had to be protected from themselves and each other.

The facilities were somewhat primitive and somewhat depressing.  The girls lived 4-6 to a room.  The boys lived in a barracks.  The single staff lived 5 adults to a 4 bedroom trailer. The married staff got a small trailer for their family.  One family left after they found ants crawling over the baby.

Any school such as this one will attract the best and the worst people as staff.  There will  a goodly number of world savers and a goodly number of predators, and the predators can imitate the world savers for some time

The question isn’t whether there will be abuse, but how the abuse will be responded to, and this is what got my boss in trouble.  Her first assumption was always that the state was out to destroy parochial schools and that we must keep our sovereignty to protect us from government overstepping (which I always found interesting because she voted for Obama). So everything was addressed in house, and not reported, which is one of the misdemeanors she pled guilty too.

I do not know if the abuse allegation that was made against one of the staff members was true or not.  I worked with neither this staff nor this kid.  People who were there have said both ways.  I do know that kids have lied.  I also know that staff have crossed the line.

In any case, the school was closed.  It would have been a fairly easy win.  The state had violated a court order in removing the kids.  All my boss had to do was wait.

Instead she lied to the officers about having returned all of the kids while 2 of them were still in her home.  They found the kids hiding in her husband’s church.

In that way, I have very little sympathy.  However, the real question should be was there abuse and what kind of abuse there was.  I think a lot of what is happening is that she is obnoxious and the court is making its point–We will not be defied.

 

 

 

Birthday Cake

Since I was a very nerdy teenager, I told myself I would have a Hitchiker’s Guide cake for my 42nd birthday.

Now I could just go and buy one, but what fun would that be?  So I go on the internet and find dozens of beautiful hitchhiker guide cakes.  Most of which take much more skill and attention span than I have.  I pick two that I may almost be able to approximate.

The one on the left may take a little more finesse, but it is basically a fondant base with details.  The one on the right would only require a biscuit cutter and colored fondant.  Even I can make a circle with a biscuit cutter.  Of course, this will be the first time I have worked with fondant, but why let that discourage me?

First I bake my cake from the finest (slightly) out of date white cake mix that Shur Fine offers.  It bakes beautifully, is so comfortable in the pan, in fact, that it doesn’t want to leave.  My mother takes over and saves the cake.  When it finally does come it comes in two or three large pieces.  I suppose that is what fondant is meant to hide.

I make the fondant as the cake cools.  I have a vegan fondant recipe (Gelatin contains pig which I don’t eat).  The agar does not want to melt, and once melted does not want to stay that way.  It doesn’t help the corn syrup I use has been in the fridge.  When it touches the agar, the agar jells.  Eventually I struggle through getting all the liquid melted and start adding sugar.  I am shocked and appalled at how much of fondant is sugar.  It doesn’t taste like sugar.  I debate with myself and decide to go with the more difficult design, what’s the worst that can happen.  I happily add green food coloring and more green food coloring until my fondant starts to match Mr. Adam’s alien.  About that time I realize I forgot to put fondant aside for the mouth and tongue.  Oh, well they will have to be butter cream.

My dad wanders out and wants to help.  I let him finish stirring the thickening fondant and go get the mail.

I frost the busted cake and cake crumbs with a tub of house brand butter cream (having first checked it isn’t made with lard) to give it something to hold fondant, dump the now mixed fondant onto the baking sheet with a little powdered sugar to keep it from sticking.  When I have a circle I dump it unceremoniously over the cake, gratified to discover it does hide most of the crumbs.

Then I mix color into two separate bowls of butter cream.

Then I carefully complete my masterpiece.  In my defense it is the first time I worked with fondant.

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What is happening to us?

“If you don’t have sex with your boyfriend, does it mean you don’t love him?”

When I taught 7th grade I expected this kind of questions.  When I am talking about the sexual revolution with my adult social studies class, I don’t so much.

“It may mean you have self respect and expect him to respect you.” I say, in the habit from the 12 year olds.

What I am thinking is that my student is a 29 year old mother of 2.  Why did someone not care enough to have this conversation with her 17 years ago?

The sexual revolution was about “freedom” and sexual “openness”.  So what has it done for us?  It has taken us to the place that a beautiful young woman may question her right to dictate who can handle–or enter–her own body.

This question is not only a problem for the sexual issues it presents, but also for the parenting issues it brings to mind.  We have totally lost the idea that our daughters and sisters are to be protected and that it is our duty to do so.  With “sexual freedom” comes sexual responsibility.  This means that we give our teenage daughters condoms and expect them to figure it out for themselves.  Too often they come to the point that my student did.

 

 

Trump v Hillary?

I had hope for this election cycle.  There were men of vision and character in the race.  However, I have a terrible feeling that the above will end up being our candidate.  These are two sides of the same coin.

Both have participated in the buying and selling of politicians.  Both will put their own agenda ahead of the good of the country.  Neither of them will get my vote.  This will definitely be an election where I vote 3rd party.

 

Windows 10

Sorry that I have not been able to post in awhile.  Until yesterday my computer had Windows XT.  Sadly, WordPress didn’t like it.  So it didn’t let me post.

For that and other reasons I am now being very, very frustrated by Windows 10.