Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Random Christmas thoughts

* Kaia asked for Thomas trains (Thomas the Tank Engine) for Christmas. Our local Barnes and Noble has a huge Thomas train display in their store and every time we go to the bookstore, I practically have to drag her out of the store because she wants to stay and play with the trains. Originally I planned to get the plastic track trains, but all of the characters she really liked were only in the wooden sets (plus wooden trains are just SO much cooler), so I decided to go for the much more pricey wooden ones. They are hella expensive, but I found a site that offered them for 20-50% off between Thanksgiving Day and the Monday after T-Day. Whoo hoo! I snagged a bunch of great deals (plus got $12.50 off my second order with my "preferred customer" status from the first order). Pretty nifty!

* I put up my Christmas lights today. We don't have a tree yet. I don't know if/when we'll get one since I'll likely be staying at my mom's for Christmas (mom and step-dad are going on their "honeymoon" during the holidays and I have to watch my step-brother), but my house is currently the only house on my street with lights. One neighbor has a small lit tree in their yard, but no one else has house lights. I also have a plastic door cover with a snowman on it. I put up my lights in my PJs this morning and had to hack my way through the enormous shrubbery along the side of my house in order to string up the lights on that side. PITA!

* I bought dh an mp3 player. Got him a Zen Touch with 20GB. He doesn't really need THAT much space, but it got great reviews and cost the same as the one with 5/6 GB. And it has a $20 rebate, too. Yay. He might not get it in time for Christmas though because amazon won't ship it to APOs. Ptth.

* I just bought myself a bunch of old TV Christmas classics: The Year Without Santa Claus, Rudolph's Shiny New Year, Jack Frost, & Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (came in a set...I don't remember this one very well, but I do remember having seen it at some point). I already have Rudolph, Frosty and Frosty Returns, and Santa Claus is Comin' to Town. I also have the old California Raisins special, as well as the Garfield one and a few other random cartoon specials from the 80s - all on VHS.

* I already bought myself my Christmas present. I went to Big Lots today to get some lights and decorations when, lo and behold, I spotted the box with my Triple Chocolate Kit Kats! They hadn't been carrying them for at least two months (Big Lots was the only place I've EVER seen them other than Walgreens for Halloween), so I bought all of the ones they had (16...and Big Lots sells their candy for 33 cents a piece - DOUBLE score). They are impossible to find (I've seen them on sale on ebay for $36 a case - that's a dollar a bar). They are so good - best.candy.bar.ever. I'll be going back there in a few days to see if they've gotten any more in stock! YAY!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Christmas pics



Just showing off our adorable
Christmas pictures...

The first two are the favorites,
and we've ordered a good number
of sheets of those two poses.

Notice the appearance of both
Daddy Doll and Daddy Bear.

This was probably the best
photo session we've ever had.
Kaia cooperated and didn't
freak out about the big umbrella!
YAY!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Weight Loss Challenge

So my family members (to include my mom, step-dad, sister, and moi) are all trying to lose some weight before the mom & step-dad's big now renewal ceremeony in a month. They never had a 'real' wedding, so they're having one this time around. Very sweet.

Anyway, mom had already been on some 6 week total body makeover diet thingy (which worked WONDERFULLY - she lost over 30 lbs. in 6 weeks), but now we're all participating in the weight loss challenge.

We are working in teams. Step-dad and I versus mom and sister. I think it's a little bit of an unfair advantage for us since he weighs quite a bit more than the rest of us, but we're doing it The Biggest Loser style and keeping score with the percentage of total body weight we've lost. The winning team's coach (me or my sister) gets $100. Nice added incentive!

Now, I'm NOT doing the total body makeover diet because I would surely die after 3 days or so. I need to have chocolate every day. I've limited myself to 3 mini Kit Kats a day (most days...some days I have 4 or 5) which is only 100 carolies. I don't really do any bad carbs other than that. No butter (I did have some on my lamb when I made lamb last week, but just a little tiny bit), very minimal amounts of canola oil, very little salt...mostly just making sure I'm eating much healthier than I was and am eating smaller portions (cause I can stuff my face something awful). I have a high metabolism (always have), but I've just gotten progressively more lazy as I've gotten older. I've been exercising a LOT.

As of November 3rd (when I really started - I cheated and had Halloween candy on the 1st and 2nd, when I was supposed to be dieting), I've lost a total of 14 lbs. Yay me.

I want to get down to about 130. Aside from my hips, I have a naturally small frame and am not supposed to weigh anywhere near what I weight right now (154). I hide it well for a lot of reasons...from above the waist up, I look pretty thin - and I also dress to accentuate the positives while taking attention away from the rest. My goal is to be 130 by February. I know I'm on the right track, having lost 14 lbs. in only 3 weeks and I've only been REALLY exercising for the past week (the "challenge" started last Sunday night).

I bought a pair of size 8 pants today and they are just a TINY bit tight. YAY me!

Quiz time!

Everyone else is doing it... oh and does anyone else think the guy in the picture looks remarkably like a certain blue peep? *giggle*


Pure Nerd
82 % Nerd, 43% Geek, 4% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.

Congratulations!

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 93% on nerdiness
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You scored higher than 58% on geekosity
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You scored higher than 1% on dork points

Link: donathos on The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test




*****

English Genius

You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 96% Expert!

You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog.


My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 65% on Beginner
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You scored higher than 42% on Intermediate
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You scored higher than 74% on Advanced
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You scored higher than 94% on Expert
Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test


*****

PURITY: 36% sex, 95% substance, 54% moral [54% total]
Well done! The higher your scores, the more "pure" you are. The lower, the more you've experienced.

This test was about done deeds, so your numbers will never climb. [It's interesting to think they all started at 100%.] But will your purity continue to fall? Will you OUTGROW or will you OUTDO your past experiences? It's up to you.





Advisory:


  • Don't date anyone if your moral purities differ by more than 30%.
  • Don't run a business with anyone if your substance purities differ by more than 40%.
  • Do be friends with someone who has less than 1/2 your sex purity. You'll enjoy their colorful company.


Note: as for the "TOTAL" purity value - that's a weighted combination of your scores, indicating what a typical purity test might say about you.



My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 96% on substance
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You scored higher than 25% on sex
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You scored higher than 31% on moral
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You scored higher than 51% onTOTAL

If you liked my test, send it to your friends! The 3-Variable Purity Test

*****

You Are a Fruitcake!

You taste like nothing else in this world.
And get ready, you're about to get tossed!




Sunday, November 20, 2005

Athlete Eye Candy: Version 1.0






Quite possibly the hottest athlete out there, here we have the delicious Jason Taylor of the Miami Dolphins. He alone is reason enough to watch football.

Football players usually aren't my thing (I don't usually like so many muscles), but this guy is just gorgeous!

*thud*

Friday, November 18, 2005

Pre-K teacher

So...I am a little late on the update.

I went in for the interview at 9. The center director had just left to go bring her hubby his keys cause she took his by mistake. It put me a little more at ease hearing that! The assistant director was very friendly. I filled out a gazillion pages of stuff.

The director came back just as I was finishing up. We made introductions and proceeded to her office for the interview. She asked me typical questions about dealing with children, dealing with parents, conflict issues, etc. It was very informal (she was interjecting anecdotes and jokes throughout). She talked about her kids, I talked about Kaia (which I wouldn't have done that early had she not been yakking about hers). She gave me a rundown of the job description and said that the position was actually for Pre-K teacher not program specialist. That's something they cover with someone already on staff, so that could be an option at some point down the road.

She wrapped up her questions, asked if I had any. I asked about the student to teacher ratio, which she said is no greater than 15 to 1, with 2 teachers per class. She then said "well, I'd like to offer you the job". I'd heard the assistant say that there were conducting two other interviews in the afternoon, but as the interview went on (and she told me that other staff members were leaving) I figured that they were interviewing for other positions. I was relieved, but at the same time terrified. I LOVE the age group - couldn't have chosen a better class myself! But, it was still a job - full-time. Scary when you've never really had to answer to anyone else.

The more I think about it, though, the more excited I am. It's a GREAT move for Kaia. It's only $75 a week for her and I'll be making $12.50 an hour, which isn't great, but it's much more than I'm making right now! HA!

I got a good feeling form the place all around. The staff seemed very friendly. I loved the classroom and their curriculum and general philosophies were all in line with my own ideas, which was great.

I'm thinking this is a great move in so many ways!

Thanks to everyone for the advice, support...everything! It truly helped me a lot and for that I'm eternally grateful!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

HELP!!!

I'm terrified! I just got a call for an INTERVIEW tomorrow! I haven't had a 'real' job since college - well, technically I've NEVER had a real full-time job, so I'm incredibly nervous. It's for a 'program specialist' at KinderCare. It'd be great for Kaia and the money would be awesome, I just really didn't want anything full-time. I applied a while ago (6 weeks maybe) and didn't think I'd hear from them because I didn't really have the necessary requirements. But they called this morning. And I'm scared! I hate interviews. I get tongue-tied in front of positions of authority (not to mention how queasy I'm feeling at the moment).

Here's a position description

Program Specialists - KinderCare
These positions involve a balance of classroom curriculum implementation and administrative responsibilities in our Infant/Toddler classrooms and our Preschool through School Age classrooms. We are looking for experienced teachers or administrators who have high standards and believe that the care they provide is invaluable. Ideal candidates will have demonstrated the ability to establish effective relationships with parents and children. Additional requirements include


No requirements were listed, but I know they were when I applied because there were one or two that I didn't completely meet.

HELP!!!!! I'm feeling ill.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Official Soccer picture!

Ain't she cute, squinty eyes and all? I know that you are supposed to take pics facing the light for better shots, but when you have eyes that are uber sensitive to light (which she inherited from her mother), it doesn't work so well.

She frequently says "Mommy...it's just too shiny outside!" as she's burying her eyes in her hands. I love the way a four-year old describes little things like that.

I like how she matches the soccer ball, too! The blue shirt is the official T-shirt, and I thought it was way cool that they also use blue and black soccer balls. The kids really seemed to like that they were 'special'.

She should be starting up a new session in January. This weekend is her last week in the first level class! She still doesnt have much of a clue what's going on half of the time, but she likes running around and kicking soccer balls just the same. Last week's class was funny. It's a 4-6 class and there seems to be a good mix of all ages. Well, they actually attempted to play a game last week and it was pretty obvious (in most cases) which kids were older and had played some sort of team sport before when watching them during the 'game'. The older kids were all trying to kick the ball and actually play soccer. The middle kids were just running around after the older kids. The younger kids were standing around watching the action. Kaia was actually running around attempting to get into the action, but she's very passive, so she'd never actually go after the ball if someone else is kicking it - 'cause that would be rude! At least I know she has manners! She got to throw the ball into play during the game and she was quite excited about that! And she was on the team wearing the jerseys (which, I might add, fell below her knees...and she's not the smallest in the group at all), which she thought was WAY cool!

I'm thinking of getting her into the community's Tae Kwon Do course as well. I think the interaction with other kids is important for her since she's not yet in preschool. I might try to start preschool in January, though. It's just so dang expensive! She'll start Kindergarten in the fall, so I guess I should start the transition process now.

Gah! My baby is almost in school!

Friday, November 11, 2005

You've got: PERSONALITY!

I've taken a zillion variants of the Briggs-Myers personality test throughout my life...I've always had the same results...





Your #1 Match: ENFP


The Inspirer

You love being around people, and you are deeply committed to your friends.
You are also unconventional, irreverant, and unimpressed by authority and rules.
Incredibly perceptive, you can usually sense if someone has hidden motives.
You use lots of colorful language and expressions. You're qutie the storyteller!

You would make an excellent entrepreneur, politician, or journalist.

Your #2 Match: ENFJ


The Giver

You strive to maintain harmony in relationships, and usually succeed.
Articulate and enthusiastic, you are good at making personal connections.
Sometimes you idealize relationships too much - and end up being let down.
You find the most energy and comfort in social situations ... where you shine.

You would make a good writer, human resources director, or psychologist.

Your #3 Match: INFP


The Idealist

You are creative with a great imagination, living in your own inner world.
Open minded and accepting, you strive for harmony in your important relationships.
It takes a long time for people to get to know you. You are hesitant to let people get close.
But once you care for someone, you do everything you can to help them grow and develop.

You would make an excellent writer, psychologist, or artist.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Everyone else was doing it...

So I figured I should, too!

EYE CANDY! Whoo hoo!



Yummy!

Yes, it's the lovely and talented Taye Diggs!

The subject of many a fantasy...I fantasize about him wearing nothing but his glasses and singing a song written just for me. He looks so delicious in the glasses he's wearing in the above picture. The other pics aren't too shabby either, eh?

*faint*

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Here we have the gorgeous Olivier Martinez.

He is the object of Diane Lane's lust in the uber sexy flick, Unfaithful. His character is a fantastic lover with a passion for books...what more could a girl ask for? Oh and those eyes...those lips!

*thud*

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Mmmmm...Jude Law.

I first fell in love with him in Enemy at the Gates. Wow, he was hot in that movie. I had no idea who he was at the time and had to look him up when the movie was over.

I have a thing for eyes (followed closely by lips, if you haven't already guessed), and his are certainly worth staring at (or into), don't you think?

*swoon*

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Mi amor, Chico DeBarge.

He definitely got the bulk of the sex appeal from the DeBarge family gene pool. Don't you just want to grab him and kiss those lips?

Aside from having a thing for eyes and lips, I have a thing for tenors. Mr. DeBarge is, a tenor. All of my musical crushes are tenors, in fact (John Legend, D'Angelo). Most gals like the guys with deep voices. Oh no, not me! Give me a guy with a gorgeous falsetto any day.

*melt*

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Mmmmmmmm, eye candy! Aren't they gorgeous? And not a one of them looks a thing like Will Ferrell!

*giggle*

Elmo loves you!!

Snagged from Snuffy




Elmo
You scored 39% Organization, 75% abstract, and 57% extroverted!
This test measured 3 variables.

First, this test measured how organized you are. Some muppets like Cookie Monster make big messes, while others like Bert are quite anal about things being clean.

Second, this test measured if you prefer a concrete or an abstract viewpoint. For the purposes of this test, concrete people are considered to gravitate more to mathematical and logical approaches, whereas abstract people are more the dreamers and artistic type.

Third, this test measured if you are more of an introvert or an extrovert. By definition, an introvert concentrates more on herself and an extrovert focuses more on others. In this test an introvert was somebody that either tends to spend more time alone or thinks more about herself.

You are mostly organized, more abstract, and both introverted and extroverted.

Most people either love or hate Elmo. I hope you love Elmo, because that's who you are.

You are both somewhat organized. You have a good idea where you put things and you probably keep your place reasonably clean. You aren't totally obsessed with neatness though. Elmo has the same basic approach. His place is pretty tidy, but he doesn't spend all of his time cleaning it up.

You both are abstract thinkers. You definitely are not afraid to take chances in life. You only live once. You may notice others around you playing it safe, but you are more concerned with not compromising your desires, and getting everything you can out of life. This is a very romantic approach to life, but hopefully you are also grounded enough to get by. Elmo's whole life is based on fantasy and his imagination. In the beginning he was a regular character, but now he spends most of his time in this fantasy world.

You are both somewhat extroverts. Like Elmo, you probably like to have some time to yourself, but you do appreciate spending time with your friends, and you aren't scared of social situations. Elmo spends some of his time with real friends, but he also needs some time just to chat it up with his goldfish.


The other possible characters are
Oscar the Grouch
Big Bird
Cookie Monster
Ernie
Snuffleupagus
Kermit the Frog
Grover
The Count
Guy Smiley
Bert



Which Sesame Street Character are you?

Aw, I wanted to be Cookie Monster.

COOOOOOKIEEEEEES! Arrr-ummmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmmm, mmmmm

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Promotion!

Hubby is getting a promotion in two months. He just passed the promotion board with 150/150. YAY him!

There's a really long and shitty story to go along with why the promotion couldn't come at a better time...I'll spare you ALL of the details, but I will say that he's under-appreciated and that he's kept out of the loop where he works. And they apparently think he was not worthy of being promoted (yeah, but he got a 150/150, so they can eat shit).

He was thinking of FINALLY saying something about his mistreatment and the VERY obvious racial division in his little office. But it wont do any good other than to piss people off and make him MORE of a target, so he's not saying anything. I can't say I blame him, but he's taken WAY too much shit for NO REASON. Someone actually told him "don't embarass us" before he went to the board. Now, they have NO reason to even think that he would (he gets great evaluations, he got 148/150 in his previous promotion board, and he always does his job and then some)...but that someone (someone higher ranking than dh) had the audacity to say that to him! Way to boost the already shitty morale of someone serving in Iraq, dumbass. I'm just glad he did as well as he did to throw it back in their faces later.

I love my hubby. He's a good guy. He doesn't deserve to be treated like shit. I really hate morons, especially morons in uniform.

Fuck Texas

I think Texas needs to utilize its COnstitutional right to divide itself into five states...Austin can stay in the U.S., but the rest can secede and form their own jacked up, self-absorbed, "Christian", holier-than-thou, bigoted government. Good riddance.

EIGHTY PERCENT of those who voted yesterday (voter turnout was I think nineteen percent) voted in favor of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage...not only just gay marriage, but any sort of civil union. Makes me want to puke.

That so many people can be so uncaring, so self-righteous, so fucking obtuse...it's mind blowing. What the hell is wrong with people? Seriously.

Land of the free my ass.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Political leanings quiz

Thieved from HD...

You are a

Social Liberal
(80% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(15% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Socialist




Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Happy Birthday

My grandmother was born November 8, 1928. She died in 1999 (just 3 months before my wedding) of emphysema and other lung conditions. We were very close and I miss her.

Happy Birthday, Grandma.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Soccer kid

Well, here's the little soccer cutie. We made the soccer shirt so she could wear it on the first day of "practice". The coaches loved her shirt and it made it easy for them to remember her name!

She's really been enjoying soccer, but yesterday she had a headache and didn't want to play. Thank goodness the coach took her picture (not this one) first when she was still in a good mood.

We sat and watched while the other kids played yesterday. They were practicing their dribbling as usual, and also learned 'heading'. Not sure why it's necessary for 4-6 year olds to learn how to hit a soccer ball with their heads, but the kids enjoyed it. Maybe it's a good thing Kaia had a headache after all - she would have probably ended up with one after hitting the ball off her head a few times, anyway!

I should get the "official" soccer picture before too long. Next week they are taking their team picture, which will be on their certificates at the end of the "season". They are offering the class again in January, building off what they've been learning this time around. Kaia really enjoys soccer, so I'll probably sign her up again. I am hoping to put her in gymnastics and/or martial arts before too long, too. She'd thoroughly enjoy either of those and would be fantastic at both. I think she's meant to be a gymnast. She's super flexible (even for a typical four year old), she's ALWAYS jumping around and has phenomenal balance. But I don't want to be one of those "pageant mom" types...pushing her into something. I know how that goes from experience!

I just want her to enjoy herself and take cues from other adults (to help work on her listening and paying attention skills). She takes after both hubby and me in that she's a dreamer and is often in her own world! We need to work on that this year to get ready for school next year. MY, how time flies! My baby is one year away from kindergarten!

Friday, November 04, 2005

When money-laundering and election-stealing just aren't enough

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-11-04-cheneytortureban_x.htm


WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Dick Cheney made an unusual personal appeal to Republican senators this week to allow CIA exemptions to a proposed ban on the torture of terror suspects in U.S. custody, according to participants in a closed-door session.

Cheney told his audience the United States doesn't engage in torture, these participants added, even though he said the administration needed an exemption from any legislation banning "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment in case the president decided one was necessary to prevent a terrorist attack.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051104/ap_on_go_pr_wh/cheney_torture

Surrounded by idiots

Well, at least according to Morgan-Quitno in their annual Smartest State Awards. Arizona? DEAD LAST. And it looks like we no one else was even close (a full three-and-a-half points behind the next lowest state, Mississippi). Following is the full ranking of all states (I'm only listing the scores for top and bottom five to show range)

  1. Vermont (+ 17.58)
  2. Connecticut (+ 15.88)
  3. Massachusetts (+ 14.48)
  4. New Jersey (+ 12.55)
  5. Maine (+ 9.33)
  6. Minnesota
  7. Virginia
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Montana
  10. New York
  11. Pennsylvania
  12. Nebraska
  13. Kansas
  14. Iowa
  15. New Hampsire
  16. Rhode Island
  17. Wyoming
  18. South Dakota
  19. Maryland
  20. North Dakota
  21. Missouri
  22. North Carolina
  23. Colorado
  24. Texas
  25. Delaware
  26. Indiana
  27. Michigan
  28. Idaho
  29. South Carolina
  30. Washington
  31. Ohio
  32. Illinois
  33. Utah
  34. West Virignia
  35. Kentucky
  36. Florida
  37. Arkansas
  38. Oregon
  39. Oklahoma
  40. Georgia
  41. Tennessee
  42. Hawaii
  43. Alabama
  44. Alaska
  45. Louisiana
  46. California (- 12.57)
  47. Nevada (- 13.11)
  48. New Mexico (- 13.37)
  49. Missisippi (- 14.31)
  50. Arizona (- 17.81)

I'm totally not surprised though...we're WAY underfunded (49th in the nation) and have been for MANY years now. And, well, the schools here just suck. Class sizes are ridiculously large, many of our inner city and poorer area schools don't even have enough chairs and desks for their students, let alone up-to-date books. It's sickening.

Thankfully we have a governor who is (or seems at least) committed to fixing our craptastic education system.

Getting back to the study...there were 21 factors utilized in this study. I'm not about to fork over the big bucks to read about our detailed showings in all 21 of these areas - especially since I can estimate based upon what I do know about our school systems.

*********

Positive (GOOD to be at the top)

Public Elementary and Secondary School Revenue per $1,000 Personal Income

  • definitely at the bottom of the list...our funding is horrendous, so I'd imagine our revenue is horrendous

Percent of Public Elementary and Secondary School Current Expenditures used for Instruction

  • I'm sure this is extremely low. Arizona schools are run by fairly small districts and, I'd assume, have LOTS of administrative expenditures as a result of all of those districts.

Percent of Population Graduated from High School

  • probably not in the bottom five, but damn close. One in five Arizona children lives in poverty and LOTS of students just don't finish school because they have to get a job to help support their families.

Public High School Graduation Rate

  • same as above

Percent of Public School Fourth Graders Proficient or Better in Reading

  • near the bottom of the barrell - we are consistently terrible in standardized test scores, and it gets worse the higher the grade level

Percent of Public School Eighth Graders Proficient or Better in Reading

  • at or near the bottom (see above)

Percent of Public School Fourth Graders Proficient or Better in Writing

  • I am pretty sure we're slightly more adept at writing than reading, but I am not certain

Percent of Public School Eighth Graders Proficient or Better in Writing

  • same as above

Percent of Public School Fourth Graders Proficient or Better in Mathematics

  • math is probably our strong point, which is like saying that George Bush's strong point is his leadership ability (in other words, there IS no 'strong point')

Percent of Public School Eighth Graders Proficient or Better in Mathematics

  • same as above

Average Teacher Salary as a Percent of Average Annual Pay of All Workers

  • this is probably toward the bottom without being AT the bottom. Some districts get pretty decent pay...though now that COL is on the rise due to the massive increase in the cost of housing, I doubt if salaries are keeping up

Average Daily Attendance as a Percent of Fall Enrollment in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools in 2004

  • I'd venture a guess that our daily attendance is likely on the low end of the spectrum, though maybe not in the bottom 5

Percent of School-Age Population in Public Schools

  • Arizona's immigrant population may factor into these statistics (depending on the way data is collected) and we also have a decent number of private and charter schools (when your public schools are as bad as they are, is there any wonder)


Negative (BAD to be ranked at the top)

High School Drop Out Rate

  • no doubt ours is pretty high, but I'm relatively certain it's not in the top 5

Special Education Pupil-Teacher Ratio

  • this is merely a guess, but I'd say we might actually be somewhat decent in this area

Percent of Public Elementary and Secondary School Staff Who are School District Administrators

  • this has got to be at or near the top based purely on the sheer number of districts we have, though I did find this interesting site from the Arizona School Boards Association

Average Class Size in Public Elementary Schools

  • purely guessing here based upon my own experiences with the current school systems, but I'd say this has got to be at or near the top. With growth at such a high rate, schools can't keep up with the drastic increase in population. In 2000, the School Facilities Board approved the building of 26 new schools per year (through 2004), with most of these schools being built in the Metro Phoenix area. That is a lot of schools, but the state is simply growing faster than schools can be built

Average Class Size in Public Secondary Schools

  • even 10 years ago when I graduated from high school class sizes were ridiculous. My junior year, I had a Spanish class with FIFTY students. Yep, 50 - eventually the school 'wisely' split us up...into a class of 40 and a class of 10 (and you wonder why the state ranks so low). I can only imagine how widespread the problem must be now.

Median Pupil-Teacher Ratio in Public Primary Schools

  • same as above

Median Pupil-Teacher Ratio in Public Middle Schools

  • same as above

Median Pupil-Teacher Ratio and Public High Schools

  • same as above

*********

So...maybe I should seriously consider homeschooling again. I don't want my daughter's education to suffer just because I happen to like everything else about Arizona. There are a few really fantastic districts in Arizona (two of them happen to be the ones I attended for elementary school)...maybe it's time we start looking for houses in Peoria. The district I currently live in is probably one of Arizona's worst districts (yeah, in the entire state...it's that bad). It IS getting better though - which is a little bit disappointing giving the reasons. This district is in a city that is predominantly Mexican - with the minor population being mostly first or second generation Americans. Now that the surrounding area is being developed and turned into white suburbia, the district is magically getting more funding. But, the suffering schools within the district are still suffering, while the newer schools are doing rather well. That's the disturbing reality of American education, folks. If you're poor, you just don't have the same access to quality education.

And don't get me started on the ridiculousness that is NCLB and the concept of vouchers...THEY DON'T HELP THE STUDENTS WHO ARE IN THE MOST NEED OF HELP.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Short Personality Quiz

Courtesy of my girl "Rays of Ass" (Asrai)

Your Personality Profile
You are dependable, popular, and observant.Deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.In fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do.
You are unique, creative, and expressive.You don't mind waving your freak flag every once and a while.And lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!




For whatever reason, I have always enjoyed these silly little quizzes. Yeah, I know the answers could apply to anyone most of the time...but I still think they're cool. And this one describes me quite well (my emotions do influence everything I do, but no who knows me well would call me moody). And yes, I wave my freak flag proudly!

Back

Okay, a little hiatus there.

Maybe I'll make an appearance a little more often now...who knows.

Life is about as good as it can possibly be with a husband in a warzone. The daughter is in soccer and is in a 4-5 year old storytime group (without parents) at the local library - she's really enjoying both activities tremendously. She's hilarious and makes me laugh every day. She's really taken to posing for the camera...and I mean REALLY. If she sees me break out the camera, sh starts trying out fifty different poses - her little cheesy self. And I'm working on putting together the curriculum for a little project of mine. I'm going to propose a new community class through one of the cities here. I've got a connection within the community activities department, so I'm hoping I'll get to teach that class plus a couple others - it'd only be for a few hours a week, but I'd really enjoy it! The class I'm proposing is a sort of seminar-styled course in world cultures - basically an overview of a variety of countries' music, dance, and folklore. It'd be for kids around 8-10. I know I'd pay money for my child to take part in something educational and FUN!

I'll probably add a soccer pic of the kiddo before too long. She looks adorable in her little soccer get-up - we made her a shirt just for soccer and she thought that was too cool!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Money laundering, election-stealing, indictments, OH MY!

Here's a little political food for thought brought to you by your friendly loony liberal. Why this hasn't really made national news is beyond me...so much for that 'leftist liberal media', eh?

Watergate-style money laundering indictments stoke Ohio's stolen election fires

Here's the beginning of the article...


Quote:

A close associate of key Republicans from George H.W. Bush to George W. Bush to Ohio Senator George Voinovich to Ohio Governor Robert Taft and many, many more, Noe has long been known as northwest Ohio's "Mr. Republican."

He has also been at the heart of speculation on how huge numbers of votes in the Toledo area may have wrongly found their way into the Bush column, helping the GOP again take the presidency in 2004.

While media attention focuses on Plamegate and on Noe's financial scams, it overlooks many years as Chair of the Board of Elections in Lucas County. He was deeply involved in controversial procurement deals that brought Diebold opti-scan vote counting machines into inner city Toledo precincts. Many of those machines suspiciously malfunctioned at key times on election day. Sworn testimony in hearings conducted by the Free Press after the election confirm that thousands of inner city voters were disenfranchised due to Noe's decisions.

In a widely circulated 2003 fundraising letter, Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell promised to deliver Ohio's 2004 electoral votes---and thus the election---to Bush. O'Dell and Noe are two of Ohio's nineteen GOP Bush Pioneer/Ranger high money donors.

Sworn testimony in the Free Press hearings further confirmed that Diebold technicians were given access to the machines procured by Noe, compromising the Ohio recount, and were allegedly involved in the selection of the precincts to be recounted, in violation of Ohio election law. Ohio requires that precincts be "randomly selected" in a recount.

Noe's wife Bernadette chaired the Lucas County BOE leading up to and during the actual November 2, 2004 balloting. Under her guidance, Toledo-area officials purged some 27,000 voters from registration lists in late summer 2004, just prior to the November presidential vote. The conduct of the election under her regime was so deeply tainted with incompetence and fraud that Ms. Noe announced her resignation effective soon after the election. The scandals ran so deep that in the summer of 2005, the Republican Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell, was forced to make public a scathing report on how Lucas County handled the election. Amidst the public uproar, the entire Lucas County Board of Elections resigned.

The federal indictments against Noe include charges of conspiring to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act through the use of two dozen "conduit donors" who slipped the Bush-Cheney campaign some $45,400 in 2003. Charges also cite causing the Bush-Cheney campaign to file false reports with the Federal Election Commission. The total penalties Noe faces on the three counts are up to $950,00 in fines and up to a total of fifteen years in prison.

The indictments are reminiscent of the large money-laundering schemes used by the Nixon-Agnew campaign in 1972 that led directly to the Watergate scandals and Nixon's resignation. Among those implicated at the time was George Steinbrenner, current owner of the New York Yankees, who funneled money to the Campaign to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) by giving his employees checks to pass on.


And an article from another publication, the Toledo Blade:

Quote:

Tom Noe, whose failed rare-coin deal with the state has triggered multiple investigations and rocked Ohio’s Republican leadership, was charged yesterday with illegally funneling $45,400 to President Bush’s re-election campaign.

Gregory A. White, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announced a three-count indictment against Mr. Noe, saying he used two dozen people as “conduits” to make illegal campaign contributions at a $2,000-a-seat fund-raiser in Columbus.

In doing so, Mr. Noe skirted federal campaign finance funding limits while meeting a pledge to raise $50,000 for the Oct. 30, 2003, fund-raiser. The Bush campaign later named Mr. Noe a “Pioneer” for raising at least $100,000 overall.

The Noe case is the largest campaign money-laundering scheme prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department since new campaign finance laws were enacted by Congress in 2002, said Noel Hillman, chief of the Justice Department’s public integrity section.

Oh, but it gets better...that first article noted that Noe's wife (Republican) was the Director of the Lucas County (largely Democratic county) Board of Elections. Hmmmmm...


Quote:

In yet another surreal twist in Ohio’s “coin-gate” scandal, the wife of Bush’s chief Ohio fundraiser, Tom Noe—who is currently embroiled in campaign finance and money laundering probes—surprised poll workers and observers alike by disrupting the ballot count during the 2004 general election, RAW STORY has discovered.

Bernadette Noe, who served dual roles as chairman for the Lucas County Republican Party and the Lucas County Board of Elections, sent twelve “partisans” into a warehouse on Election Day, according a memo authored by Ohio’s Director of Campaign Finance Richard Weghorst who was present at the time.

The assertion is part of a comprehensive investigation prepared for Ohio Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell regarding reports of irregularities in Lucas County. The report found gross failures on the part of Ms. Noe’s board in preparation for and administration of November’s election. (Read the memo in PDF)

The Board was “directly responsible for the inefficient and unorganized election process” in the county, the report said. Weghorst found they had failed to lock and secure ballots and voting machines; manipulated the three percent hand recount; and failed to properly remove Ralph Nader from county ballots.

But perhaps the most striking event directly linked to Ms. Noe was what Weghorst described as “a note-worthy incident relating to security” on the evening of the election.

Weghorst, who was present at a local warehouse where ballots were being tabulated, says in his report that “two groups of partisan volunteers totaling approximately twelve people" arrived, whose "purpose for being there was not immediately known nor requested."

When the volunteers refused to leave the premises, Weghorst called the police, who then escorted the group away from the warehouse. It later emerged they had come at Ms. Noe's request.

A Diebold employee, Robert Diekmann, was also present at the warehouse that night.


Ms. Noe and the machines

Ms. Noe was an advocate of Diebold’s optical scan software as chair of the Lucas County Board of Elections. In April 2004, she and another fellow Republican board member voted to approve a $350,000 contract with Diebold to lease machines for the election. The county was forced the lease the equipment after a deadlock and a rebuke from Blackwell.

"It's going to cost us more than we thought it would, but it's going to be a fair election,” Ms. Noe said at the time. “I am confident with the system we will have with Diebold.”

“Every vote is going to get counted, and it is going to be an efficient election,” she added.

The contract was no-bid. After Democrats on the board revealed a cheaper bid from another company, the Lucas County board was forced to open the contract for bidding, over Ms. Noe’s objections.

The contract was eventually awarded to Diebold.

Diebold has faced scrutiny in Ohio, particularly after comments by the firm’s chief executive in 2003 to Ohio Republicans in which he declared he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

One Ohio election official recently admitted a Diebold lobbyist offered him $10,000 in an effort to woo the county to purchase Diebold machines, which he diverted to the local Republican Party.


Additional allegations against Ms. Noe

Reminiscent of an account reported on by RAW STORY regarding ballot tampering in Clermont County, Ohio, Ms. Noe was involved in an incident through which Republican volunteers were brought in to “assist” processing returned voter confirmation postcards. On her authority and that of several other board members, partisan volunteers were allowed to copy the returned cards.

They were subsequently caught by a Lucas County Democratic official peeling the return stickers off the voter confirmation cards, and were told to leave. Weghorst’s inquiry found no evidence they had been supervised.

The investigator's report was submitted in April 2005.

Bernadette Noe resigned from the Lucas County Republican Party and from her position as head of the Board of Elections in December, saying she wanted to spend more time with her family.


And people thought we liberals were CRAZY and just a bunch of sore losers for thinking (knowing) that Bush's 2nd "election" was fraudulent (in addition to the 1st) and that the exit polling data was NOT wrong. HA! Anyone care to help me pass out slices of "I told you so" pie??? Very Happy