Obvi

I saw this on Facebook this evening . . .

How does this relate to your discipline, your work, your field?  Think about it.  Will you do what it takes?

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Filed under Pedagogy, Professional Development

Summer Plans

I just read a fantastic post about saving money in the summer at Make It Missoula and thought I’d share some of my own tried and true activities in the summer as well as tell you what’s going on with my Missoula family!

  • Farmers’ Market!  It’s an outing that we all enjoy and can be as inexpensive as free!  We always run into friends, and my 6 year old loves the trains, the Xs, climbing the tree, and running ‘the circle.’  She’s getting her twin 20 month olds in the groove too.
  • Parson’s Ponies!  Seriously, this is such a great deal, and if you have a horse lover like I do, it’s like required or something.  They’re often out and about town including the Sunday market.
  • The Best Backyard in Missoula!  My friends have spoken, and I win.  We’re always out playing and enjoying the garden.  One of the twins was picking dandelion heads for about a 1/2 hour yesterday while her sister napped, her big sister played, her dad mowed, and I gardened.  We also like to have friends over for chillin’ n grillin’.
  • Splash Decks!  They’re free.  They’re fun.  They’re wet.  And they’re in Missoula.  Need I say more?
  • Hiking!  Even at my advanced pregnant stage, there are hikes I can do.  And there are hikes your little ones can do.  My favorite hike is Waterworks (especially when I’m pregnant, out of shape, and/or wearing a kid).  We also like to hike on Blue Mountain because it’s dog friendly and can take as long or as short as necessary.

Our summer projects & plans:

  • Home and yard ‘tweaking’ projects like widening the walkway between the house and the garden in back, pulling out the stove (placement is horrid & it’s not safe for our young family anyway) and replacing it with french doors to the back deck, updating the front porch with railing (done!), new paint (umm…), & new shrubs (instead of the hideous arborvitae blockade)
  • Baby cookin’ and birthin’ – homestyle version at the end of June or beginning of July
  • Recital planning – I’m giving a joint recital in the early Fall, so I should try to get that planned before #4 arrives
  • Family – Dad is coming for Memorial Day; MIL is coming in June; Mom is coming in July; who knows who’ll show up in August
  • August weddings!
  • August baptism for the newborn & the twins!
  • Perhaps a couple of summer camps for the 6 year old – MCT, Clark Fork, & PEAS are high on our list!

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Filed under Family, Missoula

Heads Up Campaign: Infant Mortality Awareness Month

September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month.  I recently discovered that 70 babies in Montana die before their 1st birthday each year.   The leading causes include problems in the perinatal period, sudden infant death syndrome, congenital anomalies, and causes with unknown origins.  The 2006 Montana infant mortality rate was 5.8 per 1,000.  The national rate was 6.7.  [1] 

To increase awareness about local and national infant mortality trends, the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) is spear-heading a baby hat knit/crochet campain.  Here is the notice I received:

ICTC is observing September’s Infant Mortality Awareness Month; JOIN ICTC IN THE “HEADS UP” ON INFANT MORTALITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN” AND KNIT AND CROCHET HATS TO REFLECT THE INFANT MORTALITY RATE FOR VA, OR, FL, PA, CA, NM AND D.C.

Healthy Babies Are Everyone’s Business and I know that you care.

In 2008, over 27, 600 infant died before age one, most of the deaths were preventable. Monroe, president and founder of ICTC said, “factors that contribute to the higher rates of infant deaths include: premature births, low-birth weight, poverty, mis-education about proper food choices, poor pre-conception health, late prenatal care (beginning prenatal care late in the 2nd trimester,) less than 5 prenatal visits, high blood pressure (causing restricted blood flow to the placenta) and hypertension formally referred to as pre-eclampsia, SIDS, failure to thrive syndrome and accidents”.

ICTC is asking every able body to join us in knitting or crocheting at least ten infant hats and sending them to the ICTC State Representative in your state by September 15th. The ICTC State Representatives are listed on WWW.ICTCMIDWIVES.ORG, or you can send them to the national at ICTC PO Box 11923, Portland, OR 97211.

The hats will be displayed at an infant mortality awareness rally in the week of September 26th. At the end of the public awareness project the hats will be given to infants as “Going Home” gifts when they leave the local NICU units. What a comforting gift to an ill baby and support to worried parents. By participating in the “Heads Up” Campaign, we can increase awareness about the causes of infant mortality and then create the solutions to reduce infant deaths.

The International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) is an international organization established in 1991, and head quartered in Portland, Oregon. It is an infant mortality prevention, breastfeeding promotion and midwife training organization. The mission is to increase the number black midwives, doulas, and healers, to empower families, in order to reduce maternal and infant mortality. ICTC educates on the causes of infant mortality and provides solutions through education, direct services and training midwives and Full Circle Doula Birth Companion Training.

This campaign is being co-sponsored by Birthing Hands of DC and other supporters.

To learn more visit http://www.ICTCMIDWIVES.ORG or call 503.460.9324

As I indicated on my advocacy blog, the Trial of Labor, I didn’t actually find more info about this via the ICTC website.  However, Birthing Hands of DC has info on their site as well as links to easier patterns that you can knit and crochet, even a 10-minute preemie hat.

And I know that you have 10 minutes to make a hat for this wonderful cause!!!

[1] http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/PHSD/prevention_opps/pdf/MPHJuly09.pdf

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Filed under Family, Montana

List Play: 100 Things Meme

Out of these 100 things, the ones that are in bold font are the ones that I have done at some point in my life:

Swiv (flickr)

Attribution: Swiv (flickr)

1. Started your own blog (my “established” blogs are Trial of Labor and MSO MusTek; my new blogs are this one and the one for the ICAN Clarion)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (when I was pregnant with my daugher! not fun!!)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort (actually was just instrumental in the destruction of my kid brother-in-law’s snow fort one year, heh heh heh!)
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater (the first time I remember was with my parents for the premiere of Star Wars!)
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (and was told to never ever do it again!)
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter (first time was high school prom!)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (does my dissertation count?)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake (no, ewww!)
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

100. Totally copied a post from someone else’s blog to your own

Thanks to Super Crunch Mama for sucking me in! 😉

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Bresnan Cable: Nothing but COAL!

Hardly a week goes by when I don’t think of Bresnan Communications with contempt.  I have been angry with that company for a year-and-a-half.  This is my story.

In the summer of 2006 we decided to switch from flaky satellite service to more reliable cable service.  It wasn’t about the TV.  It wasn’t about the cost.  It was about having a reliable digital broadband.  It was going to cost us more money, but we were ok with that.  Bresnan is the only game in town for cable digital service, so we signed up.  They sent out a newbie to install the service.  He didn’t really know what he was doing, and it took him for EVER.  I wasn’t pressed for time that day, so it didn’t bother me too much.  Eventually, he hit the wall and called in his supervisor.  They spent some time out in the backyard, and then the boss man took off, and the newbie was on his own again.

Ahhhh a reliable signal.  Wunderbar!

And then I looked outside at what these idiots had done . . .

Instead of burying the cable line, they ran a cable about 12-15 feet above the ground diagonally across our entire backyard to connect to a nearby pole (not even the closest pole to our cable box).  I called and complained.  They scheduled me for an appointment to fix the problem.

They didn’t keep the appointment.

They NEVER keep the appointment.

A year and a half later, we still have that fucking wire draped across our yard.  It’s dangerous – the wire does get hit by balls because it’s so low and covers the entire length of our yard.  And now that we have a hot tub, the wire is even more dangerous.  It doesn’t matter how much we complain, no one seems to be responsible because Bresnan subs out these jobs.  So, it’s the sub’s fault that Bresnan refused to provide customer service?  It’s the sub’s fault that a dangerous wire hangs above my yard?  It’s the sub’s fault that the installer didn’t just use the buried wire that was already there to hook into the cable?

I’m about to chop that fucking wire down and strangle the next Bresnan employee that dares to knock on my door and ask if I’m happy with my service.  Anyone have an alternative suggestion?

Update: Eventually Bresnan did correct the problem.  Someone stopped to inquire about it, and he fixed it the same day instead of making me wait yet again for an appointment.  I really appreciated his thorough attention to our problem!

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Filed under Missoula, Montana

Consumer Response to Brand Discounts

Thanks to @MarketingProfs on Twitter, I was directed to a piece by Paul Williams – “Can Your Brand Afford to Discount?”  The main concern projected in the piece is that a lack of creativity on the part of companies trains consumers to accept discounts as norms.

The guiding philosophy right now seems to be “desperate times call for desperate measures.”  Survival discounts offered by companies do cause confusion.  Discounts communicate that the product/service really is only worth that much and that the companies were overcharging previously.  Then again, in tough times, if someone wants me to buy something unnecessary, they’re going to have to offer a substantial discount to secure my purchase.

On the other hand, I’m quite irritated to see gas prices so low. Not that I’m a fan of high gas prices, but I thought the gas prices would finally force Americans to change their consumption habits.

I think companies have been taking advantage of the fact that so many Americans have been willing to go into debt to obtain luxury items and other things that are just not important. I’m kicking myself for it now.

Throw in the fact that credit card companies are now changing APRs “due to no fault on the part of the consumer,” and it’s nearly impossible to buy anything regardless of the discount.  Discover upped my APR to 24.9; I told them I was going to cancel my card and pay off the balance; the jerk on the phone offered me 19.9 because that would at least be “going the right direction.” I again told him I’d just assume cancel the account and he offered me 1.9 for 6 months.  (Ok, so I’ll cancel it within 6 months.)

Yep, it’s pretty tough to buy anything these days… huge discounts or no.  And I can tell you that when I do buy something, I’d rather buy something locally created or produced.  That makes it harder for Target, Starbucks,  Outback Steakhouse, and other “brands” to attract my business.

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Filed under American culture, Economy

How Am I Related?

Sometimes I wonder how it is that I’m related to my family members.  First off, I’m a Capricorn, and both of my parents and my only sibling (my brother) are Leos.  That’s one of my least compatible signs.  (How the heck did that happen?!)  On the other hand, I look just like my mother.  No, I look just like my father.  Actually, I look like whichever one of them you think.  There’s no way a baby switch at the hospital justification will work.  No, some how I am related to them.

I used to be a Republican.  I wasn’t a good Republican, even back then, but still I thought Ronald Reagan was awesome.  I worked at the 1992 RNC for CNN, the Houston Host Committee, and the Bush-Quayle campaign.  But over the years I have become less Republican.  I’m sure my family members think I’m a liberal wacko, but oh I could be so much worse!

The other night we did a video chat with my family.  They were gathered at my brother’s home in Corpus Christi.  My folks were there and so were my sister-in-law’s parents.  We’ve razzed eachother from time to time about the election.  Anyway, at one point I turned the camera towards the other side of the room which revealed this poster of President Obama on our sideboard.

My brother promptly turns his webcam towards the TV, and they’re actually WATCHING O’Reilly.  I don’t watch any Fox news programs, mostly because I know there’s absolutely NO reason to expect balanced treatment of any politicized topic.  Most of my exposure to O’Reilly has been admittedly through soundbites from other pundits.  So, it’s perhaps a bit unfair for me to judge him when I refuse to watch his shows based on the numerous nasty soundbites I’ve heard over the years.

I digress.  I was just floored that on a lovely Friday evening over Thanksgiving weekend, that my family was gathered around the boob toob watching such polemic horseshit.  Awww, family togetherness and bonding with Bill O’Reilly.  <shudder>

Remind me again, how am I related to these people?

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