Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Okay or Not Okay?

I want you to watch this video before you read this post:

Now that you watched (you did, right?)....what do you think?  If you couldn't view the video...go to Outrage at ESPN.  Think about that while you read my take.

Here's my take:  I have three boys.  I have always told them that there is no reason in this world to ever hit a girl.  NONE!  That has always been my rule.  I don't believe that boys should put a hand on a girl...ever.  I found out recently that my ex had David convinced that it was against the law to ever hit a girl.  Well, it worked.  He believed his dad.  

But let me say this:  While I still do not think that a man should ever hit a woman because he thinks he can or because he thinks she did something to deserve it, I think a man should be able to defend himself just as a woman should be able to in the same situation.  If a woman is being abused and she decides enough is enough and strikes back, usually she is completely vindicated because the man is, well, a man and he was abusing her.  This is true even if she kills the man.  But...what if a man has been abused by a woman?

Yes, it happens.  If the man strikes back, would he then be vindicated or would he be put underneath the jail?  If a woman comes at a man because she is angry and she is railing on him, should the man just take it?  Should he just lay there and let her beat the crap out of him or should he stop her?  One hit that stops her?  Is that okay?  You can stop someone without beating the hell out of that acceptable?  Or is it unacceptable for a man to defend himself in any situation? 

So what do you think?  Leave me a comment.  Let me know what you think about this subject.  I'm sure there are many opinions out there.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Let's Get to the Bottom of Things

Word around town is that tomorrow, there will be indictments handed down from the Jefferson County District Attorney's office and the special grand jury that was impaneled to investigate BISD. 

These indictments are said to be just the first in a line of indictments that are expected to be handed down by this grand jury.  The ones tomorrow are said to be complicit in not only fraud and collusion, but they are said to have had a hand in creating and hiding monies that belongs to BISD.  I have to say my curiosity is peaked.

Months ago, when the FBI first began its investigations and it came out that $4 million dollars had been embezzled, I heard a much larger number than that.  The number I heard was closer to $16 million dollars, maybe even more.  I also heard many other names than those who were eventually found to have taken the $4M...I can only think that some of those names may be indicted this week or indictments may be coming for them. 

All I really know is that this will not be complete if the investigations and indictments do not touch the right people.  If someone is left out because of connections, it will not bode well for the new DA.  He has shown himself to be ethical so far, so we expect great things from him. 

Word is also that there will be those in the Jefferson County Courthouse who will be affected by these indictments.  We all know that things have been going on down there that are less than ethical, so we hope that those persons will feel the wrath as well.

I don't have any concrete knowledge about any of this....this is just little things I am hearing and reading and I always keep an ear out because I care about Beaumont and BISD.  I just hope that now that the BOM is installed, things will soon be back on track.  Getting to the bottom of the problems will be a tremendous help and part of that includes making sure those responsible for the gross mismanagement are held accountable.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Big Brother...Yes I Watch!

So, every summer, I watch Big Brother...and every year there's that one person who is just a total annoyance.  This year, no one is really standing out as a that person...but Caleb is close.  This boy...I gotta tell ya...he's a little looney-toons.  He doesn't look like he's a little off....see:

He's cute.  He has massive tattoos, but I can deal with that.  But, man...he has lost his mind over another house guest, and it's getting into his game a little too much.  Caleb has fallen head over heels for Amber.....

Granted, she is gorgeous and smart, but there's one thing that is wrong with this situation...Amber doesn't like Caleb, much less have the kind of feelings for him that he has for her.  It is so sad to watch.  He keeps tabs on her in the house, like who she is with and if she's thinking about him.  Whenever anyone tries to talk game to him, he talks about Amber.  He agreed to be put on the block to save her, which he did by throwing the POV competition, and now he thinks she owes him in some way.  She didn't ask him to do that...he volunteered.

But he's stuck on her none the less.  The biggest hitch in his infatuation......

Cody.  Currently this week's HOH, Cody is Amber's best friend in the house.  FRIEND being the operative word.  They are they sit and talk and rub shoulders and cuddle...yeah, but still friends.  Caleb, just tonight, walked in to the HOH bedroom just so he could see if Cody and Amber were in there and what they were doing.  It was so obvious that's what he was doing because he walked in, sat down, stared at Cody and Amber, didn't say a word, and then got up and walked out.  The boy is obsessed.

He needs to go home. 

I may blog once a week or so about Big Brother now, so watch for the posts.  I will choose one person to blog about, so stayed tuned.  And leave me comments to let me know if you're watching and what you think!  I like comments!!  

Friday, July 18, 2014

I Am A Sucker...Yes I Am!

In this house, we are dog people.  This is because I am highly allergic to cats.  If I go to my sister's house I have to take Benadryl so that my eyes won't swell and itch and my sinuses won't get so stopped up that I cannot breathe.  I even had an allergy attack one night many years ago when I went out to the garage to retrieve a quilt that was in a storage box, but that apparently a cat had gotten into.  Now, mind you, I didn't know this at the time I brought it inside, took it to my bedroom, shook it out and put it very carefully over my bed.  Well that didn't last long: within minutes I was in the shower washing the dander out of my eyes and hair and trying to make sure it was gone and not going to cause me any further problems.

Why am I telling you this?  Because of this:

This little baby was walking down highway 105 one day.  If you know anything about 105, you know that big trucks travel this road all day long and they sometimes don't even stop for traffic signals - especially at 105 and Tram....which is very close to where said baby was running down the shoulder.  Being a sucker, I pulled over to the shoulder and backed up to a point where I could see the baby and told David to get out and catch it.  After trapping him in a ditch, I got a towel from the car and we put it over him and picked him up.  At that point we didn't know if he was too wild to keep or if he was flea infested or what.  We just knew he couldn't be left on the side of the road.

Fast forward a few weeks, and here we are:

 He sleeps on my desk.

 He sleeps on my pillow.

He even sleeps in a box on top of my printer.  He can sleep anywhere.

As for the resident baby of the house, Coal puppy, well he hasn't been too receptive to the invasion.  For the first week or two, he didn't even want to be near the kitty.  He did allow him to get close, though, and I have proof:

"Don't get any closer, Kitty.  I don't like you."

However, things have gotten to a point where Coal doesn't mind the kitty so much...even though Kitty bites his legs while he eats and slaps his ears with his claws out...and then there's this:

"Touching isn't so bad, now is it?"

Kitty will hopefully be going to live with Sheri (her of the cat filled house) at the end of the month.  Of course this is all dependent on the resident kitty at her house, Miss. Priss Butt, accepting this sweet baby. 
"We wear Christmas collars...can you deal with that, Kitty?"

Kitty's new name (I think) is Bruno Butt.  Yes I know...but if you're a cat living in casa de Sheri, you have Butt somewhere in your name.  It's a pre-requisite. 

How am I dealing with the intrusion?  Not so bad, actually.  Other than a few times when my eyes have gotten itchy after kitty has slept on my shoulder, my allergies have been in pretty good check.  I know that will change when he gets older.  I haven't ever had an issue with kittens, just cats.  He's a good kitty, but I think we will stay dog people around here...I mean after all, how can you not love this face?


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Because I Can't Afford To

I read an article just this week about a mom who drove her Mercedes to pick up food stamps (actually WIC) and how she was looked at when people saw her drive up in that particular car.  The article was in the Washington Post and was titled "This is What Happened When I Drove My Mercedes to Pick Up Food Stamps."

This article hit home for me.  Why?  Well, I don't drive a Mercedes, but if I did own one and it was the car I needed to drive at that particular moment, it would be the car I would drive.  No, it hit home for me because I have been asked a question similar to one she was asked..."why don't you sell the car?"....but in my case, it's "why don't you sell your house?"

My answer to that question is simple:  Because I can't afford to sell my house. 

This mom was driving a car that was paid off that her husband had purchased before they were married and had twins and a home....and before her husband lost his job two weeks before she gave birth.   This car wasn't a slap in the face of those who drove up to that same church in cars that were maybe barely running or that were much older and much less extravagant as a Mercedes.  It was the car that was running that day.  It was the car she needed at that time. 

I was asked by a very good friend why I didn't just sell my house.  He asked me this as I was in the middle of yet another crisis at my hot water because the water heater was leaking.  It costs money to fix things like hot water heaters and appliances and a/c unit, which right now I don't have the money to spend on such things.  So why don't I sell my house?  Why don't I just rid myself of the stress of worrying about broken appliances or water heaters or other such things that go wrong when you are a homeowner?

Because I can't afford to sell my house.

Right now, my mortgage payment is $770.95.  Yep.  That's what it is.  There are few three bedroom apartments in Beaumont, and even if I did want to move in to one, they rent for over $1000 a month.  My monthly child support is all we live on right now.  That's $1500 a month.  I can't afford to live anywhere except my house right now.  That's why I don't move. 

Not because I just want to stay in this house and deal with crises when they arise.  I stay in this house because I can't afford to sell it. 

Before you look at people who may be in the same situation as either me or the mom in this article, maybe stop to think that the situation isn't one we choose to be's just what we do because we can't afford to do differently. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

On Being a Facebook Group Admin

As an admin on several Facebook groups, I have learned many things about being an admin that I would like to pass along to anyone who is going to start a Facebook group.  Many of the things are simple, but others are important to the integrity of the group.

How to deal with spammers
Facebook groups are a favorite place for spammers to try to get people hooked to their crap in a way that seems safe because, hey, we are part of the same group that is interested in doing good in our community so why would someone use this group to phish for gullible people?

So how do you deal with this?  First of all, if you are going to be the only admin, you need to be the only one to control who is added to the group.  This can be done in the settings.  Allowing anyone to approve adding people to the group gives control away and allows the group to become something you never intended it to be.  If you started the group, then you admin the group and only you approve who joins.

What should the settings be?
My rule of thumb is that my settings are as controlled as possible.  Depending on what the group is for, you may want to set it to secret - no one can even find the group if you don't tell them about it.   I used this for a neighborhood group (more on that later) that was just for people in our neighborhood so we could communicate.  There's also a setting that is private that allows anyone to see an entry page for the group, but they have to asked to be added, and the admin is the one who can approve.  This is useful for, say, class reunion groups.  Then there's the least restrictive setting that is open.  This setting allows anyone to see the group, who is in it, what people have posted...and this is the one that needs the control for who is approved for the group.  Unless the setting is changed, anyone can add and anyone can approve people in the group.  Just decide what the group is for and what the target audience is and you will know what settings are appropriate.

How do I know who not to let into the group?
This is the tricky part.

In an open group, you might want anyone to be able to join without restriction.  I admin a group for a youth sports league.  I don't want to restrict who can see what is happening with the league, so anything but open is not what I want.  I do, however, want to be the only one who is the admin so that if someone slips in that should not be there, I have the option to remove them from the group - this includes spammers.

How do I know they are spammers?  If you see that someone has posted something that looks like an ad, and you have no idea why that particular ad would be on the group page, then this is usually a spammer.  You can also tell if you go to that person's wall.  If this individual has just joined Facebook or doesn't have any friends...or isn't connected to anyone else in the group in any way, then this person is a spammer.  Go to the list of members, search for this person, and then block them.  You may have to do this over and over, but eventually it will be less and less often.

Now that I have a group, how much control do I actually have?
You have all the control.  Facebook links groups you created to your personal page.  This makes you responsible for everything posted on that group page.  Comments that can be construed as racist or pornographic can come back to you.

THIS IS IMPORTANT: You can delete anything you deem offensive or anything that is not appropriate for the group.  I know people will cry censorship, but you have the right to remove any inappropriate comments from any group you admin.  Some would say you have an obligation to do so.

I ran into this in the neighborhood group I started.  When I created the group, I intended it to be for all of my neighbors...even those with whom I had no desire to be friends.  That wasn't part of my intention.  I don't have to be friends with everyone to allow them to be part of something that is for a neighborhood.  I intended for the homeowners to be able to communicate with each other, and it worked really great at when cars were being broken in to, or when the pool had to be closed for maintenance.  But there were times when some people decided to use the page to slander others and this was unacceptable.  Posts were deleted, and people cried foul....and it always happened to be the 30-something dead-beat son of a homeowner who was living off mom and dad because he is just a loser (my opinion, deal with it).  You have to deal with people like him, but you don't have to be bullied by them.  It is your group, your Facebook, and therefore, your right to censor if need be. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Falling Down Around Me

I had a horrible day yesterday.  By the time I got in bed, I couldn't breathe and felt like the world was falling in around me. 

The day started off with me waking to find that the SCOTUS had ruled that a business can deny birth control as part of its insurance plan.  I had a day long debate about this on facebook with a friend of a friend.  I got into things about my personal life that he had no business knowing but that I felt were good examples of what he was arguing.  He argued that women just want birth control so they can go out and get laid all they want and be loose and not have to worry about getting pregnant.  (Can you say Rush Limbaugh influence?)  I took great offense to this.  He said he also didn't believe that insurance could pay for Viagra, yet he didn't answer me what his thoughts on that would be if someday he needed it.  He just didn't get it. 

He said that women should just go find another job if they work for say, Hobby Lobby, and disagree with the ruling.  I told him that women making $10/hr can't just change jobs if the job they have provides them insurance.  It just isn't that easy.  He said they should just pay for the birth control themselves then because $40/month really isn't that much to pay if it something you think you really need.  That's when I got to the point where I felt the world was falling down around me.

See, each month, my child support is $1500.  My ex doesn't trust me to make the mortgage payment so he makes that payment out of my child support.  After my mortgage payment is deducted, I am given $665 a month.  That money has to pay my electricity, water, phone, cable, and internet bills.  (No comments on my cable and internet.  It's all the entertainment we get, and the internet helps with job searches.) Those bills usually total around $650/month.  I don't even have money to feed my kids.  Our cars have no insurance.  Yesterday, my mom spent $240 on two tires for Nicholas' car....and since she has been buying our groceries, I don't know that I can ask her for more this week...and we only have one more night of food left in this house.

Now, since I have told you all of that, let's go back to the woman who is making $10/hour.  Before taxes, that's $1600 over four weeks....before taxes.  My mortgage is much lower than rent on just about every one bedroom apartment in Beaumont.  If this woman is offered insurance at her job, and that insurance will allow her to get birth control for $10/month, that's $120/year as opposed to the $480 a year if she has to pay for it herself.  What is she supposed to go without?  With the math at my house, there's already no food unless the electricity bill isn't paid, and then that will only get one week's worth of food...but then there's no electricity in the house.  So where does the cut need to be made?  See.  He just doesn't get it. 

Then on top of all of this, I sat in front of my television last night and watched a room full of people cheer when the BISD board of trustees did not approve the RIF that would have laid off 110 teachers.  This made me sick.  The state appointed conservator was appalled at what was happening in that room.  It's like no one understands that when the state comes in to take over that the cuts will be more broad and deeper than what the incompetent board members were suggesting.  I know that the feeling is let the BOM do the job because the BOT is not doing the RIF fairly, but really people?  This is not going to be pretty.  It is not going to be nice and sweet and the ones who will suffer the most (yes, more than those who are laid off) will be the students.  You all just cheered that the education of our students will be at much greater risk than if the RIF had been approved last night. 

I can't handle days like this.  Too much stress and too much ignorance. I need to get out of this town and I can't even escape for a day. 

.....and we still have a kitten.