Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Toy Safety Law

After the Chinese toy scandal, two years ago, when all those toys were sold with lead paint, the government decided to enforce strict testing. They passed this law that would cost toy manufacturers a lot of money for the proper testing. The crafting community was upset because this law would pretty much put them out of business. A one year moratorium was allowed for homemade toys- either to allow for more discussion or to allow the anger to cool before it became law. Probably the latter. We're drawing close to that one year mark. And in a really cruel twist now the government has just exempted Mattel- the main offender that started this whole thing!!! Someone has greased some hands. It's infuriating.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

thumbs up for my city

I just had another interaction with the school department regarding my kid's homeschool status and I am so thankful for the warm interactions I have had with this woman. When I lived in a neighboring town homeschooled parents were treated like the enemy. Here we are treated with respect and friendliness and I can't say how much I appreciate that.


Friday, August 21, 2009

A product review: Point n Paint

We painted our new apartment with the new Point n Paint product. At first it seemed really cool. But the longer we painted the messier the whole thing got and after a while- that piece of plastic that is supposed to "edge" against the wall started getting covered in paint, which defeated the whole point. And the pad fell out of the holder once- both to me and to Timmy. It wasn't snapped in properly. It's a mistake you only make once- but at the cost of a big mess- Timmy left an iron shaped print on the carpet... And after a while we just started taping off the edging any way- which wasn't that big of a deal- and kind of gratifying when you get to pull it off and see the perfectly clean edging. And we also got nice clean lines using regular brushes and those little foam tipped ones. So in conclusion I would skip this product. For $10 I might recommend it- cuz at first it was fun. But not the $20 that it currently sells for.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I've been busy...

I just wanted to update here in case anyone was wondering why I haven't blogged recently. We've been super busy. I've been taking my kids on field trips like Plimouth Plantation. And then we painted an apartment and moved to it. Then we went on a five day church retreat in New Hampshire. We're having fun. And I will return to blogging very soon!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Exciting Town Hall Meeting on HealthCare

The healthcare debate is heating up around the country. Today my congresswoman, Niki Tsongas had a town hall meeting. It was originally planned for a little gathering at the supermarket. Ha! She quickly realized her mistake and rearranged it to be at town hall. About a thousand people showed up. Not everyone was let in though. By the time I got there the meeting was underway already. I was glad I wasn't in the meeting though. The real action was outside. A lot of people had signs. I would estimate the crowd was evenly split, for and against. People talked. People debated. Some like me, just wandered around and observed. Some oponants sang opera style. Some for public option sang "this land is your land". Two old ladies sang "We shall overcome" really loudly and obnoxiously. But I just found it amusing. One man had a huge poster of Obama with a Hitler moustache. He was trying to infer that the public option would insite euthenasia. This, of course, is completely not true. But those opposed are very misinformed. Some guy saw the Hitler connotation and didn't get the message- just assumed it was some sort of racist, KKK, theme. He yelled out, above the crowd at the man with the poster: "BIGOT!! BIGOT!!". I laughed.

I was surprised at the number of people against this bill and their passion. It occured to me that my side is motivated by three things: compassion for the uninsured, and sadness and anger over the current state of things. The other side is motivated by one thing, and one thing only: fear. They've been fed all these lies. Like, "we can't afford this". And "this will cause euthenasia" and "this will cause wait times and rationed health care" and "health care in countries with universal coverage is awful". Lies. (I'll discuss any of these points in more detail if any of my readers would like). But fear is the most powerful motivator. And so this political battle will be hard fought. We have to break down each fear and disprove it for them.

I went to pick up my 12 year old because I didn't want him to miss all the excitement at noon when the meeting let out. As I walked back to the crowd I ran into a WBZ radio reporter and I got interviewed!!! I was so happy for the opportunity to summarize the public option succinctly.

I said something like this "I'm Deena Sao of Lowell, Mass. "

Reporter: "How do you spell that last name?

Me: S-A-O. I'm married to a Cambodian- said, under my breath-because the reporter looked S.E. Asian herself.

Reporter: Are you for or against it?

Me: I'm for the public option. Insurance companies are raking in billions of dollars in profits. The public option is actually captalism at its finest! Mass health, for instance, has four non-profit insurance companies that compete for business: Network health, neighborhood health, and some others.

(The reporter asked if I had insurance). Yes. I have mass health right now. And I'm very happy with it. And I'm a nurse. And some day I'm going to have a job and be able to provide health insurance for my family. But until then, I'm grateful for the coverage for me and my children.

The reporter: You daughter wants to say something. How many kids do you have?

Me: ha ha. Yes, my one year old is trying to play with the microphone. I have four kids.

The Reporter: I think she said something about kids having coverage.

Me: Yes, it's very important for kids to have coverage. And adults too. It's not right for sick adults to go without care.

The reporter: Thank you....

So then, it was back to the rally where people were streaming out of the town hall meeting. People were chanting: "No Public Option" and others were chanting "Health Care for all". I lead the "health care for all" pretty much til everyone had come out. Towards the end the other women were saying "No public option" over and over so I just stopped and the young man next to me started saying funny stuff like "Yes, protect the health insurance companies!" and "why should I care about other human beings". He had me cracking up, literally.

Niki Tsongas made her way out the other door far from the crowd, which I thought was pretty lame. If I were her I would have addressed the crowd and given a heartfelt speech, roused the supporters and eased the concerns of the opponants. But my day in political office hasn't come yet.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

My customer service IM copied and pasted.

Chat InformationWelcome to an online chat session at Bank of America. Please hold while we connect you to the next available Bank of America Online Banking Specialist. Your chat may be monitored and recorded for quality purposes. Your current wait time is approximately 0 minutes. You are currently 1 in queue. Thank you for your patience.
Chat InformationThank you for choosing Bank of America. You are now being connected to a Bank of America Online Banking Specialist.
Norman: Hello, my name is Norman. Thank you for using Bank of America's Text Chat service.
Norman: To begin with, may I have your complete name to wish you?
You: Deena Sao
Norman: Thank you, Deena.
Norman: How may I assist you today with your personal accounts?
You: Look, I'm sorry to unleash this rage. It's not you. You're just a nice call center person trying to support his family. But it's Bank of America. There should be a class action law suit against them for these overdraft policies. There are several ways they count balances that are innately unfair... just ripping off the poor... I need to rant first, sorry, then maybe you can help me with my overdraft fees
Norman: I understand your concerns regarding the overdraft fee.
Norman: I will try my best what I can do for you.
Norman: Could you please provide me the last four digits of the account number in question?
You: The first injustice is that a transaction can be pending one day and the next day it is counted as a withdrawal. So when you are withdrawing other charges during that day your balance is positive but the next day all those charges are overdrawn
You: my account number? hold on
You: 6895
Norman: Thank you for the information.
Norman: Please allow me a moment while I access your account information.
You: The second injustice is the policy of withdrawing the largest withdrawal first. Clearly the fair thing to do would be to take them out in the order they are withdrawn in. But the bank policy is done in their best interest. Because the larger withdrawals will get the balance in the negative faster and then all the little withdrawals will add up to more overdraft fees
You: The third injustice is taking out an overdraft fee, causing a previously un-overdrawn account to go overdrawn and then charging fees for further withdrawals, that otherwise wouldn't have gone into the negative
You: And the last injustice is the amount of the fee. $35. For a loan on average of, I'd guess, $20 for two days. That's nearly double, times thirty days in a month equally 6000% interest. That's just insanity. They are gouging the working poor in America!!
You: And then these banks have the nerve to ask for bail out money!
You: OK I'm done ranting. We can get on with the issue of my overdraft charge or charges
Norman: As I can see the overdraft fee was charged correctly as per the bank's policy, therefore, I am unable to refund the fee charged on your account.
Norman: These are the banks policy and we are not authorized to go beyond this.
You: OK. Thanks.
Norman: I hope you can understand my limitations.
Norman: You are welcome.

Monday, August 03, 2009

I'm on a mission to find this book!

Help me, everyone. I'm looking for a book that my son brought home in kindergarten from the library (seven years ag0). I absolutely fell in love with it. But alas, we returned it, and I've never seen it again. It's about a bear who goes traveling. It's based on Henry David Thoreau's teachings and the bear is supposed to be Henry. And I think there was something hidden in all the pictures. It was just brilliantly creative. And I just can't find it!!!! So, if anyone knows what I'm talking about, or stumbles across it, please share it with us!

Amy found it!!! Here's the link!!!

And in the reviews I found a description of the pictures that I was trying to remember: "illustrated parallels between Henry and his friend's experiences: my favorite is the difference between the tangle of people on the train and the tangled blackberry branches in the field. My children love to find the cows drinking from the Sudbury River, drawn opposite the cows on the town green, whose water Henry's friend brings to them in a bucket."
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