Sunday, August 30, 2009

Morning Rant: Sunday coupons and crap overload

Right. Quickie this a.m. (I have 6 minutes before I have to make breakfast for the Evil Geniuslets, lol)

I just HAD to share this with you:

Like all good thrifty / frugal people I clip coupons. Honestly though, I don't get too many and here's why: store brands are just as good 99% of the time and are streets cheaper than name brand.

BUT, we do still have a v. few name brands that we cling to. Bodog, hanging grimly on to his upper-middle-class suburban upbringing, where they buy ONLY name brands, still insists on certain ones.  Even I share one or two.  Caffeine Free Diet Coke is one. Bodog and I have never found any store brand that can exactly match the taste. 

So I carefully go though all of the inserts in the Sunday paper with my eyes peeled for usable coups (and price matches since I shop at WalMart where they'll match any competator's price, yeah!)

Well, every Sunday I have the same brain explosion and vow to blog about it, and this is the Sunday I actually do it!  Here's the crap I find every week-end in the sales papers:

Death-By-Carbohydrate foods; sugar laden cereals ("Now provides fiber!" like that's gonna cancel out the astronomical sugar/carb content and chemicals and dyes.); "diet" FrankenFoods; hydrogenated vegetable oils masqerading as food ("Fresh buttery taste!" Why not just eat butter, you imbeciles?); and adverts for restaurants that make you store glucose by just reading them ("Never ending pasta bowl"?!  Let's waddle on over! Just stick a knife in your heart right now!  It'll save the years on double hand-fulls of meds and a motorised chair cuz you're so fat and sick you can't walk! "Includes unlimited breadsticks!" Ugh! )

Also featured are loads of "comfort foods" (I HATE that term. Food does not comfort me. I don't require food to give me pleasure or make me feel happy or safe. I require food to sustain me. My loved ones comfort me; my home, my animals, my books, etc, etc.  Food?  Nope. It's just freakin' food, people.  I enjoy the heck out of it, but I don't have an emotional attachment to it. Sorry!)

ANYway ... cookie dough, brownie mix, icing, microwave chocolate flavoured crap, ice cream, and on and on.  It makes me slightly queasy to look at all of it.

But the worst is the dog food. By a long shot.  Teensy individual portion servings for teensy overindulged dogs and all designed to look like human food. As a matter of fact, the dog food FrankenCrap looks better than the frozen human food FrankenCrap ... and you know what?  They both have the same ingredients. 

Now, we know that we have existed in approximately our current form for about 2 million years. So have dogs via wolves. What did we eat?  Meat, eggs, fruit, veg, seeds, nuts, and insects.  What did wolves eat?  Meat.  Period.  I'm sure they wouldn't turn down a found broken egg or a juicy injured insect, but otherwise: meat.

So why the bloody blue hell is there a dogfood* with "delicious ingredients like orzo, baby spinach, and tomatoes"?!

Because there are credulous, besotted dog owners out there who want FiFi to eat what Mummy eats, yes she does! Mummy loves her Feefulls, doesn't she? Yes she does, and wants her to have yummy noms in her tums tums!

Sick yet?  I am. And the worst part is, so is FiFi. Increasingly, our beloved pets are suffering from the same high carb/ high sugar induced diseases that we are: obesity, heart disease, diabetes.  Did you see how well I did the baby talk?  That's because I am the besotted owner of 6 rescued dogs (yes, I said SIX, and 4 cats!)  and also want my animals to get the very best. Fortunately I cannot afford to buy gormet dogfood, but unfortunately that means I'm unable to feed my dogs and cats what they were meant to eat: raw meat.  I do my best by supplimenting all the fat, grease, eggs, and leftover meat I can, though.

Do you find the Sunday inserts a smorgasboard of obesity and ill-health -inducing crap, or is it just me?  Do folks not know how bad this stuff is for them?  Do they not care?  Do they know they are ruining their animal's health as well?  How many absurdly fat dogs and cats have you seen?


*This dogfood is Cesar Bistro, BTW. Nothing against this company, they're just catering to people who actually have no idea that the $30/bag premium gormet dry dogfood that they buy is made of corn and soybeans. I have never seen a wolf grazing in a corn field. Ever.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 12:49 pm   0 comments

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Autism service dogs in public schools

I just came accross this article about parents battling school districts to allow autism service dogs in schools.

As the parent of an autistic child, I'm fascinated - I had no idea there were autism service dogs.

The article explaines:

"parents say calm their children, ease transitions and even keep the kids from running into traffic."

Another autistic 5-year-old's family:

"credits (the dog) with helping stop the boy from running off and keeping him from eating things like rocks"

Now, I realise that my daughter is "only" PDD-NOS and has never offered to eat a rock or run into traffic and so I have NO idea what it's like to live with a child with moderate to severe autism, but, using my own limited experience with the disorder, I'm having a hard time buying the Autism Service Dog thing.

I'm afraid I'm not grasping HOW, exactly, the dog helps.  From the ASDA (Autism Service Dogs of America) website comes this:

"Service dogs provide the child/adult challenged with autism an opportunity to safely access different environments which result in improved communication and social skills. The autism service dog’s presence offers a calming influence and provides a sense of security to the child and the parents. Abstract and concrete thinking advance, focus improves, and the length of attention span increases. Emotional outbursts occur less often. The important role of an autism service dog is affording the individual more independence and autonomy, helping those individuals become a viable part of the community at large"

There is no explaination of how the dog manages to advance my autistic child's thinking, improves her focus, her length of attention span, nor how the dog prevents emotional outbursts. Honestly, the whole paragraph smacks of "fad diet". Y'know: "You'll lose 30 lbs, feel calmer with more energy, your wrinkles will disappear and you'll look 10 years younger and sex will become fantastic!"

There also doesn't seem to be much on the qualifications of the people training these animals. Guide dogs for the blind are meticulously trained and the websites for Guide Dogs for the Blind and  Guide Dogs of America (just to grab two at random) boast long lists of veterinarians and licensed guide dog instructors.  I've raised and trained dogs my whole adult life and even a well-trained dog is still a pet, subject to being boisterous and disobedient every now and then.  Those guide dogs for the blind are focused.

I'm not prepared to totally pooh-pooh the autistic service dog thing, BTW.  I just need some proof that this 80lb golden retriever in my child's classroom is actually assisting her classmate - that said classmate would be severely hindered from learning without the animal - not that the dog is simply acting as an overgrown lovey or comfort object.

Many children are terrified of dogs, much less a huge breed like this, and many are severely allergic.  What of them?  If these dogs are not really helping the autistic child beyond being a comfort object then can we justify having them in the class where Johnny, who was badly bitten as a toddler, cannot even take his eyes off the dog much less concentrate on his schoolwork?

Can a 5-6-7 year old control a 60-80lb dog?  Nope.  None of the guide-dog-for-the-blind places will let a child under 16 even have a guide dog for that very reason.  So, could my daughter, who is a well-grown 5 year old, familiar with dogs, remember to remind her teacher that Goldie had to go out and poo? Could she walk Goldie out, unassited, and get her back in?  Does the teacher stop class and accompany her and her service dog outside?  Who watches the class?  Could my 5 year old clean up after Goldie who had just pooed in the school-yard?  Or would that onus fall on the teacher who had just had to stop her lesson and trot outside with my child and her dog?

The entire concept become more and more unworkable as I blog about it.

Should autistics be able to have assistance dogs? YES!  Should all disabled folks with assitance dogs be allowed to have their dogs accompany them everywhere, even school? YES?

BUT, mature, well-acclimated and instructed 16 + year olds.  NOT children, who shouldn't have to be responsible for large animals on their own. If you think it helps, then GET little Noah an autism service dog, but let it accompany him only when YOU are there to help him handle the dog.

Both your child and his dog are YOUR responsibility, IMHO. It is unfair to ask the teachers, school system, and classmates of Noah to help him deal with his autism service dog.  That is the job of Noah's parents.

What do YOU think, Gentle Readers?  Do you have any experience with guide dogs?  Do you think that assistance dogs could help autistics? How would you feel about a 5 year old in your child's kindergarten class with a large dog?

Interesting note: Both places listed above who provide guide dogs to the blind do so for FREE.  No money. ANY parent of a visually disabled 16 y/o and up can get one of these dogs, even the poorest of us. In contrast, an autism service dog from the ASDA will run you (brace yourself) $13,500.  Thirteen THOUSAND dollars.  Many many parents of autistic kids make about that in a YEAR. *raises hand*

Guess we're out of luck, huh?

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 7:13 am   17 comments

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Bad Only Girl?

It has been my observation that the worst behaved children tend to be female only children or only-girl-in-the-family.

Now, before you throw a rod, let me say this is NOT a random bash of little girls or onlies.  Many many only girls are well-behaved (I know quite a few) and many larger families boys and girls are terrors.  I'm just relating my own observations which began early: I myself am a female only child.

I think the badly behaved girls stem from parenting by a mom who "always wanted a little girl" since they were little girls.  They want to dress her up like a doll and be her best, best friend.  The bad ones are heavily overindulged and raised as equals, not children.  They think very highly of themselves.  Like many onlies, they socialise more with adults and so are overly mature in dealing with grown-ups.

Daddy helps, too: Bad Only Girl is his little princess to be doted on and allowed to do just as she pleases and get away with almost everything.

This produces a child who is supremely self-centered and demanding of her own way (they call this "strong willed" now.  I still call it "needs me to go pick a switch".)

This child, if she's smart, might very well be a super successful businesswoman / politician / entrepreneur, after all she's used to demanding her own way and getting it. 

"Wait a second, Blue," you say, "that doesn't sound so bad!  I'd like my daughter to be a powerful woman on Wall Street or president of a University!"

I agree.  Me, too. But, Bad Only Girl, is obnoxious no matter where she ends up. She wants everything just so (to her taste), she is Bridezilla, and that pushy, type-A district superviser at your office.  She's that forum member or blogger who rips everyone to shreds (she'll call herself "outspoken" and "opinionated" and "honest".  The rest of us call her "that damned bitch, I hate her".)

Worst of all she is smugly unapologetic about it.

Every bully I have ever known was a female only or the only girl child.  All the overweight girls (and there were v. few back in the way-back time) that I can recall were onlies or only girl children in the family.  Of the dozens of moms I know IRL or on line, the small number who cosistantly report behaviour in their own children that sets my teeth on edge - things that are absolutely verboten in my house - ALL of them are raising only girls.*

"So, hang about, Blue," you say, "You said that you were an only girl. Are you describing yourself, here?"

Yep.  I am.

I had to, as an adult, UNlearn self-centerdness. I had to teach myself how to think about other people, be nice, have some consideration.  Fortunately, it's my belief that we should all be good to each other and that what goes around, comes around.  But it took not having any friends and realising that I didn't have the education or the looks to carry the attitude and that being a good person was infinately easier and more satisfying.

So, what's up with all the Bad Only Girls?  Am I being unfair and judging these kids harshly?  Or am I a Horrible Little Girl Magnet?

Let me share with you what happened at the thrift store yesterday:

It was Bitty and Bulk's turn to go with me and we were looking through the shoes when Mom and Daughter came in.  The child, a bit older than mine, perhaps 9, immediately began running down the length of the thrift store, back and forth. She rummaged through the toys, throwing several on the floor (which she left), and calling loudly to her mother ("Momma, Momma, look, look at this, Momma look at this rabbit, mom, MOM!") every few seconds (who never failed to acknowledge her self centered look-at-me drivel).

She came pelting into the shoe room just as Bitty was pointing out shoes to me, and walked right up to us.

Bitty: "These green ones are cute, Momma,"
Me: "Which ones, baby?"
Bad Only Girl (grabbing a random green shoe and shoving it right under my nose): "I think she means these!"
Bitty (frowning): "No. These."
Me (searching vainly for BOG's mother, or, maybe, a switch): "Oh, those are terribly frou-frou, not my style!"
BOG: (*guffaw* sprint from room)

In all the obnoxious little twit shoved me aside once, shove both Bulk and Bitty, and trod on my toe, not once, but twice (and she was overweight, so that wasn't pleasant). She snatched toys from my children, ran about, and kept up the constant mindless pay-attention-to-me chatter with her mother.

Bulk and Bitty were not too disturbed (well Bitty was slightly. Her Autism causes her to dislike loud, boisterous people or situations - too much stimulous - but she copes well). They are used, by now, to the fact that most children are NOT like them. Most children don't speak and walk quietly; they whine and throw fits, run indoors, shout, shove, and fail to say excuse me or please or thank you. 

So, since they weren't bugged, I wasn't too bugged, but it did get me thinking and recalling all of the very worst kids I've ever known and how many seemed to be Bad Only Girls.  I don't want my girls to be bitches.  You can be a strong woman with opinions - and voice them - and still be kind. Sorry, but it's true.  You can be polite and sweet and yet steadfast and honest.

I'm trying to teach my baby girls (and my boys, too, of course) that you can't always get what you want (sing it with me, go on). That they are NOT the center of the universe or more deserving or special than everyone else.  I think that's what happens with these girls, I think mom makes them the glittering jewel in the center of the family crown.

And why? Did these women always want a sister?  A best friend? So they end up making their own and letting her do whatever she wants?  Do they want a living baby doll they can dress, shape, mold, and play with?  Do they feel guilty because the girl is the only one and so feel they should indulge her every whim and be her playmate and best buddy?  Do moms of only boys not tend to do this because they don't do "boy things" (like play with cars)?

Chime in in the comments and let me know what you think!  Have you noticed this Bad Only Girl thing or am I just out of whack?  Were you and only or an only girl? What do you remember about the horrible girls you knew as a kid?

*disclaimer: I seem to know a disproportionately large number of ladies whose children consist of just one girl child, so the number who seem to be Bad Only Girls is teensy. Most seem to be doing a jam-up job of raising sensible young ladies.

PS:  And what's up with the Instant Mom-ing? Moms of horrible kids will see mine and suddenly feel compelled to try to correct theirs. This mom of the BOG in the thrift store said, ineffectually, a few times "Brit'Nee, say 'excuse me'" or "Brit'Nee help pick up" (when I had my 4 and 5 year olds tidy all the toys BOG had hurled onto the floor of the toy room).  The child ignored her entirely.

Honey, if you haven't been doing any parenting up till now, this ain't gonna work!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 9:38 am   5 comments

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Today's funny

OK, this made me dribble hot coffee down my chin:

billy gibbons
see more Lol Celebs

It helps that I'm both a Harry Potter fan and a ZZTop fan, but still, it's pretty giggle inspiring!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 7:55 am   0 comments