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May 30, 2012

Are You There God? I'm Stuck in a Judy Blume Novel

        Based on some of the issues I've faced in the past few years and am currently facing now, it's hard to say how old I am.  In some ways I feel like a young child.  After all, I spend a good chunk of my day playing with toys.  But I also feel old.  Health issues, financial difficulties, health problems, etc. And then there's everything in between.
        On one end of the life spectrum you have the fact that it was only two years ago that I dreaded going to school because I was being bullied.  And on the other end of the life spectrum, I've been having problems with hot flashes and achy joints.  What's wrong with this picture?
       Then there is the large part of me that feels a lot like Judy Blume's eleven-year-old character, Margaret Simon.  Some of the things Margaret faces in the classic novel Are you there God? It's Me, Margaret. are things I'm dealing with now.
        One thing Margaret starts learning about is boys.  I've been seeing the same guy for nearly a decade now, but I'm still trying to figure him out.  Sometimes, I just don't get him.
         Another thing Margaret does in the story is get her first bra and she has trouble finding one that fits her underdeveloped chest.  In her case, she just hadn't grown yet.  In my case, I can't find a bra my size!  A-cups are too small, but I need to stuff B cups to make them fit right. And it's not like I'll grow into it.  I'd have to get pregnant in order to grow anything up there.
         Finally, one major part of the story is that Margaret is conflicted about her faith and what religion defines her beliefs.  I at least have the benefit of being sure of three spiritual truths. I firmly believe that: 1) God created the universe; 2) Jesus died on the cross, conquering death to save us from our sins; and 3)  His followers are going to argue about everything else until he returns. 
       But as a Protestant Christian, I have many denominations to choose from.  I've been to Lutheran churches, Baptist churches, and I even roomed with a Methodist pastor in training.  I see very little difference in the underlying theology of all of these doctrines as well as the doctrine of the church I grew up in, The Church of the Nazarene.
        I have no problems with the church where I grew up.  Their doctrine is biblically sound, the majority of people there are genuine and caring, and I experience spiritual growth there.  But I started attending a Hebrew roots church recently and I feel like I'm growing even more than at my home church.  Therefore, I'm rather conflicted about leaving the church I've known for so long when there's nothing wrong with it and then starting to go to someplace so much different than what I've known and calling it home.
        I know God will be with me every step of the way and help me with anything. From childhood-like conflicts to geriatric-ish health problems, God will take care of me like he always has.  So I'll finish with a prayer.
      Dear God,
      Thank you for loving me even when I don't love you as I should.  Help me to be a better example of you.  And today I ask that you let my body match my age and help me find the right church to call home.  Amen.

May 29, 2012

Sick Kids At School. Who's to blame?

If you’re thinking about starting a business, I have a brilliant idea for you and I highly encourage you to run with it. One thing this country desperately needs are nannies that specifically care for children that are too sick for school.
Employers can be very harsh when it comes to missing work to care for a sick child.  It makes sense that an employer would want their employees to be at work as much as possible, but some company policies make it so it would be better for the parent to claim that (s)he is the one that is ill.
One mother was explaining the point system her employer uses.  Each employee had five absence points for the year.  If they went over their limit, they would have disciplinary action taken against them up to termination.  If you were 15 minutes late you lost one quarter point, if you called in sick you lost a full point.  However, if you called in needing to care for a sick child, you lost two points.  It's these kinds of policies that lead to extra-ordinary challenges I sometimes face as a child care provider.
For example, there is the story about a boy we will call Kyle (for confidentiality).  Kyle was one year old and went five days a week to a child care facility.  He was loved very much by his family and his teachers.  One day his teachers noticed he wasn't quite himself, and after a little while he felt warm.
           Kyle had a temperature of 102°F.  The poor boy was miserable as his teachers cuddled him waiting for Mom to arrive.  She came within a half hour, and was told that according to our policy Kyle could not return until he was fever free for 24 hours unless he had a doctor's note.
           He was back the next day with a doctor's note stating that  Kyle simply had an ear infection and was not contagious.  However, he still had a temperature of 101°F even with Tylenol and was still miserable.  The two teachers now had to constantly comfort one very sad child, yet continue caring for seven other children.  This is not safe for the other seven children, and it's absolutely heart-breaking to see Kyle suffer.
           Another example is much more recent and it starts with another one-year-old.  This time it was a girl we'll call Jessica. [All names from here on are changed to protect confidentiality.]  Thursday morning Mom brought Jessica in covered in vomit.  The poor girl had thrown up in the car after acting strange all morning.  Since our illness policy would technically allow Jessica to attend school that day, she stayed under the condition that if she threw up one more time she would have to be sent home.
          Jessica did not throw up all day.  In fact the only thing she did all day was lie around and watch her friends play.  This girl was definitely sick and very likely contagious.  But she stayed all day. She had no fever and no other symptoms so Mom was not called and she was able to contaminate the room and her friends.
         Sure enough, the next day we were informed that James would be staying home because he starting throwing up the previous night.  Right behind James' mom was Jessica and her mom.  Mom said that Jessica had thrown up twice overnight.  We reminded her that based on our policy (as we understood it) Jessica could not attend school today so Mom should check with management to make sure.  Management gave the okay for Jessica to attend school under the same parameters as the previous day. 
        Like the day before, Jessica developed no further symptoms but was undeniably ill.  Within a few hours of everyone arriving for the day, Leah vomited twice and was sent home for her parents to cancel their vacation plans they had for the long weekend.  The bug didn't end there.
        It was nap-time and the remaining six children were all sleeping very peacefully when Anna suddenly raised her head from her crib mattress, vomited violently, and laid her head back down in the vomit.  Obviously, we had to further disturb her nap by cleaning up the mess.  She never did get back to sleep.
        After throwing up again a half-hour later, Mom and Dad were called to pick her up.  During the short wait, she threw up twice more.  The final time was in my lap.
        As I stood wiping vomit off the crotch of my pants and spraying it with sanitizer, four parents walk in the door.  I was terribly embarrassed, but kept a smile on and greeted each parent as I continued to sanitize my nether-regions.  Jessica was picked up slightly earlier than normal, and Mom sincerely thanked us for taking care of her daughter.
        Finally, the weekend came and all the teachers managed to stay healthy.  The following Tuesday when school resumed, all the children were happy and healthy yet again...but their older siblings were sick.  Thus the bug continued to spread.
       It's still unsure how far it will go, but I don't blame the parents from either of the incidents.  Employers can be particularly cruel about parents taking time off to care for their sick children.  So if you want to make some money in a business, start a nanny agency that sends nannies to care for children who are too sick to attend school.  Good luck finding people to work for you, but if you can, you could make millions.  So many parents in the U.S. need this kind of service.  Is anyone up for the challenge?

May 28, 2012

Something Else Today

I did my writing today.  Just not here.  I wrote a heartfelt letter to my love to prompt a serious discussion.  Unfortunately he hasn't slept in 20 hours so the discussion will have to wait. 

In the meantime I played around with ideas for a cover for the book I'm working on.  Those of you on might have read some working drafts of The Mythical Male.  I have some wonderful ideas for a cover, but I lack any skills or software for graphic design, nor do I know anyone who has skill.  So, I used Microsoft Paint to the best of my ability. 

I know it's a bit lame, but for the materials at hand I'm quite proud of it.  I appreciate feedback on the general concept of it.

If you are wondering what else I had in mind, I was thinking of merging two half-photos.  One would be the left side of one main character's face and then have it blend into the right side of the other main character's face.  In the background there would be a space scene with stars and moons and nebula and such.

If anyone from CC is reading this, I'd like to say thank you and I appreciate any continued input you have for me as a writer.  I would also like to add that this particular post is more of a train of thought post than anything else.  Maybe eventually I'll post a short story or something.  For now though, I'll post the drawing I made and if you would be so kind to comment, please comment on the concept more than the execution of the concept.  I am so terrible at art my stick figures look deformed. 

Starting up

I want to be a writer.  Why?   
“If there is a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it”-Toni Morrison
 Well, I need to try to write every day to improve my skill.  Hopefully this will help.