Friday, July 25, 2008

Potty Training Plan for Bella

I just wanted to clarify that this is how I'm planning to potty-train my daughter. I haven't started yet. Thank you for the encouragement!! I'm really hoping this works.

When I start to potty-train my daughter (she's almost 2), I'm planning on setting up "times" to go.

Right after she wakes up, we go to the potty and sit for a few minutes.
About 30-60 minutes after breakfast and juice, we go again.
Before nap time (after lunch), we go again.
After nap time, go sit on the potty again.
Two hours after nap time is over, do it again.
After dinner, we visit the potty again.
Once more before bed time.

I'm betting it looks easier than it really is. This is what I'm hoping to accomplish, anyway. I don't want to use a potty chair or training pants/pull-ups, as I feel it hinders the potty-training process. Big girl panties and the vinyl panties that go on over the cloth panties. I don't really want to use a potty chair because most kids [I know] would see it as a new toy, not something to go potty in. I want to get a potty seat for the toilet and sit her on it.

By the time I begin her potty-training, she won't be getting her bottle at bed time (so as to avoid night time accidents), as well as nothing an hour before bed time.

What do you all think? I mean, are these goals realistic?? She's already tugging at her diaper and sometimes she tries to pull her pants down. She can say, "potty," as well and says it every time any of us use the bathroom. If possible, we leave the door open so she can see. She's also taken an interest in helping us (hubby and me) dress her. I'm told that's another sign they might be ready for potty-training.

My family and I are also moving from San Diego to Denver in about three-and-a-half weeks and I don't want her to revert back to diapers; I'm waiting until we get to Denver to really start any kind of potty-training.

On another note: Has anyone heard of the 3 Day Method to potty-training? What are your thoughts??

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Top 20 High School Movies - How many do you remember?

Please feel free to comment, as well as quote to talk about your favorites!!

1. The Breakfast Club
2. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
3. Dazed and Confused
4. Rebel Without a Cause
5. Heathers
6. American Graffiti
7. Clueless
8. Boyz N the Hood
9. Election
10. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
11. Say Anything
12. Mean Girls
13. High School
14. Donnie Darko
15. Carrie
16. Lucas
17. Peggy Sue Got Married
18. Rock 'n' Roll High School
19. The Last Picture Show
20. Dead Poets Society

-as featured in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY issue #739

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Letter from a 3rd grade teacher to Pagan parents

A letter from a 3rd grade teacher sent home to pagan parents
by Ld Obyron Irondrake

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Thomas,

I write this letter in concern of your daughter, Aradia Moon. Please
don't take this the wrong way, however, although she is a straight A
student and a very bright child, she has some strange habits that I
feel we should address.

Every morning before class, she insists on walking around the
classroom with her pencil held in the air. She says she is "drawing
down the moon." I told her Art Class is in an hour and to please
refrain from then to do any drawing.

And speaking of Art Class, whenever she draws a night sky, she
insists on drawing little circles around all the stars and people
dancing on the ground. And that brings up dancing, I had to stop her
twice for taking off her clothes during a game of Ring Around the
Rosey! By the way, what does the term "skyclad" mean?

Aradia has no problem with making friends. I always find her sitting
outside during recess with her friends sitting around her in a
circle. She likes to share her juice and cookies. It is nice how she
wants no one to ever thirst or hunger. However, when I walked over to
see what they were doing, she jumped up and told me to stop, pulled
out a little plastic knife and started waving it in front of me. I
thought this was a bit dangerous, so I took her to the Principal's
Office. She explained to the Principal that she was "opening the
Circle" to let me in. She also said that her Mommy and Daddy always
told her not to play or run with an "athame" in her hand, that she
could put someone's eye out. I don't know what an "athame" is, but I
am glad that she keeps it at home.

As for stories, your daughter tends to make up some whoppers. Just
yesterday while I was talking sternly to Tommy Johnson and shaking my
finger at him, he started screaming and ran from the room. When I
finally caught him, he told me that Aradia told him and the rest of
the class that the last time I shook my finger at someone, they
caught the chicken pox. I explained to him that the Sally Jones
incident was just a coincidence, and that things like that don't
really happen.

One of the strangest things that happened was when I asked the
children to bring in Halloween decorations for the classroom. Aradia
brought in salt, incense and her family album. I see she has quite a
sense of humor.

One of Aradia's worst habits is that she is very argumentative. We
were discussing what the Golden Rule was (Do Unto others as you would
have them Do Unto You), she firmly disagreed with me and stated it
was "Do As you Will, but Harm None" and she will not stop saying "So
Mote It Be" after she reads aloud in class. I try correct her on
these matters and she got very angry. She pointed her finger at me
and mumbled something under her breath.

In closing, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, I would like to set up a
parent/teacher conference with you sometime next week to discuss
these matters. I would like to see you sooner, but I have developed
an irritating rash that I am quite worried about.

With Deep Concerns,
Mrs. Livingston

P.S. Blessed Be. I understand that this is a greeting or closing from
your country that your daughter informs me is polite and correct.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Every 6 Minutes

A song about rape awareness. Rape victims need to know that it's not their fault. You're not alone. Unlock the Silence.

These are lyrics from a song called "Every 6 Minutes" from the movie Prey for Rock and Roll (starring Gina Gershon and Lori Petty). One of the characters (Sally) is raped by the boyfriend (Nick) of another character (Tracy). Gina Gershon's character (Jacki, a struggling musician) is a tattoo artist. She finds him, gets him strapped into a chair and tattoos "RAPIST" on his forehead. She and the victim's brother ("Animal") then dump him on the sidewalk in a bad part of town. The women (Jacki, Tracy, Sally and Faith [Petty] are in a band called Clam Dandy.

Every 6 minutes
Someone says "no"
Every 6 minutes
She gets ignored
It's not what you're wearing
Its not where you've been
The fact that they think so
Tells you somethin' bout sin
Every 6 minutes
A woman cries
Because every 6 minutes
Her pleas are denied
No one's asking for it
It's no woman's secret desire
The fact that they think so
Is a man-made liar
The passing of time
Brings you closer to me
Cause I've got love and justice
Keeps you free
I've got .38 special
Reasons at my side
Face the ultimate "no" big boy
This time I'll decide
If I had a bullet
For every six minutes
I know just where to put it
Every six minutes
Running your heart
And runnin' your brain
Maybe I've gotta start
It just might ease my pain
The passing of time
Brings you closer to me
Cause I've got love and justice
Keeps you free
I've got .38 special
Reasons at my side
Face the ultimate "no" big boy
This time I'll decide
If I had a bullet
For every six minutes
I know just where to put it
Every six minutes
If I had a bullet
For every six minutes
I know just where to put it
Every six minutes

Every six minutes
(every six minutes)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Prayer for the Military

Though I don't pray to the God of Abraham, I do pray. This is for the troops, Sailors, Marines and all others overseas and away from their families.

The photo that gets me is the child accepting the flag for his parent.

Let us pray...

Prayer chain for our Military.... Don't break it!

Please send this on after a short prayer. Prayer for our soldiers Don't break it!


'Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen.'
Prayer Request: When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world.
There is nothing attached. Just send this to people in your address book. Do not let it stop with you. Of all the gifts you could give a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & others deployed in harms way, prayer is the very best one.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Denver Post - June 26, 2008 - NeoPaganism Grows Quickly (Electa Draper)

Give them that old-time religion — ancient religion — and then watch an exploding population of modern pagans give it contemporary twistsTheir numbers roughly double about every 18 months in the United States, Canada and Europe, according to the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Neopaganism, whether a careful reconstruction of ancient practice or a completely modern interpretation of ancient lore, is now among the country's fastest-growing religions. People, especially teens, are rejecting what they see as the "autocracy, paternalism, sexism, homophobia and insensitivity to the environment" of some more traditional religions, the Canadian group concludes. Denverite Jesse Walter describes himself as a recovering Irish Catholic, conservative Republican and Army reservist. He is also a druid who follows one of the most difficult traditions of his religion — taking his livelihood for at least a year and a day from a grove of trees.

Walter, 33, who became a druid at age 18, first took a literal approach and bought land near the Wyoming state line where he could hunt. Then he and his wife, Kantis, who calls herself a generic pagan, were inspired to open a community center/coffee shop, Witches Brew, across the street from Berkeley Lake Park in north Denver. Walter picks up litter and watches over the park. In a part of the grove sacred to him, he leaves spiritual offerings, sometimes a bottle of whiskey, to ward off wee-folk mischief. The park, for its part, provides a stream of patrons to support the coffee shop. The Walters' regular customers, however, come from Denver's vibrant and diverse neo pagan community. "It's my modern twist on druidry," Walter said. Druids were the priests of the ancient Celts. The essence of Walter's modern druid faith, he said, is that "people's perception of reality is what makes reality." He said he religiously avoids negative thoughts.

No consensus, even on history

Witches Brew coffee shop owner Jesse Walter prepares a cup for a customer. Walter, a druid, watches over and leaves offerings in nearby Berkeley Lake Park. (Karl Gehring, The Denver Post)Walter's friend, 28-year-old J.J. Steelman, teases him about his grove and remarks that no one really knows what ancient druids did. Steelman is also a druid. He was born into a family, he said, that "has never been Christian." "Being a pagan means I'm free," said Steelman, who roundly rejects Walter's rituals. Whether organized or disorganized, the pagan revival is stronger than ever since its blossoming in the 1960s hippie counterculture and its cross-pollination by the New Age movement in the 1980s. The forms neopaganism takes are so varied, they almost defy description, said Carridwen Brennan, a 62-year-old Wiccan. There is no ultimate leader and no one sacred text, according to Carl McColman, author of several books on witchcraft and paganism. The Wiccans, one variety of witch and the largest single group of neopagans, took flight in the 1950s when the religion and craft were popularized by Englishman Gerald Gardner. The number of U.S. practitioners grew from 8,000 in 1990 to 134,000 in 2001, according to the American Religious Identification Survey conducted by the City University of New York. The Ontario group and other researchers now estimate American Wiccans number between 750,000 and 1 million. "We don't really know the numbers," Brennan said. "Most witches and pagans are semi-closeted, or so deeply closeted because of prejudice we don't even know they're there." The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's 2007 survey found less than 0.4 percent of the U.S population to be practicing pagans. Even so, their numbers are quickly approaching those of U.S. Muslims, at 0.6 percent, and Buddhists, 0.7 percent.

Thriving in Colorado

In Colorado, Pew estimated the percentage of Wiccans, pagans, Unitarians and those espousing other New Age faiths to be about twice the national figure, which could mean a statewide neopagan figure in the tens of thousands. Brennan, a credentialed Wiccan minister with the Denver-based Alexandria Temple & Academy, sees a strong local trend in people self-identifying as generic pagan. Brennan said neopagans generally prefer to experience spirituality firsthand rather than adhere to authoritarian dogma. She describes a typical neopagan as having reverence for nature, seeing it as a manifestation of the divine. Many neopagans are polytheistic, worshiping gods and goddesses. They generally believe worship of God as father without worship of Goddess as mother is a serious imbalance in the natural order of things. Yet generalizing can be dangerous, even within sects. "You'll get no agreement on how Wiccans see God — or Goddess," Brennan said. "In Wicca, there is no 'you have to' and 'you can't.' There is no orthodoxy." Yet it was the focus on goddess worship that drew Brennan's husband, 52-year-old Martin Anthony, into a Wiccan coven.

Neopagans observe rituals for healing, divination, marriage, lunar and solar cycles and the passage of time. Christian holidays, the timing and customs, have roots in pagan tradition.

As for neopagan ethics, the Wiccan Rede, a commonly quoted saying, is simply: "As long as it harms none, do what you will."

What has kept many Wiccans and other neopagans in the broom closet, a common quip, is the stereotype of them as practitioners of such dark arts as Satan worship and blood sacrifices.

"Pagans are not devil worshipers," McColman wrote in "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Paganism." "Why would the members of one religion worship the bad guy of another religion?"

Still perceived as spooky or kooky

Ritual animal sacrifice, although practiced by the ancients, including Hebrews in biblical times, is not a mainstream practice of neopagans, Jews or Christians, McCol man said. Nevertheless, a city inspector recently came by Witches Brew to inquire whether the shop boiled any animal parts on the premises, Kantis Walter said. "We don't do that," Kantis said as she mixed up an almond-flavored Italian soda. It is the nonjudgmental nature of pagans that drew her to them, Kantis said, yet she is aware other religious Americans still perceive them as either spooky or kooky. "We're pretty normal people," Kantis said, "but my grandmother still hands me a rosary every time she sees me." Brennan and Anthony also serve as state prison chaplains. Their services are in demand by 500 self-identified pagans who account for 2 percent of the state prison population. Inmate neopagans include Wiccans, druids and the Asatru, who worship Odin and other Norse gods. In prisons especially, the Asatru can be identified with Nazis, skinheads, patriarchy and racism, yet there are pure forms, Brennan said, which focus on positives — self-empowerment and tribal loyalty — rather than white supremacy.

Every movement has its mainstream and its deviant elements, Brennan said.

The Walters' community center is wholesome family entertainment most of the time, Jesse and Kantis say.

The center hosts Tarot card and astrology readings, pagan meet-ups that typically attract 20 or more, role-playing card games, Fetish Fridays, a book club, Wicca Knitting Moms, Witches' Sewing Circle, mead- and jewelry-making classes, drumming circles and more.

"It's important to have a spiritual path that's working for you," Brennan said. "We all need a connection to something greater than ourselves."

Witches practice magic, Brennan said, "but the only thing you can really change is yourself."