Kathy Petersen’s Blog

Feeding the fish

Posted in children by Kathy on June 29, 2008

Ugh. My older son vomited in his bed when I put him down for the night, so I had to change his clothes and the bedding (including pillow), and then go and swish the dirty stuff in the lake. Ick. At least I didn’t have to hand-wash it on a scrub-board!

Yes, folks, we’re in a cabin. Don’t envy me — I said “cabin” not “lodge.” It’s my husband’s father’s cabin, and he and my brothers-in-law have such fond memories of being here as boys that we’re here for our vacation.

There are two cabins — the larger one and “Grandma’s Cabin” — and together there is a 1500-gallon septic tank. For some reason, we’re not allowed to install a bigger one. There is no washing machine; the bathrooms and kitchens are on the scale of “tiny”; and the mosquitoes are out in force.

Because of the sepic tank (more specifically, because we don’t want to have to pay the $150 to pump it out), we’re trying to put minimal water down the drain, so we’re jumping in the lake for our baths, washing dishes in basins and dumping the water on flowers, and flushing the toilet only when necessary. We live by the saying, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”

The sinks were too small to rinse the sheet and pillow anyway.

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Road Trip

Posted in children by Kathy on June 27, 2008

We left at 4 this morning. Seth woke up probably about 3 a.m., and wouldn’t go back to sleep. I hadn’t slept well the whole night — not only did it take me a long time to get to sleep, but I slept restlessly.

At one point, I dreamed that there was a granddaddy long-legs in our bed. I hate those things, so I got up and slept on the floor with the kids. Later, I realized that it had to have been a dream, because I saw the critter, although it actually was too dark to see anything. So, when I realized that, I went back to our bed. Before too long, Seth woke up and wouldn’t go back to sleep. He drifted off when I laid down next to him, and woke up when I got up. Finally, I just got up and packed the food into the coolers, woke up my husband, and we all got going.

We had planned on leaving at 4, and we actually did get out then — which was good, because traffic started to build pretty quickly. Both boys woke up, and didn’t go back to sleep. Keith was like my husband — grumpy in the mornings; Seth, however, was actually quite chipper! As I’m writing this, we’re almost to our destination, and it doesn’t seem like it’s been almost 10 hours since we left. We went easy though — stopped several times, stretched our legs, got food — and that seemed to break up the trip pretty well. Although there was a lot of construction on various parts of the trip, things went pretty well. There was one place we had to detour, because the road was completely closed down. Oh, well. We detoured, and it worked out okay. It delayed us, of course, but not too badly. The boys didn’t sleep as well as they should have — not only waking up too early, but not sleeping in the car as much as I thought they would (or should). But it will all work out in the end.

Road Trip

Posted in children by Kathy on June 24, 2008

It went off better than I was fearing, with the exception of my son throwing up within the first hour. 😦 At first I thought he was coming down with something, but since he acted just fine from then on, I now figure he was just car-sick. The car was quite full, and there was something between the vent and his face, and I always get sick-feeling (though rarely throw up) when I ride in a stuffy car. He never took a nap, either, so it’s even more amazing that he did as well as he did.

My new blog

Posted in Uncategorized by Kathy on June 23, 2008

I previously posted about the Christian camp I went to last week. I’ve decided to start a blog for it. The camp has been in existence for nearly 40 years now, and many of the people who started it are getting up in years, and there is no guarantee for them to live even until tomorrow. In fact, several not-so-old people have died recently (most from cancer, the youngest — a 20-year-old — from a car wreck). It’s CampMoriah.wordpress.com, if you’re interested. 🙂 I hope to flesh it out in the next few weeks. But we’re going to be visiting my husband’s brother and his family for a few days. So busy! Sigh… But it’ll be fun.

“Love food hate waste”

Posted in frugal by Kathy on June 22, 2008

Somebody sent me this link, which seems pretty cool. It’s from the UK, so I’m going to have to translate centimeters and grams, but that’s okay. It’s a website devoted to using up food and leftovers, so that it’s not wasted. Always a great idea! Sure, we have plenty of food, but it doesn’t make sense to waste it.

Busy, busy, busy

Posted in Uncategorized by Kathy on June 17, 2008

It’s Camp Moriah this week, which means I have no time for the computer!

It’s also my husband’s summer vacation, so we’ll be doing other things for the next several weeks which will also take me away from the computer. I’m looking forward to spending more time with my husband and kids together. We’ll take walks, maybe go to the park. I’d like to take them to the zoo, but my husband says he doesn’t like it, and he thinks the kids may be bored and/or scared. (I think they’ll love it, but if I can’t get him on board, we won’t go.) We’ll see how it goes.

Racism and Sexism in Presidential Politics

Posted in Uncategorized by Kathy on June 16, 2008

Ok, so this post is just a tad out-dated, since Hilary Clinton has officially conceded defeat, but I should have written this some time ago, and am just now getting around to it.

Throughout the campaign, there has been talk about the sexism factor with Hilary’s Presidential bid, and the racism factor with Obama’s Presidential bid. I’m not discounting that there has been sexism or racism by some people in how they decided who to vote for in the primaries, nor how they may vote in the general election. But what gets me, is that it seems that these two candidates want(ed) it both ways. Or, at least, that Hilary was glad enough to get the women’s vote simply because she was a woman (which is as sexist as not voting for her simply because she was a woman), and that Obama didn’t decline any votes made by blacks simply because he is also black (which is equally racist as voting for John McCain simply because he is white).

Several months ago, I read a blog in which a feminist was beginning to whine and cry about how that Hilary was not further ahead, or wasn’t getting the female vote, or that Obama had just taken the lead — or whatever the thing was. She made some comment along the lines of, “Women should support Hilary, just because she’s a woman.” Blatant sexism!

And then there’s this article, which I just skimmed, that says that a lot of black conservatives want to vote for Obama simply because he’s black too…. but they don’t know if they can ignore his political views in order to do so. I can understand that. I disagree with it — profoundly — but I understand it.

Might John McCain need to pick a black running mate, so that black conservatives don’t jump ship? I mean, McCain needs all the votes he can get! There are so many conservatives (including myself) who are not at all thrilled with the possibility of voting for him, and may just sit out the election or vote for a third-party candidate. If McCain picks a conservative enough running mate, I might be able to vote for the ticket; but I’m pretty sick of voting for the lesser of two evils, because it seems that all we’ve gotten is more evil. I hope Obama loses (and when Hilary was still in it, I hoped she wouldn’t win the Presidency, either), but I can’t vote for McCain.

So, does racism come into play in this Presidential race? Yep. But it also works both ways! And I have yet to hear Barack Obama tell his fellow African-Americans not to vote for him because of his skin color, but to make their decision based solely on the politics and his political viewpoint. And while McCain may get some votes out of racism, I think that Obama will get just as many votes if not more, out of racism.

Some people may call it “reverse racism” or “reverse discrimination” or “reverse sexism,” but those are false terms. If it’s racism, discrimination, or sexism, then it is that thing regardless of who is doing the discrimination and who is being discriminated against. Here’s the way I look at things — if you reverse the races (for instance, white people voting for John McCain just because he’s white), and it sounds racist… then it’s just as racist for you to be voting for Obama simply because he’s black; and it’s just as sexist for you women to have voted for Hilary Clinton just because she’s female. If white people vote for McCain simply because he’s white, that’s as racist as black people voting for Obama simply because he’s black. Period. End of story.

And if you’re a black person (or African-American, if you prefer — I don’t want to offend either way) reading this blog, and you’re going to vote for Barack Obama simply because he’s black (even if you don’t agree with his politics), then you are perpetrating the very racism that you claim to hate and want to do away with.

I remember watching the Cosby Show, and A Different World when I was a kid and a teenager, and of course Oprah! (Actually, most of the shows that I liked then were black shows — Fresh Prince, Family Matters, Living Single…) And I remember a lot of talk about being “color-blind” and a series of shows Oprah did on racism. It had to be 15 years ago. But you know what? It still applies.

So, to you black conservatives who may be seriously considering voting for Barack Obama simply because he is black, even if you don’t like all of the liberal stuff he has voted for in his career, and all of the liberal stuff he’s advocating now as the Democratic candidate for President — I say you’re racist. Understandably so; but racist nonetheless.

The choice for President should be based on what the candidates stand for. When Alan Keyes or some other conservative black ran for office, I don’t recall hearing Republicans saying, “Black people just need to vote for him because he’s black.” I understand that Obama has a great amount of appeal, with his personality and presentation; plus, he is the Democratic candidate for President, so he has at least a 50-50 chance of winning, which is more than Alan Keyes or any other black person has been able to say. I understand it’s tempting to vote for him. But if you do, make sure it’s because you agree with him, and not just because of the color of his skin. Remember Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech? It included this famous line, “a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man’s skin determines the content of his character.” I’m afraid that some people are saying that the color of Barack Obama’s skin determines the content of his character, because some conservatives are courting the idea of voting for him despite his thoroughly consistent liberal views and voting record.

You don’t want to vote for John McCain? That’s fine — I don’t either. Depending on who he picks as his running mate, I may vote for him, but probably not (the names of potential running mates that I’ve heard have been kicked around are too liberal for me, as well). But I ain’t voting for Obama, either! I’m planning on trying to find who all the third-party candidates may be, and I’ll try to pick the best one of them — regardless of race or gender.

Vote your conscience, not your skin color.

June 14th is Flag Day

Posted in patriotism by Kathy on June 14, 2008

Here’s a website for more flag information.

It’s more than just pieces of red, white, and blue fabric sewn together. It’s a symbol of our nation.

God bless America.

What a great idea!

Posted in frugal by Kathy on June 12, 2008

Michigan, and especially Detroit, have been hit hard financially. Many homes have been foreclosed on, many derelict houses and apartments have been closed and the lots cleared. What to do with the empty space? Grow a garden, of course!

In The Tightwad Gazette books which were written about a dozen years ago, at least one person wrote in to say that she was able to garden in the city because she was allowed to grow a garden in an abandoned or empty lot. She got permission from either the owner (if it was empty) or the city (if it was abandoned). This is taking it large-scale. Twenty properties in Detroit have now been turned into gardens. I don’t know who supplied the plants or seeds, nor the labor; but the city is providing the water, and I guess the area’s residents are working the gardens.

Here’s the link to the full story, which has more information; but one of the many good things that has already come out of this, is that communities seem to be coming together. The gardens aren’t fenced off — anybody is free to come in and work and get the produce. And people do come. When people see their neighbors out there, they go out there too. It’s getting communities to be, well, “communities” again. Another benefit is that these gardens aren’t being vandalized, the way so many empty houses are.

The person who started this in Detroit (which hopes to expand the program in the future), is already planning to do this in several other cities as well. Cool!

Drifting towards “green”

Posted in frugal by Kathy on June 10, 2008

I’m not that much into environmentalism. In fact, I think a lot of the people who are environmentalists are kinda wacko (but then, these are the people who get on the news because of their outrageous stunts, so I know these are not representative of all environmentalists. At least I hope so). However, I do a lot of things that are environmentally friendly, simply because it is also more frugal. For instance, I buy used clothes and toys instead of new (less packaging, plus it saves the used items from being put in a landfill). I use cloth diapers most of the time (although I’ve heard some people try to say that disposables are no worse for the environment, once you factor in the washing, etc., of cloth diapers — but I just can’t buy that, when I consider that cloth diapers can be used in so many other ways once the kids are out of diapers, and they are completely biodegradable, whereas disposables will be in landfills for a very long time). I also try to buy in bulk and buy most of my groceries that I need at once, so I can cut down on trips to the store. It saves me money to save fuel, but it also helps to cut down on using petroleum. (Fwiw, here is a list of all different types of products made with petroleum. I thought it was pretty cool!)

So, all plastics are made with petroleum. I’ve heard that before within the past year, but honestly didn’t know it before. Sometimes, you just never think about where stuff comes from. I learned it in a commercial that urged reusing and recycling plastics, as well as reducing your use of plastic, as a way to reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil, as well as just to simply reduce the amount of oil used annually. But I haven’t actually done anything different about it. Until now.

It started when I noticed somebody on my local freecycle offering to make reusable grocery bags from old T-shirts. So that got me to thinking — I can do that! (Plus, with the cost of gas what it is, I figure that any less petroleum we can use, the better.) So I started with an old pair of husband’s shorts (not underwear — shorts). I did it yesterday (hand-sewing it, because I forgot to get my mom’s sewing machine the last time I was there), and I think it’ll work out pretty good. I’ve got another pair of shorts and a T-shirt that I will try to make into another couple of bags today. In the meantime, I’m going to take my old plastic bags back to the store with me and reuse them if they’re not torn already. We live in a pretty rural area, so I don’t think there are any recycling facilities close by. I reuse the plastic bags for everything else anyway, but I’m getting more bags than I’m using, and I simply don’t need any more. I don’t want to throw them away, but I certainly don’t want them cluttering my house.

I’m just one person, and not using the “free” plastic bags at Walmart and the grocery store may not be much, but it’s a step in the right direction.