Kathy Petersen’s Blog

Australia declines residency to physician because his son has Down’s Syndrome

Posted in abortion by Kathy on October 31, 2008

Read all about it here.

See, this is one problem with socialized medicine. The doctor can presumably afford to pay for whatever medical care his son needs. But when all taxpayers are footing the bill for everyone’s care, suddenly the more-expensive become the unwanted. Apparently having Down Syndrome is an automatic rejection for residency in Australia. What next? forced abortions on women carrying affected fetuses? After all, if it’s “good public policy” to reject residency for people who may have health problems, why should they be allowed to be born at all?

Just because I’m on the subject of abortion and Australia, click here to see Gianna Jessen, who survived a prenatal attempt on her life — the doctor who performed the saline abortion on her had to sign her birth certificate, which specifies that she was born after a failed saline abortion — speak in Australia on the subject of abortion.

I know why people believe in reincarnation

Posted in children by Kathy on October 28, 2008

Although I personally think it’s a bunch of poppycock, I see why some people believe it. My older son looks so much like his father, that it’s incredible — his mom says that looking at Keith running around and playing is like seeing Chuck as a little boy again. While he does have some of my facial features (a very few), his overall look is basically Chuck. And my younger son looks a whole lot like my dad’s baby pictures. I have some snapshots of my son, and I’ve seen similar photos of my dad (who died nearly ten years ago), and the resemblance is striking.

Just for what it’s worth, the phrase “spittin’ image” is a bastardization of the phrase “spirit and image” — meaning, of course, that one person (usually a child or grandchild) is exactly like another in both his face and personality.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Posted in children by Kathy on October 27, 2008

I watched this movie for the first time recently, and must say I was very pleasantly surprised. Having grown up on Gene Wilder’s version (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), I was tentative to say the least at messing with a good movie. When I was little, I assumed that Willy Wonka was true to the book, but I’ve never read the book; I have, however, read the sequel — Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator — and enjoyed it. Since that time, I’ve heard that the original movie was not that close to the book, and I remember hearing that the author, Roald Dahl, did not like the movie, or regretted that he’d sold the copyright, or whatever. Still, I wasn’t sure that the new movie — even if it were taken directly from the book — could be better than the old. I was wrong.

When I was at the library a couple of weeks ago, I saw the movie available for borrowing — and you can’t get better than seeing the movie for free! — so I got it, knowing that my mother-in-law was going to be coming in late the next night, and I expected to wait up alone for her (my husband has to get up early in the morning, and doesn’t sleep well, so typically goes to bed around 8-8:30), and decided that watching a movie would be just the ticket to pass the time. I figured I’d screen the movie first, and if I liked it, recommend it to my husband, or recommend that he stay away from it — he was more fond of the original than I was, and I rather suspected that his reaction to the movie would be similar to someone suggesting that we need to alter the Bible somehow. In other words, that the old movie was near-sacred! 🙂 (Exaggerating for clarity, here.)

Well, it didn’t work out that way — my husband came home and took a nap, and we stayed up together to wait for his mom. I tentatively suggested watching the movie, and he agreed — and loved it!! I was so surprised!

At first, I was a little unsure (Johnny Depp’s “Willy Wonka” reminds me of Michael Jackson after all his plastic surgeries), but it was a very good flick. Being 30+ years newer than the old one, it had a lot more technology at its disposal (computer animation techniques and I don’t know what else), so the special effects were very believable. My only problem with the movie is that some of the parts scared or concerned my son — which is totally acceptable, because he’s not quite 4, and the movie is rated PG. If you’ve seen the original movie or read the book, you know that all of the children except Charlie are disposed of as they go through the chocolate factory — Augustus Gloop falls into a river and is sucked up a pipe; Mike Teavee is shrunk in a TV; Violet Beauregarde turns violet from chewing gun; and Veruca Salt and her dad fall into a garbage chute. While all of these things are basically benign, my 4-year-old didn’t have the background to understand what was happening, and he was really concerned about what happened to all of the children. (When Mike goes into the TV, the Oompa-Loompah is sitting there changing channels, and most of the channels have a little something scary to a 4-year-old on it — a scene I think from Psycho, where you see a hand stabbing into a tub — which is where Mike is, and he dodges the huge knife — no blood, of course — and adults “get” it, but Keith doesn’t have a clue; plus several things that look like MTV videos, with the Oompah-Loompah [in all the roles], as Kiss, Van Halen, Whitesnake, or other various hard-rock or heavy-metal groups, which are funny to adults, but can be scary to kids who have no clue why the people have weird or scary face-paint on, or are jumping around with raucous music in the background — that sort of thing.)

But I could recommend the movie, which doesn’t happen very often! 🙂


Pain and Presence in Parenting

Posted in children, Uncategorized by Kathy on October 25, 2008

Click here to read an excellent essay on real parenting — specifically, the difficulty that exists sometimes even in the most “mindful” of women, when faced with certain circumstances that tempt them to make choices that go against their desires. For instance, we all know we should eat healthfully and that fast food just ain’t it… yet there are those times when we still pull up to the drive-through window because of everything else that’s going on in our lives.

(Leave a comment there, too.)

Some days it’s just not worth chewing through the leather restraints

Posted in frugal by Kathy on October 25, 2008

(I don’t know why, but this phrase just appeals to me on some level.)

Today was one of those days, in one respect. I like to go to yard sales, and get stuff that way rather than buying stuff new from the store. My mom gets the local paper (it’s published twice a week — oh, yeah, big local paper) 🙂 and there were several ads for yard sales. I was excited, because many times there are only two or three listed, and I knew that for so many that were listed, there are usually several more. But two of them were too far away for me to go jaunting out there just to see what they had (nothing in the descriptions sounded like it was really anything I was looking for). Still, I went to the rest, plus stopped at several other yard sales that I happened to see along the way. (And had a couple of wild-goose chases when I followed signs that must have been for last week. Sigh…) And I only got something at one of them (probably 10+ yard sales in all). I was looking for boys’ toys, and the only yard sales that had toys were either all girl toys or were baby toys. All the rest had predominantly clothes (looked like sizes I didn’t wear) and household items (which I don’t need).

I ended up buying a pair of matching lamps for my bedroom (I’ve wanted a lamp for my side of the bed for a while, and we can move the other lamp to the spare room), and a purse. Now that my kids are so close to being fully potty-trained, I am going to use my current diaper bag as only a reserve bag for in the car, and actually have a real purse for the first time in about four years! Now that I don’t need half a dozen diapers “just in case”, I can just stick one or two in my purse and leave the diaper bag in the car or at home. I won’t know what to do with myself! 🙂

Why, why, why?

Posted in children by Kathy on October 24, 2008

My older son will be 4 in a couple of weeks, and he’s in that stage — questioning everything. The problem with kids this age is that it’s mostly just a way to have a conversation, not really to communicate. And it’s very frustrating — especially when he messes up his words, asking “who is this?” when it’s an object not a person; and asking “How?” when he means “why”; and asking what things are when he knows exactly what they are, he just wants to talk and be talked to.

I’m working on the first two, but it’s difficult to get across to him (when he asks, “who is this?” pointing at a chair) that he’s supposed to say “what”; and when I tell him he can’t do something, he asks, “How?” (meaning “why”), and how am I supposed to explain to him the difference? (I think I know — just correct him and tell him the right word to say, but still, it’s just the constant repetition which seems pointless as he keeps saying the same wrong thing over and over.)

But then there’s the constant, “Mommy, what’s that?” questions. (Actually, he says, “who’s that?”.) And it’s one thing when he doesn’t know the answer, but quite another when he does know what it means. I know he’s learning the rules of communication, and he asks questions because he doesn’t understand how to have a conversation that doesn’t center around him asking questions and me giving the answers; and occasionally he does actually ask what something is when he doesn’t know. But it is very tiring to have that (and it’s nearly doubled because my younger son will frequently parrot what my older son says — kinda like the twin Lost Boys in the original animated Peter Pan movie).

The other day, I was putting shoes on my older son, and he asked what they were. I said, “Keith, you know what they are. What are they?” He smiled and repeated the question again, so I said, “They’re pumpkins!” He laughed… and now says those shoes are his “pumpkin shoes.” Sigh…

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How Independent are Vaccine Advocates?

Posted in autism, vaccines by Kathy on October 24, 2008

Not very.
This CBS investigative news story links the top vaccine defenders with the pharmaceutical companies who produce vaccines. While not all of the money that changes hands is public information, enough millions of dollars is known to make their claims of independence suspect.

If I come up with a product I dub “Vitamin X” and I produce all sorts of studies (funded by me and performed by me), and I declare that Vitamin X will protect you from illness and has no major side effects, would you believe me? What if I had a bunch of well-educated doctors (who had lots and lots of letters after their names and everything!) come out and back up my claims… and then you found out that I had personally financed the building of their latest office building, or that I personally funded their last five research projects? Would they be any more believable than me? What is the difference when it’s major corporations instead of lil ol’ me?

I hate Halloween

Posted in Uncategorized by Kathy on October 23, 2008

The candy is fun, but I don’t need it, and I’d rather buy it the day after Halloween and spend a lot less.

But the main reason I don’t like Halloween is all the death and “spooky” things about it. Putting aside the demonic origins of the “holy-day” — getting past the fact that the reason Halloween decorations are primarily ghosts, skeletons and witches is because in ancient England October 31 was the day that the dead came back to haunt the living — the fact that all the Halloween decorations are so dark, dealing with death and demons, makes me wish for November like nothing else.

Add to that, that I have a black cat (until this year, we had two black cats, but Jack died in late January), and I worry that somebody will take him around Halloween, and November can’t get here fast enough.



I do have a funny story, though. My sister-in-law was shopping one day with her children (several years ago), and some nice old lady came up and asked the girls what they were going to dress up as for Halloween, and one of the little girls said very seriously, “We don’t celebrate Halloween. It’s evil.” The lady blinked a couple of times and said, “Okay!” and my sister-in-law got to teach her children that it is not always necessary to say the whole truth — sometimes it’s more polite to give only half an answer.

America will be attacked in the coming year

Posted in politics by Kathy on October 22, 2008

Anybody who has two brain cells to rub together should be able to see that. Seven years ago (let’s see, I woulda been about 24), when our country was attacked on Sept. 11, I quickly realized that the attack would have happened regardless of whether Bush or Gore had been elected in 2000. Not only was the attack planned for years, but the necessary training for the bastards terrorists who flew the planes took place over the course of more than a few months. Then I thought back to the two previous Presidents (I was only 4 when Reagan took office, but was 12 when George HW Bush took office, so remember the Gulf War clearly), and realized that both Bush and Clinton had also been tested — but not so spectacularly as W.

The first Pres. Bush had to deal with Saddam Hussein’s unprovoked take-over of Kuwait. Under Bill Clinton’s administration, the United States was attacked repeatedly — two attacks on the World Trade Center, an Embassy got bombed, as was the U.S.S. Cole. Clinton’s response was… well… let’s just say that it was about as effective as a harried mother telling her recalcitrant teenager for the umpteenth time, “Your curfew is midnight, so please try to make an effort to be in before then.” Which is why there were so many attacks, and why the attackers were emboldened to plot their successful take-down of the World Trade Center, as well as an attack on the Pentagon, murdering some 3,000 innocent people on the way.

There is no doubt in my mind that America will face another attack — and it didn’t take Joe Biden’s speech to help me figure that out. It was in some ways a refreshing piece of honesty for him to tell their backers that they know that Obama will be tested… but it was a little sickening to realize that they know he has little experience, and he will quite possibly be at the helm when the next attack comes. Of what value then will be Obama’s high and lofty promises about health care, tax cuts (or tax raises on a few individuals and most corportations… who will then have to raise costs for their goods or services and/or cut pay and benefits to continue to be profitable, or go out of business, which will then leave their workers with no pay nor benefits), or anything else he is currently saying? It’s already fiscally impossible for the majority of his socialistic plans to be put into action — the idiotic bail-out plan sucked out what money might have gone to that — but people are still voting for him because… why? I guess he’s more “positive” than McCain? Obviously, many people are left-leaning liberals who dislike John McCain, but they wouldn’t have voted for any Republican quasi-conservative anyway, so this isn’t talking about them. (The reverse is also true about conservatives.) This is about the undecided folks, or those that are leaning one way but may still be swayed another way.

America will be attacked in the coming year. Our enemies are real, and they’re out there, and they won’t be appeased by electing Barack Obama. They are not mad at us because of George Bush (HW or W). They attacked us when we had a liberal Democrat in office. They are mad at us because we are. We are Americans and freedom-loving people, and most these folks are Muslims, who if they are true to their Muslim faith despise democracy, and want Sharia law. There are a lot of American enemies who are not Muslim (China, for instance), and they hate democracy just as much, but for different reasons.

The one glimmer of hope from Biden’s speech is that it hinted that when America is attacked, that Obama will do something that will irritate the leftist liberals that were then in the room. I can only hope that that means he will respond like George Bush and go kick somebody’s butt (remember “Shock and Awe”?). Somehow I doubt that will be the response — he’ll probably be like Clinton, “Tut, tut, children, play nice, now.” Or send the police to round up terrorists. Remember when he refused to take Osama bin Laden into custody when it was offered? Somehow the folks that berate George Bush for not ferreting that rat out of his cave somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, we’re not really sure where, but we should be able to find that needle in a haystack because Bush is in office, forget that the rat was handed to Clinton on a silver platter and he declined. Which set us up for the Sept. 11 attacks.

Oh, yeah, America will be attacked in the next year or so, and who do you want to be Commander in Chief, charged with defending our sovereign land from those who wish us ill?


Problem with Polls

Posted in politics by Kathy on October 21, 2008

I’m signed up to do online polls, and usually they’re about different companies (do I have a positive or negative opinion of companies like T.J. Maxx or Budweiser; have I heard something positive or negative in the last week about FedEx or Starbucks; that sort of thing), but recently they’ve mostly been about politics.

One thing that bothers me about some of these questions — and it’s bothered me when I’ve heard poll results given in the past — is that there just aren’t enough choices given — there just isn’t enough information gleaned from the questions, usually.

There can be loaded questions like, “Is Barack Obama’s campaign more positive than most Presidential campaigns or about the same?” Well, what if you think it’s more negative?

Or, “Should abortion be completely illegal, or should there be some allowances?” Most if not all people think that there should be allowances to save the mother’s life (if the baby is too young to survive), and many other people think that there should be exceptions for pregnancies due to rape or incest, so to choose between the two would lead most if not all people to say that abortion should be legal. Of course, that doesn’t answer whether or not these people think it should be legal without any restrictions, such as the Freedom of Choice Act would guarantee, without any exceptions for parental consent, or viability, which Barack Obama has promised to sign should he become President.

If the question were asked, “Should abortion be legal without any restrictions?”, undoubtedly some people would agree with that statement, but most people think that there should be restrictions, for instance, laws concerning minors, or crossing state lines, or statutory rape, or viability. That’s why there should be plenty of options in these polls, otherwise they’re meaningless.

Also, sometimes the results are presented in a way that is confusing at best and down-right deceptive at worst. I remember reading that some advertising campaign (Levi’s 501 Jeans, back in the ’80s) said that “80% of college kids say that Levi’s 501 jeans are ‘the thing to wear’ on campus.” Well, the only options they had were 501 jeans and something like “skirts” or some other generic term. Another ad campaign said that “most people said that [X] beer was as good as or better than [Y] beer.” The deception? 50% of people said that the two beers were equal; 20% said that X was better; and 30% said that Y was better. The company combined the “as good as” as well as the “better” to come up with 70%; but actually, more people preferred Y to X.

Frequently — but more frequently during election times — there will be polls presented to the public that ask and answer the question, “Do you agree with the direction the country is taking?” or sometimes it’s more specifically about Congress or the President or whatever. That question is just simply too vague. I say that most people will answer “no” to that, but their reasoning will be vastly different. I’m on a few different email lists, and keep up with lots of people’s blogs. While most of the people I know in real life range from conservative to very conservative, my computer friends range from very conservative to very liberal, so I get to see a wide range of views this way. I don’t know a single person who thinks this country is heading in the right direction. Many people think it’s becoming too liberal, while many other people think it’s not becoming liberal enough. To hear the pro-abortion people talk, they won’t be happy until FOCA is signed; while to hear the pro-life people talk, they won’t be happy until Roe is overturned. So, if things remain as they are, as long as abortion is a vital issue to them, they will probably answer the question (is the country heading in the right direction?) in the negative. Other people may answer the question primarily on the economy, or terrorism, or the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, or how “green” we are, or this, or that, or the other.

So, no, I don’t think the country is heading in the right direction — I wish it were more like it was in my childhood (under Reagan), or in the 50s (except for the racism). When I think of how much child porn there is and other forms of porn and sexual deviancy that is not just tolerated but promoted, I can’t think this country is heading in the right direction. But that doesn’t mean that I think Obama is going to be the savior of the country! — far from it! I think he’ll take us even further from my desire. I just read the Dr. Seuss story And to Think that I saw it on Mulberry Street to my kids, and it starts off with the little boy (Marco) walking “all the long way to school and the long way back” by himself. I wish we could go back to the time where we could send our kids out to play all day, or walk to school by themselves, without worry that something might happen. I hear stories of children who left their homes in the morning, and didn’t come back until supper or nightfall, and their parents never worried about them. I know that kidnapping is rare, as is pedophilia, and most of those happen in familial situations (ex-husbands taking the kids, or Uncle Joe touching his nieces), but I can’t take that chance.