Hi Friends, Thanks for reading these past years. You'll notice that I've already deleted the most recent posts. Contemplating Mama is done contemplating online for the forseeable future, but please send me emails to let me know when you are updating your blogs--I'd still like to keep in touch. Take care! -H
We have a new pet in our household! Don't tell our landlord, because that is strictly not okay with him. But considering Wally would live here, regardless, I figure we can skip the permission. It's kind of an accident that he ended up as our pet. It seems that when we neglected to clean our basement playroom for awhile, he found his way into a toy bin. The first time each of the girls saw him, he sent them running upstairs in fits of screaming, refusing to return to the basement until he was gone. I saw him downstairs, but I find him particularly disgusting, so I decided to just ignore him and he'd get himself free--or killed. 4 days later, he's still there. I guess that the inside of the bin is slippery enough that he can't get out, and that he's resiliant enough to not need food. Imagine my surprise when I got home from church yesterday, to hear my kids talk about their pet and wanting to do a search to see what kind of food he needs to survive. The first thing this morning, my kids wanted to go say "good morning" to Wally, and I saw that they have now decorated his bin with a toilet paper house and other play items for him. Anyway, I thought you might want to see Wally:
This really brings to mind that quote
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien As to be hated needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
Hooray! Our state passed the smoke-free bill, and the Governor is expected to sign it into law. Only problem? They changed it so that it will not go into effect until July 2010! Why the delay??
And since my husband's contract is up in June 2010, if we move, it will be before we can even enjoy the sweet taste of success (or unadulterated food at our favorite restaurants). I've got to admit that Alanis Morissette's song has been going through my head all day long. Okay, I guess this isn't all about me, so congrats to the rest of you folks. Better late than never--right?
Our state is debating a Statewide Smoke-Free Workplaces bill. And, okay, I didn't actually speak at the Assembly Public Hearing this morning. My sister and I were there mostly to show support for the issue and to become more familiar with how the whole process works. It was nice to see the room so full of supporters of this bill. It made me so grateful to live in a country where everyone has the freedom to share their thoughts and to state their opinion. Obviously I don't agree with everything everyone said, but there were some very valid points made on both sides of the issue.
My take: Our state is facing one of the most important public health issues of our day--and I'm not referring to swine flu. The fact of the matter is that smoking remains the number one preventable cause of death. According to our state's Department of Public Health, over 8,000 people die in our state each year due to tobacco-related causes. We pay over $3 BILLION ANNUALLY in our state in tobacco-related health-care and lost productivity.
Our state is a wonderful place to live, in so many ways. Excellent education, beautiful, and most importantly, WONDERFUL people! But I am not the only who's commented that upon moving here we about died when we went into a restaurant and smoking was still allowed! It felt like I had walked back into a 3rd world country!
One acquaintance mentioned that it should be the business's decision--that government had too much control already. I have to agree that there has been more government intervention lately than I care to see. But this is not a liberal or conservative issue. This is a Public Health Issue. People DIE because of this. And fine, if people want to smoke in their own personal space, I think that is a dumb choice, but it's their choice. What is NOT okay is for innocent people to have to breathe those toxins.
It makes sense for all workers to be protected from unwanted second-hand smoke and to be able to enjoy a long healthy life. If people work in the hospitality sector, especially in today's economic climate, people should not have to choose between food on the table today and good health in the future. Additionally, most workers in the restaurant/entertainment/
hospitality industry cannot afford good health insurance. We all want to lower the cost of healthcare, yet taxpayers are often helping to foot the bill for those whose health has been compromised through smoke exposure.
Interesting Notes from the Hearing:
A young woman spoke of being diagnosed with lung cancer at age 30. Although she never smoked a day in her life, she spent 20 years living with 2 parents who smoked, and another 10 being careless about breathing in second-hand smoke of friends. She and her physician attribute her cancer to second-hand smoke. She spoke about her difficult cancer treatment with 2 young children, and a husband struggling to support her financially and medically.
A tavern owner, unaffiliated with the Tavern League and siding against them in this debate, amused us all by looking around the room and asking where were the 5,000 tavern owners who were concerned about losing their livelihood, and suggesting that if the only thing a bar has going for it is the fact people can smoke there, that they ought to get into a different business anyway. I can't convey nearly as well his entertainment value, but he was great. The room was filled with smiles and laughter, except for a grisly woman sitting near us who slumped in her seat, scowled at everyone and yelled, "Shut up!" Not a happy looking tavern-owner. But at least the baliff didn't hear her, otherwise her day might have gotten even worse.
One young dude owned a huka bar (however you spell it--some kind of special pipe-smoking place), and he was worried about being put out of business because 70% of his business is selling and allowing people to smoke tobacco in his "cool" pipes. He sells softdrinks, but no other food or alcohol item. He was asking for a special exemption. Granted, I don't agree with his line of work. But I can see his point. Smoking IS legal. And I guess anyone who is going into a tobacco-based establishment is going to be accepting of tobacco smoke. I agree, he should have an exemption.
**The latest update I saw, as of 5 hours ago, looks like there have been some serious discussions and some compromises, and I'm very hopeful that it will pass. At this point, taverns will have over a year to comply. Restaurants and other establishments will make the transition 90 days from the bill becoming law. Tobacco stores and bars would be exempt. I think this is all great! I would be super happy with these compromises!! I really hope it passes next week!
It was so cool, as we were driving home from church on Easter, to see a gorgeous red fox sitting on top of his den. This is just up the street from our house, in perfect view of a main road. I knew that he lived near us; I'd seen him in the distance one early morning a few years ago. The den is so camouflaged though, that even though I pass it multiple times a day, I couldn't pick it out consistently before that Sunday.
Then, a few days later, I saw not only my fox, but also 5 or 6 kits as well! Tumbling and rolling and wrestling, with MAMA fox standing guard. What a celebration of spring! So I've been stalking my fox, keeping my camera in the car in hopes of catching them all in photo. But that mama fox is a good, protective mama. The one time I saw her and a kit out, she saw me stop across the road and hid the kit behind her, before shooing it quickly into the den. She just stared at me, moved farther from the den, and then eventually ran off, I assume to lead me away from her kits. So I'm sorry I don't have the perfect picture of them all scampering about, but here's the gorgeous mama fox, and if you look closely, maybe you can see the tail of the kit behind her tail.
Well, the local P&S is carrying in their magazine section, not only our lovely SI Swimsuit edition (right on eye-level of children), but also a new mag aptly titled "Hooters". I'm sure your imagination is right on the mark. And this month's Vanity Fair, in all it's nudey glory, was right in the check-out lane. ARGH!!
On the up side, I left a note for the manager, with my name and phone number, and he called back. He spoke to my husband and said that they will speak to the magazine rep about a more family-friendly arrangement of the mags they carry. I'm glad he spoke to my husband because it gave T a chance to say, as a grown male, that even adults don't want to see those things.
So, if you shop at my local P&S, will you do me a favor? If the mags are still out, will you also please make a comment to the manager? And if you don't see them, will you give them a big thank you? I think that will help keep things cleaner in the future. Thanks for your help, friends!
Back in the day, when I started this blog, I was busy, but still had time to think...hence, the "contemplating" part of mama. Now, every part of me is too busy just trying to survive. Hopefully my brain will be freed up again to contemplate things such as politics, religion, various other ideas, and how to make a difference in the world. Today my only free "brain" time is used trying to decide what to make for dinner.