Friday, February 25, 2011

I Stand With Planned Parenthood

On February 18, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to withdraw federal funding of Planned Parenthood as part of a larger bill to cut government spending.   If this bill passes the Senate, all funding for Planned Parenthood services such as birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other lifesaving care will be terminated.  Planned Parenthood would lose $363 million in federal funding. 

Our elected representatives are facing difficult choices as they try to balance the budget.  There are many competing needs, but there are also forces that are taking advantage of the budget challenges to undermine the reproductive rights of women.  Planned Parenthood provides free or low cost health services for women across America.  As part of comprehensive reproductive health services, they also provide abortion services.  However, no federal money is used to provide abortion services, yet targeting Planned Parenthood for budget cuts is an easy target for the anti-choice members of Congress.

When the spouse and I first married, we were poor college students.  We didn't have medical insurance.  Planned Parenthood was the resource I used for reproductive health care.  Not only did I receive knowledgeable, professional medical care, but I also got my birth control pills for free.  If you're poor, birth control can be a luxury.  I was so grateful for Planned Parenthood.

All women deserve access to quality reproductive health care that is non-biased.  Reduction of federal funding to Planned Parenthood jeopardizes that access for millions of women.  I live in a rural area, yet  there is a Planned Parenthood facility 30 miles from my house. 

Day in and day out Planned Parenthood is providing critical health care services for families who have no other alternatives.  That is why federal funding must be sustained.  Now is not the time to play politics with health care funding. 

If you are concerned about this issue, let your elected representatives know.  Sign the open letter to the representatives who voted for this bill, and to the senators who still have a chance to stop it.  You can find a link to the letter at the Planned Parenthood website at

I stand with Planned Parenthood.  I hope you will too.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WTF Wednesday: God Works in Mysterious Ways

WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say "What the f**k!" Well, that and I just like saying WTF. I'm retired. I don't have to watch what I say anymore. I'm not any one's role model.

A year or so ago my daughter and I were looking at DVDs when I noticed a cartoon series with vegetable characters called Veggie Tales. 

"What kid would want to watch cartoon vegetables?" I commented to my daughter.

Readers who have small children have probably heard about Veggie Tales.  I had never heard of them and my daughter filled me in.  Veggie Tales is an animated series that features vegetables acting out Bible stories.

What the f**k?  Vegetables telling Bible stories?  ...and it's on TV?  ...and kids actually watch it?

This is not a joke.  The series exists and it is really cartoon vegetables acting out Bible stories like Daniel in the Lion's Den, or David and Goliath.

Can you imagine the production meeting where this idea was first proposed? 

I know that God works in mysterious ways, but this one is more than mysterious; It's weird. 

Nana did NOT buy the DVD for the granddaughters!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

WTF Wednesday: Anonymous is Stalking Me

WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say "What the f**k!" Well, that and I just like saying WTF. I'm retired. I don't have to watch what I say anymore. I'm not any one's role model.

I just put the picture of the dollar bill to taunt my new stalker. Apparently middle school students have found my blog. I wrote about an incident in the classroom here last Wednesday. Here are some of the messages that have been posted on my blog since then:

Posted by Anonymous to Benchmark 60 at February 7, 2011 5:24 PM

"I want my dollar back you dumb bitch!!!! Go play with zebra poop!!!
Posted by Anonymous to Benchmark 60 at February 7, 2011 12:14 PM

"Fuck you!"
Posted by Anonymous to Plentiful Sufficiency at February 6, 2011 1:16 PM

"U are such a god damn freak! What the he'll is this blog for! I hate you! You had no right to take my dollar! You had no right to blog about it either you price of shit!!!! bONEr!!
Posted by Anonymous to Benchmark 60 at February 6, 2011 1:13 PM

It is easy enough to erase the comments. But, for everyone who looks at teaching as an easy job, here's an example of the other side of the story. While we want to look at students as innocent children, and see our job as shepherding them into adulthood by teaching and encouraging them, the reality is that some of them are nasty pieces of work. Unfortunately, it looks like I had one of those kids in my classroom.

Okay, the smart ones in the crowd are asking, "How do you know it's a middle school student?" To which I reply.... clues!  The comment about zebras refers to a discussion in the classroom about zebra prints. (Yes, Nana was indulging in her love for fashion with an especially attractive zebra print jacket which some students thought was quite fashion forward.)

Dear Anonymous,
I don't have your dollar.  I left it in your teacher's desk with your name on it.  Your mother never came by to claim it.  Perhaps you should ask your teacher or your principal to return it to you.  I'm sending them a link to this post.  I'm sure they'll be interested in reading what you are posting online.  Your mother must be so proud!

Your substitute

Monday, February 7, 2011

Social Networks

My cyber friend Linda,  the baglady, recently wrote about maintaining social networks in retirement.  She pointed out that people have differing needs for social contact. Some of us require more social contact than others. Another blog friend, DJan, wrote about the changes to her daily routine since she retired.  One of the benefits of joining the blogging community  has been getting to know other bloggers who are at the same stage of life as me.  I'm constantly learning something new and forced to examine my own thinking.

So the baglady got me thinking about my own social contacts.  One of the things that has been challenging for me in retirement is that I no longer have the casual social connections that I had when I was working.  There are a lot of informal social outings that come about because of daily contact with a group of people.  Someone will mention that there's a craft fair on Saturday and someone else will suggest that it would be fun to go as a group and with little or no effort a weekend becomes full with group activities.  There are automatic invitations to holiday parties when you're working.  There's also an immediate support system when something goes wrong.  You're immediately missed when you don't show up for work.  All that stops when employment ends.

I haven't been diligent in establishing new social contacts or maintaining my relationships with pre-retirement friends.  It takes work and I haven't put forth the effort on a regular basis.  I have enjoyed the few activities that I 've organized.  But, there's the gist of the issue... I have to organize it. I've come to realize that my need for social contact isn't very high.

I don't have a best friend.  I am sometimes envious of Oprah's relationship with her best friend, Gayle...but not envious enough to work at being a better friend.  I think it gets harder to establish friendships as I get older.  There's something so comfortable with old friends.  You don't have to explain the history and they accept you for what you are and forgive you the obvious flaws.  The hard work in building the relationship was done years ago.  The problem with old friends is that things change.  People die, or move away, or get a divorce.  The crowd of old friends is diminishing. 

As I get older, family assumes a greater role in my social network.  They provide all the benefits of old friends and they're always there...usually with only a few snide comments about not having heard from me in a long time.

I live in a rural area.  There aren't a lot of organized social activities in which to participate.  I have a writing group that meets a couple of times a month...I organized it.  I attend the Lions Club meeting every other Wednesday.  I can't bring myself to attend the senior citizen lunches.  My old friend, Dick, invited me to go with him, but I guess I haven't fully accepted that I am a senior.

I think I'm just going to adopt a cat for companionship.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

WTF Wednesday: Nana Gets a $1.00 and a Boner

WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say "What the f**k!" Well, that and I just like saying WTF. I'm retired. I don't have to watch what I say anymore. I'm not any one's role model.

For several weeks this month I have been substituting at the middle school.  Anyone who has ever been around middle school kids will appreciate what a challenging assignment this is.  Yesterday I conficated a dollar bill from a student, despite his protests of "What?  What did I do? I didn't do anything!"  Here's a picture of the bill that he was flashing, behind my back, to all the other students in the class.

They found it hysterically funny.  In my head I was thinking "What the f**k?"  But, I am smart enough not to say it out loud in a classroom! 

I still don't get middle school humor.

The student insisted that I had no right to take his dollar.  I told him to have his mother stop by to see me and I was perfectly happy to give it back to her, after he explained to his mother the significance of the writing on the back.  Somehow I don't think his mom will be stopping by.
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