Saturday, September 19, 2009

shopping castes

Some like to believe that there is no American caste society or that classes are not really an issue in the US. I beg to differ.

I am a big Super Walmart shopper. I have several friends who refuse to shop at Walmart. They think the store is disgusting and would prefer to never set foot in a Walmart. Now let me be honest. I am a deal shopper and that is a lot of why I shop at Walmart. I do, however prefer Target. I think they are cleaner and nicer but things do cost a little more money. I used to shop at Target all the time when we lived in Rochester. Now Target is further away and Walmart is very convenient, so I rarely go to Target.

I have some friends that are Byerly's shoppers. Sometimes I buy a few items at Lund's or Jerry's, which are all higher-end grocery stores. Then I also have friends that prefer to shop at more health-conscience places such as Trader Joe's, Whole Foods or local outdoor markets. I also shop at all of these places randomly. But if money is tight for you, then you don't shop at any of these places. That is just the reality. Food is an easy place to cut costs.

My sister, Roxanne, is a big deal-finder. She is really good at it. She finds the most amazing things for cheap. She is a big fan of her local dollar store. Tonight we headed there for a visit. I thorougly enjoyed it. This opend up another class of shoppers; those that do the majority of their shopping at dollar stores.

I don't want to be a person that is too good to shop at certain stores. I also don't want to be a person that refuses to shop at other stores. I enjoy rubbing shoulders with people of all types, especially people with low incomes. It keeps me grounded and appreciative and helps me be a giver. Tonight reminded me that I have so much to give and share with others. Now I'm on a mission to find a good dollar store close to my home.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

enjoying work?

I put in a lot of hours at work today before we take a big road trip to Colorado. Work has been busy lately but I am feeling pretty good about it. I feel like I turned a corner and am starting to understand more of what is going on. It is nice that I can actually answer people's questions and ask intellectual questions.

It feels weird to say that I enjoy my work but I think I sorta do. Still not loving the whole aspect of weapons killing people but the day to day work is challenging and enjoyable. I really like the people that I work with and they are quite entertaining. It is great getting to know a bunch of engineers again.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Jaden, the reader

My sweet, little Jaden can read! I had hoped he would be sounding out words before he turned 5 and he is! Still hard to believe that he really gets it! It is quite amazing to see so much clicking in his brain. Bryan and I have really had to try hard to not push him to read (especially me). I am naturally an overachiever and sometimes that gets put on my kids. I don't want it to so Bryan helps me relax about a lot of things.

Anyway, Jaden has been really interested in sounding out words lately and I asked him if I could read a Bob book with him and he refused to even let me read it. He then told me that he would read it daddy that night. And sure enough he did. He has now been reading to Bryan the last few nights and I got to listen in last night. What a treat! He is getting good at memorizing some words but it really quite good at sounding words out. I am not sure how things clicked for him because just a week ago, it seemed like he was so far away. We would sound out a word like "can" and he would say "k" "aaa" "nnn" and then say "car." I could not follow his connection and he was doing that all the time. I think, in a way, he was just guessing what the word was. Anyway, I guess trying to be really gentle and just reinforcing the individual sounds eventually built up enough confidence in his ability. I am just loving that he is loving reading right now!

On a side note and equally big accomplishment, Clay went pee in a portable toilet (port-a-potty thing) today. This is a big deal because I have taken him many times, in many places with no luck. The walk from the port-a-potty back to our friends was so cute. Clay just kept repeating to himself, "I did it!" So great to know that it built his confidence and glad to know he has a positive tape in his head.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

pocket checking

The era of pocket checking before laundry has begun. I have 2 small boys who love to put things in their pockets. I have discovered a few small rocks laying in the washing machine in the last few loads of boy laundry that I have done. I knew that when I went to do the boys' laundry the next time that I would need to more thoroughly check their pockets.

I did expect to find a few things today. Here is what I found:
-2 large boy fist-size rocks (first clue to check all pockets very thoroughly--those pants were way to heavy)
-1 Twins ticket (from last sharing at school about our trip to the baseball game last Saturday)
-1 business card from church (about our connection to the country of Congo and buying goats for the people there)
-1 triangle and 1 oval metal inset tracing, cutout and colored from school (probably given by a friend, Lola) (I had already removed 3 after school that day)

I knew that I may have missed some tiny things but I was most hoping that I didn't miss any paper that would shred all over the clothes.

After the washing cycle, I found more:
-one half-dissolved jelly bean (courtesy of my Aunt Joyce--love those Jelly Belly's and so do the boys; they cherish them so much that they forget to eat them sometimes)
-one screw, found while walking at the Mall of America today
-one small, plastic fish toy

I am pretty sure that all of these things came from Jaden's pockets but I can't prove it. That boy gets so attached to small items that fit in his pockets. He loves business cards and tickets to anything we go to. They are his favorite item everywhere we go. He is always asking if he can have them. His attachment to things I take for granted is sweet. It is nice that he forgets about them. I am able to throw these items away without him asking the next day. The only item that remains is the small fish toy. I am sure it will make its way into a little boy's pocket again soon.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

You know you work on weapons when...(#4)

You end up asking yourself...what does "less lethal" mean?

Really, isn't it clear, either something is lethal or not lethal. If you don't know, then don't state it. Don't use some ambiguous phrase like less lethal.

In the munition world this probably means that you are too cheap to find out how lethal your munition is. I still don't think you should be able to measure the lethality of something but you can, I guess.

If you have less lethal munition, you are trying to be non-lethal but you don't know if it will possibly kill someone. Even munition that is labeled non-lethal can end up killing a person at some point. If you are standing too close to a non-lethal munition when it goes off, you might be in the "kill zone" and you shouldn't have been that close. I guess you will have learned your lesson. Or I think the engineers doing their testing and analysis shouldn't have been able to label their munition non-lethal because their testing and analysis should have showed that there was a possibility for the munition to be lethal.

Lethality should be black and white. Either it kills or it doesn't. But in fact, there are a lot of gray areas.

There is way to much talk around me and thought in me for me to be comfortable about lethality of weapons. How do I go on doing my job? I like the work, not the big picture, but the hour to hour grind of the engineering and I really like the people that I work with at ATK. They are why I continue what I do.

I thought this was going to be a quick, short post before bed but my passion against weapons got the best of me.

I am helping defend our country and helping our soldiers do their jobs better (at least that is what everyone keeps telling me).