Thursday, September 24, 2009

6 things parents can do to ensure their children will be happy, healthy and substance free

6 things parents can do to ensure their children will be happy, healthy and substance free
  1. Have dinner with your kids 5 nights a week or more. 
  2. Take them to religious services once a week.
  3. Checking your kids' homework 4 nights a week or more.
  4. Demand honesty from your children on Friday and Saturday nights about what they're doing.
  5. Take them on a week long vacaton.  Put away your blackberry and focus on your kids.
  6. Participate in a team sport.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Daddy

Today my Dad turns 60 and so I was thinking of the things that he has taught me in the 27 years of those 60 that I have been around.  Some of them are funny, some of them are serious, but all of them are important.  I love my dad, and I don’t know exactly all the reasons, but I love him, and I will keep on loving him over and over….

  • When possible, buy in BULK – and while we’re on the subject of money, don’t miss an opportunity to earn points, cashback, or a discount (it is probably those genes that give me a thrill whenever I use a coupon).
  • Take care of other people’s stuff.  Return stuff you borrow in the same or better condition than when you borrowed it.  My dad told me recently that if you can’t afford to part with something, you shouldn’t lend it out, that way if you don’t get it back it won’t hurt the relationship.  Having said that though, my dad is incredibly generous with the stuff he lends people.
  • READ – my dad LOVES books, he’s always reading something, either history related or Gospel related.  He loves to learn.
  • Be honest – I’m a horrible liar and maybe it’s because I didn’t get a whole lot of practice growing up.  I just couldn’t lie to my dad, mostly because I knew it was one of the rare times when my dad would use the word “hate.”  He “hates” dishonesty.
  • Help little old ladies – it is quite common for my dad to see older ladies and run over to lend them a hand.  I only hope that he will keep doing that even when he feels old himself – don’t worry dad, you’ve got lots of good years left ;)
  • Zurbits always help you feel better – they just do, ‘nough said.
  • If you feel the urge, BURST into song – and use signposts you pass as inspiration! – I remember many a family trip when we would sing along to some song like “all the people on the left?  A wam bam boogie!  All the people on the right?  A boogaloo!” For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about I pity you :)  (I think it might be a song from the 50’s…or 60’s…or one of those eras when music was actually talent!)
  • Say please and thank you – Do you want something?  YES please, or NO thankyou.  None of this “sure” nonsense :) 
  • Get a good parking spot.
  • Food is important – I was SO sad for my dad when he was diagnosed with diabetes because he LOVES good sweet stuff more than anyone else I know.  He never misses an opportunity to tell me what he had for breakfast, what he’s eating right now, and what mom made last night for dinner.  He just loves his food. 
  • If you can’t solve a problem, quit worrying about it – I think one of the reasons why my dad has always been a valued employee is that he is VERY good at solving problems.  And those that he can’t solve, he doesn’t worry about, well, at least he doesn’t let on that he’s worrying about them.
  • Avoid throwing up for as long as you can :) Then again, give dad as much notice as possible if you need him to pull over….
  • Do your family history – my dad teaches this one by example, he is a great historian and has really worked hard to make sure that his ancestors are found, accounted for, and that they have their temple work done.  What’s nice is I know he loves it and that it’s important to him, but he doesn’t get on a “family history soapbox” :)
  • See the world!  I loved hearing all about the places my dad would go on business because while he was there he would go off and see what there was to see.  He always brought home a nic-nak or two.  And then of course I would ask him to tell me about all the different meals he had.

He makes great biltong, does an awesome barbecue, and gives wonderful hugs.  Our son, Luke has the second name Mitchell after my dad.  I love that name and I love who it comes from.  In a week I get to take the two kids back to visit the Mackrory grandparents and we are all SO excited.  It’s going to be really fun.

My wish for my dad is that he can find a way to retire soon.  He would really like to retire and pretty much the main reason he can’t is because he and my mom have started over 3 times in their life together to give their kids a better future in a new country.  Thanks to both of you, and to my dad for working so very hard so Mom could stay home with us.  I owe so much of who I am and what I have to you!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Obama calls Congress to pass the public commuter bill

President Barack Obama addressed Congress over the weekend in an emergency meeting about the need to push through a public commuter bill.  The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) recently published some alarming statistics regarding automobile drivers over the next ten years:

  • 80% of Americans will lose the use of their car due to mechanical failure, collision, or collection agencies from dealers who didn’t get reimbursed in the Cash for Clunkers programs. 
  • 50% of Americans will be involved in an auto accident.
  • 20% of those in an auto accident will sustain serious or fatal injuries.

“We cannot allow Americans to be without transportation, and we absolutely cannot leave the problem of serious car accidents unresolved,” Obama said.  “Millions suffer serious or fatal injuries in car accidents every year.  Cars produce green house gas emissions that are killing our planet.  It would be un-American to not take precautions to ensure the safety of our people and the earth.  All cars are inherently dangerous and I’m signing an executive order for their immediate nationwide recall.”

Citizens will be required to exchange their cars for life-time passes on a new national public transit system.  Those currently without cars will be able to apply for these same passes at a reduced rate or free depending on their qualifications.  The transit system will be primarily made up of electric buses, but subways and other soon to be announced advanced systems will be built in metro areas.

Obama promises this new public transit system will be implemented without adding to the national debt. “We will hold our public transit employees accountable with how they spend the allotted money.  Buses will not be purchased or active unless there is sufficient documentation to justify the expense to keep costs down.”  Republicans and democrats see this as a bi-partisan effort and are quickly signing on.  Funding will come by raising taxes on cigarettes as the only remaining source of carbon emissions in the nation, and by cracking down on tax fraud.

Some experts warn that efforts to keep costs down will leave some would-be commuters without transportation that they need. “Particularly in the rural areas, some people may have trouble finding a bus route that meets their needs,” Dr. Rabbizter from Harvard on a Hill said. “But even in metro areas, a late or broken down bus will result in some people getting to work late, or even missing an important appointment altogether.  And in peak times even an on-time bus won’t get you there because it will be full.  People will never be guaranteed a seat on a bus, even one they ride regularly.”  Obama expects that patriotic citizens such as employers and doctors will be understanding regarding the unexpected delays that can occur in their employees or patients arrivals to appointments.

The nationwide public transit system is expected to create about 30,000 new government jobs—a welcome opportunity in this economic downturn.  But Bill Trapp, owner of Grey Hound, expects to have to lay off at least 5,000 employees as the public switches to the new public transit system for its subsidized prices, and says other private busing companies will likely have to do the same.  “I don’t know how we’ll compete long term,” Trapp said. “How can a private company make a profit when competing with tax-payer subsidized transportation?”

Even existing local public transportation provided by cities are wondering what this national transit will mean for their existing capital and employees.  Several thousand cities across the U.S. already provide subsidized public transportation for their residents, but Obama can only offer these cities a “cash for clunker-buses” program: “Existing buses simply are not safe enough; not green enough.  We must do everything possible to protect the safety of commuters, and to protect our environment.  Existing local city government employees who drive and service buses will be given the opportunity to keep their jobs—just working on U.S. government buses instead of local ones, although some may have to relocate to take advantage of this offer.”

Government Motors (GM), formerly known as General Motors but renamed when recently acquired by the United States, will be used to manufacture the new buses and provide their service.  Straheli Feihf, Obama’s new transportation czar, assures us that having exactly one manufacturer of all buses, and without competition for automobiles, will guarantee the safest, greenest, most efficient, and cheapest transportation.  “The law of economies of scale tells us that if just one entity produces all the automobiles for a nation, the result will be more efficiency than would be possible in a free market system.”

“I think it’s great,” said a Washington state resident regarding the new plan.  “It’s safer, greener, and free transportation for virtually everyone.  Now if only they could do this for health care.”

(yes, of course this is a parody ;)