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Mar. 9th, 2010 @ 12:42 am Turn-around Tuesdays – Serendipity

Originally published at The Soccer Moms' Guide to Wicca. Please leave any comments there.

On Tuesdays, Juniper and/or Fae will pick a great blog post from our friends and write a paragraph about it. We’ll  include a link to their post in our paragraph. We’re going to invite you to do the same – find a post that you’ve found that moves you (and it doesn’t have to be from today, it can be an older post) and share it here. We’ll have a centralized list of of recommended posts here, and a button that can link us together. The group can grow and grow, we don’t have to limit the amount of recommended posts…but it would be a way for us to find incredible things to read, and remarkable people to meet, recommended by our peers, without having to surf for hours. The goal is all about sharing interesting posts, and interesting people. It doesn’t have to be limited to ANY topic, religion or ideology. We can’t wait to read what you find!

Here’s Fae’s pick this week:

The concept of self-awareness seems to be one of the recurrent themes of this month for me. Faerwillow at Serendipity always posts wonderful poetry and thoughts with incredible aesthetic sense. I could quote her every day, but I’m sharing one called Words to Ponder in particular because it so beautifully puts all my thoughts of late in together in a lovely post about living in the now, and the thread of commonality we all share as human beings. I hope you love it as much as I did!

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So here’s what you do…if you’d like to read more, click through to Serendipity. If you’d like to leave comments for her, feel free!

If you have a friend whose post you want to share, here’s how you do it…(look at my post as an example if you have any questions…it’s easier than it looks:)

1. Write a paragraph or two about your friend’s post in your blog. Include link to the post you’re writing about so your friends can clickthrough to it and read it themselves.

2. Name your post “TurnAround Tuesday – [and then the name of your friend's blog]“.  Look at the name of my post today for an example.

3. Copy and paste the code below at the bottom of the post you’ve just written. This code will put a button on the bottom of your post so your readers can join Turnaround Tuesday if they wish. Then publish your post!


4. After posting, come back here and fill out the information below:

Link Title: Title of your post you’re blogging about.

Email Address: YOUR email address (it won’t show on the page, don’t worry).

Link URL:  Copy and paste the link to your Turn-Around Tuesday post.

5. Hit the ‘Submit Link’ button.

That’s it!

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Mar. 6th, 2010 @ 12:06 pm Fae – Ecstasy of Existence, in a Snapshot

Originally published at The Soccer Moms' Guide to Wicca. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve been finding myself going back to DomesticWitch’s site over the last few days to look at this photo…

…and I finally just stole it from her site:). Ends up it’s an artist is named Jordan Matter, and this photo is from a book called Uncoverered, which appears to have been released about June of 2009.

I’m not sure why I can’t stop looking at it. There’s a ‘drawing down the moon’ quality about it, with the light shining down on her body, and I love the juxtaposition of her naked torso against the scarf and snow. There’s an ecstatic quality in her pose, and a sense of freedom that just draws me in.

I’m almost disappointed that I found Uncovered. Not that I don’t like the book, there are photos in it that are brilliant (be sure to take a look using the above link). The collection is remarkable, at times thought-provoking, poignant, jarring and humorous. Had I found the book as a whole, I’d still have loved it (which I do), but perhaps this photo would have been less unexpected. I think I saw this shot as singular, instead of one of a theme.

So this touches me in a way that few photos do. My favorite piece of all time was shot by Jeffrey Silverstone, and entitled “The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep” (1972). I found it in a collection called Photographs of the Human Form, by William A, Ewing.  The woman in Jordan Matter’s photo above is vibrantly alive, but she shares  the ecstatic quality and a sense of freedom I see in “The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep”;  although Jeffrey Silverstone’s subject has been rent with the deep Y-shaped incision of post-mortem exploration, she is smiling peacefully, her arm is curled up by her face as if she’s stretching and about to wake. Sounds terribly macabre, I know, but it is deeply touching – and comforting. I wish there was a link I could share with you, but it doesn’t seem to be online. As well as Uncovered, I’d recommend Photographs of the Human Form highly, it’s filled with noteworthy works by a plethora of artists.

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Mar. 5th, 2010 @ 12:24 am Fae – 504 Plan & Hot School Lunch for Celiac – Signed, Sealed & Delivered!

Originally published at The Soccer Moms' Guide to Wicca. Please leave any comments there.

There’s so very much that led up to today…

Like this post in October of 2008…and this post and this post from November of 2009, to share a few…

…but if you’d like the reader’s digest version, our daughter Gillian is the first in our school system to be diagnosed with Celiac Disease (detailed description of Celiac below), and we’ve had quite the time getting her legal protection via a 504.

As of today, we’ve signed off on the document, and got everything we fought for. The only thing I needed to let go of was the gluten-free class parties, which we’ve worked out seamlessly with the nurse, teacher and class parents for two years now.

So I’ll share the 504 with you, below. If you live in the US, you’re legally entitled to everything on it for your school-aged child with Celiac. The cherry on the sundae, though, was getting the school system to train and provide hot lunches every day for her (for which we’ll pay the same as every other child in our district, $2.25). We had trouble getting them to agree to this (we were told that they didn’t see this as a necessity), until I told them that, according to the Food & Drug Administration in Washington, DC, schools have to accommodate under 504 by preparing and serving at least one SAFE meal per day to the student (this goes for kids with 504s with food allergies as well, and there are lots of them in our district).  This means safe hot dogs, hamburgers, etc (whatever is formulated in 504 plan) and prepared in separate area of the cafeteria with separate utensils. Either they weren’t aware of this, or they didn’t think I’d know, but I’ve had almost 3 years to do my homework. We had also consulted a lawyer, and perhaps it’s my imagination, but after I said the phrase “Our lawyer has advised us that…” in conversation with them, things seemed to go more smoothly.

To be fair, although this has dragged on way too long and I’ve had to push for every inch we’ve gotten, the staff has been polite and professional to us throughout the process.  We also know for a fact that they found this web site in the online research they’ve needed to do (as I said, we’re the first in the district with a Celiac 504) to prepare their end of this document. We’ve got a good friend who hears everything in the PTO, and there have been no rumors passed about our religion, for which I am eternally grateful. I was very, very concerned about this at first, and am relived to find I appear to be wrong about being outed to the community at large.

Back to school lunches – Gillian couldn’t be more excited! She’s been living on cold ham slices and peanut butter with gluten-free crackers for years now. The nutritionist that works with the catering company that supplies our school system has prepared a menu providing her with a different balanced meal each day of the school week, and although the same menu currently repeats itself weekly, she’s looking for other food I’ve recommended to her, such as fish sticks and pancakes. The best part is that her menu dovetails with the regular school menu, so she’s eating the same type of food as the rest of her class – only much more nutritious, since gluten free food is a lot more expensive and held to much higher standards of production and quality than the food normally served in a school cafeteria. She begins buying lunch this coming Tuesday!

Here’s the current weekly menu they sent me to sign:

Okay, no on to the 504. The biggest argument we had from the school was the determination of whether or not Celiac falls under the Rehabilitation act of 1973. Here’s the proof that it does:

The Department of Education (ED) Office of Civil Rights regulations define a physical or mental impairment as any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine… The regulations do not spell out every disease and condition that may constitute physical or mental impairments [which leaves room for Celiac to be included]. Section 504(a) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 34 C.F.R. 104.3(j)(2)(i) and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), Title II regulation at 28 C.F.R. § 35.104.

Here’s the Accommodation Plan section of her 504. If you’re the parent of a Celiac kid, please feel free to use this as a guideline in researching what your child is entitled to.

SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973
ACCOMMODATION PLAN

• In the event of excessive trips to the restroom (out of the classroom for 3 hours) one hour of instruction will be provided. In the case of excessive absences (10 consecutive days with a prognosis of additional days absent) due to illness related to Celiac Disease, home instruction will be considered.

• General: All Staff members involved in the care and education of Gillian must receive training in the management of Celiac Disease. Each substitute school teacher and substitute school nurse will be provided with written instructions regarding Gillian’s Celiac Disease plan of care. Benedryl will be kept in the Nurse’s office and will be made available to Gillian should accidental exposure occur, as hives can appear when cross contamination occurs.

• Classroom: Teachers will give Gillian’s parents a 48-hour notice of any special events outside the classroom at which food will be prepared that is not from the cafeteria. Snacks will be available in the classroom, or Gillian’s backpack, or the nurse’s office (whichever is deemed the most viable) in the event that she becomes hungry. If the school is providing food for the students, gluten free food will be provided by the school for Gillian.

• Cafeteria: The school will designate a person to be responsible for ensuring that lunch tables and surrounding areas are thoroughly cleaned before lunch with a dedicated container of wipes. The cafeteria will continue to have gluten-free foods available for lunch.

• Gluten free lunch options will be made available to Gillian on a daily basis. The appropriate health measures will be executed by the Maschio staff after training by their supervisor.

• Bathroom: Gillian shall be permitted to use the bathroom without restriction. If she deems it necessary, she will be permitted to use the bathroom in the nurse’s office in case of serious stomach cramping and cold sweats, so that she can be overseen by an adult.

• Art/Art Projects: Disposable gloves will be accessible to Gillian for projects that contain gluten such as play doh or paper-mâché. School projects utilizing glutinous ingredients which can become airborne (i.e. flour or paper-mâché dust) must be substituted with another project or gluten-free ingredients, such as gluten free flour. The staff should call Mrs. Cushing if they have any questions about projects that may include gluten.

• Field Trips: Parents will be notified of upcoming field trip plans that would involve food or food related activities. The school staff will provide reasonable notice to her parents when there will be a change in planned activities such as field trips or parties. If the school is providing food for the students, gluten free food will be provided by the school for Gillian.

• Parental Notification: Gillian’s parents should be notified immediately in the following situations:
*The student has eaten a food item that contains gluten
*The student has symptoms of gluten ingestion such as abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea or hives.

• Emergency Situations: Gillian’s parents shall provide the school with a three day emergency supply of non-perishable gluten-free foods.

Medical History: Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes damage to the intestinal lining, interfering with the absorption of nutrients. Untreated, Celiac disease causes multi-system complications such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, iron deficiency anemia, decreased bone density, failure to thrive, short stature, and behavior problems. The only treatment for Celiac disease is a strict gluten free diet for life. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and contaminated oats. Therefore, all foods with wheat, rye, barley and oats must be eliminated from the diet. In addition to the foods being gluten free, it is equally important that these foods are not contaminated by coming in contact with gluten containing foods during their preparation or service. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes damage to the intestinal lining, interfering with the absorption of nutrients. Untreated, Celiac disease causes multi-system complications such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, iron deficiency anemia, decreased bone density, failure to thrive, short stature, and behavior problems. The only treatment for Celiac disease is a strict gluten free diet for life. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and contaminated oats. Therefore, all foods with wheat, rye, barley and oats must be eliminated from the diet. In addition to the foods being gluten free, it is equally important that these foods are not contaminated by coming in contact with gluten containing foods during their preparation or service.

Celiac disease is a disorder that causes problems in your intestines when you eat gluten. Gluten damages the intestines of people with Celiac Disease. Once the damage occurs, patients with Celiac disease have difficulty absorbing vitamins, calcium, protein, carbohydrates, fats, and other important nutrients. This can lead to weight loss, malnutrition and anemia.

Gillian experienced very frequent stomach pain/Irritable Bowel type symptoms. Lack of growth for three years prior to diagnosis.

Diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2007. Gillian continued to experience pain and irritable bowel symptoms throughout the second and third grade. She needed to spend a lot of time in the bathroom during the school day. She appears much improved in fourth grade. She takes no medications at this time – however, she must follow a strict gluten-free diet for the rest of her life.

Physical – No physical restrictions. Gillian is small in both height and weight when compared to her same aged peers. She has grown 4 ¼” and gained 12 pounds since being diagnosed.

Adaptive Behavior
Gillian is able to:
*monitor her diet and avoid eating foods that contain gluten
*wipe down her desk/table with a dedicated container of wipes
*inform the teacher that she needs to go to the nurse during a flare up of stomach pain

—– END DOCUMENT—

I’m so glad that it goes into effect tomorrow, when Matt and I sign off on it and return it to the school. What a relief to know that Gillian will have legal protection, and the school legal responsibility to keep her safe!

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Mar. 3rd, 2010 @ 12:01 am Fae – Matt & Gillian’s Sushi-Making Adventure

Originally published at The Soccer Moms' Guide to Wicca. Please leave any comments there.

This post was originally published on Matt’s web site, but, being his wife, I stole it:) (That was in our vows…”We promise to love, honor obey, and steal good ideas from one another”).  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do….

Since Gillian has been diagnosed with Celiac disease, we’ve been trying to find ways to get her to eat more diverse foods than gluten free(gf) mac and cheese and gf grilled cheese and grilled chicken. Matt knew enough to download a translated card from the Celiac Disease foundation that listed the instructions and asked a few questions in several languages so the guys at our local sushi restaurant could understand and make her what she wanted with a clean board and utensils. They did, and she loved it.

Problem is, it’s really expensive. So for the holidays, Gillian bought Matt a sushi kit – a book, some implements and a wish to make it with me. Is he going to say no to that face? Don’t think so. Here’s Matt and Gillian’s documented foray into the world of sushi…

First things first. Pour the rice into a big bowl that isn’t white. Why not white? The first thing you have to do is make sure that you rinse the rice to pull off any excess starch and ‘dust’. Put the rice into the bowl and put in water so it’s totally submerged and then some.
You’ll need to mix it around so you get all of it ‘clean’. Gillian kinda liked this part :)
Once it’s relatively clear, you’re good to go. Drop it in the rice cooker. If you don’t have one, google what you’ll need to do. My roomie from college gave me the one we used and we love it.
Gillian likes cooked shrimp so we decided on a cucumber, mango, and shrimp roll. Yeah, she’s nuts for mango. The key to cooking the shrimp is to use wooden skewers. You slide it into the shrimp, trying to keep it inside the shell, but not piercing the shrimp itself. The skewers are so when you cook them, they don’t curl up. Curled shrimp is pretty freakin hard to put in a roll from what I hear. We got jumbo shrimp from the Wegmans counter, so they were iced, but not frozen. Get them de-veined too. eww.
If you’ve eaten at enough sushi places and watched them (plus a lot of Iron Chef), you know that you don’t chop up the cucumber. You pare it like you’re peeling an apple, just make it one continuous sheet of cucumber. I managed to get 3/4 of the cuke peeled like this before I broke it :) Gillian peeled the skin off initially and then sliced the sheet into strips, of course eating the ones that were too thick ;)
For those of you who have made sushi before, I know, this looks really sloppy. KEY NOTE TO MAKING SUSHI – WAIT FOR THE RICE TO COOL. I almost burned all the skin off the tips of my fingers spreading this out. Hot sushi also tends to melt or tear the nori. Here we have the bamboo mat with a sheet of nori (seaweed) on top spread with the rice. Don’t do it all the way to the edge, leave about 1/5 of the roll free so you don’t have too much. Another key note – spread it thin or it’ll be one big ball of rice. The other thing I learned is that my ingredients are too close to the middle, needed to bring them towards me a bit more.
Here’s my first roll, cut into pieces. Key Note: hot/warm rice doesn’t cut well. Also: having a container with 4 parts water, 1 part rice-wine vinegar that you can dip the knife into is ESSENTIAL. As you can see, it’s not cut well here. Knife was plenty sharp, I was pushing down too hard, and the rice got too sticky on the knife.
The first roll is finished:
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Matt & Gillian make sushi from Matt Cushing on Vimeo.

As you can tell by the thumbs up, I got better as I went along :)
We’re done:

We’re done making Sushi from Matt Cushing on Vimeo.

All in all, lots of fun, and something we’ll definitely do again :)

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Mar. 3rd, 2010 @ 12:01 am Fae – Random Acts of Kindness Campaign

Originally published at The Soccer Moms' Guide to Wicca. Please leave any comments there.

Domestic Witch is so creative…She’s come up with some great ideas for a month-long campaign promoting random acts of kindness, and is giving away a prize as motivation…as if the act wasn’t a reward in itself! She even has suggestions on easy ways to get started. As a matter of fact, she’s done everything for you except the act itself!

Click through her button above to visit her site and join in!

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Mar. 2nd, 2010 @ 01:01 am Turn-around Tuesdays – Free The West Memphis Three

Originally published at The Soccer Moms' Guide to Wicca. Please leave any comments there.

On Tuesdays, Juniper and/or Fae will pick a great blog post from our friends and write a paragraph about it. We’ll  include a link to their post in our paragraph. We’re going to invite you to do the same – find a post that you’ve found that moves you (and it doesn’t have to be from today, it can be an older post) and share it here. We’ll have a centralized list of of recommended posts here, and a button that can link us together. The group can grow and grow, we don’t have to limit the amount of recommended posts…but it would be a way for us to find incredible things to read, and remarkable people to meet, recommended by our peers, without having to surf for hours. The goal is all about sharing interesting posts, and interesting people. It doesn’t have to be limited to ANY topic, religion or ideology. We can’t wait to read what you find!

Here’s Fae’s pick this week:

I’ve noticed that the struggle for religious freedom has become a theme in my life. You’d never know it if you read our blog:) Years ago, I saw an HBO special called “Paradise Lost”, a documentary about three 8-year-old boys who were brutally murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas.  I subsequently read the book “Devils Knot”, by Mara Leveritt, a more in-depth look into the case. I’ve blogged about the case intermittently for the last two years.

The “West Memphis Three” are men who have been incarcerated for these multiple murders. The prosecutors presented no credible physical evidence that these men – who were only boys at the time – were involved in this crime. They were convicted because they were young and rebellious, on the grounds that they were Satan worshipers, which was not correct. Damien Echols, one of the three, is sitting on death row for these crimes.

As I sat down to write this, little did I know that new interest has piqued in the last week. Johnny Depp has picked up the torch, and shows like 48 Hours are running the story. Many influential people such as Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam and Natalie Maines from The Dixie Chicks have tried to keep the spotlight on this case over the years, and I’m so glad that Depp is joining the fight.  If religious tolerance is of interest to you, I strongly suggest that you read about these innocent men. If you’re familiar with the case, or you’d like more in-depth videos and interviews, their blog is located here.

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So here’s what you do…if you’d like to read more,  click through to The “Free the West Memphis Three” site. If you’d like to leave comments for them, feel free!

If you have a friend whose post you want to share, here’s how you do it…(look at my post as an example if you have any questions…it’s easier than it looks:)

1. Write a paragraph or two about your friend’s post  in your blog. Include link to the post you’re writing about so your friends can click through to it and read it themselves.

2. Name your post “TurnAround Tuesday – [and then the name of your friend's blog]“.  Look at the name of my post today for an example.

3. Copy and paste the code below at the bottom of the post you’ve just written. This code will put a button on the bottom of your post so the readers can join Turnaround Tuesday if they wish. Then publish your post!


4. After posting, come back here and fill out the Widget below the button with the following information:

Link Title: Title of your friends’ post (the post title, not the blog name).

Email Address: YOUR email address (it won’t show on the page, don’t worry).

Link URL:  Copy and paste the  link into your Turn-Around Tuesday post, not your main website.

5. Hit the ‘Submit Link’ button.

That’s it!

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Mar. 1st, 2010 @ 02:33 pm Fae – Onward Through The Fog

Originally published at The Soccer Moms' Guide to Wicca. Please leave any comments there.

I’m frustrated. I’ve been offline for a while, and haven’t wanted to touch my computer at all, which is very unlike me. I have a list of reasons why, which I’ll be happy to share.

1. I had a gastric bypass about 7 years ago. There wasn’t a lot of research about the long-term effects at the time, and I’ve always seemed to have a bit of an issue with foresight. Because of the operation, I’m not absorbing nutrients the way I should. Funny that, since they took out a nice section of my intestines as well as the bottom half of my stomach. Ever since, I’ve had a series of side effects that are kicking my tush. First I found out that I have Osteopenia, the first step toward Osteoporosis.  Since I was in my late 30’s at the time, I was more upset about this this than if I were, say, 55 or 60. This past fall, my doctors finally figured out why I’ve been exhausted for the past few years – I have Iron Deficient Anemia, and my iron and ferritin levels were so low that 2 of my doctors actually asked me how I stood up without fainting. Once we figured out the problem, my GP sent me to a Hematologist, who’s been gave me iron infusions every week in the cancer hospital. I’ve got a new view on life now, after sitting with so many people fighting for their lives. This in itself is another post…anyway, a week after the infusions stopped (my iron levels are normal, and I’ll have to go back from time to time for more infusions, but I have energy now!), I started getting cluster headaches and migraines. Every day. Bad ones. The GP sent me to a Neurologist. Six weeks, an MRI and trip to the emergency room later (when I found out that I can no longer handle opiates of any kind – the hard way), the Neurologist is sending me to a Gastroenterologist, because he’s come to the conclusion that the headaches are part of the malabsorption from the bypass. So, a metabolic workup for me tomorrow, and hopefully the end of the headaches in sight. I share all of this as an excuse for not blogging, because I’m having just a few clearheaded moments in the day, and I’m not using them to blog.

2. Pain medication and muscle relaxants aren’t conducive to well-written and succinct blog posts. This should probably be included in reason #1, but I feel that I need more than 3 excuses in total.

3. I’m completely overwhelmed by my collection of RSS feeds. I love my friends and cherished keeping up with them, and every time I look at the collection of back posts in my inbox I suddenly remember that I have to put the wash in the dryer, or I forgot to set the DVR to record Lost. When I try again, it occurs to me that the dishwasher needs running, and I have to marinate the chicken for dinner.

4. A 30-day blog giveaway is too long for me, personally, to host. I loved doing it, it was fun, and I’m going to do it again. Perhaps a week-long giveaway?  Two weeks? Seems more realistic for me. I think perhaps I burned myself out a wee bit and ran away to recoup:) Back to that foresight issue…Don’t you think, by now, I should know my limitations? You live, you learn, says Alanis Morissette. She’s a smart cookie!

Can’t think of anything else right now, but give me enough time and I’ll think of more. Needless to say, I’m full of them (please, no witty remarks about what else I’m full of.:)).

So…

Juniper and I have received a few emails from friends that read our blog, worrying – understandably so – because they’re used to seeing a post *every* day, and those posts suddenly stopped in the beginning of January. It was a dear friend asking me to post a Turnaround Tuesday because she had a link she wanted to share that spurred me on to use one of my clearheaded moments to post today. So here I am, and I’m posting a Turnaround Tuesday late tonight. When I can gather the nerve, I’ll try to start catching up with all the wonderful people I follow. Being this behind seems like a daunting task, but I miss knowing what’s going on in your lives!

I’ll be attempting to post every day, because if I don’t, I’ll fall off the blogging wagon again. You can call me on that one next time I disappear!

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Feb. 3rd, 2010 @ 03:23 pm Fae – A Completely Stolen Post

Originally published at The Soccer Moms' Guide to Wicca. Please leave any comments there.

While reading “New York Magazine” (I am addicted to the puzzles, and the articles are good too – we don’t live far from Manhattan, so the info is useful as well), I came across a comment about how when you type “I don’t” into the Google search engine, the autofill suggests “Why can’t I own a Canadian”. This piqued my interest enough to try it…sometimes my curiosity gets the better of me:)

The first page that came up was this one from 2002, and I’m totally cutting and pasting to share this, because I’ve never seen it and it made me fall over laughing. Many of you share my sense of humor, and I hope you’ll be as entertained as I was. Enjoy!

Why Can’t I Own a Canadian?
October 2002

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,
Jim

Note to Stumblers:

Some comments criticizing this piece indicate that it was “hijacked” from a West Wing episode. This is a chicken and egg argument in my opinion. I don’t really know which came first, and frankly don’t care. Below, for your enjoyment, is the clip in question.

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Feb. 1st, 2010 @ 09:46 pm Turn-around Tuesdays – The Goddess Within

Originally published at The Soccer Moms' Guide to Wicca. Please leave any comments there.

Every Tuesday, Juniper and/or Fae will pick a great blog post from our  friends and write a paragraph about it. We’ll  include a link to their post in our paragraph. We’re going to invite you to do the same – find a post that you’ve found that moves you (and it doesn’t have to be from today, it can be an older post) and share it here. We’ll have a centralized list of of recommended posts here, and a button that can link us together. The group can grow and grow, we don’t have to limit the amount of recommended posts…but it would be a way for us to find incredible things to read, and remarkable people to meet, recommended by our peers, without having to surf for hours. The goal is all about sharing interesting posts, and interesting people. I doesn’t have to be limited to ANY topic, religion or ideology. We can’t wait to read what you find!

Here’s Fae’s pick this week:

Silvermoone at The Goddess Within has written a blog post called The Truth About F-E-A-R, which really hit the nail on the head for me. Recently, I won a personalized gift basket from Magickal Enchantments, and in building something just for me, I was asked what I’d like to have help with. I responded, “I’m extremely analytical, and have been through enough cognitive therapy to tell you what is at the root of any problem I’m having and every emotional/psychological/mental battle I’ve fought: Fear. I run. I escape. It’s what’s built into my core, it’s the coping mechanism I’ve used to survive, and it’s what I need to stop. Although I work every day to evolve, it’s a bit of a two steps forward-one step back situation. I just find another way to run.” When I read Silvermoone’s post, I almost had to smile…when a subject like this repeatedly emerges for me, it’s usually a note from my psyche telling me it’s time to delve deeper. Her analytical nature touches upon aspects and insights I can not only relate to, but utilize in my own evolution.

I love the clarity and thoughtfulness and depth with which she writes, and wanted to share this with you. I hope you find it as insightful as I did!

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So here’s what you do…if you’d like to read the post,  click through to The Goddess Within and read the article. If you’d like to leave comments for her, feel free!

If you have a friend whose post you want to share, here’s how you do it…(look at my post as an example if you have any questions…it’s easier than it looks:)

If you have any suggestions on streamlining my directions below, please let me know! Although it’s not difficult to do, it looks complex, even to me!

1. Write a paragraph or two about your friend’s post  in your blog. Include link to the post (not the main blog) you’re writing about so your friends can click through to it and read it themselves.

2. Name your post “TurnAround Tuesday – [and then the name of your friend's blog]“.  Look at the name of my post today for an example.

3. Copy and paste the code below at the bottom of the post you’ve just written. This code will put a button on the bottom of your post so the readers can join Turnaround Tuesday if they wish. Then publish your post!


4. After posting, come back here and fill out the Widget below the button with the following information:

Link Title: Name of your friends’ post (the post title, not the blog name).

Email Address: YOUR email address (it won’t show on the page, don’t worry).

Link URL:  Copy and paste the link to your Turn-Around Tuesday post, not your main website.

5. Hit the ‘Submit Link’ button.

That’s it!

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Feb. 1st, 2010 @ 06:40 pm Fae – Hoping That Being Wiccan Just Isn’t That Shocking Anymore…

Originally published at The Soccer Moms' Guide to Wicca. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve had so many wonderful responses and incredible support through sharing the ongoing saga of getting a 504 passed in our school system to legally protect Gillian by setting up rules and parameters to be followed while in school. I’m very grateful for all the support! I’ve also reached parents who’s kids also have Celiac, who didn’t know that their children had rights…being able to actually help people in one way or the other has always been the driving force for me putting it all out here on the web, the good, bad and ugly.

I was prompted to write a response that turned itself into a post, and as I was writing it I realized that an update was needed, because I really left things hanging in the last post about being “outed” in my community through the school system finding links to my site in the process of doing their own homework in helping to prepare our daughter’s 504. I haven’t written for a while, I got a little spooked at the prospect of having my neighbors on the blog, and I suddenly found myself holding back…which is a little silly, especially considering the plethora of past posts in which to peruse (a little alliteration to lighten things up:))  After all, sharing the intimacies of my life with virtual friends puts no risk to my children or my husband. I can handle judgment, if it comes my way, from cyberspace. The possibility of my writings having a direct effect on my kids is a whole different story. I think I was ducking and covering my head to wait and see if the shrapnel was going to hit….but of course things like this don’t explode in upper-middle class suburbs. They spread and mutate, like in a game of ‘Telephone”.  Actually, the diffusion usually happens *during* the adult version of “Telephone”, doesn’t it?

I actually found out that the school board had found our blog through checking my stats, and seeing the search strings from search engines that had been clicked through to our site on in the week before our meeting. There are certainly a lot of blogs (and topic specific) sites out there, 99% of which are much more informative than my own, limited to my experiences with Gillian. This is why I found the whole thing remarkable. I believe they clicked through to this site because my name – and Gillian’s – were visible in the blurb below the titles that were displayed. Through the search strings, they were clicking directly onto our posts about Celiac and 504 plans.

I doubt they were searching blogs specifically, I’m assuming they were looking for information on how to handle a 504 for a medical issue that is totally new to the school system, and applaud them for educating themselves on how to help Gillian. There were a lot of questions about whether the Americans with Disabilities Act applied to Celiac. I’d also handed them the 504 that is supplied on many of the Celiac-specific sites (I posted the one we’d personalized to her), and told them that this is the standard 504 that is being passed all over the country, and perhaps they were checking on that as well. These, of course, are speculations, but I’m quite certain that they weren’t looking for us specifically. They’d have no reason to do so. Someone happened upon our blog, and then there were a lot of someones happening upon it in the following days:)

No one from the district has said a word to us about our religion. I didn’t think they would. Things don’t happen that way in the suburbs…I’ve been waiting for the bomb to drop slowly, as it trickles down through the PTO. I’ve got friends in the community to ask about this, and I dropped an email to a well-connected friend today to ask if she’s heard anything. Our religion has not been mentioned to us directly – I’d assumed it wouldn’t be – and has not had an effect on the way Gillian’s case is being handled. I would certainly not expect it to, one has nothing to do with another. Even if the entire school board were religious zealots of some sort – which of course is not the case – it shouldn’t have anything to do with the proceedure of setting up Gillian’s in-school plan.

In the ‘fishbowl’ of a sports club in town several years ago, it became common knowledge that we were Wiccan because of a slip of my tongue in casual conversation. Luckily, many of the members were not from our community, and the ones that were had known me through the club for several years. Since the slip had occurred, I attempted to make myself available and approachable about the subject so that there would be less of the common misconceptions passed around. It worked both in my favor, and against it. A few people (who are the ones involved in our school system politics) knew us well enough to not judge, and were open and interested, curious, but not put off. These are the people I need to reach out to, they will let me know if and when our religion becomes an item of interest in the community. There were others who were actually approaching other members in the gym with concern that our family would put curses on them, and cast spells to control them. Luckily, word got back to me quickly through my acquaintances, and I was able to help minimize the damage at the time, with the help of the allies we’d made. This knowledge never got passed to the ’school set’ at large, and the incident passed. If it were to reemerge in the school system at large, the potential damage to the children is much greater…this isn’t a sports club with a hundred members.

We’re still waiting for a document to be put forth that can be agreed upon by both us and the school district, and that may actually happen soon – we’re waiting on the letter from the doctor they sent us to for a second opinion before offering their revisions. The school system seems to be finally working with us to institute the 504.

Although I know some on the school board now know we’re Wiccan, I’m hoping that at this point there’s more religious tolerance than there would have been several years ago. I’m hoping that our privacy in the community will be respected (although that may be too much to ask for, considering I bare it all on the web), and if not, that people will come to me and ask questions, or take the time to educate themselves on the details of our nature-based religion.

So, the long and short of it is that we’re still not aware of the long-term ramifications of members of the school board finding out about us, or if this information will be disseminated through the community. Believe me, if a witch-hunt starts around here, I’ll be blogging about it, but I’d like to think that diversity has infiltrated life in the suburbs enough to make a difference. In the meantime, I’m going to channel Anne Frank, and believe with all my being that people are really good at heart:)

When I know, you’ll know:)

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