Back to the polls

Last night I left work and trekked over to pick up the girls, and then stopped by the polling place on the way home. This is the first time I’ve taken the girls with me to the polls, so it was a bit of an education, after all of our talks a couple of weeks ago about the general election. They showed some concern, “But Obama already won, so why are you voting again?” “That was for The president and for several other jobs,” I explained. This was followed by a glossy overview of the House and Senate, and the basics of runoffs, recounts, and terms of office. They are suddenly at an age where they are reading all the signs and pointing things out that the signs say (which tells me that very soon, I’ll be explaining what the dials and lights are on the car dash, and will soon thereafter have two backseat drivers).
The Manual
The traffic was really heavy in the area, and we got there about ten minutes before seven and quietly got in line. The queue seemed long at first, but moved very swiftly. We got about halfway through the line when they announced that the polls are closed, that everyone currently in line would be able to vote, but that anyone arriving thereafter would not be able to. This seemed fair, because the polls were scheduled to close at 7pm, and it was a few minutes after at that point. When we got to maybe 6th in line, there was the highly anticipated noise of a disgruntled latecomer, furious at not being allowed to vote. It was hard to make out any of the arguments outside the building, but all the expected noises were in accompaniment, including a very loud, “…in the cold to come down here and do my part!” Those of us still in line chuckled quietly as the polling officials and volunteers exchanged glances and suggested that they might need backup.

Normal Names

I saw this quiz over at Delusions and just had to take it. It’s something mcangeli and I ised to talk about once in a while when at work, b/c his kids have very traditional names, and mine don’t. :]

You Like Names That Are Cutting Edge and Exotic

You love creative names and names from foreign cultures.
You believe names should be expressive and interesting.

You like names that are unusual, striking, and powerful.
You couldn’t imagine naming your child or pet anything “normal.”

Some female names you might like: Amaya, Celestine, Danessa, Fawn, Kenya, Monet, Serenity, and Tia

Some male names you might like: Drake, Flint, Harley, Kendrick, Pascal, Romeo, and Timber

taken for granite

In the past couple of years, my sister has suggested an activity that is becoming a staple in our family gatherings, especially when our relatives from out-of-state are here. The first time around, it was on Thanksgiving Day, and after we had filled up on the bounty, we packed all of the teens and kids into the car and went to hike Stone Mountain. This was a great activity, and here in GA, it’s really still rather mild in late November. This past weekend, we went for that hike again, the first where I have taken the girls. It’s a very different challenge during the summer, but is great excercise as well as a bonding experience for all of us.
I really wish I’d packed more water for the ascent this time, and think that they should consider making some water fountains available at the pavillion that sits halfway up the trail to the top.
I was looking at the Atlanta paper today, and there was an article about some local clubs that have been organized over the years who go and climb the mountain every day, which is marvellous if you have the time and means.
After our climb back down, we took some blankets to the lawn and saw the laser show (I used to go all the time, when we lived in the area during my younger years, but I hadn’t seen it in a long time). There is a new company in charge of the whole production, and they are using a lot more in the way of projections, pyrotechnics, and the like. It’s not a bad show at all. If you are visiting the Atlanta area, you should add it to the “see list” for one evening.

–so the drama–

I got the girls into a drama camp at a community theater near my parents’ house over last week. My sister’s daughter and my older brother’s daughter were able to attend camp as well, which was really awesome. The camp was over one week, with two full performances on this past Saturday. The production of Robin Hood was really funny, and it was amazing to see how much all the kids had learned and prepared over the course of five days! I am trying to convert some of the video I took at the show into a youtube-friendly format, and even into a format I can use to create either a VCD or a full DVD for the parents/grandparents to keep. The camera I borrowed saved the clips as ASF files, which I can view just fine in Totem or Xine, but the cd/dvd authoring apps I’ve tried don’t see them as a “video source”. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them… (Sherri! help!)

The hairy, pimply truth

Way back in my teen years, I was involved in a peer counseling group, and part of being one of these peer counselors was taking huge amounts of classes and workshops covering a ton of general topics having to do with counseling and psychology, and then there were tons more having to do with the gritty details of topics that people in our age group (teens) would be tackling with. Which meant that we ended up with a really in-depth knowledge of human sexuality in all its forms, with issues arising from sexual choices, social impact, even epidemiology and contraceptive technology.
All of this information was timely for us, and we were charged in a lot of way to disseminate the knowledge whenever possible. In our new time, the internet is one of the best ways to educate and entertain. I still have a few years before I start having these discussions with my girls, but I’ve noticed a lot of parent-bloggers making posts about how they talk with their kids about sex.

I’m not talking about the birds-bees-let’s-get-it-overwith talk that’s been bandied forvever and parodied ad nauseum. I mean real, ongoing discussions of the full range of sexual topics.

The first such post was over at Angelika’s blog, where she says “Life has an NC-17 rating”.
As an aside, I’d like to say in response @ Angelika’s post: A lot of things happened in my coming of age, and at my age, I did know about all the deprived things that go on out there…. Those things didn’t just materialize out of nowhere.

I usually stay brushed up on these topics on one level or another, and am always on the lookout for more sources of good information.

Back in early November, Mouseclone won an iPod device with video capability, and later began a sortie into the current podcast landscape, mostly with tech-related podcasts, but also found a video podcast that I’d like to share here in the hopes that anyone who wants/needs/is mildly interested will benefit:

The Midwest Teen Sex Show Is a video podcast. If you have no idea what that means, it’s a video blog. If your eyes are glazing over, don’t worry. The best way to understand is to watch a couple of episodes. When you hit the link here, You will see three columns. In the middle column, find the spot with the “Episodes” heading, and go ahead and hit episode #1 (may as well start at the beginning!).

You can watch the videos right there in the page. It being a podcast makes it possible for you to use a tool that will automatically download new epidoses for your portable device, etc…

The show is open and informative, it is clean, doesn’t skirt topics, and although it is serious, they are never too serious to make the topic fun, even at the peril of poking a little fun at themselves. This is a brilliant jumping off point for discussions with the kids. If you are a teen and don’t have anyone to talk with about any of this, the show is very helpful, but please do find someone you can trust who you can talk with candidly if your parents are too uptight or bashful about sexuality. It’s for your health, and you need good sources of information, and you really need to be able to talk about what’s real out there and on your level.