Monday, September 23, 2013


I have a few opinions. I keep most of them to myself for I think good reasons. One of the reasons being is my opinion likely wont change anyone else's mind, so I am not willing to get in a back and forth on something where opinions are unlikely to change. I do occasionally change my opinion. I dont think opinions are facts so I am willing to consider additional facts; also I do not assume I have all the relevant information so changing my opinion on a subject is reasonable when new information is considered.

Since we are all innundated with information constantly, I filter out a lot of crap. I am amazed how hardened people's positions are on things when not all information has been considered. I also see a lot of information that is misleading, inaccurate, and/or designed to confuse issues/people. Information is being used against us no matter which side of an issue we are on.

I have been elected to have an opinion on certain issues. I am grateful to have such a position. I take my position seriously (as all of us do on the school board). Frequently, the Board is asked to vote on a staff recommendation on a subject matter. We typically receive the agenda a week in advance and background materials around three days before a meeting. I was reminded last time I asked for more time with the agenda/background material that the school system is complying with the law. I understand, but I find it difficult to truly examine the issue fully when given so little time to review it.

I may be the only one who needs all of this time. I think I may need more time to review because I trust so little information presented to me, and not because the information is untrustworthy, necessarily, but I am a trust, but verify, kind of person. Unfortunately, people providing the information can be offended by my "verification" which I can understand, but I do feel it is a critical aspect of my job. Also, I hope my questioning and review of information makes for better policy overall.

Monday, September 16, 2013

student loans

Soon after I graduated law school a friend asked me to talk to her sister. My friend and I both graduated from our respective graduate programs with more than $150,000 in student loan debt (not credit card debt). We both were paying the least amount possible (hers were income based, mine were based on a 20 year repayment). We continue to pay approximately the amount of a mortgage towards student loan debt. Coming out of undergraduate, both of us had loans. Since I had spent my first two years at PVCC and I worked all through college, I had less than $30,000 in debt from undergraduate loans.

My friend's sister had applied to grad school in social work and was enamored with NYU's social work program. This program at the time was wildly expensive, no doubt even more so today, and at the time the two year program was competitive with what my three year law school program cost. My friend had tried to talk to her sister about student loans and the burden the loans would be for decades to come, but like most a. young people and b. people super excited about his/her future, she didnt want to listen to her sister.

I sat with her one evening at a restaurant in a mall in northern Virginia. I told her the burden of student loans. She really didnt want to hear it from me either. Her perspective may have been it is easy for me to say. I had the job I wanted after law school (working for legal services) and had just gotten married. She certainly could look at me and say I had everything I wanted, so it was easy for me to look back with some regret on the student loan aspect of my experience. I may have made the same choice to pursue law if I had been fully aware of the burdens of student loans, but I may have made other decisions with respect to working during school or part time graduate school. I hope to encourage our young people to be fully aware of the costs over the long term of student loans so that students and their families can make the best possible decision.

My friend's sister ultimately did not go to a social work program or to NYC. She choose a modest graduate program in a field that was in demand and went to a state school. She is doing well.

Monday, September 09, 2013

September is it that the calendar fills up so quickly? I ran into some folks the other night and I told them that DnA were both playing baseball (on two different teams) and D was playing soccer as well. Friend 1 asked sincerely, "how are you doing that?" I honestly didnt have an answer except we are clearly crazy people.

Then we had our first weekend of baseball (soccer practice has begun, but the games dont start til this weekend) only. Um, I do not recommend this schedule. It definitely takes both Chris and I to be able to pull this off AND Ryan's schedule gets all screwed up AND so far I have not prepared enough food to ward off the hunger. Hunger is very important to ward off. I assume I will get better at all of this juggling. I cant imagine how we will do this when Ryan has things we have to attend, and oh we have another baby to bring with us to these events.

The swim meets with just me and D seem like a distant memory at this point, I hope I appreciated them enough.

On a positive note there is now football. I do love watching football, especially on Sunday nights.

September, as a School Board member, brings about many, many things to attend. I want to attend everything. I love a PTO meeting. I appreciate touring schools with principals. Everytime I attend a meeting, talk to a parent or meet with a principal, I learn something new that truly informs my decision-making. Most schools have Tuesday evening PTO meetings. Few schools have Monday or Wednesday meetings, I am grateful for those that do though.

September marks the beginning of the fall Bible study at my church. I am really excited. Oh, it's on Tuesday. Also D has soccer practice on Tuesday. So, I wont make it to too many things on Tuesday, since there is no way to be able to do it all. I would definitely wait until Wednesday to reach me if it is not an emergency.

I am trying to get away from the cult of busy-ness. The summer was relaxing and mellow. I want to keep my stress levels low and be intentional about what we are doing as a family. I see this may be a challenge. I like a challenge.

Have a great Tuesday!

Such matters

Funny thing about being pregnant for the fourth time, one likely does not want to gain much weight. I have a doctor who is notorious for his 20-25 pound suggested weight gain. After having two babies thirteen months apart nine years ago, gaining weight is not something I am interested in.

A few weeks ago I went in for the five month check up (or is it 4- I really dont know anymore- it was week 21). It was Monday, I have gained about 6 pounds during the pregnancy thus far. I am relatively pleased with this number and not at all concerned.

So a few Wednesdays ago we have an ultrasound- the five month one (I think). The baby is a girl. Wow- I didnt know my body could produce girls, so we are excited (as we would have been if we had found out it was a boy). Later the big man, Dr. T, as most of the ladies in town know him, tells me that the umbilical cord has two blood vessels in it whereas a normal umbilical cord usually has three. Of course I immediately google these things since the big man was absolutely unconcerned with the lack of a third vessel.  Turns out one of the potential issues with a lack of a third vessel is IUGR (interuterine growth restriction) (see I am an expert now) (just kidding). IUGR is characterized by the failure of the baby to grow in utero (see it's rocket science how these things are named).

The doctor is unconcerned- he looked closely at all of the areas that may be affected by this lack of a vessel (including the kidney and heart) and all were growing well, and the baby weighed what she should weigh (if they can tell such things) at 15ounces. About 1% of pregnancies have this issue and 80% of the pregnancies have no complications as a result (see the internets are good for something).

Since that appointment the baby feels like she has doubled in size- the next appointment will not be a one or two pound weight gain, I suspect. I was told last night that the baby seems to be growing in the past week or so (I feel it too).  So while I am not interested in gaining weight for the sake of it, I am delighted to have physical evidence that the baby seems to be growing normally.

Friday, September 06, 2013

The park is in sad shape

We spend many days here. Obviously this is a gorgeous day and the park looks beautiful

 Ryan loves the park no matter the condition

The mulch is gone under all of the swings (including baby swings).