The Truth About Finding Eco-Friendly Neighborhoods

As we are nearing the last leg of our lease we have to answer some really tough questions in regards to how we want to move forward. For starters, I want to keep my daughter in her school because I do not want to rip her away from her friends. I’ve been searching our neighborhood for weeks now and I have come to a sad conclusion. I do not think the historical district allows solar panels. The historical district is lovely, but going green really is the end goal for us. It is our way of doing what we can to help minimize our impact on climate deterioration. It starts with us!

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So, it’s time to get real about the obstacles of installing solar panels. I love trees, but there are a lot of trees in the area, which in truth, would offer yet another challenge when it comes to installing solar panels. If we were to get a house and by some miracle get an okay for the panels, we would have to remove some of trees. By the looks of it, we would have to remove three or more. I know some people think that the solar panels will offset the removal of trees. However, it is still harming an ecosystem. So, it looks like we will have to look at houses near the medical district.

The area near the medical district is nice, and the houses are newer. We have seen houses with solar panels in at least one neighborhood in that direction. It would add about 10 minutes to my daughter’s school commute each morning and evening. Not to mention, the last time we checked the area out, I didn’t have to worry about creepy follower aggro. I just worry about the size of the backyard. I want to buy a small greenhouse and have room for my dogs. Another plus about that neighborhood is the fact that they are currently building homes.

So far, finding the right area for solar panels isn’t looking as easy as I thought it would be. A lot depends on the location, type of roof, health of the roof and landscaping surrounding the house.

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House Hunting With Climate Change Leading The Way

We all have different opinions when it comes to science. If you are like me, there are certain areas of science I tend to focus on perhaps a little more than others. Over the past two weeks we have started looking for a new house. Our lease ends here around April and it’s safe to say our children seem to like this area. So, now we are actively looking to buy a home within the next couple months ” God Willing” give or take a month or two in this area. So we are focusing on space, sunlight, neighborhood, and the ability for our children to walk around without cars racing down the road.

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Buying a house is a big responsibility and it needs to fulfill all the needs of a family. Yet, at the same time, I want our house to be energy friendly. One of the things I really wanted was a swimming pool, but swimming pools can drain a lot of energy. They can be just as costly as heating if not more in some areas. So, we agreed that a hot tube would be a better bet. Saltwater hot tubs are good, and it turns out they will be friendly to my daughter’s eczema and a good pain relief for my husband’s back. They do not hold nearly as much water as a pool and take up less energy.

Speaking of energy, I love heat. Heating in the winter kills our electric bill. So, we are looking for houses that will be able to support solar panels. I am looking at getting no more than 15 and no less than 7. I am not trying to offset the entire bill, but if I can trim maybe 50 percent of it away, that would be awesome. Our bill was running well over 400 dollars monthly last winter which prompted me to start preparing for winter early. I went out and purchased curtains and other little things to warm up some of the rooms.

Lastly, we will add an eco-friendly irrigation drip system when we find the perfect area. I really suck at growing things, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. So, with all these things really banking on sun light, we will need to find a place with a nice amount of sun. Currently, I am noticing a lack of sidewalks. I never really noticed it before, but most of the areas we have visited lack sidewalks. Technically we are not in a rush, but if the perfect house comes our way, our 21-year-old will live in the house until our lease ends.

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That’s the skinny.

Special Education And Parents Who Give A Damn

Many years ago when my husband was stationed in Savannah, Georgia I worked at a school. The school was a very good school which educated some of Savannah’s richest families. I didn’t understand the politics involved in education until I started working in the Special Education department. It would become a stark lesson in life about inequality inside the classroom because of status.

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It would be my first lesson in social status division and my first lesson in how schools viewed children with special needs. My oldest daughter at the time was in the third grade. She was invited to two parties within the same week about halfway into the school year. One of the parties was being help at a child’s house in the Landings and the other was being held at a house at a mobile home community.

I remember asking the teacher who worked over me about both areas. I didn’t know anything about the Landings and I didn’t know anything about the mobile home park due to the fact that I liked to keep on base as much as possible. She informed me that the Landing’s party was the party I needed to let child attend. She giggled about the VIP invite and then started laughing about the mobile home invite. She insisted on keeping my child away from the child who stayed in the mobile homes because they were basically trashy.

Time came for the two parties which were held days apart. I decided against letting my daughter attend both parties due to the fact that I didn’t know the parents. I like to know parents before I say yes. However, due to the response of the teacher, I have always looked on schools with a bit of skepticism. I remember the importance the teachers held on children who were in Special Education with parents who had good jobs and the lack of importance they held for children from poor areas.

It really put me on a mission to make sure that each child knew of their importance no matter their parent’s status. I will never forget the time when I was told by a teacher that she would rather have a classroom of ghetto children than teach children under the Special Education umbrella. The sad fact is that parents do not have any idea of how some educators view their children if they have special needs. It is important perhaps more important for parents of children with special needs to stay involved with the schools and to monitor their children’s interactions due to these issues.

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Years later my daughter would get service from under the umbrella because of her ADHD and her ADD. However, those two issues weren’t the issues that would cause her to retreat inside herself, it would be a bullying attack that would hinder her from being able to interact socially. I find myself blessed with the inside knowledge of two things because of my occupational travels. I understand how certain children are regarded due to their disability and I understand how schools do not tell you about the obstacles these children face inside and outside the classroom.

So this brings me to my conversation with my daughter before we went to bed. Last night my daughter entered the room and gave me this very meaningful speech as I gazed out the window.

“Mom, I do not want you to worry about me being placed in another theater class because at the end of the day, I know you believe in me. I know dad believes in me and I believe in me. I don’t need a teacher to give me the green light when I have you guys. If she doesn’t want me in her class, I don’t want to be in it. I’ll just do my best in the new class and prove her wrong.-Ariana

I guess that is the point of it all. It is my support that will protect and propel her. Schools are set on default educations which means they do not always give what each and every kid needs. No matter how much we want to elevate the idea of teachers, there will always be those teachers who aren’t encouraging to all children. So, as parents we must lift our children up when the world tries to bring them down and remember it is our support that gives them wings.

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I Am So Mad Right Now. I Just Want To Cry.

So thus starts the drama for the new school year. My daughter was kicked out of her theater class on the 4th day of school because the teacher seems to have issues teaching children with disabilities. This is my latest letter to the school district.

Ms. Adams,

My daughter attends Temple High School and informed me today that she was removed from her theater class. She stated that the teacher said she would remove children who she felt would not pay attention in her class and Ariana and another student were removed. I find myself concerned due to the fact that last year my daughter was repeatedly paired with children who had disorders similar to her disorder in this class. Instead of the teacher promoting growth, she promoted further confusion due to them not being able to interact with the other students. Often times my daughter would come home in tears because she could not practice lines with her partner due to conflict stemming from the pairing.

My daughter has ADHD, ADD and she struggles with relationships with other students due to an attack that happened four to five years ago while she was on campus. She was attacked by 10 to 11 children when she was in the 5th grade. We have worked very hard with her over the years and theater has always been something she wanted to do. I feel as if she was sectioned off last year and now with her removal from her theater class, I feel like she is being discriminated against because of having a disorder as the other students from last year to some degree.

Now, it is my understanding that she is in another theater class. I need to know if she will be able to learn lines and participate in class? This is a YouTube video to show that my daughter has no issues with being able to use communication. https://youtu.be/fevGVBkPF8o She did a cooking video this summer on making tacos. I will not stand for her being discriminated against because her teacher does not seem to like people with disabilities. It is a violation of her right to not be given the same chance to succeed as other students.

Apparently The other teacher does not really teach theater like the class she was in, so she is being pushed aside.

Why can’t people just be supportive? Why try to teach children if you can’t be supportive of all kids? Does anyone know of any theaters that offer acting lessons in the Austin Area? I support her.

UPDATE 8/27/2019

We were told that the teacher told the administrators that she had an audition to see who was able to stay in the drama class. An audition that my daughter sure didn’t know about. I guess she missed the part about telling the children she would be removing people that she thought wouldn’t pay attention in class. So which was it?

Chair Raiders Anonymous

Get to know the new section on Shellzonit.com called Chair Raiders Anonymous. The inspiration came from watching Hulu and seeing the random liquor adds pop up.

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We thought it would be a great idea to try some of the alcoholic beverages and rate them. In this category we will rate anything from games, shows. alcoholic beverages, to movies in the theater. This will only be a weekly rating with results coming out at the start of a new week.

We will start things off with Kraken Black Spiced Rum. The commercial shows Tom Payne from The Walking Dead sitting at a bar looking like a wet snack! Okay, I couldn’t help it, but with wet hair flowing down into his face he starts to unleash this story which turns out to be about the Kraken. In the beginning of the commercial we thought it was a preview of a new movie then it becomes clear that Mr. Payne is talking about rum.

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum comes in a cool looking bottle that looks like something out of a pirate’s movie. The rum is smooth and the taste of spice isn’t overwhelming. To be honest, it is one of the best spiced rums I have tasted in a long time. I normally only drink coconut rum. My husband who can’t drink liquor most of the time was able to drink the Kraken without incident. Normally he gags when it comes to liquor.

For those of you who have a hard time consuming rum, try mixing your rum with coke. If you get a chance to watch the commercials that stream on Hulu you will see a menu down at the bottom of the screen which will allow you to learn a few drinks with the Kraken. So, all in all, I would give the Kraken a thumps up! It is something that I look forward to buying again and we finished it in our first week. Let me know if you have any other drinks you would like us to try!

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Trump’s Second Term Could Give Birth To Less SSI For Many

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An article came out in Forbes on 8/23/2019 detailing how Republicans aim to get Trump to cut Social Security and Medicare. We have known for a while that these programs have been on the brink and if Trump gets a second term we might see some real movement in revamping them system.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/teresaghilarducci/2019/08/23/trumps-second-term-plan-for-social-security-starve-the-beast/#4bfbb55f3794

Many people use Social Security and for a large percentage of people, it is their main source of income. Due to our national debt nearing 21 trillion dollars the government will have to take drastic measures to balance the books. At this point the Republican Senators are hinting at a much needed overhaul.

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We know that the system is currently flawed. In prior articles, I wrote about people who used the Social Security system as a way to scam benefits. The problem comes into play when an entire country gets caught up in a whirlpool of drama because some people are cheating the system. I would caution leaders to be thoughtful when dealing with this situation. Perhaps, the overhaul is needed in the screening of people trying to apply for services.

I do not want to see our elderly people thrown to the wolves over circumstances that they cannot control. I would like to see tougher guidelines for parents placing their children on SSI and the use of preschools if the children are able to attend them. Sadly, I have seen people get diagnoses for their children as young as 5 years old. I worked a case involving a mother who had all three of her children diagnosed and was currently awaiting her diagnoses. When I questioned her about working, she stated that she wanted to take care of her children. Ironically enough, she continued to leave them with other people.

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When I worked in mental health, I saw these situations all the time. People would come in trying to perfect mental illness because their loved ones told them that hospitalizations were the way to go. We have to break this cycle. Eventually they would learn just enough information to get their benefits. After three or four stays at a mental health hospital you learn all you need to know about the signs and symptoms of mental illness. It truly is sad that the scammers are mixed in with the people who really need the services. In the end it just overburdens the system and forces unwanted results on those who really need services.

I am sure we will hear more on this story in the near future. I have mixed emotions about slashing benefits that help the elderly. However, I am tired of seeing people take advantage of loopholes. Yet, I cannot help but wonder how much this current administration has helped to add to our debt situation and if slashing these programs will stop the bleed.

Support Doesn’t Mean You Have To Agree

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I have been sitting on something for a while now. I wanted to share it with you, but I was afraid of how it would be taken. About a month ago my daughter came to me and said she was bisexual. It was a little surprising because she has liked guys forever. Guys are plastered all over her wall and on her phone. I asked her when did she start liking girls and she said maybe a month ago, then said months ago. I then asked well what did she mean when she said she liked girls and how did she know that she was bisexual. She then told me whenever she saw movies with girls kissing that those movies made her feel funny inside.

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I went on to ask what do you mean funny inside? She then stated that she found girls attractive. I informed her that just because she found girls pretty didn’t mean that she was bisexual. I told her I find a lot of women pretty, but that doesn’t mean I want to be with them. I asked her if she wanted to have sex with girls, and she frowned. So, of course by this time, I am paying close attention to the frown. Why was there a frown?

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So, then I asked her again, what makes you think that you are Bisexual? Keep in mind one of her best friends at the time was bisexual and the other was gay. She replied that she knew it just because and then stated a mouth full of other things that confused both she and I. I told her to just wait and give it some thought because what might seem like the thing to be today might not seem like the thing to be a week from now.

Well a few days ago she reported that she was back with her ex boyfriend and of course I asked about the bisexual thing that she had brought up about two or three weeks ago. She stated that she loves her boyfriend and that she isn’t bisexual after all. It got me thinking about the time I went out with a girl as a teenager. I am not sure why I did it, but I did. However, I was never forced to marry the idea of being gay or bisexual. I think sometimes we inadvertently force our children into being something that they might not be because we want to seem cool and supportive.

Perhaps, the best thing we can do is listen and give our guidance. It’s funny we give guidance when it comes to college, money, careers, but for some reason we try to shy away from talks about sexuality. If our children are going to commit to anything, they need to understand the full meaning of what they are making a commitment to. I can’t promise that she might not come back in two weeks wanting to date girls, but I can promise that she has a clearer understanding of what it means to be bisexual. “I see it all the time!” In my opinion is never a reason to do something. It only made me think that she was confused.

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I guess in the end I look at it this way. I am not arranging a marriage of any sort on my children, nor would I arrange an identity on them. If we talk about something and it is clear that this is who they want to be, then this is who they will be, but if I see confusion, it is my job to call it out. Right or wrong, I am mom.