Friday, January 16, 2009

7 Quick Takes - The Baby It's Cold Outside Edition

Number one

Mayday, Mayday

Temperature At This Moment: -16
Temperature Yesterday: -8

Situation Room Reports:

Icicles from in nose immediately upon exiting the dwelling
Dogs refuse to exit the dwelling
Snow crunches unnaturally under feet
Vehicles won’t start

Action Plan:

Contact Al Gore to discuss the merits of his opus, “An Inconvenient Truth”

Number Two

This is not a rhetorical question.

Can anyone who home schools, or has 4th graders tell me what’s typical with regards to the child taking responsibility for his own work?

My son does well in his schoolwork if I take complete direction of his studying for exams and completing course work. If I give him leeway and allow him to set the pace he tanks virtually every time.

Is this normal? When does a kid begin to make the connection about the effort required to get good marks on his tests? He enjoys getting the good grades and is upset when he does poorly, but the cause and effect factor hasn’t clicked yet.

Number Three

I’m not dieting.

However, I am working on detachment from food that Historical Christian talks about here, and Jen calls the Saint Diet (I can’t find the link). It’s going pretty well.

The overall plan is pretty simple – Don’t be a glutton, work on practicing the virtue of temperance.

That’s it.

I’m finding much greater peace with food.

Number Four

“Adult toys for $6.95 for all your needs at”

This is what came screaming out of my son’s radio, tuned to a country station this morning.


Since my letter writing to the Social Security Administration for a new number for my son is going well so far. I believe I will begin one to the local country station today as well.

Number Five

Spiritual Direction

Since I made my Cursillo spring of 05 I’ve been looking around trying to come up with a Spiritual Director. Jen our 7 quick takes hostess posts about the topic here, and she suggested contacting my dioceses. They had no info whatsoever on finding spiritual direction. Well that does NOT help!

It turns out our parish priest does spiritual direction so I’m going to see how that goes starting next week.

Number Six

Footprints of God Pilgrimage to Israel

The date is set for next January. I can hardly wait. Several people from our parish and our priest are going. We’re still looking to fill additional slots for anyone interested.

I am second guessing taking the boy however. He can’t sit still for to long, not sure it will be a good idea to take him.

We’ll see how it goes, a year is a long way off.

Number Seven

Homestudy Update is scheduled for next week

Some days I want to add more kids to the mix. Some days the kid exhausts me and I think no way.

Still I spend a lot of time surfing around on Adoptuskids where I find kids like Kaylynne.

Kaylynne is a lively and gregarious girl with a sweet personality and wonderful sense of humor. She has a "can-do" attitude and is a lot of fun to be with. Kaylynne is a very active child involved in competitive gymnastics, ballet, and cheerleading. She enjoys playing computer and board games, shopping, and going on family outings. Kaylynne also likes to sing and dance.Kaylynne attends regular classes at school where she earns A's and B's.

Please pray for these kids.

Friday, January 9, 2009

7 Quick Takes - The Blah, Blah, Blah Edition

Another edition of 7 quick takes brought to you by Jennifer at Conversion Diary


The Boy has picked St. Patrick as his confirmation Saint. His reasons: First, he’s Irish, and so is St. Paddy. Second, Sponge Bob’s side kick is named Patrick. Works for me.


In the interests of learning a bit more about St. Patrick the boy read St. Patrick's Summer by Marigold Hunt. What a great book!!! The catechism is excellent, the story is fun, and the characters are interesting. Highly recommend it for the grade school crowd and I enjoyed reading it myself. (Had to quiz the little critter to make sure he actually read the stuff you know!!)


I have an appointment with the Social Security Administration on Monday to fill out the paperwork for a new SS# for The Boy. It pays to get pushy, but why in the world is it necessary?


Two weeks off work is way too much for me. Enjoyed the time with the boy and the fam, but really two weeks. Hubby and I are three days of down time and then it’s time to go kind of people. Type A I believe they call that.

I’m sure if I weren’t working I would fill the time with a host of other interesting projects, like gardening and sewing, etc., but two weeks isn’t enough time to transition to full time domestic work.

If the building trades don’t pick up I may be transitioning sooner than I think. Good thing I really like homemaking / homesteading work.


And along those lines, making the “what if we don’t make it” contingency plan is very scary. Hubby and I have lived all of our lives with contingency plans. Before we were entrepreneurs the plans concerned only our little family. Now our contingency planning has a much further reach.

The very, very hard part is the fall out impact of our contingency plan. People will lose their jobs, suppliers and vendors will lose a client, landlords will lose a tenant, etc., etc.

If our company closes, there will be tears and it will be very hard, but he and I will be fine. We are very able to live frugally, we’ve done it before and we can happily do it again, but we are concerned for all of the other people who make a living at our company. We feel a great burden of responsibility for those people and the pain of closing our doors, if it comes to that, will be felt for them as much as for ourselves.


There are a number of blogs I’ve been looking at lately that are prettier than our company’s web sites. What the heck!!!! Our hostess Jen @ Conversion Diary helpfully suggested a class at a local JC. Turns out they teach both Photoshop and Dreamweaver our here in the boon docks. Who knew!!!


Turns out January 1st is a Holy Day of Obligation, the feast of Mary, Mother of God. This was the debate at our New Years Eve dinner table. I knew it was but let myself go along with the crowd (my brother’s family, who are practicing Catholics) and didn’t go to Mass the next day rather than be perceived as a Miss St. Holy Smarty Pants. To my knowledge this is my first mortal sin since my conversion. Mortal since it is grave matter and I had full knowledge.

I couldn’t go to confession last Saturday, so I didn’t receive communion last Sunday, but tomorrow I’m there!!! Hubby and I are both going and we will take The Boy along with us. Sort of use this occasion of mortal sin to teach the actual practice of the faith in real time. Sacramental absolution, is this a great faith or what?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Social Security Administration, Domestic Violence & The Mama Bear

January 5, 2009

James F. Martin
Regional Commissioner
Social Security AdministrationPO Box 8280Chicago, IL 60680-8280.

VIA: Certified Return Receipt to All Parties

Dear Mr. Martin:

I was very disappointed with the Administration’s decision against issuing my adopted son, a victim of severe domestic violence, a new Social Security number so I went today to my local Social Security Administration office to secure an appointment with the director to discuss the matter.

My son was beaten by his birth father all of his life. DHS first removed him from his family of origin when he was five and his teachers brought the abuse to the attention of the authorities. After a year in foster care, DHS returned him to his birth father who continued to beat the child habitually until the violence against my 9 year old, 4’3” 58lb, son escalated to such a degree that his jaw was shattered, an event which required an implanted plate, several surgeries and a week long stay at the hospital. Of course this treatment only healed his physical injuries. I’ve included selected pages of his history for verification as well as offender tracking information about his birth father for your review.

Please keep in mind that the attacks against my son were premeditated according to his Guardian Ad Litem. I was advised that my son’s birth father made his entire family aware of his intentions to beat his son and none stepped in to protect this child. This man is sitting in prison with very little to think about day and night except the circumstances that landed him there, potentially plotting his revenge against the child.

Unfortunately, at my local Administration office, I was not allowed to make an appointment with the director; rather, I met with a man who identified himself only as Eric explaining to me that his last name would not be provided to maintain his anonymity for security purposes. I asked for the director’s name to at least correspond with her, but was told that she does not deal with the public and her security and anonymity is so important that her name would also be withheld. I noticed upon entering the lobby of my local Social Security office that a uniformed (armed?) guard is permanently posted; again I’m impressed with the security provided the employees of the Social Security office, particularly in light of the fact that I live in a rural county of around 100,000 people. The sort of area generally considered to be relatively free from the turbulence found in more urban areas.

Given the Social Security Administration’s expenditure of effort and expense to maintain the security of its staff I’m sure you will happily accommodate my request to provide my adopted son with the anonymity and protection of a new Social Security number. Additionally, I would humbly request that the Social Security administration expunge all records associating my son’s new name from his old Social Security number.

My son elected to change his entire name, first, middle and last in an effort to protect himself from the violence of his birth father, the least the federal government can do is provide him with the protection it affords other victims of domestic violence, and again, its own staff.

Reflect for a moment on the reality of being nine years old and feeling that in order to protect yourself you must change your name and will never again have any contact whatsoever with your grandparents, your four siblings, indeed with anyone in the only family you have ever known. Such is the fear generated by domestic violence. Such is the fear that results from being beaten by your father until your bones break.

As a woman who owned a debt collection agency I am well versed in the efficacy of a Social Security trace in location of an individual. Nine simple digits provide such a rich source of information. Name, addresses, dates of residence at said addresses, aliases, etc. all available in seconds. I know from personal experience, access to this information is immediate and quite unsecured.

His birth father will be out of prison shortly and I am begging you to exercise your authority to protect victims of domestic abuse by issuing my son a new Social Security number and expunging his new name and our address from his old number.

I eagerly await your cooperation in providing my son the same security of anonymity from those who could do them harm that you provide the employees of the Social Security Administration.

I'll let ya'll know if this does me any good.

Update: January 14, 2009

On Wednesday the 7th at 9:ish AM I received a voice mail from “Erik” indicating that a new social would not be issued for my son.

On Wednesday the 7th at 2:ish PM I received a call from the director of our local office to discuss the matter and an appointment was made to fill out the paper work for the new social.

I’m guessing the office receives their mail sometime after 9:00am and before 2:00pm.

On Tuesday the 13th I received a call from the regional office in Chicago assuring me that they work directly with the office in Baltimore that will be issuing the new social and will oversee the process. This person indicated that my initial verbal requests for a new social should have been processed given the documentation of the abuse against my son I presented. She claims she is in a position to insure that his new info will be removed from the old social and has asked me to not provide her info to the public. I promised not to post her name and info if she can get the job done.

I will update this post with additional info as my request is being processed.

Moral of the story:

1. If you are a victim of domestic violence seeking a new social security number for protection, make sure you have documentation from authorities such as law enforcement or hospitals or the courts.

2. Put everything to the social security administration in writing when you are requesting a new social to protect yourself. I felt that writing to the regional office was very effective since my local office was blowing me off completely.

Update - Feburary 12, 2009

My son received his new SS# in the mail yesterday. He is thrilled and I'm pleased too. I pray it will provide some comfort and help him to feel safe in his new home.