Saturday, November 03, 2007

Catching up.

Strikes suck. I find that I've got far too much time on my hands now. *sigh*


Oh well... I guess this means I finally have a bit of time to do some non-work related reading. So, "yay!" for that. I also need to find a way to pull in some x-tra cash for the holiday seasons. We try not to use credit cards for the holiday (and we have a holiday savings), but...the kids seem to be wanting more expensive things than usual. I was going to buy P#4 a Thomas the Tank Engine Table. I've been keeping my eye out for one, and thought that I was going to score at ToysRUs when the Big Toy Book came out. But, they wanted $200 for something just a bit nicer than this (the one I like has drawers instead of rolling bins).

Needless to say, I'm not all that thrilled about paying that kind of money for one. I have no doubt that it would blow his little mind and be the best present ever for him...but, call me crazy, I think we could build him something nicer for that kind of money. I think, between dad, DH, and I, we could build something. I can definitely handle the painting. Anyway...I post this here because I know there are a lot of parents who read my blog and they may have suggestions. I also know that there are a few engineers and construction people, so any suggestions on building one would be fabulous. P1 and P2 really want Ipods. I don't want to spend too much, but...again, suggestions would be wonderful.
In atheist-related-news, I finally came all the way out of the closet with my father today. He had sent me an e-mail regarding the Ramadan postage stamps. The e-mail was one of those e-chain mail things that had been forwarded about five thousand times. And, of course, like most chain mail -it was a scare tactic piece with very little accurate information. And, it was extremely vile towards Muslims. So, I got a little more irritated than I normally would and wrote my father back explaining why his forward disappointed me so much. I explained to him that when you allow things like that to pass from person-to-person, without checking the facts, you're promoting a lie and bigotry. I then told him about William and John. About how they've created e-rumors about our family and sent chain e-mails out and started their own hate blogs about our family. I'm not sure if he made the connection between what he sent me and the methods of W and J, but... I was very clear about my status as an atheist. I even told him about my blog. He, to his credit, apologized for forwarding the piece and said he hadn't researched it before sending it. Now, I'm just hoping that we're going to be okay. They, obviously, know I don't do church anymore...and I've been fairly vocal about my thoughts on Catholicism and what-not,...but I really don't know that they understood just how passionate I am about promoting positive atheism and secular parenting. I think some of the stuff on this blog would surprise my folks. And, despite the fact that I'm pushing my mid-thirties and have been on my own for a long while, I still respect my parents and want a good relationship. They're an integral part of our lives (as you can see from the pics). We, quite honestly, would have a difficult time without them. So...yeah. The entire cat is out of the bag now.
As to John's blog - in a way, it's kind of a heady feeling to know that someone despises you enough to build a blog that's anti-you. :) LOL But, the majority of my heart and mind is in mama bear defense mode. He *did* take the pictures down (to his credit).
OH! Pullman gave a great interview on the Today Show, addressing criticisms of the Golden Compass. Here's a transcript of his interview. I thought he did a nice job of addressing his critics without being hostile (and, some of the critics deserve hostility in return). Good on him!

17 comments:

Matthew said...

My apologies PMomma if I missed this sometime in the past, but are you a screenwriter? (strike)

Chris said...

I was wondering that myself, actually. IIRC, she's in Cali, which makes it more likely.

Silly me thought she was in Texas for some reason until just a week ago.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Pmomma,

I hope all goes well with the family.

On the pullman interview - he's being really stealthy isn't he ;)

Atheist in a mini van. said...

I do some writing, yes. :)
I like to keep my occupation close to the vest because there are some interesting legalities that can get messy.

Mostly, though...I do research for different media projects and museums.

Humanist Mama said...

I know I've seen some train tables at Costco in the past. At the time, they seemed to be reasonably priced. If I remember correctly, it was closer to Christmas when I saw one there.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Thanks for the tip, Humanist mama. I'll be sure to have DH check Cosco as we get closer to the season. Although, I still think we could build a cooler table. :)

I just want something to get it off the floor where I trip over it. He's got enough track to make a route that covers the entire formal livingroom (that we don't use as a formal livingroom). Right now he's keeping his track in a Rubbermaid container and his trains in another container. BUT, because all of this is on the floor, it gets tipped over or he doesn't get the trains back in the box. So, they become tripping hazards. :)

Ginny said...

It is not an easy thing to come out of the closet so to speak...especially to religious parents. I hope things go well for you.

I thought about getting Ben a train table this year for Christmas. He seems to be taking more of an interest in them. He has all the old blocks and wooden trains that I used to play with when I was a kid.

Anonymous said...

Don't wait too long to check at Costco. We bought our train table at Sam's in October a few years ago and they were all gone by Halloween. (Unless Cali stores put out their toys way later than they do in the Midwest.) And as for the Sam's table, it's great. My kids liked trains, but were never Thomas-specific so they didn't care that it was an 'off-brand.' I think we paid $100 and it came with a ton of track and trains.
~Robyn

Kilted Dad said...

You can build something much nicer than this with some finish-quality plywood, some screws, and blocking. You'll want a good table saw, sander, and possibly a router. The biggest peices of work will be the paint, I think.

Kilted-boy loves the train table at the Barns & Noble, and my dad and I have been thinking of building him one.

Lexa said...

For the kids who want ipods, do they specifically want ipods, or do they just want mp3 players? You can get 1-2GB mp3 players of other brands for $50ish. There will probably be a zillion on sale on Black Friday -- check around and buy online (a lot of stores have their BF sales online now. I know Best Buy does, at least).

Janet said...

Last year I got my son the set from Costco. $120 for the table, two rolling drawers, track, and train. Get one early.

We set his up after he went to bed Christmas Eve so it was ready for him Christmas morning, and it was the best thing ever!

keelyellenmarie said...

Maybe I'm just too much of an apple addict, but I think ipods are worth it. They work incredibly well, the design is elegant, and they will last several years if cared for properly. If your kids only listen to a select few artists, then a smaller, cheaper mp3 player will probably work just as well. However, if they have diverse tastes and want to be able to play 5 or 10 GB of music, there are few players that give you easy access to all that music(through nice menu systems and such) for a significantly cheaper price. I know that ipods are a very expensive gift for a kid, but it is amazing how much they will appreciate all this amazing music at their finger tips. My little sister (12) got an ipod nano some time ago and she uses it every single day.

Sara (sassy) said...

PM, my son (10) has an iPod nano and he listens to it every day.

We didn't buy it though...he knew he wanted one and asked for Best Buy gift cards from everyone, so he could get one on his own.

I think they are a great gift, and I think your older possums would love them!

SWE said...

I second, third, twelve the Costco suggestions. And, you have the added bonus that it's made by Kidkraft and might not get recalled for lead the same way the Thomas branded one would.

Also, while the drawers seem cool, it may be more hassle than you want. Storage on casters makes it more versatile, IMHO. Our train table very quickly became a problem because of its awkward dimensions. Sadly, it's much easier to lay and leave track all over the living room. And more fun for the kiddo...

If you make your own, you can design it to your own specs and what will fit your house best. I wish I'd been crafty when we got ours ($75 closeout model at Toys R Us.)

The only other advice I have is to stay away from the cheap one Target has advertised this season. That particular store brand has about a gazillion lead recalls to its name, and is probably not worth the grief.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Thanks for all the helpful advice in re: the train table. DH is going to check out Cosco. But, I'm still leaning towards building one that is EXACTLY what we want. I am reconsidering the drawers, thanks to several of you and another friend. She was telling me that the baskets on castors are good because if you had all of that weight in the table, it would be very hard to move. Makes sense.

A couple of people have said that it's probably better to leave the stuff on the floor. Well...yeah, it's definitely more room and gives P4 more creativity. But, I can't really bend over that easily to play with him on the floor AND it's hard to vacuumm that room with all of the track on the floor. And, unfortunately, the room he plays trains in is also our entry room. So, whenever anyone comes over, THEY have to navigate the trains, too. LOL I've been thinking we should re-configure the house a bit ---for those who've been here, you'll be able to get a mental image--- I'm thinking of putting the television and couches in the entry livingroom (the "formal" space). I'll move my craft stuff, the kids' computer, the trains, the kids' art supplies and table, the dvd shelf, into the family room. The family room is WAY bigger and it would make the entry less cluttered. I mean, we've already got the Kangaroo Climber, the kids' library, the Wii, the teeter-totter, and the toy box in the family room. We might as well suck it up and make it one big mess. LOL This is why I want a basement. *sigh* The other option is to have Owen (P4) move his trains into the nursery. Since, I think, we're going to have to split up Grace and Owen (in the nusery) and put the boys in there.

...sorry...that turned into a ramble.

On the Ipods...I've done a bit of looking online and I am really liking the Mp3 players. Do you have to have an Apple system to use the Ipod? I have no clue. We have a DVD player in our van, so we really don't need the ability to play movies on the Ipod.

Lexa said...

No, ipods will work with any system. You just have to use iTunes to sync the music onto your ipod.

Infidel Rooster said...

I don't know how I missed the fact that John has an anti-PM blog up now!?!?! I must have lost my place after I vomited into my own mouth while I was trying to read through his comments.

Dare I ask if anyone has attempted to read it? I assume you had a bucket handy...