Sunday, April 30, 2006

Immigration Redux

I want to make this perfectly clear: I am not against immigration. Immigrants have been and will continue to be essential to this country's growth. I am against illegal immigration. There are thousands of people trying to emigrate to this country legally. If Congress grants amnesty to the illegals who are in this country, what does that say to the thousand who are waiting to come here legally? I am against granting amnesty to illegals. I do not condone what they have done to get here. I do not like the fact that they are making little or no effort to assimilate into the American culture; they are trying to force us to make everything bilingual. English is the language of this country.

I had a friend who tried to buy chorizo in a latin market in small town Minnesota. They refused to sell to her (and they didn't speak English). How can it be that an American can be discriminated against in her own country? This is wrong and this is the kind of thing that only inflames people against immigrants.

Trying to interupt our economy is another thing that I disagree with. That is biting the hand that feeds them. Let them go home and try these kinds of tactics. Speaking of 'home', why isn't the Mexican government doing more to increase the standard of living in their own country? Now I am reading that Mexican is becoming like Colombia when it comes to illegal drugs. We need to control our borders better against these types of threats.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

North Country

Watched the movie "North Country" tonight. I remember reading about the sexual harrassment case back in the early 1980s in the mines. I can understand both sides of the issue; the mining industry was in turmoil then and good paying jobs were being threatened. But the women did not deserve to be treated that way. They were only trying to make a decent wage too, in order to feed their families. I think that suit had to be filed in order to improve working conditions for women not only in the mining industry but also in all industries and workplaces.

I thought that the movie did a really good job showing the culture and the lifestyle of rangers. Charlize Theron was excellent in the role of Josie Aimes.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Child-like

As my mom's dementia progresses, she becomes more child-like. Today I took her to get her hair permed and cut. She wanted to take her shoes off when we got to the salon.

I struggle with her as far as hygiene is concerned. She doesn't want to bathe so, as you can imagine, she sometimes gets a little ripe. How does a daughter tell a parent, gently, tactfully, to bathe? Advice from others includes to make it fun, like a day of beauty. I never thought I'd be caring for my mom like this. It's so hard to go through this with a parent.

So far we have had a string of good days. Mom hasn't been too emotional. She gets upset at the drop of a hat. But then who wouldn't if they knew there was something up with their mind? She is still with-it enough to know that things are not right with her memory.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Transplant

I'm a Minnesota transplant. I was born in Michigan and moved to Minnesota when my father accepted a new job.

I have fond memories of a magical place in Michigan; Mackinac Island. I've included a link on my blog. Where else can you get away from the noise of cars and go back in time to an era of relaxation? Over the years, things have changed on Mackinac, but the essence of the island is still there.

Growing up, I was intrigued by the history of the Straits area and I voraciously read anything I could get my hands on about the region.

My father designed one of the ferry boats that plied the straits between Mackinaw City and the island. That was a very cool thing to me.

I never grow tired of reading about the island and hearing about the things that are going on there.

It really is heavenly there.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Gasoline Prices

Today when I drove past the local SuperAmerica, I noticed that the price of gas is at $2.89 per gallon. I am pretty certain that it will be over $3.00 by the 4th of July. That will leave most of the commuters in my area at a loss since the state has put more backing into new highways and less into public transportation. In fact, city bus routes were being eliminated only a few months ago. Suburban bus lines seem to be booming with increased ridership though and I am glad to see that. Still, people are commuting many miles in big, huge, gas-guzzling SUVs and they are not carpooling.

I do not believe that the answer is to drill for oil in ANWAR. The solution is to find alternate energy resources, increase the MPG of vehicles (I want a Prius!) and fund more public transportation. It's been nearly 30 years since the energy crisis of the 1970s and Americans are still consuming oil and other energy resources at an alarming rate. Except now we have competition from China. Oh and we have greedy oil companies who seem to be making money at alarming rates. Just heard on the news that in China a gallon of gas is going for less than $2 per gallon and in Venezuala it is .19 cents a gallon! It's time for Americans to stop this dependency on foreign oil and find alternate energy sources as well as ways that we, as consumers can save energy and stop global warming.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Immigration

My great grandparents on my mother's side emigrated to the US from Germany in the 1860s. They settled in the Detroit area where my great grandfather started a business and contributed heavily to his community. My great grandparents spoke their native tongue at home, and my grandmother spoke German too. She was bilingual. They didn't come here expecting that everything would conform to them; they adopted the language of the United States and they sent their children to school where they were taught in English. The other thing about my great grandparents is that they came to this country legally. They went through the proper channels and become US citizens. I don't believe that someone who comes to this country ILLEGALLY has the right to US citizenship or even amnesty over someone who has legally tried to emigrate here. It is unrealistic to keep our borders open so that anyone can cross over and enter this country illegally. We should not be rewarding people who break the law! I do support a guest worker program that would require workers to come here temporarily, and through the proper channels, apply to become citizens. This would also force employers to treat these workers with respect and fairness. But those who are here illegally should not be allowed to cut to the front of the line ahead of legal immigrants. It is important for the US to maintain a strong and secure border, especially in these uncertain times. I think it would benefit the workers as well so that it would be less likely that they would be taken advantage of. The US needs to accept people from all over the world, not just our latin neighbors. Everyone should have the chance to come here as long as they follow the law of the land. And they should work to become Americans and melt into the pot, not stir it and try to meld it into their image.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Anyone heard of English as a second language classes?

I totally support this idea! If these people are so brilliant then they should have no trouble taking and completing an ESL class. They may be the most brilliant professors around but how can they teach if their students cannot understand them? In my opinion, it is a failure on the part of higher education if the professors cannot teach coherently and students cannot understand them. With the price of higher education skyrocketing it is especially important that the people who teach do so in a coherent way so that students and parents get their money's worth.

Minnesota professors should speak English, lawmakers say

Associated Press
A House proposal to get tough on Minnesota college professors whom students find difficult to understand got a little easier Wednesday.

A measure brought forward would give such professors a year to improve their speaking skills.

Rep. Bud Heidgerken earlier proposed requiring that professors at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system speak coherent English.

Faculty groups and college administrators said the most talented candidates for math and science professorships often have foreign backgrounds and, at times, limited English skills.

But backers of the proposal said students and their parents have a right to expect they will understand their professors.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Memories....

At times I can remember when the roles were not reversed. Times when my mother took care of me and not vice versa. I am the youngest in a family of 3 children. My sister and brother are several years older than me so I grew up having the best of both worlds; I had siblings yet by the time I was 13 both of my siblings were in college so I was like an only child. My dad and I were so close that we were called the "gruesome twosome" by the rest of the family. Sadly, my dad passed away nearly 9 years ago and I still think of him and miss him every day. My relationship with my mother was always very close. I remember crying buckets of tears whenever she would leave for a night out with my dad. She was always there to take care of me. In my teenage years we became friends as well as mother and daughter and that relationship has continued. Now my mother is losing her memories and the roles are reversed; now I'm the caregiver. In fact, sometimes she will call me "Mom" as in her mind the line has become gray. The woman who ran the family budget now is too confused to write a check correctly. When we have groceries delivered, she cannot remember that cottage cheese belongs in the fridge. She's lost her creativity too. She was a painter, a knitter and a jewelry maker. Thanks to my mom, I too have a very pronounced artistic side. She was also an avid book reader; plowing through several books every week. Now she struggles to say the right words and has trouble recalling the names of everday items. She knows something is happening to her and she quite frequently dissolves into tears over things that she never would have before. I'm grateful for the time that I am able to spend with her. We live together now so that I can be her caregiver. I know that she is eating well, that she is bathing and that she does not have to struggle with finances. I take care of those things for her. I try not to think about what lies in the future for both of us. I truly try to live one day at a time. I adopted a kitten to join us. Mom loves this kitten and the kitten loves her. My mother, as a young parent, never had time for pets as she was busy caring for a family. Now she enjoys petting Olivia and playing with her. It's nice to see her bonding with a pet.