Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New things coming...

Hey there my faithful followers.

In the not too distant future I will have something awesome to share.

Thanks to the hard work of a homeschooling buddy of mine, we hope to present a children's book.

The name of our Publishing Company
It will be available on Amazon.com.  I'll publish a link as soon as it's done.

Here is an excerpt:

"From the blackness below, a bellowing is heard.
Then she is upon us, a malevolent dragon, barring our way.
In one motion, you jerk me behind you and draw your sword.  
Your knees bend, ready to spring.
Her fiery breath beats down upon you."

And here is a snippet of the artwork:

(c) Jean Huber 2015
Stay Tuned!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

To Vac or Not to Vac

I'm getting pretty tired of seeing the vaccination debate on my news feed. I've seen pro-vac, and anti-vac information shared by my wonderful parenting friends ad nauseam.  I get it.  I really do.

If you are pro-vac you want to make sure all the other parents are vaccinating their kids, because you want to make sure their kids have the best chance of fighting off these awful diseases that have plagued our country in the past.

If you are anti-vac, you not only want the pro-vac people to leave you alone, you want to make sure all those parents who are vaccinating their kids realize the dangers of current vaccination procedures and ingredients.

Well, here's my take on it.  How about we treat other parents with respect and stop trying to shove our opinions down their throats.  I understand you want to protect these innocents from the foolishness of their adult protectors, but lay off.  There are a whole lot more heinous acts being perpetrated on the children in our nation.

If you believe in evolutionary process (I do not) then survival of the fittest dictates that parents who aren't vaccinating will eventually remove their genetic strain from the gene pool.  This is the sad outcome of the evolutionary process.  

If you believe in a Divine Creator (I do), then have the peace that comes from knowing that the same God who gave you your children with the understanding that you were the best person to raise them, gave other parents their children with the same understanding.

Regardless what side of the fence you stand on, please, PLEASE, I beg you, do NOT get the government involved.  Every time you get the government involved, you give up more freedom to parent your kids the way you choose, and you raise taxes.  It may seem tempting to force other "uncaring" parents to show their children more love, but I promise you one day the tables will be turned and you will suddenly be face with a government agency demanding that you do something you are not comfortable with.
Here's something to think about next time you're tempted to post yet another article about why everyone should wise up and vaccinate their kids.  If you used government authority to force your best friend to vaccinate their kids against their will, and their child died of complications, how would you console them?

Now let's take this the other direction.  If you used government force to deny your best friend's child the vaccinations they needed, and their child died or was horribly deformed from a preventable disease, how would you console them?

How about this situation: if you had the choice to force congress to adopt a vaccination policy, or raise public school teachers salaries, which would you choose?  What if you could increase foreign aid?  What if you could reduce taxes?  What if you could give our military more support?  There are million things we could do with our tax dollars.  Is forcing the vaccination issue really the most important thing right now?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Trouble with School Lunches

I've seen several documentaries, news stories and articles over the past few months about the low quality of food served in American Public Schools.  When compared to countries like France, Korea, Spain, and England our cafeteria food looks downright embarrassing.

My first reaction to this information was, like many parents, why can't we feed our kids better food?  Then I started to really analyze the data.

First, almost every nation brought into the comparison has a ridiculously smaller population.  It's much easier for a smaller system to sustain better quality food service.  When the entire country is the size of our single state of Texas it's easier to find local, fresh food sources.

Second, most of the countries compared to ours are in worse financial situations.  This means they are serving their children delicious healthy meals, but these kids will grow up to inherit exorbitant national debt. In countries like Spain and Portugal, they're looking at total bankruptcy.

Finally, many of these countries really don't treat children well in other ways.  One of the countries I researched as the largest population of orphans in first world nations.  Upon further research I learned that the majority of the orphans were simply given up by their parents because they weren't interested in their continuing care. Another country has an extremely high rate of children below poverty level.  These are children who aren't even enrolled in government schools.  They roam the streets and steal or beg for their lunches.

As I scanned through the information on site after site the information only became more depressing.  Logical analysis of the data made it seem like the only two options were:
1) Go deeper into the taxpayers pockets to serve the children healthier food, or
2) Neglect a higher percentage of children, and focus on serving a smaller quantity of lunches overall.

I believe there is a better way.  If each school district was responsible for raising the money for the school lunch program, the system would be broken into much smaller, more easily managed budgets.  If, as a parent, I knew I was providing healthy meals to my children, and their peers, I would be more emotionally involved in the decision making process.

Now I know this doesn't take into account really low income districts.  The first objection to a change of this kind is that kids in "rich" districts will be eating filet, while kids in "poor" ones will still be stuck with chicken nuggets.  This is where two options would come into play.

The first option would be a benefactor program.  People with incomes in a higher tax bracket would get a tax exemption for donating to local school lunch programs with a higher percentage of children in low income or poverty level families.  In other words, Mr Richman gets a small tax break if he donates a portion of his salary to Sally Poorkid's school.  This would remove several middle-men, provide Mr Richman with opportunities to show his benefactor status, and would add extra funds to Sally Poorkid's school lunch program.

The second option (which really should go hand in hand with the first option) would be to set up a mandatory lunch rotation with school parents.  Each child who attends the school would need a parent to work in the cafeteria a minimum number of days each year. For instance, there is an average enrollment of 694 students per school in the state of Florida.  The average number of children per family is two. There are approximately 180 days in the school year.  This means the parents would need to work in the cafeteria a minimum of 2 days per year.

As one final note I'd like to add the following:

What do you think?
I welcome rational discussion.  Ad Hominem, Straw Man, and other comments containing illogical fallacies will be removed.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Truth About Direct Sales

I've heard a lot of negative feedback over the years about Direct Sales companies.

The salespeople are pushy. The companies are illegal pyramid schemes. The prices are way too high.

But keep this in mind.

There are pushy sales people at Sears, but folks still shop there.  Car salesmen are pretty pushy at times, but we still buy cars from them.

The companies wouldn't be around with the type of longevity they have if they were illegal pyramid schemes.

The prices are higher because the product is usually better quality.  Go ahead... tell your mama that the Tupperware she's had in the cupboard since you were a wee babe is not as good as something you can buy at Walmart.

The prices are higher because here in America we pay people better.  Sure, you can find lower quality nail wraps at Walgreens, but I bet those folks who made them over in China would love to cross the Pacific and get a job at Jamberry USA.  The higher prices reflect better compensation, not just for salespeople, but for hostesses as well.  In reality most of the ladies who are in direct sales are looking for a way to pay the bills without losing out on quality time with their families.

The prices may be higher, but the customer service is usually far superior.  When was the last time someone in a blue vest at Walmart offered to deliver your items to your door?  Sure, Sears has a delivery service, but they charge extra for it.  The person who actually sold you the product doesn't deliver it.  They process the payment and then you're pushed off onto someone else.  Have you ever tried to return an appliance to a Sears store?

Sure, there are horror stories.  I have a few myself.

Nearly 20 years ago my husband and I were invited to dinner at an older couple house.  After a tasty meal, they pulled out a white-board and began giving us the Amway sales pitch.  We were so frustrated.  We thought this couple would be great mentors to us as we were just starting married life.

I knew someone who was such a pushy salseperson that I stopped buying from that particular company completely because I never wanted to deal with them again.

Another couple I've known for a very long time have bounced from MLM company to MLM company, always trying some new business and always calling me to talk about the latest "opportunity."

These stories have taught me some things over the years.

1) Never, EVER trick someone into a business promo.  If I ask you over to my house, it's because I genuinely want to get to know you.  I don't want your money.  I don't want your friend's money.  I just want to know the amazing person you are.  If you ask me about my nails, I'll tell you, but I'm not going to try to trick you into the business.

2) Don't be obnoxious.  Honestly, if I'm being obnoxious, please, please tell me.  I try to keep all of my business stuff separate from my personal life.  I look for ways to market my products without targeting friends and family. Even recently, I asked a couple family members to try the product for free, not because I want their money, but because I value their feedback based on their line of work.  I'll offer the opportunity to try a product I firmly believe in, but a no is a no.

3) Don't jump into MLM's lightly.  It's like the boy who cried "wolf".  Sure there are lots of direct sales companies out there.  I've hostessed parties for many of them, and will continue to do so.  These ladies are my friends and I want to support their businesses, but I also love their products.  I didn't join Jamberry to make a ton of money, although that is a perk.  I joined because I wanted to be able to wear the wraps without it impacting my budget.  I'm not going to be that lady who used to sell ____ but now she sells ____.

And that about sums it up.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Magic City Comic Con

I'm heading down to Magic City Comic Con next weekend to help a friend with her booth.  If you're in the area, stop by and check out her awesome Wibbly Wobbly Wares.  This is the second time I've worked with Julia.  The last time was pretty fun, and I'm expecting this one to be no different.

Julia hand makes beautiful necklaces, rings and other jewelry.  Although her favorite by far is Doctor Who, she also makes items from popular comic/super hero fandoms, Harry Potter and more.   Here's a picture of some works in progress:

One of my favorite things about going to Comic Con is seeing the creativity of the cos-players.  Where else can you dress up like your favorite character and walk around all day and not have people stare at you like you're some weirdo?

In anticipation of MC Comic Con I've been trying to come up with Jamberry Wraps that would complete a Costume.  Here are some pairings from my favorite Sci-Fi show.

The Doctor and His Companions

Ninth Doctor: Black and White Quad, Date Night, and Moon Glass
Rose Tyler: Anglophyle (NAS Custom order), Rose-Colored Glasses, China Rose Tips
Tenth Doctor: Champagne Toast, Navy Quatrefoil, and Luna
Eleven: Atlantis, Cherry Ice, and French Tips Bows
Amy Pond: Metallic Silver and White Fishnet, Fire Engine Tips, Tinsel Town
River Song: Snakeskin, Sea Glass, River (NAS Custom Order)

The Tardis

Just a few wraps with this one.
Gallifreyan (NAS Custom Design)
Berry Blue Tip and Berry Blue Glimmer
Darkest Black and Black Tips.

Doctor Who Villians

Weeping Angel: Diamond Dust Sparkle, Stone Tip or Midnight Celebration
Daleks: Progression, Marsala Mirage, or Fade Out
Cybermen: Metallic Chrome SilverRose Gold Sparkle, or Copper Penny Nail Lacquer

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Downton Abbey Nails

My BFF and I got the opportunity to go to an event sponsored by WPBT2, our local Public Television station.  They rented out the Cinema Paradiso in downtown Ft Lauderdale and showed the first episode of Downton Abbey: Season 5 the night before it airs on the telly (in America).

They rounded out the event with a reception complete with finger sandwiches, scones, a full bar and some delicious looking desserts.

As you all know by now I've been bit by the Jamberry bug and everything I do and see makes my brain buzz with ways to wear what I love on my nails.  So, I did some dreaming and came up with the following ways to show your love for this old fashioned, thoroughly British soap opera.

Style number 1: Anna

She's by far my favorite character on the show. She's put up with some pretty awful circumstances. Although I wish the writers would leave her to live in peace with Mr Bates, I know she's just such an easy target.

For her look I suggest a base coat of Raven Nail Lacquer, with Touch of Lace clear wraps on top. I'm waiting for my new bottle of "Raven" to arrive in the mail, so I can take a proper picture of this look.  In the meantime, check out the accent nail in this image to get an idea of what it looks like.

Style number 2: Mary

It took me a while to warm up to Lady Mary. She's so stubborn, and I guess it's true that the faults we see easily in others are the ones we carry in ourselves.  Now I see that her strong will is helping to save the family fortune.

For Mary's look I suggest something that would go with my favorite of her dinner dresses, pictured here.  Try pairing Cherry Ice wraps (which are the perfect shade of red) with a Black Floral accent nail.  Here is a good idea of the finished look.

Style number 3: Isobel

I love Lady Crawley for her willingness to help those in need without the rudeness of some of the younger characters.  Couple that with her penchant for getting under the Dowager Countess' snobby skin, and I love her even more.

For Lady Isobel I choose something that is at first simple and reserved, something fitting for a more mature woman.  The nude understatement of Victorian Lace looks beautiful as an accent.  However I want it to leave a happy note like the thin sliver glitter on Date Night. Check out the look in this picture.

Style number 4: Daisy

With her innocence and honesty, who couldn't love this adorable kitchen maid.  She was kind enough to marry a man she didn't love so his dying heart wouldn't be broken.  Because of that, she now has a future outside of the manor house if she chooses.

Daisy's look is simple.  China Rose Tips with accents of the full China Rose.  Check it out here.  And, don't forget to measure your nails before you order the French Tips.

Have a Jammin Day!

P.S.  If you love these looks, you can buy them by simply following the links.  If you want to earn free wraps, email me at bethimus@gmail.com. Here's hoping the rest of the season is as good as the first episode.  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

An Open Letter to My Husband

Dear Joel,

Of the five love languages, you don't really speak "Gifts".  This makes things difficult since it's the one I speak the most.  However, every year you accommodate me by buying me wonderful gifts for Christmas.  You take the kids shopping so they can get me things, and you foot the bill so the things they buy me are really the things I want.  It makes me feel loved and appreciated.

Then, the tables are turned.  It's so easy for me to speak gifts, but I'm stunted in my ability to speak the language of "Affirmations."  I realize this seems kind of odd considering how much I love to write.  I'm sure it comes across as either hypocritical or insincere.  I mean, after all, I can sit down for hours at a time and write all kinds of things about other, fictional, people, and it doesn't bother me a bit.  Why can't I take a few minutes and jot down the things I appreciate about you?

Then there's the fact that there are several holidays each year that center around gift giving, and I can't think of one that centers around telling people how great they are.  Maybe we should make that a thing: "National Affirmation Day."  I guess if you think about it, Valentine's Day kind of works, but most people associate it with the giving of candy, flowers, and cards.  These are just more gifts.

Well, I decided this year is going to be different.  Instead of pushing you to come up with some object you could easily go out and buy yourself with your own earnings, and then delaying the gratification of obtaining said object so that I can speak my fluent language by purchasing it and making you wait till the official appointed day to claim ownership of it, I'm going to give you this letter.

Now, keep in mind, this is by no means an exhaustive list.  Also, I'm probably going to repeat some things I've told you in the past.  Please don't consider this repetition an indication of laziness on my part as much as it is an emphasis on how important it is to me.  With all that said, and the disclaimers dutifully applied, here is my official Top Ten List: Things I Love About My Husband (2014 Edition).

#10: You are an excellent provider.

You already know this. I've said it before, but I want to say it again. When I was a kid, looking forward to running my own home, I figured I would be a lot like my mom, baking my own bread, making homemade jams and jellies, cooking everything from scratch, etc.  I love doing these things, but back then these expectations were built on the premise that I would have to learn to manage a tight budget.  I would need to learn how to do these things out of necessity, not out of desperation.  I look back now, and realize just how thankful I am that I've been able to do things during our married life not because I had to scrimp and save, but because I just enjoy doing them.

#9: You make me adapt to growing technology.

I know this is one of those things that I fought for a long time.  I know I can be a stubborn person.  I have learned to appreciate your attention to technological advancement and encouragement for me to adapt.  I love my laptop, even though I scoffed at the necessity of it for years.  I love my smart phone and all the amazing apps you've introduced me to, especially Wunderlist.  I love that you introduced me to Prezi, even though I was content to use Google Slides and Powerpoint for about a year after you showed it to me.  In the future I will probably still resist new technology, but I'll come around eventually, and when I do I will realize you were right, yet again.

#8: You have a great sense of humor.

I've taken hundreds of personality quizzes online.  Almost every time one of the questions looks like this:

Every time I click on "sense of humor".  I mean, I think you're pretty hot.  I know not everyone has my taste, but I basically described you in my ridiculous teenage future husband list, and you've definitely gotten more dashing over the years.  Even though I got to marry a great looking guy, I know that over time your good looks will eventually wane.  When that happens I look forward to the fact that you can keep me smiling with your unique way of looking at life.

#7: You not only pay the bills but you take care of the finances.

I know that in a healthy relationship both people need to be actively involved in keeping track of income.  My dad used to say, "When your income exceeds your outgo, your upkeep becomes your downfall."  I realize he probably copied that from someone else, but he's the one I heard it from, so I give him credit for it.  However, I am so thankful that I don't have to pay all the bills and reconcile all the accounts and be responsible for making sure that nothing falls through the cracks.  Because we both know if I was in charge, lots of bill collectors would have our number on speed dial.

#6: You help homeschool our kids.

Back when we were courting, I remember both of us agreeing that we wanted our kids to be homeschooled.  Back then I figured that would mean that you would support me in an idealistic sort of way, but I would still have to do pretty much all of the teaching.  I joked about helping our kids with high school math, but I kinda knew in the back of my mind that it would fall to me to suck it up and teach it myself.  Over the last few years you have gotten so much more involved in the process than I ever expected.  Not just with grading math books, but with coming up with the "Presentation Process" with our kids.  You decide their topics, you shop for their rewards, you offer help each week.  It was such a genius plan, and you are coordinating it all, and I just love it.  It takes so much pressure off me, and really rounds out their curriculum.

#5: You pay attention to the details and aren't easily swayed by popular opinion

This is one of those things that I really appreciate even though it sometimes gets on my nerves.  It's one of those things I've learned to appreciate over time, though.  I appreciate that you don't just sign important papers flippantly, that you don't gamble away our money on hunches, and that you don't leave behind your convictions because of some new doctrine.

#4: You don't have a problem telling our kids no.

I'm outgoing.  I know a lot of people.  Because of this, I've known a lot, I mean, a LOT of parents who have a hard time telling their kids no.  I've seen what happens to kids who never get told no.  I've also seen situations where one parent says no while the other says yes.  I'm so thankful that you are consistent with our kids.  Not to double up on this one, but I also appreciate the fact that, while you don't have a problem setting boundaries for them, you aren't a hard-nose either.  You take time to develop relationships with them.

#3: You kill roaches for me.

Don't really need to expound on this one.  Ewww!

#2: You put our relationship above your relationship to the kids.

Here's another one I've seen a lot.  One parent who seems to think the other parent is pretty much just there to help procreate another little darling to add to their posse.  I feel so loved by you.  You go out of your way to make sure we have date night.  You make sure that I am healthy, and you caution me from over committing to otherwise worthy causes.  You're even willing to go grocery shopping with me, just so we can be together.  Even recently when we were talking about foster care, the reasons you cited for not signing up for infant care, is because you didn't want me to get run down.  It wasn't because you didn't want to have to deal with a baby in the house.  It was because you know how exhausted I get when I'm caring for an infant.

#1: You are faithful to me.

I hate that statistic that says, 1 in 4 marriages ends in divorce.  I used to just shake my head at it.  Now I shake my fist and cry out against it because I've seen way too many close friends prove its validity.  In our 18 years of marriage we've seen cheating spouses, abusive spouses, neglectful spouses, disconnected spouses.  I could go on, but I don't want to bring this positive post down.

I used to feel like I had to make sure I was always perfect for you because I had to hold on to you or some other woman would come in and take you away from me.  Then I kind of went through a man-hater stage where I thought, "If he doesn't love me the way I am then it's his loss."  Fortunately that pendulum has settled down a lot.  But, the common thread on both sides is that nagging fear that my husband is inevitably going to leave me.  I'm not sure when it stopped being an issue to me, but somewhere along the line I stopped coming up with contingency plans for how to move on with my life, and started wondering how in the world I was ever going to live without you if you end up being the first one to go on to heaven.  I used to wonder how I was going to deal with the news that you had found someone else, and now I wonder how I'll be able to find anyone else if the enemy took you away from me too early.

Suffice it to say that I'm in love with you.  I moved away from infatuation many many years ago.  I'm so much more deeply in love with you than I've ever been.  I hope that science and technology find ways of prolonging healthy life soon enough for us to take advantage of it, because I look forward to an entire lifetime with you.

Merry Christmas,