Thursday, September 15, 2011

The rule do not change!

Here we are another year at school and we have to do it all over again!

It starts with the withdrwal symptoms, caused by Game Brain

Then, the fogg that sets in with the early morning routine,...
The book report that helps them avoid chores for a whole week

The home work time at the kitchen table, that bleeds into dinner time leaving no place for food!

grade check that asks
 "Are the rules still the same?"    
" Do you still care about my grades?"

On Monday I found out that Jazzy had never made up the work from the day she was sick two weeks ago. That made me start thinking, and I realized that Sean and john had not given me anyu grade books yet this year. SO, (Got to love the online abilities of the school today) I went to my computer and checked. There it was plain as day Sean had a failing grade!

SO I brought the big bad mom face, reminded them that they get 2 day for each missing assignment, and 1 day for each bad score.....Then just to let them know I was serious, they got to watch John at football while they sat on the side lines finishing up all of the missing assignments, or redoing their failed assignments.

Then just as a reminder that the rules are still the same we walked out at the end of practice to talk to coach. He was really disappointed when he heard that if Sean and Jazmine do not get all of the replacement work turned in before a grade check on Friday they will not be allowed to participate in Saturday’s game.

Here we are on Thursday. I do not yet know what will happen this time, but from experience I can say it will be good. This is year four where we have threatened, but not had to follow through with a removal from a football game. As a point worth making, Sean did get a 3.6 at the end of football season last year. So, thank God I figure it out in time each year. They just need a little kick in the booty to remind them that the rules do not change, "no grades no extracurricular activities."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This has been such a full summer. I just never got a chance to take a breath. Evidenced by the missing blogging pages! Among the many things that have happened this summer, Lorlaie has become a major mover and groove. She has more than 20 words that she can say and more than 100 words that she can respond to!

This summer Jonathan learned how to surf and he is a natural!

Now John and Sean are in football Season again! John is a star player!

Little JohnMark taking two Giants down at  a time!

Jazmine found her inner cheerleader and is captain this year! Way to find the spirit girl :-)


Michael got his driver’s license and Brandon will be getting his license in a couple of months!

Wow ! It just never stops. I think that we can catch up as we make our way through the fall season.Edit

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It is a birthday!

Here it goes. We are planning a surprise party for Sean. You should all come over to our house at 6:00 and help Brian get it set up...I am going to make Sean come with me to Zumba to "Watch the baby".

Help Brian get it all set up. I will post later how it went.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sisterly Conversation

So, Friday night we got together for a sisterly conversation. We took time to talk. There are few things that compare to the companionship of a good friend/relative.

We went to the elephant bar in Modesto and I just have to say
The food just keeps getting better
The Manager Patric has always treated me and my family graciously. My daughter and I can not eat wheat, and Patric is always able to create the most tasty dishes for us. So if you are looking for a good place to meet up with old or new friends the best place in Modesto is The Elephant Bar. They are able to adjust the seasoning, and skip gluten, while adding other spice and flavor to take the place.

The other restaurants in town are more then happy to remove gluten ingredient (like Uno, Apple B's, and Red Robin). But unfortunately all that is left when they are finished removing the products that contain gluten is a dry chicken breast on some green with out seasoning or sauce.

The differance is that  at The Elephant Bar they cook with fresh foods prepared on site. That means that they are able to take the ingredance in the kitchen and recreate a dish for flavor.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Student loan changes (Obama's changes gone wrong)

My name is Danielle Hodge. I would like to share with you about my personal story and how my student loans have impacted my family. I would also like to address the practices being used, the tone of conversation, as well as how the actions of the president have impacted the state of student loans. I feel that it is imperative for me to share my story. If these things have affected me in this way I can only imagine how many thousands of others are also feeling the effects of the changes in the way student loans are being handled.
At 29 I found myself alone mothering  3 wonderful children after my husband suffered an inoperable brain aneurysm. There were many bills associated with the care for my husband and our loss. I moved into my parent’s home and took a job at a lumber mill. At that time I had outstanding student loans; I negotiate terms and began repayment. I made regular payments on my loan and we were able to move into a rental home. I continued to make regular payments on my loans and started to take occasional courses with the intention of completing a credentialing program over several years. Since I already held a BA it would be easy for me to work and complete the credentialing program over a few year.
Suddenly everything changed when I was injured in an accident at work. My right dominant hand was traumatically severed. Over a year I had several surgeries, and many hours of rehabilitation. I found at the end of it all that I was unable to continue my previous occupation. While in recovery I again moved into my parents’ home so they could assist me with the 3 children while I recovered from surgery. There were some things that I just could not do, for the short term, like bath my daughter, or change diapers. Workers comp paid someone to assist me for the short term, but I wanted my children to be assisted by family not a paid stranger.  As soon as I realized that I would not be able to return to my previous occupation I began to take a full load of courses. I was hoping that by the time I finished my recovery from the accident, I would be ready to teach full time. Being unable to work I was forced to take out a student loan to cover my course costs.

Finally having completed the courses, I began testing, and student teaching, and I used all of my disability payments to support my family while I did so.

In the end I had over 40, 000 dollars in student loans. I was able to accept a position as soon as my credentialing program was complete. I worked for a year, completing a course and enrolling in the BTSA program. The enrolment is required for all new teachers in California.  The college units cost me additional money, but I was able to pay it because my student loans remained in school deferment. At the end of the school year a group of teachers were let go due to declining enrolment. Unfortunately I was one of them. I then found another job, but had to relocate to a new area where there was a greater need for teachers. I worked another year, continuing the 2 year BTSA program and the 3 year education specialist level 2 programs. These are required by the state of California to be completed during the first years of teaching.

At the end of my the year I was pink slipped by my district. This would be the second year where I would not qualify for loan repayment programs because my employment was not continued. As an education specialist working with low income students if my employment would have continued I would have received loan repayments through the apple program.

I was lucky to again find another job working for a different school district. I was able to complete and receive a cleared general education teaching credential having completed the BTSA program, but I still needed to complete 3 courses required for the level 2 education specialist credential. Both are requirements for teaching in my field. Again at the end of the year I received a pink slip.

At that point I realized that I was in trouble, and understood with thousand of out of work teachers, and very few openings I was very unlikely to gain a teaching position for the next year. I took the time to sit down and work out the math and make a plan for how I was going to provide for my family without income for the year. I contacted the holder of my student loan. At this point my loans were just about to come into repayment, I could not afford to take anymore classes, and wells Fargo agreed to place my loans on deferment.

About 4 months later (still in the same school year that I found myself out of work) I started being contacted about my student loans. I received a letter and I made a phone call. The person on the other end of the line was very rude. She did not offer another solution other than to pay my student loan in full immediately; otherwise I would be charged a $12,000 penalty. When I explained the situation, and told her I was unable to do anything at this time, she questioned my finances, and suggested that I got myself into the negative financial situation because I chose to have children. She said that if I could not care for the children and meet my financial obligation I should find someone else to take the children. I have never been so offended in my life. I love my children and even though things did not work out happily ever after for me, I can still dream that they will have a happily ever after.

So here I am a hard working woman who has worked hard all of my life. I have supported myself, and my family. I have worked hard to improve my financial position. I do not own a home, and now owe 67,000 dollars in student loans, 42,000 in reasonable debt and 25,000 in overall penalties created by the lender and the government program implemented my Oboma.

After speaking to other people in the government loan collection program, and wells Fargo I found out that although wells Fargo was willing to continue with my terms of forbearance, my loan fell into a category that was taken over by the government program. I was within 3 thousand dollars of complete repayment on my original loans when I was injured and began to take out additional loans to cover my credentials program. If the existing loan is older than 2009 the government program takes over collections, with no offer or availability of payment postponement programs traditionally available for student loans.

This left me in a situation where they said pay in full or else. To someone like me who is out of work, and struggling to deal with the way the economic situation has affected employment, this is an unbelievable blow. A blow of this type could knock down the strongest personality, and the collection tactics were so outrageous that I would not be surprised if we see an increase in suicide across America. People who have put themselves out, worked hard, completed college, and now find they have not increased their future opportunities, but instead created a mountain of debt and have no way out. They have lost the potential that they once had in life. It creates a hopeless situation and a situation without hope is tragic indeed. The last straw in my case, as my children get older, I also get older. I find that the opportunity to be strong financially has been taken away from me by the changes in student loan policies. I do not see any way out. Not even bankruptcy would help ease my financial strain, student loans are not a debt that can be removed or negotiated with bankruptcy, and I do not hold a significant amount of additional debt. 800 dollars in credit card debt, and 3400 dollars left to pay off on my car. Yet now I know that I can quit working so hard, the potential for my future in gone…….I will make all sacrifices necessary to provide other options for my children, they will not be allowed to take out student loans. I have already lost my financial potential; I will not let them lose theirs. The hardest part for me is to not be a home owner. I was never willing to take the step of committing to a mortgage when I did not feel like we could make the financial commitment. I thought that I would finally be allowed the opportunity of home ownership as soon as I finished my credentials. To have a place to finish raising my children and provide a place where they could return to after college, they deserve from me what my parents gave me, a place where they would know they could always go no matter what.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   .

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This past weekend I wanted to enjoy my birthday in a special way. I always loved my time with my grandfather. He was a very fine gentleman. He would treat me to the most memorable meals ever. If he took us to dinner, he would treat, and there would be no limitations. He introduced me to lobster, steak, char broiled foods, perfection in sauces, and the most flavorful soups. This year I wanted to take Johnathan out to dinner for our birthday. I had a desire to allow him the experience of good sea food.

Fisherman's Galley was the bomb!

The food was made fresh to order. Service was fabulous. There was a day not to long ago when dinner service was valued, for this place it has not changed. I alerted the server to my food allergies, he was very respectful, and proceeded to make all required changes in the menu. The cook was preparing all the food fresh to order. This allowed me the privilege of ordering to taste!

The full bar allowed for drinks of choice. The atmosphere was calm and respectful of the dinners experience. The chairs were large and cushioned, Very comfortable!

As the plate arrived my eyes were pleasured with presentation while my nose was drawn in with the scent of fresh herbs. My steak was perfect, the cut fabulous, and cooked exactly how I requested. The lobster was a generous portion. The red potatoes, and vegetables were cooked in fresh herbs. I was delighted to clear my plate.

We finished the meal with complimentary vanilla ice cream (for our birthday). It is worth mentioning that my son believes they must have made the ice cream there. It was notably better than the ice cream we have had recently. It was fresh vanilla beans that set off the flavor sensation.

So if you are in the area visit the Fisherman’s Galley for good fine dining. WE won’t mention the cost, but I will say it was worth every cent.

Here is where they can be found
Fisherman's Galley

3008 McHenry Ave, Modesto, CA 95350

(209) 527-3450

Saturday, March 26, 2011

he is now a young man!

So one day he is just a kid

The next thing I know he turns 12 and he is now a young man!

I don’t see the difference but I experience the difference daily.

He is growing into such an awesome young man. He has began the process of taking responsibility for himself, and watching out for others! Now he thinks about becoming a scholar of excellence, and going to college instead of thinking about getting the assignment done so he can play.

Happy Birthday Johnny! I love you and I will always be proud of you.

On the other side of things, Michael oversaw the boys sleep over last night. We had our 4 boys plus 7 extras over for the celebration. They played Black Ops, and Guitar Hero, while I slept…..Michael and Brandon (16 now) gave oversight..
13 boys all gaming together

The fact is that I just can’t do it right now. The night does not pass so easily. I would like to say it is Loralie’s effect on my sleeping patterns, but I think it is just a phase in my life. I have not gotten to sleep more than two hours in concession for 15 months, but even before that I was only privileged with 4 hours a night. After so many years burning it at both ends….i just can’t any more 

Maybe after Loralie starts sleeping through the night

Loralie Playing Guitar Hero
Well, we have to clean up from the party, feed these boys breakfast, and get ready for the day. My parents will be here shortly, we have a shopping date, and we are going out to dinner for my birthday (the only time I ever get seafood)