Wednesday, June 30, 2010

To Hollywood: You're Welcome & Be Sure to Send Me a Check

My post last night really got me thinking really deep thoughts about who would win in a superhero or monster fight.  I wish I was joking, but I actually was up until a little after 1:00 am thinking about the mashups I'm about to present.  I think it goes without saying that the Superhero team would always kick monster butt, but who would win in a fight between Superheroes?  Or between monsters?

Superheroes - Iron Man > Batman > Superman > Spiderman
I only like Iron Man, Batman, Superman, and sometimes Spiderman.  So I guess I'll only focus on these four.  As you can see from the equation above, I have listed who pwns who on this list.

Let's face it, Spiderman is the weak link here.  Ooooh, he can spin a web, good for him!  He sucks and the only reason he's on my list is because he has the catchiest theme song.  Not surprisingly, the theme song has to make a deal of his web-spinning abilities because that's basically all he can do.  You SUCK, Spiderman, and no one likes you!

Ahem, moving right along. 

Superman is freaking Superman, so I struggled with where he would fit in this mashup.  Ultimately, an impossible amount of cash reserves allowed the other two to overtake the legitimate Superhero on this list.  If Superman didn't have that pesky response to kryptonite, he would have totally won the fight.  However, Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Tony Stark (Iron Man) are brilliant and rich as Roosevelt.  Therefore, they would figure out that kryptonite is Superman's, well, kryptonite.  Their vast wealth would enable them to either get some kryptonite or somehow synthesize it in the lab - and I don't think they'd pull a Richard Pryor and sub in tar as the missing element.  Before anyone calls shenanigans on that theory, realize that the bald-headed dolt, Lex Luthor, can get his hands on kryptonite.  If he can get it, those guys should have no problem.  Heck, even those 90s radio nerds, The Spin Doctors, could get a pocket full of kryptonite.

So this leaves us with Batman or Iron Man.  In a way, neither deserve to be on a Superhero list because both Batman and Iron Man are just regular men. There is nothing all that remarkable about them. Well, other than their very expensive outfits and slick tricks.  I never read superhero comics as a kid - I was partial to Archie & his gang - so I can only base my opinions on the movies that I've seen.  Based on the movies, Iron Man is the clear winner.  Don't get your bat-hackles up, I'll explain.

Bruce Wayne is an injured orphan.  He's touched by suffering and I think that he pulls back when he has a kill-shot because he feels empathy (on some level) with the villain.  He would not be able to go for the jugular in a fight with Iron Man.  He just wouldn't do it.  He couldn't do it.

Contrast the injured orphan with the cynical Capitalist who is Tony Stark.  He's motivated by fame, money, and perhaps a small sense of justice.  If Batman was swinging his bat-balls in Stark's 'hood, Iron Man would boot him off the planet because Iron Man can't handle the competition.  He is an Alpha, through & through and he'll crush any usurpers.

Also, Batman's bag of tricks just isn't as impressive as Iron Man's.  That wasn't meant as a double entendre - though it would be funny if it was!  I just meant that Iron Man seems tougher and it seems like he can do more with his special suit than Batman can with his own. 

I do have to give style points to Batman though.  Iron Man is all shiny & stuff and his helmet face is ugly.  Batman's suit is a nice matte black and he drives a fly car.  His motorcycle and plane are pretty sweet too.  No wonder he gets the hotter chicks!

Monsters - Vampire > Werewolf > Mummy
I had trouble coming up with four monsters.  Heck, I could barely come up with three that would make sense in a mashup.  The Mummy is like this list's Spiderman.  Completely useless and so easy to beat that even my 2-year old could probably dispatch him back to Hades.  Listen up, Mummy, you are slow and gross and no one likes you!

So we're left with the Vampire and the Werewolf.  As I indicated in my post last night, the obvious winner is the vampire.  Here's why:  Unlike a werewolf, who is at the mercy of the friggin' full-moon, vampires can shape-shift at will! 

How does the vampire defeat the werewolf?  Let me count the ways!  The vampire can turn into a bat and fly away.  The vampire can appear as a human and shoot a silver bullet into the stupid man-beast.  The vampire can show up anytime there isn't a full moon, which is most of the time, and kill the werewolf in human form.  The vampire can pounce on the werewolf and sink his fangs in if he wanted to get really gross about it.

My husband added an interesting point while I was pondering this last night.  He said that vampires are already Undead, so how do you kill them anyway.  I suppose that they can get burned by daylight.  Or there's always the good ol' stake through the heart.  Both are things that the werewolf could not do if in werewolf form.  Werewolf only morphs during a full-moon, which means that he can't kill the vampire with the light of day at that time.  Also, I'm guessing that the werewolf sports true paws rather than hands.  No thumbs means that the werewolf has no ability to pound a stake through the heart of the vampire.

Ta-Da!  Roll credits. . .

Hollywood churns out a ton of expensive crap every year and I wouldn't be surprised to see the mashups presented in this blog down at my local theater by next Summer.  It would be like a complete cheese-fest as these mashups are more like something that would be viewed while watching Elvira's show.  But I'd totally watch it! 

Does anyone else remember Elvira and the campy movies that she brought to audiences each week?  My Grandpa loved watching Elvira.  I can't say that I recall him watching any of the movies though - haha!

So there you have it. Iron Man kicks the crap out of every other superhero and Vampire kicks the crap (or sucks the blood - eww!) out of every other monster. Am I missing any of your favorites? Or am I the only dork who cares about such things?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Energy Vampires Walk Among Us

Thanks to the marvel that is Facebook, I've learned that another Twilight movie is opening tonight.  I actually had to double check this because it seems like a new Twilight movie comes out every few months and I was sure that one just opened like a month or two ago.  Well, I was wrong. 

I'm not exactly sure what the buzz is all about, but I kinda feel like I might be missing something important.  However, based on the movie trailers, I have a feeling that I'm not missing anything.  You haven't seen a commercial for these movies?  Here's what I think they're about (just based on the commercial):  This sullen teenaged couple are vampires and I guess they're fighting with a pack of werewolves.  Take the teenagers out of it and it actually sounds like something I'd be willing to geek out on since I'm fond of superhero or monster-movie mashups.  Of course, I've given some thought to this concept and I think vampires would totally win in a fight with werewolves in like two minutes.  So I guess the teen angst is necessary to make the movie long enough to warrant a few bucks for theater admission.

Anyway, all this vampire stuff got me thinking that we all have vampires in our life.  No, I'm not saying that people are literally bloodsuckers.  And I will not check the internet to find out if there are!  But some people definitely are bloodsuckers in a figurative sense and they drain every bit of energy and optimism right out of you.  Those in the mental health community might call them "toxic people."

I'm pretty sure that we all have a relationship with at least one toxic person.  It might be a family member, a close friend, a co-worker, or some other associate.  They are negative, critical, and you usually feel emotionally worse (exhausted, angry, pessimistic) after having spent any length of time with them.  They are often domineering and manipulative to boot.  Sadly, they can even be people who you really and truly love.

I don't have a lot of patience for negativity and I'm not generally a fan of remaining in a relationship with a toxic person.  It's not that they're bad people, but I find that their attitude problems tend to transfer over to me.  Over time, I stop seeing the glass as half-full.  I lose my rose-colored glasses and I'm suddenly just as ugly to be around as they are.  For me, personally, I like to keep my positive energy and I try very hard to guard myself against the Energy Vampires of the world.

It's not easy to cut someone completely out of your life and I don't think it should be done lightly.  Not surprisingly enough, it can be quite difficult to terminate a relationship with a toxic person.  Again, they aren't necessarily bad people (though some certainly are!) and they will likely never understand (on their own anyway) why your emotional health demands that you need to end the relationship.

It never would happen in an ideal world, but I've had to cut toxic people from my life.  I have a blood relation who I haven't seen or spoken to in well over 25 years.  Closer to 30 actually.  Based on this individual's actions, I'm happy to go another 30 with zero contact and I don't lose a moment of sleep over my decision.  Once I left my ex-husband, he was completely out of my life.  His behavior demanded that I run away and stay away.  Once I realized that the marriage was beyond repair (because, as my counselor said, one person can't do all the repair-work to heal a marriage!), I never second-guessed my decision to completely cut him from my life either.  Toxic co-workers are pretty easy to deal with - once you or they are no longer with the same employer. 

I went to school with someone who was such a sourpuss that it became nearly unbearable to be around them.  This individual would find something to b*tch about no matter what.  It's almost like they were compelled to be a grouch.  In my naivete, I thought that I could turn their frown upside down and I made it my mission (behind finishing school) to get them to see the sunny side of life.  I'd like to say that I was successful, but I think I witnessed only a handful of smiles from this person over a 1 1/2 year period.  Looking back, I wonder if it's at all possible that they were successful in their chosen profession.  I haven't seen any studies, but I would think that most women prefer hairdressers who are peppy and upbeat rather than dour and sour.

I don't know why some people seem to take such delight in dragging down everyone around them. Why is negativity so enticing to some?  I really don't get it. If you're dragging everyone down, that means you're down in it too. Whatever "it" is, "it" sucks. 

It takes a lot less energy to build people up; why not do that instead?  It takes just a moment to offer a sincere compliment.  It takes even less time to give a smile.  One spark starts a fire - let's start a positive movement in our friends and families!  Who have you built up today?  Who will you build up tomorrow?

Monday, June 28, 2010

REVIEW - Water Add-in Drink Mixes

I struggled with what to say I was reviewing and I hope I came up with a good description.  I've been on a flavored water kick lately and I have tried A LOT of different water add-ins.  Luckily for my wallet, I found a ton of these single serve water flavorings at my local 99 Cent Only Store.  So I grabbed an armful and set about trying to find my favorite.

If you're interested in adding a little tube of flavored powder to your water bottle (or water glass), this is a post for you because I'll be reviewing six different varieties from five different brands!  I have found that mixing according to directions results in a beverage that is a little too strong so I use less mix if I'm adding it to a water bottle while we're out or I use a bigger glass of water if I'm mixing it at home.  In no particular order, here are my thoughts:

Sugar Free Hawaiian Punch Fruit Juicy Red Singles to Go - I LOVE the regular Hawaiian Punch, but rarely treat myself because it has a ton of calories in each can.  One tube of this powder has only 10 calories, so I decided to give it a try.  I'm very excited to report that mixing this powder with a small bottle of water results in a product that tastes exactly like the regular Hawaiian Punch!  Exactly!  I did find that it doesn't dissolve very easily though and the small red clumps at the bottom of the bottle really creeped me out.  My solution?  I mix it in an opaque plastic tumbler and drink it at home.  I will definitely buy this again.  10 calories per packet, 8 packets to a box.

Sugar Free Wyler's Light Fruit Punch Singles to Go - I assumed that this was basically like the Hawaiian Punch Singles and I was right.  However, the taste is a little off on this product and I definitely prefer the Hawaiian Punch.  It also doesn't dissolve easily and leaves little red clumps in the bottom of your water.  I noticed that they offered other flavors too, like lemonade or pink lemonade.  I probably won't try those because I can nearly guarantee that I prefer the taste of my homemade lemonade.  10 calories per packet, 8 packets to a box.

Propel Vitamin Enhanced Water Beverage Mix Berry Powder Packets - This is the only product that I've used that does not turn your water a crazy-bright color.  It doesn't have an aggressive flavor.  The best way to describe it is that it tastes like water, only better.  It dissolves easily and completely.  It's pretty fantastic and I like it a lot!  I noticed that they also offered a Grape and a Lemon flavor.  I may try those too, but I think this Berry flavor will be hard to beat.  I will definitely buy this again.  20 calories per packet, 12 packets to a box.

Crystal Light LiveActive Natural Mixed Berry On the Go - This tastes so good and I'm glad that I picked it up!  I almost didn't because it has fiber in it.  I'm skeptical of adding fiber to things that normally don't have fiber - like water!, but this product claims to have 3 grams of fiber in each packet.  I suspect that 3 grams of fiber isn't really going to make the difference in your digestive health, but I could be wrong.  Honestly, I think that drinking 20 ounces of water would have a more positive effect on stimulating your bowel.  That said, if adding this product increases your water consumption, well, then I guess it's a good thing.  It dissolves easily and completely.  I will definitely buy this again.  Did I mention that it tastes really good?  10 calories per packet, 10 packets to a box.

South Beach Living On the Go Tide Me Over Natural Strawberry Banana - I don't really know anything about the South Beach Diet, but I gather that this product is intended to be used as a snack rather than as a beverage.  Per the box, it has 3 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber to help keep you satisfied between meals.  That's great & all, but it tastes pretty yucky.  The word "natural" in the flavor description notwithstanding, it has a very fake banana taste that I find distasteful.  It doesn't even smell good - the fake banana smell is so overpowering.  The box also indicates that it isn't recommended to prepare in a glass.  I didn't have any problems with mixing it that way and it did dissolve well.  30 calories per packet, 7 packets to a box.

South Beach Living On the Go Tide Me Over Natural Tropical Breeze - So, what flavor is a "tropical breeze?"  I guess it's pineapple and mango.  I didn't have high hopes for this product as I hated the Strawberry-Banana flavor and I hate mango.  Boy, was I surprised!  I really, really liked this product.  It tastes really pineapple-y and smells really good.  I prepared this in a glass and it almost whipped up a foamy head by the time I was finished mixing it together.  If I had added a chunk of pineapple and a maraschino cherry, it would have almost looked like I was enjoying a tropical treat.  I will definitely buy this again.  30 calories per packet, 7 packets to a box.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Maybe Next Month. . .


I don't know why I keep getting my hopes up.  I really should have known because I discovered that our birds (the ones with the nest under the eaves) were gone and an egg was broken on our driveway.  I know it sounds insane, but that's what happens when you're desperately seeking a baby.  You start looking for deeper meanings in all kinds of situations.

I'm happy for the women I know who are pregnant, but I feel a sharp empty sting when I learn of yet another pregnancy.  I'm happy for the women I know who have recently welcomed additional children to their families, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I cry when I leave after visiting with the new babies.  I guess I'm not that great of a friend because, instead of completely focusing on their joy, I can't help but feel a little sorry for myself.  I try to make sure that I have a good heart, but I just revealed that it isn't as good as I'd like.

I know that God is always in control and that everything happens for a reason.  God is still good and I'm still faithful.  I've already been blessed so much with my family:  my wonderful husband and our delightful son.  I give thanks every single day that I've been so abundantly blessed with my loving family and these two people represent more blessings than I could ever deserve, but I can't keep myself from boldly asking Him to bless me yet again.

We're to give thanks in all things.  That's a pretty tough order at times.  Times like tonight.  But I'll remind myself that He's in control and I'll thank Him.  I'll thank Him because suffering tenderizes the heart.  Disappointment leads to bitterness and this mother's heart needs to be periodically softened.

When the time comes that I weep for joy at the sight of a new baby, I'll remember all these bitter tears.  And I'll give thanks to Him yet again.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse - Part II

On May 21, I wrote about some of the things that I do to reduce, recycle, and reuse items.  I have ten more things to add to the list.

Rubber Bands - I save rubber bands and reuse them where needed.  Asparagus and broccoli often have really thick bands while green onions have really thin bands.  I use these to keep cracker sleeves closed.  I use them to keep plastic wrap on containers - seriously, why can't they make a plastic wrap that actually works?  The thick bands can also be used as a "gripper" to use when struggling to open tough jars.

Plastic Bags - My husband's newspaper (WSJ) is delivered in a plastic bag.  They are the perfect size to take along when taking the dog for a walk.  You know, to pick up any dog poop.

Paper Bags - Small paper bags can be used to tote lunches that don't need to stay cool.  They can also be used to make ghetto-puppets for cheap thrills with a toddler.  As I discovered recently, large paper bags (the kind with handles) are handy for dropping off meals for new mothers.

Sponges - I know that sponges get a bad rap for holding colonies of bacteria and other nasties, but I like to keep a sponge at the kitchen sink for doing dishes.  I also keep a sponge at the kitchen sink for scrubbing said sink each night.  Hm, you know, I keep a sponge in each bathroom too so that I can scrub the sinks and showers every week or so.  I guess that I'm really a big fan of sponges.  I keep them from getting gross by periodically tossing them in the washing machine with soap and a little bleach.  My sponges are falling apart before I toss them in the trash.

Berries - If you have berries that are reaching their squishy end, pop them in ice cube trays.  Add water and freeze.  I know this is kind of lame, but I think that the berries look cute in the ice cubes.  You can also do this with seedless grapes.

Lemons - I always have a ton of lemons.  A quick glance out my laundry room door reveals that there are probably twenty on the ground at this very moment.  I generally juice the lemons as soon as I get them.  I just use an old-fashioned manual juicer.  I freeze the fresh lemon juice in ice cube trays.  Once frozen, I store in Ziplock bags.  Sometimes I slice the lemons very thin, sprinkle them with sugar, and freeze them.  I like to add these sugared lemon slices to glasses of lemonade.  I drink warm water with lemon juice & honey whenever my throat feels a little sore. 

Cucumbers - They are delicious when mixed with nonfat plain yogurt and garlic.  If they are getting a little funky, I peel & slice them and place in water.  It's a refreshing change of pace from a lemon slice in water.

Wine - Yes, sometimes I do have leftover wine hanging around and, when I do, I like to use it to make pan sauces.  Actually, I'm fond of deglazing pans with wine or stock.  You can also freeze leftover wine in ice cube trays, but they don't freeze completely solid and they start melting pretty fast.

Punch or Juice - Don't laugh, but these can be used to make ice pops.  We used to do this when I was a kid.  Pour leftover punch, juice, Kool-Aid, whatever in ice cube trays.  Cover try with plastic wrap.  Stick toothpicks through plastic wrap in each cube space.  When frozen, remove plastic wrap and enjoy your sweet treat.

Pantyhose - I don't wear hose, but I used to 1,000,000 years ago.  If you think that I don't have a use for old hose, you're wrong.  What do I do with old hose?  Make a soothing oatmeal bath with it, of course!  Instead of spending a lot of cash on those packets of oatmeal for the bath, pour a little oatmeal in the leg of  (clean) hose.  Tie your homemade oatmeal sachet to the faucet and draw a bath.  Aaaahhh, knock-off Aveeno.

I'm sure that I'll come up with additional things to add, but that will become Reduce, Recycle, Reuse - Part III!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Bloom Hasn't Worn Off Sakura Bloom

Have you ever quietly lusted after an impossibly unpractical object?  I've been doing that for months now over Sakura Bloom ring slings.  I'm partial to their Artisan silk ring slings (like the one on the left), but they are all incredibly beautiful.  Check out their website to see for yourself.

I may stay home with my son, but we are not rich.  I'm not in a financial position to purchase such an extravagant baby item and I really don't need another baby carrier.  I'm not a fancy dresser and I certainly would have little reason to show off such a delightfully lovely sling.  But, geez, these are so gorgeous that I can't stop myself from dreaming about how pretty I might look toting my little Tot in a sweet silk sling.

Somehow in this daydream, I don't have messy eyebrows in desperate need of plucking.  Grey hairs aren't winning the battle on my head.  The wrinkles on my forehead miraculously disappear.  I'm thirty pounds lighter and four inches taller.  And I'm wearing my boy in an utterly stunning ring sling.  Yeah, I guess you could say that I've thought about these slings a lot! 

My eyes popped out of my head when I realized that I might be able to win one.  And, if you're interested, you might be able to win one too.

Nurture Baby Naturally has a giveaway for three Sakura Bloom ring slings once they hit a certain amount of Facebook fans.  They will be giving away two Pure slings, which are a single layer of Irish linen, and one Simple sling, which is a double layer of dupioni silk.  Check out Nurture Baby Naturally on Facebook to find six ways to enter to win.

It's already blazing where I live and, as my readership knows, I've been belly-aching over how hot it is to wear my son in the ERGO or the pouch.  However, a ring sling of linen or silk. . .ah, how refreshingly light it must feel!  Oh, Sakura Bloom, how I covet your slings!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What a Craptastic Day!

It has been an all-around craptastic day and I am exhausted.  I intended to write a post about the welfare debit cards being used in casinos in California (crazy, no?), but I'm going to use my blog as a personal bitch-fest instead.  Waah, life can suck at times, waah!

I just returned home after spending a few hours visiting at the hospital.  I'm hosting a small playdate at my house tomorrow morning.  I need to dust, sweep, and mop.  I will not be doing any of these things tonight so I better wake up early enough to do it tomorrow morning.

A quick glance in the fridge reveals that I am missing a crucial ingredient for egg pie.  I guess that means that I'll have to run to the store in the morning too.  I also have a pineapple that I need to cut up before my friends arrive.

We went to Claim Jumper for dinner after leaving the hospital.  My son didn't want to eat his dinner.  After tasting my order of meatloaf, I didn't want to eat my dinner either.  It has been probably around ten years since I've been to a Claim Jumper.  The portions are altogether way too big.  And their meatloaf sucks.

I wanted to take my son to a bubble show at our local library today.  I planned our entire day around this stupid bubble show, even going so far as to put off his nap.  The parking lot was packed and I had to park a considerable distance away from the library.  I slipped the boy in the Ergo on my back and hoofed it.  The boy was perfectly happy and content snuggled up to my back, but he would not sit to watch the show.  The library staff would not let me stand toward the back of the room (why, I can't even guess) so we left.  We didn't even get to see a single bubble.  The boy was less than thrilled, particularly since I'd been telling him about this awesome bubble show all damn day.  I cried when we left.  I guess that bubble show was really important to me.

The one impossibly bright spot of my day was when I suspected that my son was up to mischief while I prepared lunch.  I left the kitchen and discovered that my sweet boy was flipping through his illustrated Bible.  I couldn't help but smile and now I wish that I had taken a photo.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Few Contraceptives that I'll NEVER Use!!

Last night I enlightened my readership on the horrors that was Lysol douche.  Tonight I'll scar you with birth control through the ages.  Though I have used several different methods with good success, I'm certainly not an expert on the topic.  No jokes, please.  So I turned to the internet and I learned that people did some pretty vile stuff to avoid welcoming a bouncing baby into their lives.

The big standout for me was the crocodile dung.  You read that right.  Crocodile dung was used as a contraceptive in ancient Egypt.  I don't know if it was supposed to act as a spermicide or as a diaphragm or what, but I can't think of anything that I'd be less inclined to shove up my snizz than crocodile dung.  A pessary of prehistoric reptile dung is the absolute worst thing I can imagine.  As far as the ancient Egyptian guys are concerned. . .well, if I had a dick, I can't think of a less appealing place to stick it than an orifice stuffed with that crap.  Literally crap!  Seriously, just chop off your junk if you hate it that much.

Have you ever had a splinter in your hand?  It really sucks, doesn't it?  Can you imagine getting a splinter somewhere up your hoo-haw?  Yes, some women used wood blocks as a primitive diaphragm.   Why not just use a little broken glass or hot lava?

Many years ago there was a contraceptive on the market called the Today sponge.  Some of you may remember the term "sponge-worthy" from Seinfeld.  Well, in the old days, an actual dried sea sponge was used.  Women would soak it in an acidic solution (vinegar or lemon juice, for example), wrap a string around it for easy removal, and stuff that drippy mess up their beavers for a good time with no consequences.  No word on whether they suffered burns in their mucous membranes from prolonged contact with an acid.

Condoms (AKA rubbers) don't bother me in particular, but I know that they are detested by many males.  Did you know that condoms are one of the oldest forms of contraception still in use today?  Condoms dating from the 1600s have been found in England (how would you like to be the one to excavate that, ah, juicy morsel??) and they are the oldest condoms ever found.  Egyptian drawings from 3,000 years ago and French cave drawings from 12,000 years ago depict condoms.  It's the cave paintings of Combarelles that I'm referring to, but now I'm suspicious of the meaning behind the hands at Lascaux!  The date of the Combarelles condom pictures is in question and I found several while researching for this post.  Of course, we don't make modern condoms out the intestines of small mammals (ewww!) or tubes of linen, but they are still essentially the exact same design - save the reservoir tip and the ribbing, which I've read is for her pleasure.

Spermicides are fairly common, I think.  Though they are somewhat messy, they are my preferred form of birth control.  Well, after sterilization anyway.  The Lysol douche I was ripping on last night was supposed to be a type of spermicide.  We all know that douching doesn't prevent pregnancy, but evidently sex ed wasn't so great back in the old days.  Nonoxynol-9, one of the most common spermicides, appears to irritate the mucous membranes so much that it increases STD risks.  Great.  You might not get a kid, but you might get the Clap.  Actually, combined with their dismal efficacy, you might end up with a kid too.

Birth control.  It's such an unreliable & gross business.  And what a damn weird mess it was back in the old days!  I think my husband or I will end up fixed once our next kiddo becomes a one year old.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You Douche with What???

I ran across these vintage Lysol douche advertisements today.  Think I'm joking?  Click the link and see a few for yourself.

My first response to douching your vagina with Lysol was a hearty, "Say WHAT??"  I realize that previous generations weren't as fond of bathing as we are today, but just how bad was personal hygiene in the old days?  It must have been pretty bad if women were cleaning their vaginas with a product that I use to clean my toilet.  That wasn't a crude euphemism, folks, I actually do mean the commode.

Those ads are pretty hilarious though.  I can't help but wonder why bad vaginal odor would make you too tired to party with friends? Just what kind of party are they attending anyway??  I guess swinging is older than I thought!

I feel bad for those poor, poor husbands.  Their dirty and smelly wives just ruin everything.  I wonder if there was a penis/ballsack/taint cleanser & disinfectant (kills 99.9% of germs, right?) on the market around the same time?  Oh, who am I kidding?  Men never stink because men are perfect.  Am I doing this right?

What is with the clueless damsels depicted in these ads?  I mean, if your vadge smells so bad that your husband locks himself in another room to escape the stank emanating from your lady parts, you don't need Lysol, Pine-Sol, Clorox, or any other household cleaning item.  You need a doctor right NOW because something is way the heck wrong downstairs. 

I'm not a fan of douching and I've only done it a handful of times in my entire life.  As long as I bathe regularly, things just don't get funky down there.  Considering the proliferation of cleansing items in the feminine hygiene aisle at the drugstore, I think I must be in the minority.  Maybe I'm supposed to be douching, but my mother skipped that conversation while I was growing up?  While picking flowers in a meadow together, she could have advised me that I should be ashamed of my body and it's natural scent.  Hm, I'm kinda glad we skipped all that glorious female bonding.

Since I've revealed that I'm not a doucher, I might not be the best person to weigh in on such topics.  But in my admittedly non-medical opinion, it is not normal to smell like the shore at low-tide.  It's also not normal to smell like a Mountain Breeze, Gentle Rain, Barbecue, Jalapeno-Cheddar, or whatever these stupid douche-scents are called.  And it sure as heck isn't normal for your vagina to smell like freaking LYSOL!

I came up with my own "vintage" Lysol douche ad verbiage:  "Gee, all the cats in the neighborhood follow me constantly. . .I'll take a Lysol douche and all will be well in my world. Well, except that I'll probably suffer chemical burns from irrigating my love canal with a disinfectant.  Thanks Lysol - you've saved my marriage!"

I know that advertising played by a slightly different set of rules in those days and I know that modern medicine was still pretty primitive, but I figured that there had to be more to the story than women had really rank hoo-haws in the old days.  And there was.  What could possibly bring women to douche with Lysol?  Why would a woman inject such a potentially dangerous chemical in her nether regions?  Well, to prevent pregnancy, of course.  Sounds like I have a post to work on for tomorrow!

 Have a great night.  And don't douche with Lysol!

Monday, June 21, 2010

I (heart) Aloe Gel with Lidocaine

The Tater Tot and I spent a few hours in the sun today.  I didn't apply any sunblock as I didn't expect to be outside for hours so I'm afraid that we both got a little too much sun.  My son has the slightest pink color on his shoulders and I have the slightest pink color on my arms.  I don't think that it is bothering him, but I want him to be comfortable.  I slathered his shoulders with an aloe gel that contains lidocaine so it produces a cooling and numbing sensation to his skin.  I've used it the few times that I've sunburned before and it does significantly help ease any pain.  Of course, it's easiest to avoid sunburn in the first place. . .

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Father's Day Feast

It's been a long day, so I'm going to write about the culinary delights that I whipped up for my family on this Father's Day.

I began the day by brewing a pot of coffee.  I've been enjoying mock-mocha lattes lately and today was no exception.  I take 2/3 cup of black coffee, add a teaspoon or two of sugar free hot cocoa mix (today I had suisse mocha instant coffee though), and top off my cup with nonfat milk.  It is so tasty and, though low in WW points, it tastes so decadent!

For breakfast, I served an Egg Pie.  Egg Pie is kind of like a quiche without a crust.  I made it with eggs, cottage cheese, broccoli florets, roasted red pepper, chopped mushrooms, shredded cheddar, shredded Parmesan, and breadcrumbs.  It's colorful and filling.  I particularly like that each serving includes one serving of veggies.  It's low in WW points so it has become my breakfast/brunch staple.  Big Daddy and the little Tater Tot gobbled it up so I'd say it was a hit!

I slacked off on lunch because, well, it's Sunday and I'm fond of dining out each Sunday after church.  Tomorrow I'll probably blog about the topic that hit me while we were listening to the sermon this morning - I took notes so I hope I don't forget!  Anyway, we dined at our favorite little Mexican hole-in-the-wall restaurant.  It's cheap and delicious and the waitstaff loves us and our son.  As is typical, I shared my fish tacos with the little one and he enjoyed nearly a full order of guacamole.

We had my parents over for supper and it was a FEAST!!  We served up grilled top sirloin, sauteed mushrooms & onions (I season with salt, pepper, garlic, and a splash of soy sauce), baked potatoes (with butter, sour cream, chives, bacon, and cheese), green beans almondine, and a tossed green salad with my ranch dressing.  I love to cook, but I am not a baker, so I served fresh cut watermelon for dessert.  Everything tasted so awesome and I think that everyone was more than satisfied.  My Dad said that he has never experienced a bad meal in my home and today was no exception.  I guess you could say that the compliment puffed me up quite a bit!

I think that both my husband and my father were touched that my son picked out their Father's Day cards.  I also let the boy "sign" the cards.  My son also picked out my husband's gifts:  a plaque and a pen that says "#1 Dad."  My father is at the age where he doesn't really need any stuff, so I thought he might want to read the blog post that I made last night.  I felt a little lame to hand him the computer printout, but I realize now that it was the very best gift I could have given him.

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there. You guys work so hard to provide for your families and you deserve more than just one day each year.  To everyone who reads this blog:  I hope that the fathers in your life are as wonderful to you as my husband and father are to me.  If they are, do let them know how much they are loved.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day wishes to my Dad and my husband!

I thought I'd share my thoughts on what Father's Day means to me.  To begin, I'll give my definition of "dad."  You see, I don't think just any man deserves that title.  Sure, your biological father may have donated DNA to create you, but that doesn't mean that he's your Dad. 

So who is Dad? 

He's the one who will carry you from the car to the house when you've fallen asleep on the way home.  He'll even generously do this long after you're big enough to wake up and walk in the house on your own.  Heck, my Dad even did this when I was pretending to be asleep.

Dad is the one who works to give you good things.  Dad doesn't shy away from putting in a  hard day of work if it means providing for his family.  He'll even work two jobs, though it means time away from his beloved family, to make sure you have everything you need. 

Dad stays up until the wee hours of the morning on Christmas Eve to assemble that bicycle that you wanted oh so badly.  And how does Dad get thanked for his effort?  With yet another tie, another bottle of aftershave, or another coffee mug.

Dad loves his children so much that he cares to discipline them. You may not like your punishment, but he is just and fair. He is firm, but loving.

Dad will hug you while you cry over the loss of a beloved grandparent.  He is distraught too, but he holds you and calms your sobs.  Your Dad's embrace gives you comfort.

Dad defends his family.  He will bravely investigate any strange noises in the night.  He doesn't hesitate to potentially put himself in harms way to protect those he loves.

Who is this Dad of which I speak?  Well, my own, of course. 

If you have ever heard the song, "Color Him Father" by The Winstons, you have a pretty good idea of how I feel about my Dad.  My mother wasn't widowed with seven children, but it still takes a big-hearted man to marry a woman with three children.  He opened his heart and raised us as though we were his own.  He wasn't our biological father, but he was our Dad.

My Dad has had quite a rough several months.  I was sure that I said a final goodbye at one point and I still thank God that He saved him.  Among other things, I pray for his health (physically, emotionally, mentally, & spiritually) every night and feel very blessed that he's still with us.

* * *

This year my husband and my father will be receiving cards that my son picked out for them. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

REVIEW - American Crew Daily Conditioner for Men

I know that this product is designed for men, but I've been using it periodically for nearly 15 years and I fall in love with it all over again every Summer.  I have to warn you that it's not that great at detangling, probably because I typically keep my hair significantly longer than the average guy, but I love how it feels on my scalp!  Even on the hottest days, it cools my scalp with a delicious tingly feeling.  There are much better conditioners and detanglers to use, particularly if you have long or chemically processed hair, but this is such a cool treat that I find that I have to use it when the mercury rises.

You know how some conditioners make your hair feel greasy?  This one doesn't.  Per the back of the bottle, it is made with Panama Bark Extract to help reduce oiliness, something that's particularly important to me on hot & sweaty Summer days.  It also contains rosemary, thyme, peppermint, and menthol.  No doubt these are the reason my scalp feels so fresh after each use.  Before anyone laughs at me for talking about herbal extracts (and I can think of a few who will), let me state that I'm not a believer in the magical powers of essential oils (just like I don't believe in witchdoctors!), but I think everyone can agree that this combo yields a cooling result upon contact.

I'd love to hear your experience with it if you use, or have used, this product.  If you'd like to check it out for yourself, you can purchase it by clicking the Amazon link above.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

REVIEW - Best of Elmo 2 DVD

Knowing that my son is obsessed with Elmo, my son's Grandma bought this DVD for his birthday a few weeks ago. I think I have watched this DVD at least 212 times since he received this gift. Thankfully, it is pretty enjoyable and I've been tolerating it fairly well. Here is a review for you parents that are on the fence about this particular title.

This is a story about Elmo meeting a robot who has lost his memory. Ever the friend, Elmo supplies the robot with his own memories. Though they return to the robot story after nearly every segment, this DVD is basically a compilation of various celebrities who have met Elmo. Though I'm fond of reading celebrity gossip rags, I must admit that I didn't know who some of these celebrities are and I had to look them up for this review.

In less than 60 minutes, you'll hear Jason Mraz sing about going outdoors, Elmo singing about riding his trike at the park, Feist singing about her favorite number - 4, Diane Sawyer improvising songs, Elmo singing about counting ducks, Ray Charles singing about believing in yourself, The Goo Goo Dolls singing about pride, Destiny's Child singing about a new way to walk, David Beckham explaining the importance of persistence, Adam Sandler making up a song by rhyming words with Elmo, India Arie singing the most soulful alphabet I've ever heard, Jack Black explaining about disguises, and Elmo singing & dancing with his new robot friend.

Here's a breakdown of my take on each segment:
Jason Mraz - This song gets stuck in my head so I'm glad that I like it.
Elmo riding his bike - Very sweet. I almost get a little misty when Elmo thanks his father for bringing him to the park.
Feist - This song gets stuck in my head too and I'm nearly certain that my son can count to four because I sing it so often.
Diane Sawyer - Let's just say it's a good thing that she doesn't need to earn a living as a singer.
Elmo counting ducks - It doesn't do much for me, but my son quacks while pointing at the television when this segment is on.
Ray Charles - Great singer, great song, great message.
The Goo Goo Dolls - This one also gets stuck in my head. Seeing Elmo jam in a leather jacket is pretty cute.
Destiny's Child - Yet another song that gets stuck in my head. I crack up at Beyonce urging Elmo by saying, "Go Elmo, go Elmo. . ."
David Beckham - So many people quit at the first sign of difficulty, so I find this to be a very good message.
Adam Sandler - I'm not really a fan and he's "on" as Adam Sandler so I don't care for this segment. Sandler fans may think it's awesome though.
India Arie - This is the best alphabet song I've ever heard! All I have to do is say "ABC ABC" like Elmo does in this song and my son starts yelling for his beloved "LaLa."
Jack Black - Silly segment and it doesn't do much for me.
Elmo singing with his robot - Doesn't do much for me, but the kid thinks it's hilarious when I do the robot dance.

There's not a whole heck of a lot of learning to be had here, but it's a fun DVD and I highly recommend it if your little one is an Elmo fan. Clicky the Amazon linky at the top of this post to pick up a copy at a good price.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Warm Weather Babywearing

Summer is nearly here and the heat is on!

I was looking over my stash of baby carriers to find the coolest possible solution for wearing my toddler during the hot Summer months. My son weighs between 25 - 30 pounds, but I still wear him a lot. I haven't used the stroller in weeks because, between the ERGO and the Maya Wrap Adjustable Pouch, he's perfectly content to hitch a ride on my back or on my hip.

I'm sure that some are surprised that wearing such a heavy toddler is possible without breaking the wearer's back. I think it's totally comfortable if you use the correct carrier in the correct carry. I can only tolerate front carrying, for example, for a few minutes before my lower back begins protesting. On the other hand, I can carry him on my back or on my hip for HOURS without experiencing any pain. Similarly, using a crotch-dangle baby carrier (like the Baby Bjorn) wouldn't be comfortable for either of us for any long period of time. Using a wide-seated carrier that allows the child to "frog" out their body (legs spread, knees bent & drawn up higher than their bottom) is comfortable for hours at a time.

My only complaint about babywearing at this point is that it is already hot in my neck of the woods and our combined body heat just slays me some days. The ERGO and my Maya Wrap Adjustable Pouch, while supportive and comfortable for the two of us, are constructed of a canvas-like material and they don't exactly breathe easily. My ring sling is made of a more gauzy material, but I just can't wear him for hours in the ring sling. However, I'm still learning how to wear and adjust the ring sling, so I'm hoping that it gets more comfortable in time. At this point, I can only wear him in it for about an hour or so.

I'm tapping the knowledge and experience of my readership to help find a Summertime babywearing solution. What are your favorite baby carriers for warm weather babywearing?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flavored Formula - Really America? Really?

Don't take this post personally if you feed your toddler chocolate (or vanilla!)flavored formula, whiskey, cigarettes, espresso, and a ton of junk food. I have no idea what you feed your child and this isn't about anyone that I know.

I was perusing headlines to come up with a blog post tonight and I am stunned at this item:

For those who don't want to clicky the linky, it's about flavored formula. Mead Johnson, makers of Enfagrow Premium formula, was offering flavored formula. Loving parents could choose between loading their toddler up with sugary vanilla or sugary chocolate flavored formula. Geez man, let that sink in for a moment: Chocolate flavored formula was marketed as suitable for 12-month old children. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, as they say.

There is so much wrong with this that I just don't know where to start. For starters, why in the world could a toddler possibly require chocolate flavored formula? And what parent would purchase it to feed to their new toddler? To get them hooked on fatty sweets at a tender age?

It reminds me of this story from the other day:

This item is cautioning parents against giving soda to their offspring as long as the children are under age 5. Say what? Who in the heck gives soda to such a young child? What do they do with it? Put it in the sippy cup? The baby bottle? And what can possibly be their rationale behind feeding their child something that has absolutely zero nutritional value?

Items like these two make me think that we're doomed as a society. Where does the stupidity (perhaps it's ignorance, perhaps it's outright negligence) end? What else will these parents do? Give their kid a belt of whiskey if the little one can't sleep? Set the kid up with a pack of Marlboros to break the little one's thumb-sucking habit? Make the kid take a shot of espresso if the little one is sluggish? Feed the kid french fries and try to claim it's a vegetable because, "It comes from a tater?"

We all know there are certain things that just aren't appropriate for growing bodies and brains. So why do some parents throw that wisdom out the window while shoveling empty calories in their child's maw? Is it just easier than doing your best to make sure that they have the best start in life?

Maybe I'm biased because I was raised a certain way. My parents were the rulers and there could never be an uprising because they stood together in all things. Lest you take that as a complaint, understand that they were firm, but loving.

My parents both worked, but we rarely dined out in restaurants and fast food was virtually never purchased. I'm guessing it was more about cost than nutrition and I think they realized that it was cheaper to make burgers at home and bake some fries (or have potato chips or potato salad) than to buy dinner out for the entire fam. They made one meal, Mom said that she wasn't a short order cook, and that was what you could eat. If you didn't want to eat dinner, well, you weren't going to starve if you missed a meal. I seem to recall being allowed to make a peanut butter sandwich a time or two when dinner was truly awful.

They bought snacks (fruit or raisins) and the occasional packet of Kool-Aid. They would have had our heads if we took their soda, Mom drank Pepsi Light as I recall, so we didn't have soda regularly. I guess they figured that the kids could drink milk or water. Sometimes they had ice cream in the freezer and that was so awesome! I can still remember how delicious those very rare treats tasted on my tongue.

I'm taking a lot of my cues on feeding my son from how I was fed. I include a far wider variety of cuisines and vegetables, but I put the meal in front of him and he typically eats it. If he doesn't like it, or if he isn't hungry, I figure that he won't starve from missing one meal. I certainly wouldn't try to appeal to his sweet tooth by offering crap in place of something nutritious.

A toddler only has so much hunger each day and their appetites can vary wildly from day to day. Make the calories count and don't start them off on eating garbage. Trust me, they will eat plenty of crap when they make their own money and can buy their own food, snacks, and beverages. Until then, be the parent and make healthy choices for them. Kids can't eat crap unless you buy it for them, give it to them, or give them the money to buy it themselves.

I'm sorry if this comes across like I'm a smug jerk who only feeds my child the most nutritious foods because that's definitely not the case. My son has had junk every now and then - granola bars are a particular favorite at the moment. He's had far more french fries than I'd prefer and he loves taquitos & burgers. But I try my best to make the best choices for him because he can't yet make those choices for himself. I hope that, by offering healthy foods and modeling healthy eating habits myself, he makes healthy choices for himself once he's on his own. I realize that I probably overthink the responsibilities of parenthood, but there you go.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Taking the Night Off

I'm hard to please when it comes to comedies. I didn't have high hopes about the movie that I decided to begin watching tonight, but I've already laughed out loud a few times so I'm taking the night off from blogging. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Personal Wealth is Not an Indicator of Personal Character

I really wanted to spend some time writing this post, but I am totally beat tonight so I'll be impossibly brief.

I've heard many complain that Meg Whitman spent tens of millions of her own personal dollars to win the Republican primary for California Governor. I've heard many complain that her personal money could have or should have been put to better use for the greater good than to run an effective political campaign. I've also heard many imply that she can't possibly be a good candidate/politician (that's an oxymoron, right??) because she is fantastically wealthy.

I've read that the current President of the United States, President Obama, ran a campaign that is estimated to have cost $2.4 billion in 2008. That's BILLION with a B. Kinda makes Meg's millions look like chump change, doesn't it? I do consider personal funds and raised funds to be the same because a dollar is a dollar is a dollar. That and another dollar might get you a cup of coffee. Seriously though, does it really matter where the funds came from? It doesn't to me. Frankly, I think that spending personal funds is a way of literally putting your money where your mouth is.

Could $90 million be put to better use than running a successful political campaign? Perhaps - I think it depends. Would $90 million fix any number of problems that California is facing? No. It wouldn't fill the black hole that is our public education system. It wouldn't fix all of our roads and transportation woes. It wouldn't solve negotiations with our public employee unions. $90 million might sound like a lot of money for your personal household, but it is a minuscule drop in the ocean that represents California's budget.

Is it socially acceptable for me to say that poor people have poor moral fiber? That they are plagued with character flaws? That they are untrustworthy because they are poor? No, of course it isn't acceptable to say such ugly things. So why is it socially acceptable to say all of the above about the so-called "rich?" It shouldn't be, but I find that it seems to be. What motivates this type of thinking? I'm inclined to dismiss it as good ol' class envy, but that seems so simple and pathetic.

I don't want to burst any bubbles, but politics is like a popularity contest. A popularity contest that you have to be hella rich to win. The richer you are, the greater your chances. And if you weren't rich going in, you sure as heck are coming out.

Why am I writing this? Why am I concerned with Meg Whitman and those who despise her? I don't give a rip about Meg Whitman. I don't even know very much about her politics (though I heartily suspect that she's a total RINO), but I do know about Jerry Brown. I'm afraid that I already know who will get my vote based on that reason alone.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Terrible Twos Baby!

I used to think that I wouldn't mind having a dozen children if I could get a guarantee that all of them would be as easy as my son. For the most part he has been sweet, affectionate, eager to please, and easy to please. That was before he wholeheartedly jumped into the Terrible Twos. I'm beginning to think that Terrible Twos is a fantastically smart way to describe the my son's current stage of growth.

Here's how my day went today:

8:30 Heard the kiddo wake up and ran to his side. He woke up clean & dry - YAY!

8:40 The boy turned on the television (why did I teach him how to do this??) and began watching PBS Sprout.

8:45 Kiddo claimed he was hungry. He was not hungry. He was so not hungry that he literally spit out his egg. I made a mental note to not give him an egg tomorrow as the dog eagerly cleaned the dining room floor.

8:50 Gave kiddo his milky. Decided to allow him to take the milk to the living room, big mistake. He poured the milk out on the floor. The dog enjoyed lapping up the milk.

We had a lovely period between 9:00 and 11:00. However, I did find boxes of sugar-free Jell-O in my crock-pots - thankfully he didn't plug them in and turn them on. He also decided he wanted to eat a can of macadamia nuts. I did not let him eat a can of macadamia nuts. I didn't even let him eat one nut and he didn't take the denial very well. Other than that, we had a fairly good time together. We played with his blocks, we read a few books, we talked about the sounds that letters make, and we watched Sesame Street. I really wish that Sesame Street didn't make you wait until the very end before they show Elmo's World!

11:00 I dressed the kiddo so we could go to the park. I got dressed. When I next saw my kiddo, he had taken off his pants and underpants. I couldn't find his pants.

11:05 We went to the park. He had a great time playing at the park. Well, except when he didn't have a good time. Somehow he thinks that all of his friends should share their snacks with him, but he's grown quite stingy and possessive with his own snacks. What really makes me want to put my head through a wall is that they are usually the same type of freaking snacks. I guess Goldfish taste better when they are coated by the tears of the child you're stealing them from. . .

1:40 I discovered that we have a bird's nest under our eaves. I'm giddy over this discovery and I was sure that the rest of the day is going to be totally awesome because (in my mind - don't ask) the nest means I'll be getting pregnant soon. The day did not get better. Indeed, it only went downhill.

1:45 Made stir-fry for lunch since he ate so poorly at breakfast. He loves stir-fry. He did not love this stir-fry. He poured his milk all over the table and, while I ran for a microfiber cloth to clean it up, he overturned his plate - his still quite full plate - of lunch all over the table. The dog would not eat the stir-fry. I wanted to cry when my son then began to beg for my lunch. The lunch that was THE EXACT SAME THING HE HAD JUST THREW ALL OVER THE TABLE!!!

1:50 My son went on a tear and began throwing crap, I mean toys, all over the living room. I tried a few tactics to get him to clean up his mess: I yelled, I showed him the Sad Spoon, I put him in time out, I cried. I ultimately decided that the best course of action would be to take away his beloved Elmo for the rest of the day. Our entire front room is red & fuzzy at this point, so I picked one of his favorite new Elmo toys. He flipped out! But he immediately began to pick up his mess when I threatened to take another Elmo toy for the rest of the day. Yay for torturing your children!!

2:00 I put the boy down for a nap as soon as he finished cleaning his mess in the living room. Thank the Lord that he went right to sleep! I could not go to sleep as I was expecting a visitor at any moment.

3:00 My visitor was an hour late.

3:40 My visitor left and I decided to try to rest.

3:45 My husband walked in the door.

4:00 My son woke up.

I'm a loving and giving person. I lovingly gave my husband the opportunity to spend some quality time with our son while I hid in the kitchen. I mean, I worked on preparing dinner.

6:00 About 25 minutes into cooking, I discovered that one of my casserole dishes must have a hairline crack. I wanted to run away from home at this point.

6:15 Dinner was nearly finished and I returned to the living room. IT WAS DESTROYED! Books, toys, blanket, dining dishes (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!), stuffed animals, you name it. I told him that he had to clean up his mess before we could eat dinner. Considering how the day had gone at this point, I shouldn't have been surprised that he threw a tantrum and knocked over an entire stack of his books. I hit the roof. He ended up in a time out and, when the time out was over, he lost an Elmo plushie - the laughing & giggling one. I must admit that I felt horrible when he cried real tears while begging for "Lala." This newfound tactic worked though and he cleaned it all up.

6:30 I've made tater tot casserole plenty of times as it is an easy recipe and my son absolutely loves it. I screwed up the tater tot casserole and my son did not love it. He did not love it so much that he cried throughout dinner. I must have used the strongest onions in history because all I tasted was onion with every bite. I love onions, probably use one each day, but it was pretty foul.

6:45 My husband, bless his heart, bathed our son and put the little one to bed.

The Terrible Twos. . .they can't possibly get any more terrible than this can they??

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Favorite Television Theme Songs

Whew! I am a lazy old heifer. I didn't write an blog post tonight on California politics. Instead, I'm offering much lighter fare. In no particular order, here are some instantly recognizably television theme songs that I love:

Bonanza - I LOVE BONANZA! I love, love, love it! I'm a little embarrassed to admit that even my two-year old son and my German Shepherd Dog (GSD) can recognize this theme song! The Cartwright men were always embroiled in some drama, the good guys were always honest, and justice was always served. I know that Little Joe (Michael Landon) was supposed to be the heartthrob on the show, but I personally prefer Adam (Pernell Roberts) or Pa (Lorne Greene). Even Hoss (Dan Blocker) had some appealing traits.

Gilligan's Island - I will not change the channel if The Ballad of Gilligan's Island is on the radio. I listen to Sirius and I have heard it a time or two.

The Brady Bunch - Those rascally Brady children and their unflappable housekeeper, Alice! How is it that the father was an architect and he couldn't design a house big enough for his brood?

Hawaii Five-0 - I have never watched a single episode. But I know the theme song from the first notes and I'll bet you do too!

Scooby Do - There were at least a couple of theme songs for this show, but I like both that I can recall. Looking back, I wonder if the entire crew of the Mystery Machine were totally high. Seriously, they not only thought their dog talked, but they looked to him for advice. They cruised around in their groovy duds looking for sweet gigs. At least one of them (Shaggy) would do stuff for dog snacks. And they were always seeing ghosts. It's, like, creepy, man!

Jeopardy! - Merv Griffin wrote this theme song as a lullaby for his son in about a minute. I read the other day that he has earned somewhere around $70 to $80 million dollars in royalties from this theme song alone. Having that kind of scratch sort of makes up for having the supremely crappy name "Merv."

Taxi - They were always so grubby looking, those cab drivers. I never really got the humor as a young child, but I thought this show was absolutely hilarious as a young adult.

Star Trek - I love the original Star Trek. Only Captain James T. Kirk could be so awesome as to kick ass all over the galaxy while sporting a pot-belly in his super-tight Federation-issued shirt.

The Twilight Zone - Rod Serling. Eye of the Beholder. People are Alike All Over. Monsters Are Due on Maple Street. This series was so awesome, so dark, so cynical, and the host's lungs were so filled with smoke. I love the Twilight Zone. I could watch an episode every single day and never tire of the series.

The Love Boat - I'm partial to Isaac or Gopher myself, but I guess it was the weekly guest stars who the viewership was supposed to lust over.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show - Mary Tyler Moore was so sweet and (ahem) perky, who could resist her charms? I love this show and it boasted plenty of television sweethearts besides the titular MTM: Ted Knight (Too Close for Comfort), Gavin McLeod (The Love Boat), Betty White (The Golden Girls), Ed Asner (Lou Grant), Valerie Harper (Rhoda), and Oscar-winner Cloris Leachman (Phyllis).

Hogan's Heroes - I wanted to hate this show. I really did. But it somehow made a WWII POW camp seem so hilarious and heartwarming. I'm totally not going to address Bob Crane's pervy proclivities. . .HOOOGAAAAAN!

Welcome Back Kotter - Weeeelcome back, to that same old show I laughed about. I don't know what Gabe Kaplan's done since this show, but I loved seeing the weekly exploits of Mr. Kotter and his Sweathogs. I guess the only other notable thing about this show is that it gave John Travolta his start. . .and somehow he took that to mean that he should record a music album. I do not recommend listening to said music album.

The Beverly Hillbilly's - The Clampett's. Guided by their mountain smarts, they were often wiser than those silly citified folks who had the benefit of book learnin'.

Rawhide - Rollin', rollin', rollin', keep them doggies rollin'. . .it's very recognizable, but I've never seen a single episode so I'm unable to comment on the series itself.

Bewitched - My husband tells me that he had a crush on Elizabeth Montgomery when he was a child. I don't know what to think of that, but I thought the show was okay enough to at least watch the opening credits.

I Dream of Jeannie - When JR Ewing was a young man, he had a genie named Barbara Eden under his command. Somehow he parlayed this good fortune to become an oil magnate in Dallas. ;-)

Fantasy Island - De plane, boss! De plane! Tattoo (Herve Villechaize) was kind of the star of the show, and it was typically a spooky show. But my 2nd grade self loved this show.

The Munsters - The residents of 1313 Mockingbird Lane are forever etched in my heart. They were such creeps, but they were so sweet & so cool. In his later years, Grandpa Al Lewis frequently visited the Howard Stern radio show and he was always a riot. Fred Gywnne was such a perfect Herman Munster that I'm sad to say that I imagine him as that character in every roll I've ever seen him in. Yvonne De Carlo was so lovely, the perfect Lily, and probably the reason I love both names (Yvonne and Lily) to this day.

The Addams Family - I don't like it. I realize it came out before The Munsters, but I always kinda think that The Addams Family is the Poor Man's Munsters. Sorry.

Batman - Bang! Pow! Whap! Adam West, prior to becoming a running punchline on a Seth MacFarlane television series, wore the Batsuit with campy pride. However, I have to say that the Catwoman stole the show. Thank you Julie Newmar, and posthumous thanks to Eartha Kitt, your character was so awesome that it inspired a feature film nearly forty years later. Smack!

Mission Impossible - Prior to Bono & The Edge mangling it, this theme song was totally bitchin'. Not that they totally ruined it, but they inserted themselves in the song altogether too much. Uh, other than the totally bitchin' theme song, I know absolutely nothing about this show.

The Andy Griffith Show - Very recognizable, even if you don't know Barney Fife, Opie, or Aunt Bea. Too bad I can't whistle. . .

So what have I missed? What are your favorite theme songs from television shows? I look forward to hearing your suggestions! :-)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

No Nap = Mother's Malaise

I wanted to write a post on the California elections, but my son only napped for about thirty minutes while we were driving this afternoon so I am totally wiped out!

As is typical when he doesn't get enough sleep at naptime, he was a terror all afternoon. In one tantrum, he yanked his radio down from a dresser. This sent his absolutely favorite music CD across the room and resulted in his loss of music privileges for the rest of the day. During one time-out, he flopped down on the Time-Out Rug and declared that he was "tie tie," which is how he says tired. He went on a tear throughout the house and my living room, den, and one restroom were totally destroyed by the time I put him to bed. I feel mentally unbalanced after hearing his screaming and whining for hours.

Hopefully tomorrow will yield a nice & long nap so I can write the post that I wanted to write this evening.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Swimming Pools - So Fun, So Troublesome

Like boats and RVs, I think that swimming pools are a so-called luxury item that are far better in theory than in reality. Whenever we've looked at buying another house, my main interest (beyond specific geographic location) are one-level structures with no pool. The rest of it is somewhat negotiable to me.

Pool owners generally entertain frequently. I wonder, did they like entertaining and chose to purchase a house with a pool for that reason? Or do people sniff out invitations to come use their pool so they are somewhat forced to entertain often?

I like entertaining, but I'd be a nervous wreck if I owned a pool. I like being in the water and I'd probably swim nearly year-round, but I see it as a huge liability. All it takes is one guest to crack their head, one kid to drown, one accident of any kind to cause your insurance premiums to increase. Or worse, to cause your insurance company to drop your coverage. I'm not even going to cover the hassle (or expense) of maintenance. They just seem like a huge pain.

My son can't swim yet, but he sure does love being in the water. The other day, I tossed some pool floats in the car for some reason and he took that to mean that we were going swimming at Grandma & Grandpa's house. He flipped out when he realized that we weren't going swimming after all.

I told my parents about his meltdown and they said I should come over "anytime" to go swimming. This is weird to me because I'm not a user. If I show up with my kiddo to go swimming, we're basically using my parents and I'm not okay with that. Being invited is one thing. Inviting yourself is, in my mind, very rude - even if they say to do so.

My parents have a great pool. Actually, they have three; two smaller and one that is enormous. Before anyone wonders why I've never invited them to swim, please understand that it's not my pool. Also, their association is incredibly uptight about how many guests can be at the pool at one time. A maximum of four people from any one residence are allowed in at any one time. Yes, they have a guard who checks. I guess if you have a few kids and live at this complex, someone will have to sit outside the fence and stare with envy!

I gripe all Summer about how hot it is where we live. I was looking at above-ground pools the other day. . .thinking of the possibilities. However, my husband is absolutely dead-set against above-ground pools. To his way of thinking, we might as well stick a rusting Ford pickup on blocks in our front yard if we're going to put an above-ground pool in our backyard. I'm not in agreement and I campaigned hard for one of these dang pools, but he ultimately won.

So where does this leave me? Since I won't have a regular pool and my husband won't have an above-ground pool, I only have a few options. 1) I can rudely show up to swim at my parents house, 2) I can let the kiddo splash in his baby pool while I sweat to death on the grass, or 3) I can just shut my pie-hole & stay indoors since our AC works great. Options 2 and 3 seem to be winning out.

What would you do? Am I missing an obvious solution? Any suggestions?

Sci-Fi Movies Usually Have a Deeper Meaning

Dammitall, I really am a sci-fi nerd, aren't I?

I was engaged in a deep conversation last night. Well, it didn't exactly start off that way. I was asking my mother about some new video releases that she had on DVD and expressing shock at how quickly movies zip out of the theaters these days.

While I perused her videos, I noticed that she had District 9. I mentioned that I loved the movie. She looked surprised and even said, "You're kidding?" I answered that both my husband and I really liked it. She apparently didn't like it as she said I could take it home to keep.

I remarked that I had read a review on it and the reviewer simply focused on the special effects and the sci-fi aspect of the film. To me, this reviewer missed the entire point of the film and I added that I appreciated the deeper message conveyed in the film. I continued to say that it was obviously a sharp condemnation against racism in general and, since it takes place in South Africa, apartheid in particular. She replied that she "got" the message, but she thought the movie sucked. Fair enough, we typically have dissimilar taste in entertainment.

This exchange got me thinking about sci-fi. It seems to me that sci-fi often highlights what people are sometimes afraid to say about the problems of the modern time. Lest you believe that sci-fi is just about nerds with pointy ears and light sabers, I'll remind you of the many issues that sci-fi tackles: racism, criminalization of wide swaths of the population, sexism, violence, ageism, the horrors of an unchecked (& balanced!) government (including law enforcement), the evil that walks unnoticed or ignored among us, and more. You probably understand what I mean if you've spent any time at all reading or watching sci-fi.

Since I started off talking about District 9, I'll focus on racism. I think it's correct to say that racism is hateful foolishness believed and repeated by the ignorant. Ever notice how usually the most racist people are the ones who don't know a damn thing about those who they hate so much? Ever notice how hanging out with people, even people who you don't particularly know or like, often leads to mutual friendship and respect?

Putting anyone in bondage is wicked - and I'm not talking about BDSM here, folks. Subjugating others is wrong. Oppression (typically violent itself) leads to further violence and, ultimately, revolution. Given their treatment by the humans, is it any wonder that these aliens are quarrelsome, skeptical, and dissatisfied?

SPOILER ALERT: Stop reading if you haven't seen District 9 because I'm going to spoil some of it here.

In the movie, the lead character is depicted gleefully killing the unborn young of the aliens. He threatens to split up a family by removing parental custody of an alien's child. He regularly calls the aliens by a derogatory slur. Guess what? In a most satisfying turn of events, he becomes that which he despises. He ends up removed from his own family. I noticed an ultrasound picture behind his wife at one point, but there wasn't any child shown, so I'm assuming he lost his own unborn child. It really sucks when the shoe is on the other foot, doesn't it?

Though the movie is about aliens and humans, I think it's a fascinating allegory about the races. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Is that really so hard to do? We have so much more in common with each other than we have differences. I guess I'll never understand xenophobia. Vive la difference!, as our French friends would say. I agree. Don't you?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

How Do You Know That You're Going to Heaven?

Here's a fitting post for a Sunday. You may not have attended a sermon this morning, but I'm preachin' it tonight!

Though I realize that they don't truly depict an accurate picture, I like reading statistics. I know that data can be manipulated to support nearly anything. I know that questions can be worded in such a way to yield the desired outcome. And I know what Mark Twain thought about them. But, whatever, I like statistics.

I read one that surprised me today. I don't recall the exact number, but the stat basically stated that an overwhelming majority (well over 70%) of Americans consider themselves Christians. I marvel at this information and I'm nearly certain that this number is ridiculously high. Call my a cynic, but I don't think that most people even know what being a "Christian" means. In my experience, most people can't even explain the basics of the religion.

Think I'm kidding? Ask a self-professed Christian how they know that they're going to Heaven and see for yourself. When I've done so, I've received some shocking answers. These answers are particularly found in non-churched Christians, but I've heard the same from active church members as well.

How do they answer that they know they'll go to Heaven?

- "I've lived a good life."
- "I'm a good person."
- "I try to be a good Christian."
- "I tithe to the church."

Interestingly enough, I have rarely heard anyone mention Jesus. I've rarely heard anyone mention His work on the cross. I've rarely heard anyone just say they're going to Heaven because of their faith in Christ.

I'm going to state this plainly: Your salvation has absolutely nothing to do with you! It's not about you! You cannot buy your way into Heaven through your good deeds, your kind heart, your nice intentions, or your abundant money supply.

If you think your entrance to Heaven has anything to do with anything besides your faith and trust in Jesus, you don't understand the message of the Gospel. Salvation is the easiest thing in the world to attain because it's already done. It is finished - Jesus said it Himself. John 3:16 boils it all down in one sentence that is so simple that even a child can understand. All you have to do is accept Christ in your heart.

Prior to becoming a Christian, I would have given two of the four answers found above. I didn't convert to Christianity until I was in my mid-20s and, even after my conversion, I struggled with plain faith. I know that it's difficult for an adult to have the faith of a child, but that's really and truly all that's required. Salvation is a free gift. . .one that cost one man everything he had - his life.

So, if you identify yourself as a Christian, how do you know that you're going to Heaven???

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Where Do You Buy Bras?

Blogging is serious business for me tonight. If you're a dude, you'll probably want to skip this one though because I don't think you'll have anything constructive to offer.

We all have them, both males and females. The female version is celebrated in the media and adored by men the world over - well, at least in the US. They are called many things: mammaries, chest, sweater puppies, bosom, chi-chis, cans, boobies, maracas, The Twins, hooters, jugs, ta-tas, titties. You know, breasts.

I prefer to call mine "boobs" and I like my boobs to be unfettered by undergarments. I know society frowns upon it, but I rarely wore a bra as an adult. I had a couple of bras that I'd purchased way back when I was in my late teens, but I just didn't see the need to wear them very often. I didn't even bother to wear a bra when I got married - either time!

I'm sure I would have learned to love how a brassiere supports my breasts if I had actually had enough breast tissue to support. But I did not. My chest very closely resembled nipples on a ribcage. . .until I got pregnant. My bra size went from being maybe a 32A (I couldn't bring myself to purchase a AA bra as an adult) to a 32D while pregnant. I wore a sports bra nearly 24/7 while pregnant to support my burgeoning bosom. Not surprisingly, my chest (and nipples) ached nearly nonstop throughout my pregnancy. The Twins further inflated to DD+ status once I began breastfeeding.

While still pregnant, I bought several different nursing bras to use once my son was born. They were as comfortable as I could expect them to be and I needed all the support up top that I could get. I think those bras were really the best that money could buy. Medela Comfort Bra and Sleep Bra for the Win!!

Once my son was born, I inexplicably thought that my breasts would shrink when the two of us established a strong nursing relationship and I bought a 32B nursing bra at a large retailer. I never used that bra once while I was breastfeeding because my breasts were never smaller than a D-cup the entire time I was nursing. Of course, once the milk went away, so did my supremely awesome ta-tas.

I stopped nursing my son nearly a year ago. I have been wearing that same 32B nursing bra for nearly one year. I do laundry every single night, so it's not totally gross. But I am freaking tired of wearing this same nursing bra, day after freaking day. I'm not nursing and I have no need to wear such a decidedly "mom-ish" undergarment. However, I don't really know where to look for a nice & normal bra because I've never really bought one before. That's where I hope my readership comes through for me.

My boobs, previously (well, pre-pregnancy anyway) always so upright and sweet, now point downward without a little support. My husband thinks they're awesome, but I think they look like sad puppy dogs. I'm glad that I have photographic evidence of how great my boobies used to look because they no longer remotely resemble their former tiny greatness. My boobs droop a bit and I have more breast tissue than I'd prefer. I think I'm a B-cup, but I'll measure and make sure prior to making any purchase.

I realize this next series of questions are ones that are usually answered around the time that a girl goes through puberty, but I never really grew any boobs so I never had a big conversation with my own mother about bras. That's why I'm asking you, my friends, my readership. I'm looking for advice and I hope you come through.

Where do you shop for bras? What kind of bras do you like and why? What features make a good bra? How much does a good bra cost? Any tips or other advice? This Mama would appreciate your input, so please share!

Friday, June 4, 2010

He's Even Active in His Sleep!

It was lively in my house in the wee hours of the morning today. I couldn't sleep and, when I finally decided to hit the sack, I couldn't rouse my husband from his favorite chair. So I decided to go to bed and figured he'd join me in bed eventually.

As is my customary habit, I checked on my son before retiring for the evening. He was wet and sitting up in bed when I walked in his room. He started wailing when he saw me. Hoping not to disrupt the evening too much, I thought that I could change him and change his bed without taking him out of the crib. That didn't work out so well and my poor little boy ended up wrapped in a pee-soaked sheet as I struggled with removing the bedclothes. I finally took the little one out of the crib and lay him on a fresh blanket on the floor so that I could focus my effort on the bed.

I ran the soiled linens and pajamas to the washing machine and discovered that my boy was missing when I returned to his room to finish making his bed. I looked in the front room - my husband was still snoring blissfully. I looked in the hall bathroom, expecting to find him on the potty chair - no dice. I found him in my bedroom, tossing his beloved "burpie" on my bed. Uh-oh, he wanted to snuggle with Mama before going back to bed.

I ran back to his room, determined to get the crib made up as quickly as possible. As I was putting on a fresh mattress cover, he walked in his room and announced that he was "tie-tie," which means that he's tired. I asked him to sit down and wait a minute because I was almost finished and he could go back to bed. I noted that I still had to dress him in fresh underpants and jammies and grabbed a clean fitted crib sheet. He took his blanket and wandered away with it. Nuts! I just knew that he was setting up camp in my bedroom.

I finally got the crib made up and popped my head in the living room, hoping that my husband could enjoy this aspect of parenting with me. Nope, my hubby was still oblivious to the flurry of activity. When I walked in my bedroom, my son was leaning against my bed, thumb in his mouth, eyes dropping. I picked him up and returned him to his bedroom. I dressed him in clean clothes and began to put him in his crib.

He freaked out! He began flailing around, weeping and crying my name. I caved and asked if he'd like to snuggle with Mama for a few minutes before going to bed. He said, "Yes." So my son ended up in bed with me at around 1:00 this morning.

He fell asleep within minutes of being placed in my bed and cuddled. I thought about taking him back to his own bed, but I was sure that I'd wake him so I decided to let him sleep in my bed. He has never spent the night sleeping in my bed and I kind of hope that he never does again!

I have a very wide bed. It is the widest commercial bed that you can purchase. It wasn't nearly wide enough to accommodate me and an impossibly active toddler. I think cosleeping sounds like a lovely way to remain close to young children, but I don't think I'm cut out for it. It was the most terrible night's sleep that I've ever experienced.

He started out the evening (morning) with his head near my head. By the time I woke, around 6:30ish, his feet had kicked my head no fewer than six times. His hands had touched or slapped my head at least three times. I woke at least every single hour because of something he was doing in his sleep.

I was highly annoyed during my all-night assault and I considered going to the den to sleep on the futon. I didn't because I worried that he'd be afraid if he woke up and was all alone in Mama & Daddy's bed. Instead, I moved as far to the edge as I could possibly get and I positioned myself so that I'd be less likely so suffer any major damage from his flailing arms and legs.

My husband woke and decided to come to bed at some point. I think he was surprised to find our son in bed, but he was tired and he threw the comforter back. I cautioned him to be aware of the child's hands and feet and he slipped in beside the boy. The two of us bookended our little one and that was sweet. Until that same little one twisted and kicked me, once again, in the face. He kept hitting his father in the face and my husband finally left to sleep in the den. Yes, I'm jealous.

I never advocated for cosleeping in our family in the early days because I was impossibly afraid of hurting the baby. Now I'm afraid that he would hurt us if we were a cosleeping family. Here's hoping that he stays in his own bed tonight!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Children to Grandchildren

My husband and I tried for months upon months upon months to conceive our son. It took nearly a year. By the time that my pregnancy was confirmed, I was delirious with joy. I was so happy that a future baby was firmly ensconced in my womb that I didn't really give much thought to gender. I cleared my mind during the ultrasound, willing myself to not want one or the other, but to be thankful that I was having any child at all.

I do have to confess that I wanted to have a daughter. Until I had my son. I truly adore my son. His smile warms me more than the brightest sunshine ever could. I give thanks for him (and my husband) every single night and I'm so blessed that I was chosen to be my son's mother (and my husband's wife).

I delayed childbirth until I was in my 30s. I had a serious plan with my life and I wasn't going to let kids get in my way. That's how I felt toward children - they stopped progress and killed dreams.

In retrospect, I sometimes wonder if I made the correct decisions with my life. Logically, I know I made the correct choices. But emotionally. . .emotionally I rip myself apart every month for the choices I've made.

My husband and I have been trying to have another baby for over one year. No one obsesses over their underpants like a woman trying to conceive (or hoping not to!) and each month I am crestfallen when my baby dreams are dashed once again. I get angry and, once my fury subsides, I cry bitter tears and feel sorry for myself.

I spent many, many years fearing and preventing childbirth. I find it so completely unfair that having a child is my fondest dream now and that I'm denied my joy each month. Why did I wait so long to start a family? What was so damned important that I kept putting it off?

I've been wondering what I'll tell my son when he is interested in starting a family. Luckily, he's a boy. From a biological standpoint, it isn't all that big of an issue to hold off. He can follow in his father's footsteps and have children as late in life as he chooses. Well, that's assuming that he also marries a significantly younger woman.

I have to say that I'll advise my son to wait as long as possible before starting a family. He can have a solid career, own property, and have significant savings before even thinking of children. He can sow all of his wild oats before he has to settle down and get saddled with life's responsibilities.

Of course, he won't procreate on his own. There will be a woman carrying his child, my grandchild. I hope that my son will faithfully remain with the mother of his child(ren) and I hope that she'll be a wonderful wife to him.

Does it sound impossibly crazy that I already pray for my son's future wife? Well, I do. I pray that she'll be raised in a loving home, that she won't be harmed or wounded (physically, emotionally, or sexually) as she grows, that she'll adore my son and stick with him through all of life's storms. I pray that she'll love my son the way that I love my husband. My son will be a very blessed man if he has such a loving and devoted wife.

My husband and I talked about the differences between having a daughter and having a son prior to our son's birth. With daughters, you worry about every dick on the planet. With sons, you only have to worry about their dick. Of course, that's not entirely true. . .with sons, you have to worry about every predatory p*ssy on the planet. And that scares me so much. I hope that there is a reliable and safe male birth control pill or shot by the time my son is engaging in sexual behavior.

I'm in my mid-30s. I hope not to become a grandparent until I'm in my 70s because I think that would be the best life choice for my son. However, it's not my choice when I become a grandparent. I hope that, whatever my son does with his life, that he does it well and that his actions make his parents proud.