Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Cards

I wanted to put out a big fat disclaimer to people because I am starting to feel a little guilty. I sent out about 60 Christmas cards this year. I have recieved about 15. I send out cards because I truly love too. Yes, I support Hallmark. I do not expect a single card back. I don't anyone to feel like they have to send me one back, ever. I love to receive them, I love getting the pictures, and I love reading the updates in people's lives-but I only love to receive them if you love to send them as much as I do. Don't make it a chore or another holiday "must". Next time you see me, say "hi". Write me a quick e-mail. It doesn't have to be a Christmas card. I have been sending a card to close friend now for about 15 years, and she sent a card back to me once, in 1994. So really, it isn't about getting something back for me-I just love to send them. The reason I feel so guilty is that I have had many, many people apologize to me for not sending a card back. I didn't mean to make people feel bad!!! Or add to holiday stress. So next year, same thing-I will be sending cards out. But I will not expect many back-cards aren't everyone's thing and I am great with that.
Happy Holidays!!!!!

Annual Christmas Shopping

I wasn't going to blog about this, but my sister's e-mail was hacked, so if I want to share this with her, this is the only way to do it. So sit back, relax, and enjoy "The Annual Christmas Shopping Trip".
My mom's birthday is December 25. That's right-Christmas Day. It is an annual Christmas tradition that my sister and I went out shopping with my dad, for my mom, for both Christmas and birthday. My sister now lives half way around the world but she is with us in spirit. I just need to share the dialogue. And when I say every year this tradition has continued; every year as long as I can remember except the one year I was in Pennsylvania and it was Alina and dad. This is truly one of the biggest Christmas traditions our family has-shopping for mom. Now, though we are helping dad shop for mom, as my sister and I do our own shopping. Believe me, he needs all the help he can get.
This year, because of circumstances, the shopping trip didn't happen till yesterday. I thought it would be a relaxed affair as most people would be traveling and taking advantage of having Monday off as well. I was also able to pawn off Asa unto the other Grandma and Grandpa so I didn't have to take him to the mall. When I felt things going smoothly, I should have gotten suspicious.
My cold is getting better, but yesterday morning it was in full swing. Nothing says joy to the world like a snotty nose and itchy eyes. But I plastered a smile on my face, waved good-bye to Asa, and hooked up with mom and dad. Now this year was a little different in that mom came with. Okay, we adapt. So taking advantage of no Asa, we went to the local science museum (OMSI) and saw their latest exhibit "Antartic To Antarctica". Great exhibit, I want to go to Antarctica, off to the mall.
This is where things got fun. It is pouring down rain. Rain at Christmas is nothing new but we dressed to stay dry so we fried in the mall where there were 3 million people who were NOT apparently traveling anywhere for the holidays. It was very busy! We drop mom off at the food court with a book, a latte (the woman is addicted), and our coats. So instead of melting I just felt like I was in a great big inferno most of the time. The first store we go into, it is there-the perfect gift. (Mom reads this-I am not saying what!!!) But dad is hemming and hawwing and it is hotter in the store than the mall. 20 minutes later we leave empty handed, head to the knick knack paddy whack store and pick up a few things. Head to three more stores, all at opposite ends of the mall, finding nothing. What we want to get her is gone, what she wants is at a different mall. About now I am thinking we will have to pull an Aunt Bethany from Christmas Vacation and wrap up the cat so mom has something for at least one of the holidays when dad says he will go back to the first store and see if he can find something else mom might want. These four or five sentences took an hour and a half to complete. But I am still full of Christmas spirit-I haven't run out of tissue yet.
Pause here-there are many things we have more than one of. Pictures, books, clothing, kitchen utensils, jewelery, underwear I hope. I point this out because back at the first store, dad is starting to change his mind again. I used my last tissue and when dad said" a person only really needs one of these" I replied "like a hunter only needs one gun". If you know a hunter you know that they have a rifle for big game, little game, cold days, warm days, summer, fall, big bullets, little bullets, etc., etc. My dad has approxiamtely 80 weapons between handguns and rifles. It was the perfect argument if I do say so myself because 2 hours later, we had the perfect gift and I ran to get tissue before I embarassed myself.
So another Christmas shopping trip under our belt and no got hurt or even cried (which has happened in previous years). And all grumpy words have been washed away with the incessant rain we seem to be having. It was quite a successfull trip this year.

The school is closed from the Dec. 24 till Jan. 2. I hope everyone has a great and happy holiday season!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Family Part 2

Nick and I get comments all the time-are we having a second baby? Sure-if you could pick one up at Wal-mart I might do it tommorrow. The truth of the matter is that a second baby is almost as big a lifestyle change as the first one. For starters, I lose my guest room. I would also have to go back to work full-time not to mention the demands on our time as kids get older and start joining sports, clubs, etc. I am not saying I am unwilling-only that it is tough decision.
None of which is made easier by the fact I have a 2 year old running around. The best form of birth control-a 2 year old. One night, Nick says to me that he is ready to discuss the possibility of a second child. Great-I only need 15 minutes to get Asa to bed. I come downstairs and my response is met by a snore-daddy is asleep. Same thing happened the next night. So that weekend we agree after the movie we are watching is over, we will discuss baby number two. I am asleep by the time the movie is over. Asa takes a lot of energy. I guess we could make it a bigger priority but it is hard to want to sit and talk about a baby when the advertisement for children is running around my house screaming "no" and carrying around a blanket and stuffed animal that Nick says smells like "monkey butt". Serioulsy, after spending 45 minutes in the breezeway of a restraunt so Asa's temper trantum wouldn't bother the other diners all I could think was "why does my mother hate me so much she wants me to suffer twice as much as I am now?" I love my son, and I won't trade him in for anything, but I could mother a dog and get something that might actually listen to me.
The grandparents one ray of hope is that I don't think the world needs another "only son" (no offense dad, Uncle Hal, Nick, Ryan, and Grandpa Pete.) That and I imagine our household when my kids would be about 8 and 11. Things might not be so bad then-or they could be worse. It is best not to go down that path after all. I just have to keep my reminding myself that nothing lasts forever and that includes diapers, whining, and best friends that smell like monkey butt. So just so it is official: in response to are we having another baby I reply with confidence-maybe.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Best Christmas Ever

My sister and I were lucky-when we were little every Christmas was a good Christmas. We had family, we had Santa, and we had enough chocolate to outfit a village in a third world country. Not every kid can say that and we aren't dummies-we know we had it good.
However, when you get older Christmas changes. You realize Santa is less a physical entity and more the spirit of giving, the chocolate sticks to your hips like a drowning man clutching a life preserver, and it seems like traffic get's worse every year. Finding the Magic of Christmas get's difficult when you grow up.
Christmas 1996 is the year I got my magic back. My sister and I were sharing a car and she wanted to borrow it to go see a friend. It was December 23. I don't know why but I had a bad feeling. If I could have I would have kept the car keys I would have, but I had no earthly reason to not be a good sister and let her have the car that night. But I left a note telling her to be careful. Sure enough, about 1:30a we got a call-she'd been in an accident. I had my shoes on before my mom was off the phone, and fearing the worse but hoping for the best since Alina called under her own authority, we drove out to Oregon City. The car, and Alina's muscles, were toast. She was sore all over and had some impressive bruises, and her back would never be the same, but she was able to go home. The car had rolled on an oil slick that had caused multiple accidents that night. The roof caved in 3 inches and when the fireman showed up at the hosipital the next day to return her stuff, they were shocked she was home. We never saw the car again the wreckage was that bad.
Christmas Eve I went up to Nick's house and I got home after everyone was in bed. The tree was lit, the twinkle lights that played music were humming their tune, and everyone but me was snuggled in bed, some with the help of pain killers. It was like the end of the movie "A Christmas Story" when Ralphie says that all was right with the world. That was exactly how I felt-all was right with the world. Everyone was safe and sound, there were presents I couldn't wait to see opened and they weren't for me, and it truly felt like Santa had been over our house, even if he didn't stop because their were no children.
Ever since then, every year, Christmas seems magical. It is like being a kid all over again. The lights, the trees, the shopping, the finding the perfect gift for people, the helping out our fellow man-I love it all. And every year I go to bed Christmas Eve and I feel like Santa is flying over my house at some point in the night. Do I blame my sister? Partly. Nothing reminds you what is truly important then being a part of circumstances you can't control-of watching someone wince in pain when they simply go to the bathroom. Maybe if Alina had had her accident two days before Independence Day, I would be writing about the best Fourth of July ever. But I also liek to think that maybe a little maturity kicked in too. Whatever, 1996 was the best Christmas ever, along with every Christmas since.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Ones We Miss

I was reading the obituaries yesterday and saw this poem a mom had printed for her deceased son. I don't know if she wrote it, or got it from somewhere else. Of course, as the mother of a son, I conected right away, but I feel that this could apply to mother's of daughters, lovers, families, friends-anyone we care about. Especially around the holidays, there always seems to be someone we miss.

Thank-you, to the mother of David A. Adams 1953-1977

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; Love leaves a memory no one can steal."

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Great Season For Oregon in Football

Currently, in the NFL, there are four-yes four!-starting quarterbacks that were Oregon players.

Joey Harrington-Atlanta Falcons Duck U of O
Kellen Clemmons-NY Jets Duck U of O
AJ Feeley-Eagles Duck U of O
Derek Anderson-Cleveland Browns Beaver OSU
(Some of you read this from out of state so I put school and mascot.)

Okay, there are three former Ducks and one former Beaver-I won't gloat. But either way you cut it, it is a great day for Oregon programs in the NFL. Now let's be honest-if these players came from Ohio State, Notre Dame, or aany other school that seems to think football was handed to them directly from God, I think there would be a bit more press. It is impressive to have this many Quarterbacks out of one area. But alas, the Pacific NW gets little credit for the good teams they have. All we do is smoke pot and drink beer-right?
Now, there was a bit about Kellen Clemmons and Derek Brown playing against each other. Apparently they played against each other in high school, college, AND now in the pro's. I guess they broke a record? Or did the announcer's finally find Oregon on a map? I kid you not-I heard on NATIONAL TV that OSU was located in Beaverton. Um, annoucners make to much money not to be able to find Corvallis.
Whether this phenomenon will happen continue next season, or even the next game for that matter, who knows. The NFL is brutal and players can come and go like the wind. But for now, I take a lot of pride that Oregon Football Programs have such a good representation right now. Way to go guys!!!
(Okay, I wanted to say way to go boys but damn, does that make me sound old or what?!)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Village Idiot

Apparently I am an angry person this week because I have yet another complaint.
There is a commercial I keep seeing where a mom is reading with her little boy in some lobby and the other mom's are all impressed because the son is truly reading and he's only 4.
My beef is this: why is it so damn important that he read by 4? Would the mom be less proud if he wasn't reading? Is she so concerned about his education or is it a reflection on her that she has produced this genius?
Okay, maybe I am reading way to much into a product designed to make someone money (because that is the main function of most products) but every time I see that commercial I grit my teeth. Asa is 2-I don't care if he can read at 4. One day I will look at him and say "that is a red square and that is the letter "Z", and he will know what I am talking about. He may be 4, he maybe 14, but one day, his memorization skills will kick in and it won't matter. What I do worry about teaching him is the abstract. How do I teach my child to be creative? A problem solver? To not give up because it is to difficult, but to know when it is okay to accept defeat after we tried our best? Those are the lessons I find way more important then making sure my 7 year old can recite verbatim the Gettysburg Address.
Now statistically, the chances of Asa being a "reader" are high. He sees me reading, we read together, and we can pick out the capital letters "A", "E", and "O" most of the time. But if we get to school and he has a "learning disbalilty", it could take longer for all that to sink in. Big deal. My own opinion is that as research catches up with current knowledge, "learning disabilities" and their stigma, will be a thing of the past (unless you are Tom Cruise and then you can just buck up and "think" your problem away). More and more they are finding that learning is a lot more individualistic that previously thought. Just because you can't learn something one way, doesn't mean you can't learn it a different way. And the people who succeeded in the past weren't the smartest-just the most adaptable. As more and more learning styles are discovered, more and more teaching styles will be developed. A big argument for small classes in my opinion.
What this means to my blog is that I want Asa to be a happy 4 year old without the pressure of being some super child. In modern times, two of the greatest thinkers in the world were considered idiots and either kicked out school or didn't do well-Albert Einstein and Thomas A. Edison. I hope Asa is that stupid.
Oooo-I think I feel better now!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Critic Censor Thyself

Awhile back, my dad and I had a conversation about censorship. Long conversation shortened, after listening to some conservative guy on the radio, my dad felt censorship on tv was acceptable. Astounded I would disagree, AFTER I agreed with dad and Mr. Conservative that tv had lots of crap on it, I told my dad that my tv already had a censorship button on it-it's called the On/Off switch. And if for some reason I am unable to turn off the tv (because it has a certain hypnotic quality that helps me waste time) my back up is the channel changer. I will agree there are many opportunities to watch things I consider vile, deragatory, and absolutely degrading. But funny, on my tv, those things never seem to happen. My tv doesn't have to much sex, nor to much violence, so why would I be concerned about government censorship? Or rephrased-why would I want someone else, the governement, deciding what I should and should not watch?
So every Christmas I am privy to read or hear on the news the following conversation, that I have re-created in the interest of space:
Interviewer: So ma'am/sir, are you afraid that Christmas is to comercial?
Person: Oh absolutely! It is disgusting the way people go all out. Like they have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.
Interviewer: I see you have the latest, most expensive toy out there. This is for a relative? Niece? Son?
Person: Oh yeah, for my kids. They will love it.
Interviewer: But you were concerned about commercialism? Do you think this contributes?
Person: It's not my fault. Everybody out there insists on buying these big gifts and then my kids expect it. Besides, the kids really want it-what are you goin to do?
I honestly don't mind people watching the worst that tv has to offer, and I don't mind that some people seem to have the goal of spending so much money they seem to out spend Santa Claus. But what I don't want to hear is people bitching about it! If you spend enough on the holiday to outfit a third world nation, I don't want to hear how Christmas is going down the tubes!!! If you watch couples trying to cheat on each other on a desert island, don't tell me tv has nothing but sex on it!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The New Environmentalism

Okay, for those of you wondering about the last Thanksgiving blog, which I was hoping no one would notice, note-never blog with a 2 year old around. I don't know what happened but Asa pressed something and there went the blog trolls posting nothing.

I was reading the newspaper a few days ago and I read an article about wood fireplaces. Apparently allergy suffer's are requesting that people not use these very much. And some environmentalist are joining the cause as a woodstove uses a precious commodity-wood. All that makes sense but it begs the question-how the hell am I suppose to heat my house?!?!?! If I use natural gas, coal, or oil, I am using a fossil fuel. If I use wood, I am using a renewable, albeit limited, resource. I could try solar, but in the Pacific NW, during winter, it would seem a little like gambling. Bio-diesal is being tossed around but then others complain that it compromises limted food sources in areas and more people could starve. I could fart a lot but than I would be contributing methane-or is that only cows? I really do care about the environment and I try to keep semi-abreast on new technology and theories, and I am sorry that people with allergies suffer. I am sorry that people without allergies suffer. But the hard, very cold truth is that some how I have to provide heat for my family, and I'd like to do it without someone looking at me askance. So what do you do? Is this what Environemntalism has brought us? To much information that causes us to cringe no matter what good action we try and take?


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Meaning of Christmas

I am Jewish. I never thought much about it growing up. So I was the only kid, besides my sister, who didn't ride the pale, yellow bus to Sunday School. And I was pretty clueless as to the meaning of Jesus Christ. I thought he was like Queen Elizabeth I or Attila Hun-just another dead, famous person. So no one else knew what Hannukah was- a lot of my friends weren't Girl Scouts either. When you are kid, what, and since you never know different you never assume it could be any other way.
So when we talk about Christmas, I get offensive. In fact, I am pretty confident my sister will read this and cringe. Not only has she heard this lecture before, but she hates it and I think she disagrees with it. But you should know, I am not an expert, nor do I represent the Jewish Community. This is Dena Dictator talking-if I ruled the world, this is how I would rule it.
If I ruled the world, everyone would celebrate Christmas-American Style. I love Christmas. I love the decorations, the smell of fake garland, stockings by the fire (but no chesnuts-yuck), and just about every Christmas song out there. I love giving, and receiving, gifts. And I get pissed at the religions who want to take that away. My particular pet peeve is the Christians who want to put Christ back into Christ-Mas. Hello, he was never there to began with.
Long ago, in Europe, there was a holiday that celebrated the Winter Solistice. After years of fighting with the Christians, the Solistice celebrants had a conversation that I imagine went like this:
Christian: We want you to quit your winter holiday-it is unholy.
Pagan: Dude, no way.
Christian: You are Pagan.
Pagan: Dude, yeah.
Christian: Okay, we have tried for years to get you to quit celebrating the Winter Solistice. How about you celebrate the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ instead, since you are so damn stubborn.
Pagan: Call it what you want dude, party on.
The Winter Solistice holiday, which pre-dated the Christians, got a new name, a new look, and eventually a new home in the New World, where we morphed it into the juggernaut it is today. The Germans added the tree, Hallmark added wrapping paper, and with a few twists and turns, we got Christmas as only Americans can do it.
I love Christmas in that it has become a holiday that can mean anything to anyone. It is essentially, The Blob. Want a nice, quiet, reflective time for your personal religion? Got it covered. Looking for mass commercialization with no meaning at all? It can be there. Party central with dancing and beverages for all? Boogie woogie all night long. Helping your fellow man and thinking about peace on earth? Donate away.
For me personally, I tend to follow the line of thinking Bill Murray expressed in the movie "Scrooged". Christmas is the one time of year where we really stop and think of our fellow human beings. We care a little bit more, we help out a little bit more, and we make sure that our family knows all this too, because they are fellow human beings as well. Maybe this is adapting the Three Wise Men aspect of the Christian Holiday, but hey, Christmas is The Blob and it is a good idea. I watch the movies, sing the songs, pick out personal gifts for family, wave and smile at Santa Claus, and love the lights on the longest night of the year. Bring it all on.
So what does this have to do with being Jewish? Nothing. Just like Jesus Christ has no meaning for me at Christmas time, Judaism has no meaning in Christmas either. I don't think of Christmas as a religious holiday. So I get upset at the people who want trees out of airports. That want decorations out of the stores. No mention of Christmas in schools-if the holiday isn't celebrated at home the children will get confused and upset. Please-this is America. Everytime I get a Christmas tree, I get jubiliant-like I am sticking it to the Man. Want Christ in Christmas-look at me celebrating the longest day of the year, with my family, as only a crass Jewish, American can. That every Ultra-Conservative Christian who wants to complain about the loss of Christ in a holiday they stole anyway is getting the middle finger from me when I sing a carol about Santa Claus stuffing his fat self down the chimney. Hip hip hooray! If I ruled the world, every Jew would celebrate Christmas becasue it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ anyway. And to add to that, Christmas would be the third Friday of every Decmber so more people could get a three-day weekend out of it. Um, but don't hold your breath on any of this coming true. I am a long, long way from being dictator of the world.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What If,,,

Last night Nick and I watched "Jumanji". This is a mid-1990's movie with Robin Williams and Bonnie Hunt, about a boy who gets caught in a board game. I don't want to spoil the ending but on the other hand, the ending is what got me thinking so watch out...I am going to spoil the ending. This boy who gets caught in the game basically gets out 25 years later, a grown man. They finish the game and he goes back to being a kid again, essentially repeating his life. So if I got to repeat my life, knowing what I know now, what would I do over?
In all honesty, I think the only thing I would change is that I would have been an exchange student in college. I still kick myself that I was in such a hurry to get out, that I was afraid to take 6 months, or even a year, and travel. What was my hurry? What did I get for graduating in a certain time frame?
I know a lot of people will be surprised to hear this, and please don't be shocked, but I have made a lot of mistakes. I have said things I regret. I have passed on opportunities I wish I had taken advantage of. There are points of my life I let fear decide my options. But the reality is, every mistake, every emotioanl battle scar, and every blunder has led me to who I am today. Okay, maybe I am not so hot. I could stand to lose 20 pounds, improve my temper, and I have become incredibly impatient. But I am a pretty good friend, becoming a better cook, and I pick up litter so I think it all balances out. Besides, if I had gone to college in Arizona, would I have met the friends I have today? Would I have been able to date Nick? If I had bought a new car instead of used car in 1998, would I be more in debt today? If I had decided to have kids the minute Nick and I married, would we have withstood the pressure of parenthood as newlyweds and still be married today? The "What If.." game is tricky because each decision we take affects other decisions we make. Like a rock thrown in a pond, we have no idea how far the ripples will go.
The other thing I honestly believe: until I take my last breath, just about anything is a possibility. Right now, I have no interest in running the Boston Marathon. But maybe when I am 80 years old, I will be out there with my walker patiently taking each step until I reach the finsh line and can say "I did the Boston Marathon". Maybe that is why I have few regrets-I know I can still accomplish my goals.
Oh yeah, and if I did go back, I would buy less neon in the early '80's, and have shorter bangs in the late '80's. I don't care what the fashion would be, some things I refuse to do again.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I blinked, plus dinner was gross

My son turned 2 last Wednesday. Gulp-I no longer have a baby. I could go on and on about the changes, the memories of the day he was born, etc. etc. But it is enough here to say that I love him and he continues to amaze me. (Who in the world taught him what a cookie is?!?!?!)
Let me start by saying I have nothing against birthday parties. And I have nothing against birthday parties for small children. I have even attended a few in my day and Asa had so much fun he fell asleep in the driveway before I could start the car. But for myself, I have not had any desire to throw Asa a party. Last year we had both sets of grandparents over and because a big game was on, Nick's cousin Tommy came over with his girlfriend. (Okay, Tommy's girlfriend, Tina, is one of my closet friends so she just assumed I had invited them-let's not tell her any differently). This year just the grandparents came over for dinner the Sunday before Asa's true birthday. One day, possibly next year, Asa will look at me and want something more but for now, the kid who likes rocks and straws was perfectly content.
However, even in my hands off approach to Asa's birthday, I did want to make a good dinner the day he actually turned 2. Something semi-homecooked with things that he likes. So I put on my invisible Betty Crocker outfit and decided on Matzo Ball Soup. You can just make the matzo balls and throw them into a cooked can of chicken noodle soup. Being the true warrior I am, I cut up fresh carrots, celery, and organic chicken breast, pre-cooked them, added them to chicken noddle soup, and then added some chicken broth. Being the first time I cooked this, I tasted it as I went and even I was impressed. The chicken and vegies had a nutritional touch I felt was important, but the canned portion added the noodles that Nick liked.
We were in the homestretch-I added the matzo balls to boiling soup and in 20 minutes dinner would be served.
Okay-I should have SIMMERED the soup because 10 minutes later I had burnt soup and half cooked matzo balls that smelled of burnt soup. The good news is I saved the pan. Our happy birthday dinner now consisted of frozen corndogs follwed by frozen tater tots. Feeding my son stuff that hadn't seen the light of day in maybe a year was not how I envisioned his second birthday. Have I mentioned before that I am grateful Asa's memory is limited?

Monday, November 05, 2007

The No No Friends

I have to start by making two comments. One, all my friends matter to me-A LOT! I could go on and on about how much they mean to me but it would be boring and only make me cry. So if I talk to you at all, it means I think highly of you.
Second, I want the world to go my way. I won't even sugar coat it-I am that selfish. Of course, it doesn't always go my way, but just so you know, I honestly wish that it would every single day.
I talked to my friend Jennifer last Saturday. She lives in Texas so I don't see her that often, and neither of us are phone people so I don't talk to her that often either. But I miss her, and I love her to death, and I am really crossing my fingers that she gets a job in Salem, which is a hell of a lot closer to me than anywhere in Texas.
But the truth of the matter is that everytime I spend time with Jennifer, I feel like I am bucking the system. See, Jennifer isn't suppose to be my friend, or it might be that I am not suppose to be friends with her. Either way, I often feel pressure from society because Jennifer is a lesbian and I am not.
I have no problem with Jennifer being a lesbian. It is like being 5 ft. tall or 6 ft. tall-what is, is. And Jennifer and I have talked about this-I forget she is a lesbian all the time. That might offend people but I can't help it. Jennifer talks to me about her girlfriends but since that is how I have always known her, I don't find it odd. (Jennifer has admitted to me that she forgets she is a lesbian as well-liking women isn't all that strange to her either after all these years.) But that is where society wants to trip us up. Childhood friends that "turn" lesbian are okay to keep as friends because when you met them, everyone was just a kid and didn't know "better". Co-workers and family members fall into the same category-you can't really help being around them so they qualify as okay too. But to meet someone who is openly homosexual, not be homosexual yourself, and then go on to call them one of your closets friends is like asking for trouble. The number of people who assume I am gay, and denying myself, are numerous. And that whole assumption comes from the idea that there is no way a straight person is ever so comfortable with homosexuality that they would culitvate a friendship beyond it. Hmm-I am so positive Jennifer is a good person, I would leave my son to her if anything happened to my husband and I.
So where do I get angry? I get angry that society can't accept a friendship, for a friendship. I feel this pressure with a lot of my friends actually. For whatever reason, the phrase "birds of a feather, flock together" seems to be the mantra of people today. So my friends that are good Christians, male, and homosexual almost have to be the same system bucker I am. Because I am okay with friends different than me. Or maybe I should say that ALL my friends have the same basic qualities of being some of the nicest, smartest, most caring people I have ever met and the rest of society is using the wrong criteria to make a friendship work.
Happy Birthday Jennifer-you are just as a crazy now as when I met you!!!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Thanks For November

Thanksgiving may not be the juggernaut Christmas is, but it still inspires us for the month of November. With Halloween over, except for the sugar highs, and the air taking on a frosty note, November gets me thinking about what I am thankful for.
I hear a lot about families and friends, in addition to numerous inventions, and yes, I am thankful for all that. But what I am really most thankful for is memory, or lack thereof.
Memories can be happy or sad, but each one let's us build on a previous experience. When I was 17, I added to much water to bisquick and got soup. Yum. Never did that again. And I always remember how much fun I have with certain people, and how I want to ram my foot up the ass of the ones who annoy me.
But I am most thankful for my young son's lack of memory, and I truly believe that is a gift from God. Parenting, especially the first time around, is fraught with error. The time I left Asa in the garage in his car seat, with no lights on, makes me furious with myself. So is the time he rolled down our short flight of stairs, rolled off the bed, or the time he started crying when I was in the shower. Ouch-he would have a lot to tell his therapist if he could remember all that. But God cuts us some slack-we get a few years to at least work out the major kinks. Sure, Asa has learned we love him because we hug him again and again (and maybe throw in a few kisses as well.) He can slowly build on that. But the one time in the dark garage is gone. Whew.
If you think about it, the fact that none of us (not just my son) are born with memory is a gift for all of us. Childhood, in relation to the rest of our lives, is the shortest time period of all. Assuming we live to be 80, and assuming we are in childhood till about 18, that is LESS than 1/4 of our lives, and yet it seems to last so long.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Good Parenting

Right now I am surrounded by reproduction. Most of my friends either have young children or are working on acquiring some (this is a public space-no details needed.) I can't help but stop and think back to the blissful days when I had parenting down to a science. Um, that would be before Asa arrived. Now that he is here, I can't resist passing on my two cents.

1. For new parents to be, and new parents, I would say this: ignore most of what you hear!!!! Doens't that sound like an oxymoron-take MY advice and ignore everyone else's. The truth is, if I had a dime for every piece of crap I heard, we would be in Disney World right now. I was told not to paint the nursery because lifting my arms above my head would strangle the baby. I heard that my intestinal woes were all in my head, that I didn't nap enough, I got to much exercise, and my personal favorite-I wouldn't be able to drive myself to the hospital once labor started. Um, I did drive myself to the hospital, after I stopped by the post office, and I was in labor the whole time.
You will encounter a few gems. My sister gave me some fo the best advice-don't try and change your baby's schedule during the holidays; wait till after the holidays when things aren't so crazy. Getting Asa to sleep in a crib went like a dream-once I waited for January. And whoever suggested going on car rides to get a baby to sleep is my personal hero. We still use that one. But be prepared to be freaked out and scared by worthless crap that is only designed to send you to your doctor in panic.

2. Always, always remember that no one knows your kid like you do-trust your instinct/judgement.
When Asa was first born, everyone told me he needed to nap, needed to nap, needed to nap. Yeah-I heard it all the time. Numerous crying episodes later-by him, not me-we gave up on the formal nap times. Listening to him cry in his crib for 30 minutes, so he might sleep 20, didn't seem worth it. And I knew that but I was afraid as a parent I was doing something wrong. I should have trusted my gut, which was neither myself, nor Nick, were much at napping so it wasn't a stretch to think Asa wouldn't be either. For good or bad, nobody will love your kid like you will and no one should know him/her better. Don't be afraid to say that you will try something new, but don't be intimidated to do what you feel is right.

3. The last bit of advice I can give is one I kind of ignored and wished I had paid closer attention too.
Don't ever, ever worry about getting your kids toys. We thought we were being cautious when we only registered for a few educational toys. We failed to factor in grandma and grandpa-both sets. The four of them have gotten Asa anything we might have missed. In addition, my kid seems to be willing to touch anything he isn't suppose to, and ignore the appropriate stuff. He isn't special-kids have a built in desire to touch sharp knives, hot stoves, and anything disgustingly dirty. I fI had a quarter for every rock I found in my house, we would not only be at Disney World, but doing the cruise package along with it.

As a parent, you will make mistakes. It is the nature of the beast-you get this alien with no instructions who doesn't even speak your language. I may never be a good parent, but I will be the parent trying to be her best.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Food, Food-The Magical Fruit?

A few months ago I wrote about my take on feeding my son, and it sparked some very fun, and informative, side conversations. With that in mind, I wanted to share about a book I am currently reading. "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan has been an extremely informative book on food systems in the United States as they stand today. This is an industry that is experiencing enourmous change, so this book should be out of date within a few years.
I am only half way through, but so far I have learned about our dependence on corn, the life of animals in feed lots, and a bit about the working life of farmers. It is absolutley true that you are what you eat and this book brings that concept home. I tell you what-I won't promise to never eat another Chicken McNugget from the golden arches but I no longer call them "food" either, let alone chicken, and it will be awhile before I let my lips, or my son's lips, touch one. I am a proud omnivore and I was grossed out.
Am I dismayed by what I am "uncovering" reagrding my food? Not really. If you are familiar with Upton Sinclair, you will remember that he wrote a similar expose regarding the Chicago meat plants in the last century. Did you know it used to be legal to bulk up ground hamburger with sawdust? Yum. The hard, cold truth is that we are a capitalist society, for better or for worse. We as consumers have always demanded cheaper products and Industry will deliver. They aren't a social service, they aren't charity workers-they are out for a buck. And that is true of just about everything. It is MY JOB as the consumer to be aware of who is taking me for what ride. I have the right to demand better, I have the right to not buy a certain product. And this book will give you ideas as to what product you really want to support.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Dream Factory

Last Saturday, I saw a movie. This is noteworthy as it is only the third time this year that A) I saw something that came out this year, and/or B) didn't involve a cartoon character. Now the movie was only "Wild Hogs" with John Travolta, Tim Allen, William H. Macy, and Martin Lawrence. This was not high brow stuff designed to make me think. It was okay. However, it did get me thinking about the worst movie I ever saw.
I hope I don't offend anyone, sort of, but has anyone really watched "Thelma and Louise"? The springboard for Mr. Brad Pitt, the only redeeming quality of this movie was him. Two women avoid rape by finally asserting themselves (I like that part) and then to really show they mean it, they kill the guy. Um, why? They were already safe. And then to really add to this lovely plot, rather than face the music, with probably getting off in self defense, they avoid all law enforcement and finally kill themselves driving over a cliff. Okay, I am not noted for being the quickest lightbulb in the pack, but the light is ON. And when I would overhear women saying "I want my daughter to be strong like Thelma and Louise", I would get sick. You want your daughter to be so wimpy they feel forced to kill a guy and rather than face the responsibility of their actions you want your daughters to kill themselves? Dream big, sister. That's like me telling my son to be like the guy in "Supersize Me". Be dumb enough to eat nothing but fast food for a month and them wonder why your pants don't fit, your cholestral is up, and you feel like crap. Go forth son and be a moron.
Hollywood is about bucks, as in money not deer, and so when we go looking for role models, I don't usually shop there. But even Hollywood has produced characters, sometimes with the help of history, that measure up to my standards. "Mulan" may be just a cartoon but she has more substance and self-possesion then Thelma and Louise put together. And even Adam Sandler in "The Wedding Singer" was a smarter guy than Mr. Supersize Me. Adam helped the under-represented kids at the Bar Mitzvah. Remember, the disclaimer-Hollywood isn't always the place to find hereos. Plus, I hear the new movie with Cate Blanchett is good. I won't go see it-to long-but if you want a strong female role model Queen Elizabeth I is tops!!! She is a great person to investigate more period.
If you are looking for a good movie this weekend, I suggest anything from the X-men series. Lots of action, little sex, and a group of people working together towards humanity. And there is always football. Go Ducks!!!!

Friday, October 05, 2007

In another life, I wasn't so nice

Tonight, I am having dinner with a friend I haven't really seen in years. We grew up together, lost contact in high school (even though we were at the same school), and after all these years are re-connecting. I haven't got their permission to use their name on a public space, but for those of you who are curious, it is Lori (note the spelling Alina.)
Seeing Lori brings back memories of high school. How cannot it not? It was one of the last places I saw her other than the grocery store. Most of us struggle through high school and I really was no different. There didn't seem to be a place for a book-lovin', football fanatic who had no love of make-up or high heeled shoes. And even though I am not sure I would live those years over again (excpet for the waistline and ability to eat whatever I wanted), I do wish I could go back and apologize to all the students I didn't understand.
My sister hung out with some people I had known in high school but kind of lost contact with. One of the guys had always struck me as standoffish and a little on the snobby side so I never got closer other than the occasional "hi". Imagine my surprise when my sister informed me that "Jethro's" mother had had cancer when we were in high school and Jethro had worked 40 hours a week PLUS attended school full-time. It was just Jethro and his mom; he had to be the breadwinner. Well shit, no wonder he didn't talk much-the kid was probably exhausted and my petty rants about football games probably didn't rate compared to chemo treatments.
Although I didn't talk to a lot of people, I know I didn't have a lot of posistive thoughts for the "losers"-the kids who just couldn't seem to get it together. I know teenagers aren't noted for their capacity to understand, but I still wish I could go back to all those "losers" and apologize. To say I am sorry that I didn't understand, or comprehend, the problems you faced outside school. That I am sorry I was so inarticulate and shy that I came off as an airhead and maybe creepy. That I wish I had had more capacity to care. The best thing about aging, and compensation for a sagging ass, is that we learn. We learn to be better, smarter, hopefully more giving, and how to be a better human being. I may not have been inherently cruel in high school, but I like to think I am much more forgiving and understanding now than...gulp...over fifteen years ago.
Now I try to see people in a different light. I am not Pollyanna, and I have the people I dislike, but I try to cut them some slack and put myself in their shoes. How bad do their feet hurt? What did it take them to get to this point? Did anyone give them a hug or tell them are loved at all? And I am sorry to anyone in high school who thought I didn't care. I didn't, and that is what I am sorry for most.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I am Beautiful

I was recently reading a blog about Brittney Spears looking fat (yes Tanya, that was you) and I found myself nodding along about how a lot of us mom's wish we were that "fat"-the implication being that society is way to hard on celebrities. But then I realized, I was lying. The ugly truth about me is that I want my famous people totally gorgeous or totally hot, depending on if they are a man or woman. The reason being is that to me, these people are eye candy. Their profession is "Being In The Public Eye", and the reality is, I don't want to look at ugly people. I don't even want to look at average people. When I pick up a magazine, I want my socks knocked off. Do I think I am looking at a realistic version of what humans look like? Hell no! To me, the reality is, we could all be that beautiful. We all have the option, male and female, of going to tanning salons, shelling out for personal trainers, getting manicures and pedicures, spending a fortune on top labels (clothes are in my book a "you get what you pay for item"), and getting our hair professionally done. The reality however, is that most of us, for whatever reason, aren't interested. I know I am not. You couldn't pry me out of my fat jeans and the chocolate is going with me to the grave. I have no interest in hitting a tanning salon and I need to be willing to spend more than the $6 I already do for hair color. Oops-it's "my friend" who dyes her hair. Mine is the same color as high school.
I truly believe that we are all beautiful in our own way-by our actions, our words, and sometimes by a certain feature. I have the world's cutest feet!!!! Tanya has the neatest hair, I love Katie's eyes, and my sister could be a hand model. But I can't be a liar and say that we are all magazine gorgeous. We all could be, but we do other things with our time that we enjoy. But if you are going to purposely put yourself out there, in whatever mode, please make sure you are nice enough to look at. I am not paying to look at someone who looks average like me. I want my money' worth. So pass me a candy bar and the latest "People"-I want my eye candy hot!!!!! And I look like I want to.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Half of the Pac-10 is listed in the top 25 for the National Coaches Poll.

2. USC
3. California (Berkley)
13. Oregon
19. Arizona State
25. UCLA

I think that proves that we do more than drink beer and smoke pot. Take that East Coast!!!! How sweet it is.

Quack Quack

If you think I won't write about football, you are sadly mistaken. Anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes with me, whether it be under enjoyable circumstances or torture, will know that invertiably I end up talking football, and I usually mention the U of O Ducks once or twice. I can't help it-I am a junkie. At the end of every season, after numerous pseudo-heart attacks, I insist I won't get as involved the following season. But months pass, Labor Day hits, and I can't resist a game or two, and by the time I realize it, I am glue'd to the tv like a coach, screaming at the screen as if the players can hear me and me alone.
This past weekend was not stellar. Ducks lost in the last quarter to Cal Bears (Berkley), and even though we played a good game, and we stayed pretty high in the polls, I still keep walking around mumbling "4th quarter, damn 4th quarter" to myself. San Fransisco 49'er's lost as well, as did the OSU Beavers. Big sigh-I think I need to watch Curling. The only bright spots were the Atlanta Falcons winning (former Duck Joey Harrington QB's) and the Cleveland Browns (former Beaver Derek Anderson QB's). We like to se the hometown boys do good.
I can't help but be disappointed by these losses, but if you have read my previous blogs, please be rest assured I am not drowning in beer and anger. Football is a game; a great game as far as I am concerned. But over the last weekend it didn't solve world peace, feed the hungry, or help the destitute. When I do my dance of joy, or stomp of frustration, it is all in perspective. With that said, Penn State and Notre Dame lost too-ha ha.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Another friggin' recall?!?!?! Who knew that when I gave rocks to Asa to play with, it was the safest thing out there? I just thought I was being cheap.


Some people dust every Tuesday, laundry on Wednesday, baking on Thursday, etc. Everyday has it's chore. How do I know when to mop my floors? When I vacuum and they still look like a herd a buffalo went by, it's time to mop my floors. I do laundry when I run out of clean underwear. When the dust bunnies are bigger than Asa, I dust. When it is nice and sunny outside, forget everything I just said.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Us vs. Them

I watch Football. I understand that in sports, someone wins and someone loses. Hopefully my team wins, and the other team loses. But even if my team is not the winner, I can recognize the sprirt of a good game. And when we all go to bed that night, I am securing in knowing that it is all just a game.
So when did the world go crazy and demand everything be win or lose? Why is everything becoming a "you are with me or against me" attitude? Us vs. them? It's all or nothing? Are we all just a bunch of stereotypes?
If you put your kid in day care, you aren't willing to sacrifice for them
If you keep your kids at home, you're to protective and not willing to let them grow.
If you bottle feed babies, you don't care about their health.
If you breast feed you are a self-martyr who clings to her baby selfishly.
If you follow one religon, you have no business reasearching another.
If you are registered Democrat, you may not check out Republican candidates.
If you are a registered Republican, you may not check out Democratic candidates.
If you are neither Democrat or Republican, don't vote.
If you live in the city, you are a resource hog, demanding services 24/7 and out of touch with nature.
If you live in a small city, you are a bumpkin out of touch with the "real world".
Do you eat organically? Hippie
Do you eat what's put in front of you without asking where it came from? You don't care about the planet.
Buy at wal-mart? You support slave labor.
Listen to country music? You support gun rights.
Don't even get me started on immirgration. You just bring up the word, don't state a thought either way, and people call you a racist.
Lesbians work in social services.
People under 18 are unappreciatitve.
People over 40 are out of touch.
People over 60 don't care.
People over 80 have dementia.
Do you see where I am going with this. We get painted with a brush and that is it. We all follow patterns. In the summer I wear sandals and in the winter jeans. So do many others. I read, therefore I tend to hang out with others who read. I don't lead a life of crime, therefore my friends tend to be pretty straight-laced. But I also recognize that as much as I "chill" with people like me, no one is a carbon copy, and I resent that I am suppose to ignore, or at worst hate, others who are different. I resent the fact that I would be labeled as a suburbanite mom who must only care about diapers, playdates, and Elmo. That I have to join the battle on who's raising their kids "the right way", and as a woman, I will vote Hilary Clinton. As a "White" person, I am not suppose to know anything about minority rights, but as a Jew I am suppose to know about suffering.
I think we are raising the next generation to be confused. To fear what they don't know, and ignore what scares them. It is a dangerous situation. I hope that when Asa is old enough to express his feelings, he talks about how proud he is of his heritage, as a Jewish Man with European heritage from both his parents, and as an American. I also hope I teach him how honored we are to experience the pride of other cultures, other ideas, and other nations. I hope that I teach my son that it is not him against the world, but him with world.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Good Old Days

I hate the phrase "in the good old days..." Now that we are gearing up for election season, politicians will cart out that phrase, or one strikingly similiar, like kids with candy at Halloween. As if just by saying it, they will magically become the one we all vote for.
I am not a historian, and I don't play one on tv. But I have a general history degree, and I have read A LOT of books on the stuff. Let me provide a brief overview of the good old days in the United States.
Violence: Anybody ever heard of the Ol' Wild West? It didn't get the moniker "wild" because they sat around darning socks. Although tv always distorts the truth, the gunslinger shows were accurate in that violence was an everyday part of life. These outposts of civilazations almost always had a saloon and I don't care who you are, fire water can make anyone crazy if they drink enough. The American Revolution wasn't a war of words, and I am sure the slaves who were beaten didn't feel loved. For that matter, I don't think the Native Tribes killed/or forced onto reservations felt they had a choice either. Prohibition sparked the Al Capone's of the world, and the reason they called it the St. Valentimes Day Massacre was because people died, by violence. I have no statistics-they are easily manipulated. But I don't think we are more or less violent today.
Health Care: Okay, this is a tricky one because I think health care INSURANCE companies are riping us off. And, there is some validity to the old ways. Cinnamon may help with high blood pressure, and gin soaked raisins seem to help with arthiritis, among other things. But really, the phrase "an apple a day, keeps the doctor away" was health insurance for a very long time! Seriously, in the early years, being a surgeon was an par with cutting hair and no good doctor would lower himself to either profession. Food related diseases, like ricketts and food poisoning, were not uncommon into the 1900's. And it was very common for a parent to bury at least two or three kids, often young children. Plagues like yellow or scarlet fever, dysentery, and typhoid fever would rip through a community or tenement building like wildfire. Health care today can use some fixing. But as the slogan goes, we have come along way baby. (Ironic that that is from cigarettes!)
Immigration: Hello, if any issue is an old one, this is it. The Statue of Liberty wasn't placed there to welcome the navy. We are a nation of immigrants and if you can find them, read books by Jane Adaams to get a perspective on what these people faced in the late 1880's/early 1900's. It sounds eerily similiar to today. Leaving behind all you know to go to a place where you don't speak the language and don't know what social services, if any, are available to you is stressful. Come on, immigrants are leaving their home. I barely function in another town let another country. And the reality is, the current population, whether it was 1692, 1892, or 1992, has never been receptive to new comers. Every major ethnic group in the last 400 years has faced discrimination when they set foot on this country. And Ellis Island had doctors that could send you back for poor health while the social service team was required to make sure you either had a sponsor or a job waiting. I won't debate immigration here. But I hate the sound bites of today that regulate this issue to three sentences. It is complicated. It is intense. And people's feelings are involved. But it is an issue we have been dealing with for hundreds of years. We should be able to get it right eventually.
Kids: If you read this blog regularly, you saw my blog on magazines and my new parenting style. It seems politicians use the phrase "family friendly" every time they sneeze. Kids today are generally safer, healthier, and have a happier existence than ever before. Yet every time I open up a magazine, newspaper, or see a blurb on tv, they are fat, broke, and commiting suicide at alarming rates. There are children out there suffering. It breaks my heart. Who should be their biggest ally, is their own worst enemy-their parents. But the reality is, for a lot of kids, things are pretty good. Deaths by illness is down, death by farm implements is way down, and most have access to some education (although that is a good debate too.) One story that brought it all home to me: My senior year in high school, I was whispering to a friend, so my mom wouldn't hear me, about the number of girls in our class who had possible abortions. I AM NOT DEBATING ABORTION-DON"T GET SIDETRACKED. My friend and I came up with 11. My mom leaned over and said "that is about how many girls in my senior year had abortions." Okay, lesson to myself, I can't whisper worth a shit. But it definitely pointed out to me that maybe things hadn't changed all that much.
Obviously, I love history. And there are some great moments, and lessons, that I wish everyone were aware of. But history isn't pretty. People are human beings who can be petty, mean, unkind, unfair, and downright rude (think Dr. Laura). But there are also humans who are unfailing kind, hopeful, and work for us all to a better way (think Jane Adaams again). In every generation there are the moments that make us cry, cheer, and wish some of our brethren were better behaved. It was like that 400 years ago, and it will be like that in the future as well. So just put "the good old days" in perspective.

Friday, September 14, 2007

You know your a parent when...

There are moments when you look at the little person behind you, your child, and you think to yourself "who is following me?" I have looked at Asa and been absolutley astounded that he is 1) actually mine and 2)the universe thinks I can be responsible for him. Other times I look at him and it hits me, I AM A MOM. Last night was a mom moment.
It's 10:30pm and I am sneaky into my son's room just like I used to sneak into the house at 3:00a so I wouldn't wake my parents. I have to be sure he is TOTALLY asleep so I can sneak his two best friends, puppy dog and blankie, out and into the wash. We can't do this awake. To have those two gone risks the ultimate meltdown. I successfully enter the room, grab blankie, and realize that puppy dog is under Asa's arm. My sister will understand when I say I felt like Robin Hood in the Disney version of that movie, stealing gold from Prince John. I am uttering the mantra "please don't wake up, please don't wake up" as I lift Asa's arm and snatch the dog away. Touchdown, I get both into the wash at 10:45p. So guess who gets to stay up until 1:00a with grainy eyes cursing the day we gve Asa the damn dog? Who in there right mind stays up that late to wash a dumb ass stuffed animal and it's side kick the over-sized kleenex? Only a parent, that's who. Once they were dry it was like a brand new team. Not only were they bright in color but super soft. I wantd to sleep with them myself as visions of childhood came filtering back. How upset can I get-I had a blankie too and I know the feeling.
You may be asking why I made such an effort to get these two washed? The other day Asa handed me puppy dog to kiss, of course handing me the dog's butt. I am a good mom, I did the obligatory kiss, only to discover that puppy dog had a crunchy ass. In my house, ANYTHING with a crunchy ass gets a bath. I still do not know what Asa got that dog into but if it happens again, I will be up till 1:00a waiting for the dryer to go off.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Ears Are Burning

It is official-I lost my virginity today. For those of you who know I gave BIRTH to a baby awhile back, don't look to shocked. Today, for the first time, I listened to a Dr. Laura program. It wasn't my fault! The lady who cuts my hair had it on. But it never hurts to JUST listen so I sat there looking thoughtful. If you like Dr. Laura, don't bother reading anymore. It will just hurt. If you think her conservative slant offended me, guess again. I had a hard time focusing on what Dr. Laura was SAYING because I couldn't get over how RUDE she was! She interrupts people, tells them they are wrong, and ignores them . One lady called in about a problem her fiancee was having and Dr. Laura responded with "don't marry a man without a backbone". We never heard the problem. And every caller started with how much they loved Dr. Laura. I felt like telling them that that was their first problem. The one guy she liked was the twit who wrote in saying he kept the weight off by parking in the back, taking stairs, and using his own personal gym equipment. If that is all it took for the rest of us, we would all look like Shania Twain.
I know I sound like a prude, but manners count with me. Please, thank-you, I'm sorry, and excuse me go along way with me. We all have those not so fresh days when we seem to say the wrong thing or interrupt on accident. But if the people who were the reason I had my job were calling me, I would be a little bit more grateful and a lot less like a bitch and harpie. I am now convinced her blond hair is a dye job-she just sounded trashy.
(Disclaimer-not all of us who dye our hair blonde are trashy. Just the harpie's.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Add My Vote to The Food War

I was reading my sister's blog, and I was going to respond, and then I thought I would really get out there and add my two cents to her two shekel and see where it gets us.
My sister wrote on her blog about food, and the push for better nutrition. I won't repeat verbatim what she said but she summed up, in my opinion, that she felt pressure it isn't good enough to home-bake something, it has be whole wheat this, fresh from the farm this, and if it isn't you are eating junk. She felt like she got a lot of pressure form people as to how and what she feed her family. I agree with her that the pressure is there.
We both agree that people with food allergies and other issues, like celiacs disease, have to watch what they are eating-constantly. My 9 months as a "dairy avoider" taught me much and people with food issues for whatever reason face a lot of difficulties. They are excluded from the following rant.
Feeding our children has turned into a battlefiled on par with where we send our children to school. Do we home-school? Daycare? Send them to slave drivers? Do you bake at home? Use fresh produce? Feed your kid nothing but preservatives and lead from China? 100 years ago lard was a popular ingredient in everything. Give your kid a candy bar today and you get the cross-eyed look that you must not really care about your child. I manage to give Asa something fresh almost everyday. Fruit, vegetables-something that came from a tree or the ground within the last few months. I never give him pop, eat again after dinner, and I watch his candy intact like a hawk. We push the beans, super watered down juice, and dairy products like some type of dealer. I also give him sugar cereals, noodles and bread bought from a store, and dried fruit. Turn me into child services.
Feeding your child, like everything else we do as parent, should be done to the best of our ability and within a parameter that is fun and educational. I don't want Asa growing up thinking broccoli is a weapon of torture. And I also don't want him growing up thinking that the four food groups include chips, cookies, twinkies, and ketchup as a vegetable. We as parents need to support each other as we do our best to make informed decisions. We are all in the same leaky boat of parenthood and most of us are getting by on little sleep, a lot frustration, a hell of a lot of love, and the willingness to do right by our child. Isn't that enough?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Late Night TV

I was watching late night tv the other evening. This is anything after 11:00p, unless I am super tired and than it is 8:30p. But usally late night tv is late at night. So I am doing my useless butt routine-sitting- and what comes on but a commercial for underwear. The brand name is irrevelant. 10 or so ladies, all dancing around using exercises balls to show me how flexible the material is and how carefree I will feel? I guess I shouldn't be offended because the ladies did have on as much as if they were wearing a bikini, but where on earth do advertisers get the idea that watching half naked women is going to inspire me to buy underwear? That sounds like the way to advertise to my husband. My underwear, if I may be so bold, has two requirements. 1) be cheap and 2) fit. I admit, I have boring underwear. But don't blame the kid I had a few months back. I have never had great expectations from my underwear. I was always under the impression that a Slim Figure, World Peace, and Feeding the Hungry would have to come from somewhere other than my pants. Now, if companies want me to buy their underwear, they need to send Hugh Jackman to my door with a smile on his face and free pair in his hand (after I buy the first three of course). But watching skinny little things with no stretch marks and the flexibilty of a porn star is not going to inspire me to buy the product. I think I have officially taken the title of Grand Crumudgeon Supreme.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Summer Lovin'

I received a lot of comments from many different people that my blogs have not been up to snuff. Well, that is putting it politely. Most have been written when I was distracted to say the least. But summer seems to be like that every year-lots of promises to do this and that and before I know it, it is September. As much as I have been disappointed in my own writing, I am kind of honored that people can tell the difference!
So last night I got one of the magazines I subscribe to on how to be a good parent. I have always had faith in myself that my child won't grow-up to be the next Charles Manson, but any additional help was welcomed. After all, Asa never came with instructions. But now, 2 years after getting my first magazine, I want to know when parenting got so hard? I read two different magazines and each month I can be assured of a deadly disease of the month, activity ideas I can't afford, and lots of tips on getting my child to do exactly want I want, and if he doesn't do what I want, I am doing something wrong. Obviously the days of sending our kids out into the world with a wagon and a horse to play with are gone. Both are too dangerous for anyone under the age of 20. But I think we have forgotten that little kids are little kids regardless of what year it is. When I see Asa play with rocks and garbage, effectively ignoring every "educational toy" he has, I can see in my mind little boys, and girls, from decades before doing the same thing. And when my little angel turns to me and shouts NO!, I am pretty sure that other little communicators are doing the same thing around the world. Besides, the magazine is pretty two-faced in my opinion. One month I see an article encouraging no sugar drinks, and the next month there is a 10 page glossy for the newest juice, loaded with enough sugar to wire up a whole army of kids. Plus, most of my best parenting advice has come from other parents, and the internet can make up for whatever I may be missing.
So now that I have decided to NOT re-new my subscriptions, and am going to raise my child without the help of "experts", here is what you can expect from my child:
*He will be dirtier since I am not reading about the next superbug he could catch.
*He will be low on table silverware use. If he can't use a fork and spoon by the time he is 10, I will send him to a special class.
*He will get some sugar cereals because I did as a kid and somehow lived, but the new "low sugar" juices (with just enough sugar to take out one family instead of an army of kids) will still be watered down.
*No more craft ideas so he will have to make do with every item in the house for playtime-oh wait, he already does that. I guess it means no more eating crayons than.
*He will go to bed to late, dress in mis-matched clothes (no more glossy's for guidance), and go outside in the sun despite the warnings of skin cancer, ticks, bad people, mean kids, possibly deadly scratches, dogs, cats, and water dangers.
* He will continue to do things that amaze me only now I won't be so surprised (but still amazed) because I will have nothing to compare him too. (Except the neighbors dogs who listen as well as Asa. Poor neighbors.)
*I will still love him with all my heart, even though I don't have a magazine to tell me that I should. And I will still avoid beating him because I don't need to pay money to know that is wrong.

Just because I don't want the magazines that are out there though doesn't mean I don't have ideas of what I would like to see by way of information. Below are the articles I am looking for and if you see them, please hook me up.
"10 Ways To Convince Your Kid To Eat By What's On Sale, Not What Taste's Good"
"Daddy Disciplinarian:When To Listen And When To Ignore Him Eating Twinkies Right Before Dinner"
"You To Can Love Laundry:10 Simple Magic Spells To Make It Happen"
"Renewable, Cheap Energy-How To Hook Your Kid Up To Your Hot Water Heater"
"A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned: How To Encourage The Cheap Labor In Your House Without Resorting To Violence and 'Leave It To Beaver' Scenarios"
"Whining: 10 Mental Exercises To Avoid Going Insane"
"Logic: Kids Have None So Fornicator Beware"
"The Black Hole: How Kids Take Every Last Dime Just By Eating and Pooping"
"The Grandma/ Grandpa Paradox: Why Cookies At Their House Are Edible, But Are Poisonous In Our House

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mr. Rogers

Asa and I were watching Mr. Rogers today, again. I love that show for him. Simple crafts, calming voice-invariably one of us falls asleep and today it was me. But am I the only to think that guy always looked old. Obviously when you compare him to 2003, the last year the show had new episodes, to his first season you notice a difference. However, if I were to see him on the street, off the fly, with his 1970's look, I would assume he is old. That is one of the reasons I love the show-the polyester pants, crazy ties, and cardigan sweaters takes me back to being 4 years old. Funny, 30 years later and I still hate the puppets. The king is a condescending jerk and Lady Elaine is a bitch. So much for me being president of the fam club-I think I just lost my fan club membership. Although, I love Mr. Rogers himself and I think the man is practically a saint. Go Mr. Rogers- I am a fan.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

As promised here is my critique of the latest Harry Potter book. Be forewarned, I am not trying to ruin the book for anyone so some of my comments are vague but it is almost impossible not to give a critique without mentioning the book to prove my case so if you want total suprise when you read the book, stop right here!
I was extremely disappointed in this last book, which was a great shock to me as I have enjoyed the series so much. Many people cite the fact that fame gets to authors and their books change over time but I saw an interview with J.K. Rowling and she wrote the end of the entire series before she wrote the first book so I know this is not the case here. Why the change? Can't answer that-I don't know. My mom disagrees with me that there is a difference so I just might be mental-it wouldn't be the first time I have gone off the deep end!
My biggest complaint about the book is the indeciciveness of whether this is a children's book or an adult book. It is sold under children's lit., explores some very adult themes and reads more like a grown-up book, and then at the very end she switches back to a children's book and basically ends the story with "and they lived happily ever after". After spending three days of reading an adult book, I wanted more. On that note, her use of death was appaling to me. I think she proved in books 4, 5, and 6 that Lord Voldemort is a nasty guy with no conscience. Even in the beginning of book 7, she has a few deaths that leave us sad (I got a tear in my eye for the second one). But at the end of the book she seems to almost find glee in killing people right and left and I found it uncalled for. But again, here we go again with my argument are we reading a children's book or an adult book? In an adult book I would expect lots of death, but in a children's book I was disturbed by it. And I don't care what my mom or the media say-Snape is bad from beginning to end. The final child vs. adult book is how confusing it is. 24 hours AFTER I finished the book, I realized why there were Horcrux's AND the Deathly Hallows. True, I am slow, but I can't imagine a 10 year old being that much quicker. Or maybe I just don't give those youngun's enough credit. Either way, when the movie comes out, I will be hard pressed to spend $9 on a first run of it a theater. I am more inclined to wait for the video.
In all of the first 6 books there was always a magical quality that made me feel like I was peeking into a another world. This last book just felt like I was reading someone else's misery. Not that the books have always been sunshine and roses, but you still felt magically transported. The magic was missing from this book. I never felt transported or even magical. There were many ananlogies to World War II and I don't know if that is what got to me or not, but this book could have been the misery of every ethnic group that has ever been outcasted from the main population, adn that is quite a few groups as we all know.
So, overall-thumbs at half mast. I have read better, I have read worse but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Monday, August 06, 2007

August Camping

Asa and I just returned from camping in the Columbia River Gorge. I spent the entire weekend telling Asa to...get out of the garbage, leave the dog food alone, leave the dog alone, leave the neighbors alone, don't cross the street, get out of (Cheryl, Amy, Monika's) chair, leave the dog's water alone, leave the fire alone, etc. etc. It was not restful. Every time a train went by, which was often, Asa perked up like someone had given him drugs and ran to the neighbors site across the street where he would quickly beg for food and than run to the edge of a big hil that ended at the tracks. He is a multi-tasking little devil. And after two nights of sleeping on the ground, I feel like Rocky Balboa took a couple jabs my way. It sucks to get old and decrepit!
But the reality is, we had a great time!! Sitting around ye' old campfire at night, looking at the stars, sneaking smores while Asa slept, gave me a feeling of great peacefulness and a fat butt. And knowing that we may not have the most fun of everyone present, BUT that Asa was exposed to new experiences and elements made me feel like a good mom. He got filthy and gross, but he saw the outdoors as they are meant to be seen, and not through a television screen. We will go camping again, hopefully this year. And again, I will probably yell at Asa the whole time to stay out of whatever trouble he can find. Sounds like a great time to me!! Thank-you to our patient co-campers, Cheryl, Monika, Amy, Dexter, Henry, and Juanita. Very appreciative that no one bit Asa, even when he deserved it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Going to the dogs

I am bothered yet again. I am so anal that seems to happen often but now I have my sights set on the sports world.
Michael Vick, QB for the Atlanta Falcons (that is a football team for those you are uninformed), has been brutalized by the press and fans for being involved in dogfighting. I am damn sick of hearing about it. But don't read me wrong. I hope that Michael Vick gets the book thrown at him. Not only is it a horrible, horrible "sport", but it has been well researched that people who brutalize animals, often turn to the human counterpart eventually. Seems you either care about other lives, or you don't.
But it disturbs me how specialized the fans and press are in their venom. Sure Michael Vick has done wrong, but where are these people when sports stars are accused of beating their wives and girlfriends? (I have yet to hear of a female athlete beating up their innocent spouse so I can't fairly drag them into this.) I can think of a half dozen athletes from a variety of sports who were accused of domestic violence, and the response from the public has always been lukewarm-especially if the accused is on a team headed to the play-offs. "These men have stressful jobs". "They have to deal with constant presssure to succeed." "The amount of testosterone needed to win, makes them high-spirited." "It is a private family matter and none of our business." These are not direct quotes, but they reflect the same sentiment I often hear. When did the pain of a dog become more than the pain of a woman? Or as my very astute husband said, if Michael Vick had been fighting with chickens, would anyone have cared?
I hope that this is the beginning of a new dawn for all sports "hero's"-that they are no more, and no less, as special as the rest of us and that they too are mere mortals who must obey the law. The silver lining to all this, and there is one-Joey Harrington is set to be the Falcons starter. As a former U of O Duck, we are still in his corner and would like the Detroit Lions to be sorry they ever let him go. He is a much better role model that Michael Vick any day.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter-part 2

Oh the lazy days of summer-they go by in a flash and are anything but lazy!!! This is just an update-yes, I picked up the last Harry Potter book, no I haven't read it, yes I cheated and read the last page and a half, yes I could kick myslef, no I couldn't resist!!!! So I have no idea if my speculating in the last blog was correct or not, but rumors coming back to me are the the three friends, Ron, Harry, and Hermoine, live. Well, no duh? How can you kill the hero or his posse? Of course, these rumors could be wrong-ever heard of the old chuildren's game "Telephone"? Anyway, I am about 1/3 of the way through the fourth book (Goblet of Fire) and still refuse to read the 7th until I have finished 5 &6. I'll let everyone know when I finish the series. I didn't think it was that big of a deal, but people are constantly asking me about it!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Harry Potter-the 5th movie-good

You may not know this about me, but beneath my mild mannered appearance (think Clark Kent with boobs) I am a Harry Potter fan! I still remember the day, going down memory lane, when I discovered the magical wizard out of England. A friend found the first three books cheap at Costco and gave them to me at Christmas, asking me if I had even heard of Harry Potter. I had just caught a quick paragraph somewhere about how kids really liked this book, so yes I had heard of him but I didn't know ANYTHING about him: age? location? Storyline? I figured Harry was a boy's name but that was it. I read the first four chapters and was unimpressed. I almost put it down. It reminded me to much of "James and the Giant Peach" by Roald Dahl. An orphan living with nasty relatives. Big deal. The main character in "Peach" was James Trotter, and Harry's dad was James, and I just kept thinking nice subtle plagarism. But I kept reading. I read those first three books in about ten days. Ahhh-free time before I procreated. Then I bitched at the rest of my family to read them. I started my own cult.
Here we are 6 books later, and 5 movies later and the magic continues (although I never saw three books cheap again.) I read the 5th book when it came out but PURPOSELY did not read it before the movie. The first three movies I did that and I spent the whole time asking myself "why did they leave that out?" Sometimes, ignorance is truly bliss. I really liked the fifth movie, and that is saying a lot because the fifth book has been my least favorite. Yes, details got cut, just like the first four movies. But it helped boil down the plot so you got some of the key concepts I missed when reading the book. There were some funny lines, and I love seeing the kids grow-up with the role. Whoever said they would look to old to basically play their own age should be shot with a wand (I actually read that somewhere and I can only assume that it was someone from Hollywood where we demand that 16 year olds actually look 24.) I also love seeing the cast of venerable British actors who have been in the Harry Potter series. It reads like a Who's Who of English acting and the decision to keep American actors out was wise.
So the final book comes out next week and as much as I would love to say that J.K. Rowling and I are "BBF's", the truth is she has no idea who the hell I am. But here is my own OPINION (no first hand knowledge) of what I think will happen in the last book:
1. We will discover that Albus Dumbledore is not only alive, but some how related to Harry. Either Great Uncle, grandfather-I am not really sure.
2. Two characters (note we have not heard the word "people") die in the last book. Obvisiouly one of them has to be Lord Voldemort,a nd as for the other one, I don't know but I highly DOUBT it will be a main character. Who will go to the last movie if it is Harry, Ron, or Hermoine? Not that J.K. Rowling has ever been about the money, but still...
3. Snape is good. Although he may never be Harry's greatest fan, he has always come out in the end for good.
4. Harry will graduate from Hogwarts, and become the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. Who better to lead that class then the one who vanquished the biggest Dark Arts creature of them all?
If I am right, it will be a minor mriacle. I am hardly ever right. But if I am, I will certainly take some time to gloat. We shall see in about a week!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Impress me baby

Recently someone told me that I am hard to impress. This comment was made after I made an obversation about a U2 concert I went to in the '90's. Bono, the lead singer, was walking on a catwalk and people from the crowd kept trying to touch him. To Bono's credit, he shook hands with many of his fans. All I could think, as I watched this scene play out was how if I were down there, there is no way I want Bono touching me. Not only is he a stranger, he is hot and sweaty from putting pn a show and I would bet good money he has germs. Think of all the hands he just shook. Meeting/seeing/talking to famous people is exciting, and I have had my share of "fan moments", but am I impressed? Because Bono can sing better than me? Travels more than me? Was almost a priest instead of a rock star? Kudos for Bono for doing what he loves but where should I be impressed?
The truth is, I am just as impressionable as the next person, but it has to be something important. Social Workers impress the hell out of me. No pay for working with a segment of the population most of us want nothing to do with-that is impressive. Mother Teresa-walking the talk of helping our fellow man impresses the shit out of me. People who have lost children, no matter what their age, and still carrying on is tops on my list. One couple I read about lost all three of their children in a car accident. Their response was to start a foudnation to help kids in need. If I lost Asa I think I would curl up in a ball and just cry. Yet this couple have brought goodness out of a horrible tragedy. These are the type of people that impress me.
This is the one time I wish others were like me. "Stars" are great and all, but do we need more Paris Hilton's of the world? Maybe if she were impressionable like me, we wouldn't be hearing about how jail changed her. Changed her from what?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A History Lesson

Happy of Fourth of July! Hopefully everyone had a safe and happy holiday.
Believe it or not, the Fourth of July is truly a day to celebrate. Imagine this:
50 people deserted on an island, 25 men and 25 women (so re-populating is NOT an issue). Ten of them have taken it upon themselves to be the leaders. They scouted out food, water, and shelter so the others could sit there and ponder their existence. The ten intrepid, leaders discovered landscaping features, searched for a way off the island, and brought dinner back. It is obvious, the 50 people are going no where. So the men are faced with a decision-how do they set up a new civilization? Do they vote in a King, or do they vote 3 or 4 of their own members, the ten bossing everyone around, to form a type of government? In a very watered down nutshell, this was the limited examples of government available to the Founding Fathers. Government for the people by the people had been a pipe dream for thousands of years till some hotheads on the East Coast got a bee in their bonnet and told England to stuff it. Once the Colonial Americans beat England, the question became "now what?" How do we raise money? Does everyone want to join our club? Do we have an army? Who is ruler? A good King? One person from each area? Who will lead us? Once a leader was chosen, what do we call him? There was a very vocal faction who felt that the President should be called "His Highness". Where will the new leader live? Remember, sending a letter, once we got a postal division, could take weeks. It seems obvious that we have the government we have, but in 1776, these were scary questions, no real answers, and no one to turn to, to find out. It turned John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, close friends during the actual revolution, into enemies. Adams felt the people shouldn't have to much involvement. These simple farmers were not bright enough to possibly know enough to help guide a country. Jefferson was the complete opposite-government for the people by the people meant just that, no matter where they decided to go.
Now, let's not get ahead of ourselves. In 1776, government for the people by the people meant white guys. Women, slaves, and anyone considered "undesirable" (which is a lot of leeway), were left out of this little dream. The framers of this nation were about freedom for themselves. However, the fact that a bunch of rabble rousers spurned the mighty British Empire, however they did it, gave hope to a lot of people and has changed History for good or bad. Think about it-for thousands of years things pretty much ran the same way no matter where in the world you looked. Kings and the occasional Queen through out Europe, Emperors in Asia, Cheiftan leaders throughout Africa and North America-even South and Central American had Kings and royalty. After the American Revolution, other nations, particularly France, started to see what was possible. The start of the American Revolutionay War was truly, "the shot heard 'round the world", because it certainly changed the world permanently.
So with that mind, I wish everybody a great holiday and a thanks that we have the government we have. Check out the quotes below-I thought they were relevant.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Modern Technology

I can't help myself-I have to write about computers YET AGAIN!! I am sitting here on my friends laptop (thank-you Katie!), not only checking e-mail and blogs, but communicating with people half way around the world!!! What would our ancestor think? Truly we forget the modern world we are living in. I used to feel guilty about all this "moderness". What would my great-grandmother say if she could microwave a Lean Cuisine for lunch? What would my ancestors say if they could have flown out of Russia instead of the overland trip through Europe and then a cruise to Ellis Island? Even bagged lettuce made me feel guilty. No more howing the rows, planting the seeds, watering, harvesting, preserving, and then getting a meager salad for dinner. Grab the scissors (I have no muscle) and cut the bag open as I pull the pizza out of the stove. Ever think about life without a vacuum cleaner? I often think of hiring someone else to use it, but I can't imagine life wihtout one.
I truly used to feel guilty about all of this. Millions of years of progress and invention all so i can watch some tart on tv tell me how I can wash my curtains (a huge worry in my life) or some idiot tell me he fired people I don't know. Or so i can get to the grocery store in 5 minutes or less to buy a Kit kat that will attach itself to my butt like flies on a lightbulb (ha-ha-you thought I was going to say soemthing else!). Watching lives saved by modern medicine seems worthwhile and noble, but having a can of deoderizer JUST for my son's room (out darn diaper pail, out!) seems like awaste of all that technology it took to get the can.
But a few days ago I went to a re-created community in Fort Rock, Ore. A preservation society has been collecting abanodoned prairie buildings and fixing them so we people can go through them and learn. One of the guides was even nice enough to play a real phonograph for us!! It was a treat to hear that "modern technology". And I learned another thing- one hundred years ago there would be no guilt-they would have eaten the damn bag of lettuce. One hundred years ago, the chance to be able to go "to town" at the flick of a car key would have been a welcome opportunity.
Human Beings have always created things of comfort and entertainment-it's why they took the animal skins and stretch them across a wooden base so they could have drums. Oooo-break out the disco tonight. It's why religious ceremonies often had social competitions like the first olympic Games. Pray to the Gods, run a race against your neighbor, and check out the cute girls from the neighboring village. So no more feeling guilty about all the neat things we have to use. When I eat that chocolate chip cookie out of the package, I will do it in honor of all the previous relatives who never got the chance but would have liked too. I think it is the least I can do, because all the previous generations would have used these things too-it is why they invented them in the first place.

Friday, June 29, 2007

First time listener, big new fan

So today I had a lofty topic of liking different types of people because I am reading Sidney poitier's book "The Measure Of A Man", and I can relate to it. Yes, I know I amnot a man, I am not from the Bahamas, I am not over 70, and a whole host of other things that Sidney Poitier IS. But we are both human, parents, and a whole host of other things we DO have in common. And that was my intellectual point.
However, today, Jamie, a co-worker, introduced me to YouTube. My wee little mind is blown!!! Did I write how the internet amazed me? YouTube has music, tv, etc. and you can hear the song (and sing a long if you choose like we did) AND you can watch a video to go with. A picture on the screen with moving images. I found songs in there I hadn't heard in ages including stuff by Jay and The Americans, Nils Lofgren, the BeeGees, and George Harrison. I am truly amazed by this thing we call modern technology. It makes me wonder what us humans will think up next. Where can we go from here? I can't wait to find out. If they can get Barry Gibb in those tight white pants, life size in my house via holagram, I will be a happy camper.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pretty Woman

It isn't often I quote a movie, primarily because I can never remember anything verbatim. But in the last week or so I seem to be having the same conversation with many, many different people. Must be that time of year. Basically, like Julia Roberts said in response to Richard Gere in the movie "Pretty Woman", when asked about her low self-esteem despite being told she was good, she replied that it was easier to believe the bad things. Is that not so true? Last Saturday my friend Jennifer and I had a little spat that went something like this:
Jennifer: Dena, you are a good person.
Dena: No I am not, you are.
Jenniefer: No I am , not you are.
Dena: No I am not, you are.
We sounded like Ted Bundy and Charles Manson fighting over who was more evil. But everyone I talked to seems to ahve the hardest time believing the best about themselves, myself included and I don't know why that is. I have tough standards for my friends-my first reaction is to think everyone is suspicious, and then let you prove yourself to me. It saves a lot of heartache on my end, but makes me choosy, so if I am communicating with you in any way, feel honored.
But no matter how many times someone says I am smart, pretty, worhtwhile, etc., etc. my first reaction is that they must be a crack smoker. I am WORTHY of those qualities, but I still have to work my way to them. It gives me goals, and keeps me from feeling like complete idiot, but it makes me wonder about myself. Why do I nedd constant validation? Why do so many other good people I know need the same thing? Why are we so friggin' tough on ourselves? I don't have the answer to that. Maybe God likes us to see us strive harder than we think capable? Maybe it is HIS way of keeping us humble? Or maybe we need to take the stick out of our ass and relax? I will keep pondering this question but I would like to see what others say, if you want to answer. Why are we so quick to beleive the worst about ourselves, but not the best? Or am I the only one who thinks this? If that is the case, it is sure lonely at the top! Ha ha-I know I am not the only one, but what does the rest of the world think, if it thinks anything?

Monday, June 25, 2007

2 months of blogging

So two months or into this blogging and I think I am liking it. In an egotistical way, I think of myself as a writer more now. True, no money in it, and I am not listing it as an occupation, but still, I sit and think about what I want to write so that counts for something, right? I have discovered what I love more is reading what other's wrote. Maybe it is because I am nosy by nature, or that I love knowing how my friends are doing, but keeping tabs on other people makes me feel like we are close, even if physically we are far away.
Slow that I am, it still amazes me that we do all this with computers. Let me get out my corn-cob pipe and talk about "the good olds"- I still remember the first time I saw the internet. Aaron and Dave were Computer Science majors, and over one night to bash Rush Limbaugh, Aaraon insisted I needed to see this new thing that everyone would soon be getting into. I believe he said it would revolutionize computer use. Forward thinker that I was, all I could say was "Who would want to shop like that"? So much for my ESP. But Aaraon was right and here I am using the internet to chat, look up information, and just generally waste time. Computers will never replace human contact, but thanks to the magic of technology, I am keeping in touch with people miles and miles and miles and miles away.
So after two or so months of doing this blogging thing, I realized what the name of my blog should be and am changing it yet again.
What it means: Mrs. Kravitz was the nosy neighbor on the old tv series "Bewitched". At one of my old jobs, anytime I needed to pass on info. none of my business, I would call for a Mrs. Kravitz moment. Beleive me, a lot of my blog stuff is not important stuff.
Sweet and Sour is part of my philosophy of life. People always want to re-live a time in their life-high school, college, when they were first married, their children were young, they were young, etc. But few times in our life are all happy, or all sad for that matter. Even in my darkest days, I have some good memories. So that is what life is constantly like for me-a mix of sweet and sour. (Remember, I hate winter, but love Christmas.)
I feel that the name of the blog reflects my personality and not some pre-made expressions created by others.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Theif At Heart

If you have read my blog from June 21 ("35 Candles"), you will know that last Tuesday I was at the new Forest Center in Tillamook. It is a very neat facility, filled with all aspects of forest management. In one display, they have a tree where the bark opens like a door to see what lives there. They have a forest firefighter tent, with tools for beating forest fires. They have a replica of a pioneer home with information on how the logging industry was, and still is, an economic tool for the area. Outside there are trails, long and short, that talk about the woodland area. Some of the trails hook up with a neighboring campground, but the shorter ones travel through a replanted area complete with info. signs.
The true highlight for me was the fire tower. This thing is at least two stories tall and when you get to the top, they have the quarters of a fire watcher. In the 1930's and 40's, this was one way they spotted forest fires, posting people up high and having them report signs of fire via radio. Of course, true to modern times, everything was nailed down. The lid to the pot was glue'd down, as was all the dishes, radio equipment, etc. But the view is neat, and even Asa climbed to the top, setting the stage for some great napping time on the way home. My joy was complete until I saw the books. Two old books to reflect the time, one was a Zane Grey/Gray? and the other was a story to go with the Blondie and Dagwood comic strip (still running in The Oregonian). Of course I picked up the books and looked at them-I am an addict. But let's talk about how disappointed I was that the books WERE NOT NAILED DOWN. Are they so unimportant? Of so little value? I have seen toilet paper restricted and locked up, so books are less than what we wipe our butts with? I wanted to steal the books just to show that someone out there found them worthy, but the Girl Scout in me felt guilty just thinking about it. Maybe I should be grateful they think book lovers aren't thieves, but what I really want to do is go attach the books to the bunk with a wire so they at leat seem to have the same economic value of a stew pot lid.
WIth or without the books, the center is great and worth a visit if you are in the area.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

35 candles

I wasn't going to mention my birthday, but I realize I have issues. I turned 35, and to all of you who are older and think I am whining, you would be right. But 35 is hard. True, my boobs have been sagging since I was in my late 20's (welcome to the world of a large chest), and the boys never really looked my way anyhow (book loving, make-up free, opinionated girls are NEVER in hot demand). But it is hard to think that IF a cute boy looked my way, he would probably think "there goes some old lady and her baby". It sucks! Once upon a time I colored my hair for a different color of blond. Now, I am happy with any blond and trying to hide the grey. I never wore high heels much, but I sure miss the days of wearing any tennis shoe I could find. Now, if the arches don't support my feet I can kiss my knees good-bye. Sigh.
But there is a silver lining-let me tell you what I did for my birthday.
Tuesday, my mom took me to the new forest center in the Tillamook National Forest. Not only did she drive, which as much as gas is was probably the most expensive gift I got, but she paid my admission fee and we had a great time seeing the exhibits and wandering their trails. Even Asa had fun, even if he never noticed the Tiger Lily flowers still in bloom.
Wednesday, D-Day, my husband let me choose the activity and we went to the Discovery Center in The Dalles, ate lunch at Baldwin Saloon, and stopped at Multnomah Falls on the way home. We even walked to the first bridge, .2 miles up. Asa walked the whole way too and giggled everytime a dog passed us, and he loved the ice cream that daddy shared with him.
Friday, I am going out with friends from work where I will have some calorie ladden drink.
I realized driving home yesterday, with my son snoring in the back and my husband pretending to show interest in what I like, it had been a great day. With the windows down on a sunny day I could smell the fresh air and wildflowers of the forest. I could see my son, covered with ice cream, look all fat and pleased (all babies SHOULD look fat so that is a good thing). And my husband was loving enough to miss the OSU baseball game to spend the day the way I wanted. I realized then, one great thing about getting older, is that we learn to appreciate the gifts that really matter. I still want things, but I want things like my baby's smile and giggles, sunny days with my husband that last forever, and the memories of happy days. Knowing that my friends were thinking of me, even if I never heard from them, is a gift I wouldn't trade for anything. Watching Nick feed Asa the Beggar ice cream is priceless. That I know that, takes the twinge off of getting older. What life lessons will I learn as I age even more?
I am not happy with 35, but obviously what do you do? Lord knows I want to make 36, 37, etc. so tommorrow I will go out with work, drink enough to be happy but not enough to get in trouble and feel like a rebel because I will ignore the calories floating to my butt.
Oh how we change, thank goodness. I didn't get a single gift I could unwrap, but I feel like I got a lot for my birthday. Thanks to everyone.