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.