March 31, 2009

Is this where I run out of questions?

A few weeks back, I received an email from a site called or something like that, which is why I am not bothering with linkage. It seemed like a nice enough place, from what I saw. They sent me an email asking me about my parents and something about how our relationship has gone since I have had children, etc. I did not end up replying because I really had nothing to report. My mom, dad, and step-mom are all stellar grandparents. They are great with the kids, the kids adore all of them and the grandparents are respectful towards X and I with our parenting decisions. And yes, my Olathe Grandma makes all the typical Worrywort Comments for which she is famous - it seems, invariably my kids are under dressed for whatever the weather, be it July or August (pneumonia knows no season, did you not know?) Nonetheless, she is the first to compliment my sister and me on our parenting skills.

But my aunt? Is not. And she is vocal about it. Granted, our relationship has always been strained, even when I was a little girl, she did not like me (or my sister, for that matter) and she had very, very little to do with us when we visited our grandma. However, since she lives with my grandma, with whom my sister and I are extremely close, our aunt is an unavoidable fixture in our lives.

Overall, this aunt is good with my kids. Sorta. If she was not constantly trying to ply them with cheap toys and junk food, it probably would be okay. But, no. She is relentless in her corn syrupy, trans fat laden culinary assault on my kids (assaults delicately colored in a lovely hue of Red #40, of course.) And the best part, is this: After these nasty, sugary treats, the kids get crazy and............. wait for it.....wait for it...... Yep - you guessed it - my aunt then complains about how wild the kids are.

Okay, all of this bad enough - the fact that my aunt is purposefully giving my kids food that she knows I do not want them to eat. But folks, it gets better - she will ask/show the kids the food first and then pulls the Your Mother Routine by telling the kids, "ask your mother" or "no, your mother won't let you have this". Listen, I do not mind being the bad guy. Ask Arun! Go ahead! He will tell you that I cackle with reckless abandon as I go about denying him his heart's desire.

No, no....the worst part of all about this twisted relationship is when my aunt talks about me when I am in another room. The transgressions are far and wide - they involve under dressing, a lack of socks or footwear or a hat or just general standards of behavior/safety that she and I do not agree upon.

Yesterday, at my great-grandmother's cousin's wife's house, I dropped in at the estate sale to check in on my grandma( she is the executor of this relative's estate and it has been a strain on her, I thought she would love to see the kids.) My aunt was there, foisting crap on my kids again. At one point, when I was in another room, I heard "blah blah their mother blah blah". It did not anger me - frankly, none of this infuriates me. It does annoy me, but I know the score - I am happily married and have two lovely children. My aunt has never been married, never had children. Folks. I let a lot slide by the way side in the name of compassion.

However, in a fit of insomnia last night I realized something. Something that struck me hard and rattled around in my chest. Sure, I may be irked but I am able to brush this off. Whatever, right? On the other hand, she is spewing this verbal trash in front of my children. And therefore, it must stop.

The next time this happens, I am going to very clear and calm about it. I am going to tell her in no uncertain terms that I am teaching my kids to respect her. And I expect the same. From now on, I do not want her talking about me negatively in front of my children.

The end.

March 30, 2009

If love is blind, why bother with lingerie?

Last Thursday, I died my hair black. Oh sure, my hair is normally dark, but still, this was so black, it was almost blue. Saturday evening, I pointed out to my husband that Hey! I dyed my hair black! On Thursday!

I am not sure if I have mentioned this, but apparently, if you soak an electronic item in water, then stick it in the refrigerator, the refrigerator may help dry the thing out. I have done this successfully with my Treo twice (Anjali's drool) and my Nano once (Arun's waterboarding techniques. Sadly, while the Nano has survived the waterboarding, the charger has not. I can report that it was stoically silent to the end. RIP, charger.) This is particularly heartwrenching because I have been "wogging" (walk a lap, jog a lap) at the gym and I need music. I need to hear about life and love's injustices via the wisdom of Katy Perry, Pink, Carrie Underwood, Madonna, Laura Branigan.

The other day, Anjali Sr. had a great piece on the current state of financial affairs in our country. I love reading Anjali's blogs (on She Started It and on Skirt!) because she has an amazing capacity for charity towards mankind that I have difficulty reaching myself. I am a cynic at heart, but Anjali's writing usually forces me out of my negative comfort zone and encourages me to think.

In her post, she ponders the Blame Game going on in our current economy whereby may folks are pointing fingers at the consumers:

But I get frustrated by all of this talk — about how over the past several decades materialism has invaded the human mindset and is responsible for the erosion of common sense and responsibility. Because something tells me that underneath it all, this isn’t the whole truth.

Andrew Sullivan linked to these charts. His conclusion, I suppose, is that Americans, as well as American government, began a love affair with debt and credit, which is partially responsible for the mess we’re in.

I need some more evidence before I believe that this is the case for the majority of Americans. I have plenty of friends and relatives who are classic overspenders, who binge on things they think they deserve just for breathing. Their entire lives are on credit. They get new cars every few years and go out to eat for dinner several times as week as if they are executives at Microsoft. They go on cruises, buy clothes all the time, etc. But most people I know don’t do these things.

I do agree that most of our issues were dealt at the hands of the knuckleheads on Wall Street and a very greedy core of folks who thought gambling in the real estate market was a safe choice. And I do agree that some honest folks were sucked into this maelstrom. Still, I think we have become a nation of Must Haves and that many of us were playing a dangerous game of chicken with our credit cards. And now we are paying the price. The nice thing to come of this is that it is now becoming fashionable to be a cheapskate! Which is really an awesome trend. I know I could do well to get more tightfisted.

Anyway, I encourage you to hop over to Anjali's place - there is some good conversation over there.

March 27, 2009

Where is my snake?

These were 2nd set of words out of Anjali's mouth today (the first was "tell the monster to go away, mama". Bad dream, perhaps?) When Arun came into the room with his toy snake, she was adamant about finding hers. While it is cute, this competition of theirs, it is also tiring. We do not have two of everything around here, I am not trying to run a Noah's Ark Service for toys. Although, I am about ready to buy another goddamned Nerf gun because I am so tired of the fighting and whining. I will admit that I am a wee bit proud that my sweet baby girl knows how to load it, although she cannot quite cock it yet.

While I am mommyblogging today, let me tell a quickie about Arun. The other night, I asked him what did he want to do when he grows up - I expected an answer about taking care of animals, charming snakes, driving a racecar, uniting the world into a big, gooey group hug of peace and love. But no, his answer was, "Mama, I want to reach things." To be sure, he was probably thinking of that pair of scissors stored high, high away from him.

So, have you heard about that little site called Zappos? I suspect this is not a newsflash, but wow - that place rocks. Last night, I purchased a Sherpani backpack from there and immediately upon checkout realized I had missed the option to enter my gift certificate (an early birthday present from my mommy. Thanks Mom!) I sent an email and the problem was fixed within 10 minutes. Via email. Oh sure, their prices are not very competitive, but with free shipping and stellar customer service, Zappos will be getting my business again. They are currently batting 2 for 2. Not bad!

Speaking of backpacks, I am ditching the whole handbag thing for awhile. Last Saturday, we went to the Natural History Museum at KU in Lawrence (Total Sidenote: if you live in Kansas City and have kids who are as crazy about animals and dinosaurs as mine are, get theeself to Lawrence. It is totally worth it. We bought the membership, which is a bargain.) Anyhow, as I lifted the kids up and down and up and down to see exhibits that were inexplicably too high for children, I kept struggling with my handbag falling off of my shoulder. In general, I am finding that as we cruise parks, museums, children's farms, the zoo, etc. that the handbag is very inconvenient. I need something that will just hang on on my back as I lug around 60 lbs worth of Kid. I have been lusting after that backpack for well over a year now, so I am pretty excited. Although, the entire paradigm shift of not having a girly, cool handbag makes me crumble a little inside.

Finally. In conclusion about scribbling potentially controversial posts:
Folks, that sucked a lot of time out of my life that I will never back.

Thankfully, I did not get flooded with traffic, but it was weird traffic. As such, I felt I had to keep an eye on comments more closely than I normally would. I could have moderated comments, but we are out and about so much, I was simply not home enough to approve them, which would have stifled the conversation.

So, Overall, I am going to try and be more faithful and honest with my voice here but I was a little alarmed by how much time it took to monitor all of that. This is a creative outlet for me, not a job!

March 26, 2009

What's in the bag?

Handbag Thursday [hānd'bāg' thûrz'dā]
1. A Canal Street knockoff of Jodifur's Shoe Friday.
2. A lame attempt at regular blog fodder by invoking my own accessorized day o' the week.
3. A frivolous little feature that allows me to talk about handbags every week. What's not to love about that?

Okay, we are back to some fun, frothy nonsense. This blog is not about Heavy Lifting anyway, right?

This week's bag is from the lovely Monkey. When I began Handbag Thursday, she told me about a funky bag that had been given to her as a gift. I have been pressing her to send me the snap ever since and I was excited to finally see it. Apparently, this purse is made by a company called Ecoist and they were featured in In Style at some point because Carmen Diaz has one. Monkey's purse was made with gum wrappers from Mexico. A quick perusal of the site myself and I am already in love with the Coca-Cola version. However, the Barcode version brings back vivid memories of my mindless days as a checker in a discount grocery store in Lawrence aptly called Checkers. Yum.

March 25, 2009

Isn't shutting a person up the same as shutting them down?

If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all. ~Noam Chomsky

If you can't annoy somebody with what you write, I think there's little point in writing. ~Kingsley Amis

And no, that first quote is not directed to anyone in particular. I am just saying that I would no more tell Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity to shut the hell up than I would Andrew Sullivan or Jon Stewart (although, admittedly, I would love to tell Ann Coulter AND Rush Limbaugh to both shut the fuck up already because the word "despise" does not adequately even begin to describe the degree to which I feel about them.)

So, what is this all about? Last week, I was hesitant to write about a controversy that exploded between two bloggers (both gals with far larger audiences than I have.) I did end up writing about the controversy, but what resulted was a watered-down version of what I was really thinking....really feeling..... I am still dissatisfied with that post and will forever be unhappy with it because it does not truly reflect what I thought about the whole thing. I am also disheartened because I wrote the post and then? Received emails about it. In fact, I received more emails than comments. Why? Because folks were not comfortable talking about it in public and thus, having their name associated with it. A few folks were flat out scared to even have their names publicly associated with it.

With permission, I am quoting a friend from one her emails (I repeat, with her permission. I would never, ever post a quote from someone without receiving express consent!) regard to her unwillingness to comment publicly on my blog (a little-known, little-read blog at that!) my friend said this:
"What does that say about the blogging community at large? That I'm afraid to comment on a post that you were hesitant to write? I don't believe that the majority of the blogging community are vindictive snipes. But it really only takes one or two to ruin it for someone, especially if that one or two has a following of 30,000 folks.

I'm not sure what my point is, only that I'm a little shaky after the thought that we are starting to become self censoring because we fear a backlash from folks we don't even know."

Is this in our heads? Am I the only one afraid to talk about potentially controversial topics that may or may not concern popular bloggers? It is sad, but some folks are nervous. And not necessarily about the bloggers themselves, but about their crazy fans. And some of those fans are ready to leap with teeth bared and talons unsheathed if anyone remotely disagrees with their beloved blogger or dares to hurt that blogger's feelings.

It seems that some of us are scared of those bloggers with a larger audience and perhaps, there is some validity in that. Piss off the wrong blogger and their legions of fans with virtual torches and buckets of tar will hunt you down.

Is it just me, or does it seem there is a group of bloggers with large audiences who can take unmitigated swipes at others with little to no consequence? Am I imagining this? Am I crazy?

Wait a moment. Don't answer that last one.

March 24, 2009

Can you still "stare off into space" when you are actually in space?

When I finally began going back to gym on a sporadically regular basis, I was quite excited to learn that I had increased the weights I was able to lift. On most machines, it was 5 lbs, on several it was 10 lbs and on one machine it was 15 lbs! Wow. It meant that lugging around Team Chaos on either hip all this time had paid off. That's great, right? Right!

A few weeks ago, I was resting between sets and happened to gaze upon a sign that said "Conversion Chart". Apparently, all this time, I had been lifting weights marked in kilograms. Kilograms. For the Metrically Inept of you out there, this means that my weights lifted had actually increased by 11 lbs, 22 lbs, and on that one machine, 33 frockin' lbs.


Last night, I made mac n' cheese with hot dogs for dinner for the very first time ever in my children's teeny, tiny lives. Normally, I begin cooking dinner at 4:00pm since I am usually doing a fair amount of prepwork with cutting onions, fish/chicken, veggies, etc. Because I was doing an "easy" dinner, I began cooking at 4:30pm. Sure, I figured I would be done earlier than normal, but I thought it would not hurt to eat dinner early for once.

I was done cooking at 4:45pm.


While listening to the radio the other day, Britney Spears and her creepy, electronified voice came on. In the middle of the song, I could have sworn she sang "But all of the boys and all of the girls are begging to F-U-C-K me." At first, I was a bit shocked, except then I noticed that the title of the song was If You Seek Amy.


March 23, 2009

Are you my sunshine?

Anjali: "No, I not a sunshine."

Our wee silver-tongued minx has quite the attitude to match the verbosity with which she continues to amaze us. Arun at 20 months? He was not much of a talker, but was really, really easy-going. He has not yet shown much of propensity for independence. I am still dressing him from head to toe every day leaving me to wonder if I will have to follow him to college to dress him (which could be awkward should he manage to get himself a girlfriend.) Anjali? If we had a nickel for every time we hear her indignantly declare,"No! I do it!", then our household could personally fund the Bailout.

As you can imagine, she is getting to be quite a bit of work as it seems everything with her is morphing into some sort of negotiation of what She Can Do or Cannot Have. I am finding myself leaving store after store with her trying to work herself up into a tantrum as I desperately try to calm her.

Although, I would be lying if I did not admit that I just adore her ferocity, at times. Well, not when we are at the hardware store and she insists on having her own personal roll of duct tape. But other times, I am totally on board with her independence*. Thus far, hands down, what works with her is to hold her close, whisper in her ear "I know, I know. You want ." If she is fussing because she wants to do something herself, then I will say, "Let's do it together." (Because God help you if you use the word "Help". You are doomed, I say. DOOMED.)

I have talked about this before, I think. But seriously, I hate, despise, loathe all the child rearing advice that recommends that you ignore a child's tantrum - in particular, a toddler's. A toddler needs help working through what is a complicated set of feelings to them (albeit annoyingly inconvenient to us.) If I see the whole Put Baby In the Corner stance while reading child rearing advice, I am out. Gone. I stop listening. I think it is cruel to leave an 18month old to figure it out on his/her own. Cruel. Does it mean that Anjali gets what she wants? Um, no.

Yes, I do use timeouts now with Arun, he is old enough to understand the consequences of his actions. And I use timeouts for misbehavior, not for disappointment because he did not get his way.

Am I always calm, cool and collected? Um, no. I get angry. I yell. I get impatient** when I am at a store and I just need One More Thing and could you please let it go, I am not buying you that.

But I do know this, when I take a deep breath and take the time to console and acknowledge their disappointment, they usually let it go. And every single time I ignore the kid or yell at the kid, it escalates into something Ugly. Every.....Single......Time.

*Total Sidenote: If I was going to have a stubborn, obnoxious child, I am grateful it is my girl and not my boy. Dude, it is a Hard Knock Life for a girl. I have seen a lot of laid back men get somewhere in life and do okay, but I think girls need to be scrappers or Life will just run right over them. Eh. Sue me.

**Another Total Sidenote: Lest you think that I think I am so great of a mother. Know this, on my blog, I am a great mother. In Real Life, I pass muster. Case in point, all over the Blogosphere, I promised to read to my kids an hour a day for that whole Reading To Your Kids Extravaganza everyone is celebrating. Yeah, like that happened (she types as her daughter is napping in the car in the garage*** and her son is watching yet another episode of Little Bill.)

***Another Total Frocking Sidenote: The garage is heated/air-conditioned. All doors are open so we can hear anyway. Judge me at your own leisure.

March 19, 2009

What's in the bag?

Handbag Thursday [hānd'bāg' thûrz'dā]
1. A Canal Street knockoff of Jodifur's Shoe Friday.
2. A lame attempt at regular blog fodder by invoking my own accessorized day o' the week.
3. A frivolous little feature that allows me to talk about handbags every week. What's not to love about that?

My friend Mojavi sent this one in. What is difficult to convey in this photo is the sheer magnitude of this bag. This behemoth has a perfect "handbag" shape, yet it easily measures 24 inches wide and about 18 inches high - no kidding! I used to always tease Mojavi that this bag was worthy of Madame Maxim herself, the headmistress of generous proportions from Beauxbatons, the rival wizarding school to Hogwarts.

March 18, 2009

How much is that elephant in the window?

Until now, I have resisted talking about the Boobie Beatdown going on between Her Bad Mother and The Daily Blonde. I was certainly hesitant to even get close to that furor, but also, I was a little afraid. 'Tis a slippery slope to have opinions that folks may take out of context or heaven forbid, disagree with. Don't mess with the community, yo.

However, over the past week, I have received numerous, numerous emails about the whole Boobie Beatdown. As a former breastfeeder (I nursed from October 05 to January 09 with a 6 month break between bouts) and as a former breastfeeding blogger, a few folks have asked what I thought of the madness. At first, I was not interested in touching this with a ten-foot pole and merely sent private emails in response. After all, as a result of the Beatdown, there has been much mudslinging and vitriol passed between the camps of the two bloggers in question.

Furthermore, I even questioned how to write such a post - if I mention and link directly to the bloggers in question, then I could be slapped with the dreaded charge of Traffic Mongering. If I failed to mention the two bloggers in question and instead, weaseled out by getting all Oblique on you, then I could get trounced with ye olde accusation of Passive Aggression and dude, nobody likes that.

Nonetheless, a few things really, really bothered me about the whole ordeal and stuck in my craw and try as I might, the highest quality of toothpick could not pry them forth.

So, here's my post with the Two Things That Really Bothered Me About the Boobie Breakdown.........

The Two Things That Really Bothered Me
About the Boobie Breakdown
A little over a month ago, Salma Hayak cross-nursed a baby in Sierra Leone. The trip was humanitarian in nature, one that concerned educating folks about rampant malnutrition and the lack of vaccines in a country where babies are dying from these things. While there is a necessity for cross-nursing and wet-nursing on a continent rife with disease and malnutrition, as a general rule, the La Leche League has this to say about wet-nursing and cross-nursing:
"La Leche League does not encourage or suggest wet nursing or cross nursing of infants. Indeed, the practice is discouraged for a number of physical and psychological reasons."
I have said it once, I will say it again - babies die, DIE, from inadequate water supplies and tainted formula in underdeveloped countries. And, please tell me that most of us reading here know about the little "problem" of AIDS in Africa. Folks, this is not a joke, or an over-used example in the breastfeeding advocacy. Both UNICEF and WHO push breastfeeding not because they are vicious, lactating harpies or old, white-haired men with an anti-feminist agenda, but rather, UNICEF and WHO have a very real concern with developing countries who have very real issues with tainted formula and unsafe water supplies. Literally, breastfeeding can be a lifesaver.

Thing #1
While I am
not personally squicked over cross-nursing, I would not allow my child to cross-nurse without the recommended screenings. What really disturbs me is how this topic of cross-nursing has turned into a freakshow side act for the casual, uniformed observer. In reality, there is an unquestionable need for cross-nursing in countries that are dealing with serious issues - such as war, famine, tainted formula and unsafe water. We bloggers have the luxury of sitting in our cozy houses tapping away on our laptops playing "She Said, She Said" and in the meantime, there are babies dying.

So, yes. As a breastfeeding advocate, that is pretty distressing to me, this gross misunderstanding of the serious need for cross-nursing coupled with the inscrutable fact that it must not be conducted in a casual manner. But what truly troubled me about this latest blogging showdown was the sheer nastiness of the noxious fumes emanating from the comments sections of both blogs involved and throughout Tweetersville. Whoa. I thought we were adults here. And as a BlogHer blogger, a community of which I am proud to be a member, I thought we had a code of conduct (I Googled this and could not find it on BlogHer's site - either it does not exist or I am an idiot, the latter of which is most likely in this case.) Let it be known that I am not immune to the temptation of acting nasty towards someone online and using that person's public missteps as my own personal blog fodder snark. Dear Lord, no. I have done it myself. (After I wrote that post, I was so embarrassed for myself and as such, wrote a public mea culpa. It is a lesson that still shames me. Yet another reason I hesitated in writing this post today.)

Thing #2
I am genuinedly alarmed and disheartened with the fact that I was so very reticent in writing this post in the first place. Because breastfeeding has been "my thing" for awhile now, my first reaction was to write about it. My hesitance at not writing about it makes me question the extent to which I am censoring myself on other topics.
I was certainly intimidated by the extent of harsh contempt that has been displayed by both sides on this topic. Let's face the facts: If you piss off the wrong blogging crowd, you might want to think about training for that marathon that is on your Bucket List.

I am not sure how to conclude this. I suppose all I really wanted folks to know is that not all cross-nursing sessions are conducted "on the fly"with no screenings, no planning and no foresight. Oh, and this:not all mommybloggers go at each other with verbal switchblades.


March 16, 2009

If laughter is the best medicine, then who's the idiot who claims he 'died laughing'?

Today's regularly scheduled post is briefly interrupted by our Inaugural Trip to the ER..........

I have always said that Anjali would be the one to send us to ER - she is our daredevil, our climber, whereas Arun is our little Apprentice Granny.

So. This morning, I packed our lunches for our planned trip to the zoo, got the kids dressed, then headed upstairs to take a shower. After the shower, I was getting dressed when I heard Arun begin to cry. I went downstairs to investigate and found Arun clutching his hand with a fair amount of blood all over the place. Apparently, Anjali cut his hand with a pair of scissors, although admittedly, the details are, shall we say, a bit sketchy. While I mentally rehearsed the speech for my inevitable Mother of the Year award (I rock, y'all), I attempted to clean the wound and figure out the extent of injury. Arun was having none of it.

I took a long, long swig of the Better Safe Than Sorry Koolaid, packed up the kids and headed to the hospital. Two hours later, with Arun's thumb safely ensconced in a fancy BandAid and our bank account $100 lighter, we were on our way out. Yes, it was a complete and utter waste of time and money. I have never been more grateful.

I did Tweet a bit about the ordeal. You may ask, "Why?" and I would respond, "Why not?" Out of two hours, we saw the doctor, nurses, staff, etc. for a grand total of 20 minutes, which meant we had 100 minutes left to our own devices. The kids were beyond excited to be seeing doctors! and the hospital! and chairs with wheels! and the castle! in the waiting area and Spongebob! on the television. Conversely, I was bored to tears. It did not help that after about 10 minutes into the whole thing I realized that Arun was fine, just fine, but it seems once you get on the ER Rollercoaster, there ain't no getting off the thing until the carnie with the questionable background check and mullet lets you off.

Regularly Scheduled Post, Painstakingly Typed Sunday Evening

Just a reminder - I am trying to reply to comments more often via email. I can only do this if I have an email address. I know, Gmail is sort of a bitch in that way.

This past weekend, I invited my grandma, her siblings and their children with their children over for a lunch (again, people - if you are not making Average Jane's Baked Ziti with Roasted Vegetables for your next family gathering, you have no one but yourself to blame for not clicking that damned link already. The dish was such a success I had to print copies of the recipe that day so folks could head out the door with it because they did not trust me to email it later.)

So, a good time was had by all. As the children ran amuck, the adults sat and reminisced. My cousin M brought his new baby girl (his 3rd child) and several times, folks tried to get me to hold the baby. You know, since X and I only have TWO children, it is our job to provide the next baby for everyone to pass around. I had to admit, though - I am not comfortable with other people's children. Period*. Even family members. In my defense, as I explained that I really prefer children from the age of 6 months to 6 years and thereafter, I am at a complete loss, my cousin M nodded his own head vigorously because he understood. And natch, I do not believe he ever held my children when they were little rubberneckers.

Anyway, it was a great time - I definitely intend to host more of these little shindigs. I loved being able to open my home to so many of my relatives at once. It was a small gathering and there were still easily over 20 of us. We rarely all get together at once these days - because of the sheer number of us (50+), it is difficult to squeeze us all into one location. It appears my house is large enough to accommodate all of us and I am more than happy to do so.

*One exception: Chocolate Covered Susan's son. I LOVE HIM. I want to steal him - he is blonde, blue-eyed and would complement my children's coloring PERFECTLY.

March 12, 2009

What's in the bag?

Handbag Thursday [hānd'bāg' thûrz'dā]
1. A Canal Street knockoff of Jodifur's Shoe Friday.
2. A lame attempt at regular blog fodder by invoking my own accessorized day o' the week.
3. A frivolous little feature that allows me to talk about handbags every week. What's not to love about that?

This is one of my handbags, but I use it as a knitting bag. Truthfully? It is not something that I would carry because I prefer leather. However, when my grandma offered it to me, I could not resist the red velveteen with the embroidery. It is just so pretty. And soft. So while it is not my style to carry as an actual handbag, I do enjoy using it to carry knitting projects.

March 11, 2009

Am I the only one superstitious about opening umbrellas indoor?

According to this site, the superstition stems from the umbrella's original use of protecting folks from the sun. Apparently, opening an umbrella inside totally rubs the Sun God the wrong way and sorta pisses him off. Since I do not worship the sun or any other celestial body in the sky*, you would assume that I could let go of this silly superstition, but no. The opening of an umbrella strikes terror in my heart, as my poor son found out the other day when I totally freaked my shit out as he kept opening Thomas the Umbrella over and over and over, thus damning us to an eternal life of doom and bad TV. Excuse me for a moment, while I go rap the patina off of a nearby table and ignore a recently broken mirror. At least our salt and black cat are safe, because those do not bother me.

So, it seems I am going to BlogHer '09. Yahoo! or Google! or Apple! Whatever works. I am rooming with Celeste of Average Jane, Rita of Surrender Dorothy and Blondie of Tales from Clark Street. I got one of the very last spots in an actual bed**, but I believe there is a bathtub and some spots on the floor still available for rent. Because, of course, Available Room Space = Lost Revenue. I suspect if you just email one of the others your personal square footage needs, that space could be yours if the price is right.

This year, I am not quite sure what my goal or intention is with my attendance at BlogHer, what with me being Ye Olde Blogger of Zero Influence. And since Rita, that selfish hag, did not publish a book this year, it is doubtful I will be invited to any special parties. However, I am going to carefully examine the agenda and really try to attend some different sessions - this is my fourth BlogHer and in the past, I primarily concentrated on mommyblogging.

Anyway. Overall, I hope to meet a few new folks, hang out with some old folks and knit up a storm. I found at last year's conference that I was almost bouncing out of my skin with nothing to do but sit quietly. Halfway through the first day, I snuck out and tracked down a crafts store. I bought some sticks and cheap yarn. This year, I will come prepared.

The one thing I am really sad about is that Brit and Marilyn will definitely not be there and last she said, Zoot was on the fence. For all the virtual group hugs we have done these past few years, I would have liked to get one in real life.

* I prefer my objects of worship in the forms of wispy ephemeron, thank you very much.

** I am not telling with whom I am sharing a bed so that you can fantasize any possible combinations to your heart's desire.

March 9, 2009

What are you supposed to do if you see an
endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

Try explaining to a 3 year old why there are no dinosaurs at the zoo. Apparently, the answer "Because they are all DEAD." does not suffice and actually, results in further questioning.

Recently, I have been doing some research for FoodieBytes. While digging through tons of food blogs in LA, I happened across a lovely site called The Delicious Life - chock full of yummy photos of food, I dare you to read this site and not get an appetite. While digging through her archives, I came across a link she posted for Peruvian Chicken Soup. I made this soup on Friday evening and oh MY, this is not your grandma's chicken soup. I mean, I suppose it is your grandma's chicken soup if you happen to be Peruvian, but yeah. Whatever.

This soup was so satisfying - the lime added a special tangyness to it and the crunchy, chewy bits of cilantro really brought it all home for me. The smell of the vegetables simmering all day long added a special atmosphere. I cannot wait to make this again.

While I cannot claim to be any sort of photographer, like most of us with a camera, I enjoy playing around with mine. Over the weekend, I bought some lovely strawberries - not only were they fun to eat, I also had fun messing around with the macro settings on my camera. While I think Annie Leibowitz can safely sleep at night, I still did not think it too shabby for a point n' click being operated by an idiot.

Also, I found these guys hanging out on the floor and thought it would be a silly thing to snap. I was right.

March 5, 2009

What's in the bag?

Handbag Thursday [hānd'bāg' thûrz'dā]
1. A Canal Street knockoff of Jodifur's Shoe Friday.
2. A lame attempt at regular blog fodder by invoking my own accessorized day o' the week.
3. A frivolous little feature that allows me to talk about handbags every week. What's not to love about that?

This bag belongs to Deanna from Pair of Ducks Knitting. It is green. Can you not tell? Heh. Her mom used a secondhand sweater and made this purse for her. The straps and interior lining were also recycled. Awesome!

March 4, 2009

Are children who act in rated 'R' movies allowed to see them?

I have always wondered how the parents of child actors handled that. Do they tell little Johnny he did a great job, but sorry Charlie, no admission for you?

So......yesterday, Oprah had a special on neglected children. As I shuttled my children upstairs to watch a video, I pondered the irony.

Yep, my kids watch TV. They probably watch more than some kids, but still less than others. I suppose on some level I am supposed to feel guilty and I can guarantee there is at least one person reading this judging away (Hi!! I see you!!)


TV is just one part of our day, a day that easily stretches to 12+ hours a day since Arun does not nap most days now. As such, I read this article on CNN with amusement. It is about a study that shows TV does not necessarily harm nor benefit children:

In the Harvard study, two I.Q.-related tests were administered to the children: the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test III, which indicates how many words the child understands and uses, and the Wide-Range Assessment of Visual Motor Ability test, which presents puzzles and peg boards to test cognitive abilities.

Babies who spent more time watching TV had lower language and visual motor skills at age 3. But when results were adjusted for household income and education levels, the association did not appear.

Lead author Marie Evans Schmidt and her colleagues "did not find evidence of harm or benefit of TV viewing."

Based on the existing body of research, Schmidt, a developmental psychologist instructor at Harvard Medical School, said, "there's still more evidence of harm than benefit as far as TV viewing in infancy is concerned."

Studies exploring the relationship between TV viewing and the effects on children are just beginning, she said.

"My hope is that when this information is made available to the general public, that it won't be perceived as study that means there are no harmful effects of TV viewing on infants, because other studies have shown TV viewing at high levels can put kids at risk for some things like obesity, sleep disturbances and possibly attention problems," Schmidt said.

Wait a gosh-durned minute - you mean to tell me that while TV is mere entertainment, high levels of viewing could cause problems? Geez, is that a newsflash or what?

This is currently Arun's favorite show. Apparently, I am going to hell and he is destined for public schools. Eh.

March 2, 2009

What child is this?

Lately, Arun has morphed into Hellboy. No, seriously. Gone is my sweet boy of yore who used to snuggle, ask for things politely and treat his sister like a princess. Instead, I get roared at by a boy-sized dinosaur, ordered around by King Henry VIII and trounced upon by Hulk Hogan. What the frock happened to my boy? Will he ever return? Is this just a phase? Will he live to see pre-K?

Anyway, with all these shenanigans, Anjali's poll ratings have increased dramatically. Her campaign run for the 2009 title of Sole Heir to the Oliver-George Fortune is getting off to a smashing start and as such, Arun better watch out or he will end up living in a dumpster wearing all of my costume jewelry.

Sigh. Posting will still be light here for a bit more - please bear with me. I am working on some things for FoodieBytes while trying to wrestle this house back into order. Actually, "pummel into a pulpy submission" is more like it. The house, not FoodieBytes. Besides, the Double As sometimes (not often!) demand my attention for the few seconds they can wipe the drool from their chins as they pry their peepers from the television. Ni hao, Kailan!

Oh, and speaking of the Double As, I went to purchase underwear for Anjali in the hopes she would eschew her diaper in disgust and decide to be the Leader in using the facilities around here (see again about her standings in the Polls as compared to her Jurassic Era brother, she has nothing to lose, people.) However, while at Target today, imagine my pained chagrin when I discovered Diego firmly camped in the BOY'S underwear section and Dora holding her own court in the GIRL'S. Argh. Don't the kindly folks at Nick Jr realize that Dora and Diego are total gender benders? Boys and girls love them equally, kumbaya. Get with the picture, Nick Jr. Anyway, I am hoping that Anjali will not be insulted if her underwear has flaps, right? Therefore, Diego, it is (and some Dora with Hello Kitty for good measure.)

In the midst of all this toilet turmoil, I am trying to decide what to do about my video and photos. I currently have most of them on the Mac, but I am debating whether to just commit to my PC. If I do that, I have to decide what sort of software to use for video and photos on the PC. Ideas? Should I just stick with iPhoto and update the OS on the Mac? Seriously, the OS is original 2004 (with some updates, of course.)

Anyway, I should get back to re-arranging furniture.

The Bluest Eyes of the Internet

Flybunny and her daugher came to visit!

The Boy Who Did Not Know He Was Extinct

Catching Shrimp At A Japanese Steakhouse.