Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Inconvenience of Skunks

My dog has now been skunked THREE times in the last four years--yes, count 'em, three.

The most recent occurrence being 45 minutes ago at 4 a.m.

Is this just bad luck? Is it karma? Was my dog some kind of evil skunk poacher in another life? Or is it a direct reflection of us, are we being punished for something, because let me tell you--it's not pleasant!

The first time she was sprayed by one of those striped menaces was two days before my wedding. I kid you not. We were having some people over, enjoying some drinks and good company, when the dog began scratching at the back door to be let in. As I approached the kitchen to the back door, I could already smell it and I knew.


What a way to break up a party. Two trips to the store to get tomato juice later, she was sleeping, wet and bleary-eyed in the kitchen while we tried to sleep with the smell of skunk permeating our nose, skin, hair, everything. I mean, that stuff STICKS! You feel like you can smell it for days and it stays in your house (and in the dog) FOREVER. So needless to say, I smelled a little skunky on my wedding day. My friends and family were nice enough not to mention it.

The second time we were living here at our current residence (a.k.a. the in-laws') and again, it was late at night and we had to make a late night trip to the store and give her a hasty bath. Thankfully, no major life events or milestones were on the horizon, so I guess that was a plus. However, again, it took months for the smell to completely dissipate.

Now, onto the most recent turn of events. My dog has a tendency to stay out at night and wander into the woods where we live and not come home. No matter how long we call her, whistle or clap, she won't come in before we go to bed. Tonight is one of those nights. As we lay in bed, sleeping soundly, I hear barking in the distance. A lot of barking. I immediately wake up, my stomach churning, and I know something is wrong. Sure enough, five minutes later it starts to POUR outside and the dog is barking to come in. I get up and as I near the door, the smell hits my nose. Oh no. Not now. Please, not now. I peek my head out our bedroom door and the smell gets stronger. I swear I almost turned around and left her out in the rain. But no, she is a member of the family, albeit the smelliest one by far, and I open the door and let her and her stench into the front hallway. Stifling a gag, I look down at her and don't know quite what to do. It is 4 a.m., none of the stores are open, it is pouring outside and both my husband and I have to work early in the morning. My husband has to go on the road for a job and it's the one day a week that I actually go into the office, so I have to go. Of course the dog knows this fully well, so I look at her disapprovingly. "Now I have to wake Daddy up and tell him. Are you happy now?"

I start softly. "Honey, wake up. The dog got sprayed by a skunk." A gentle nudge. Nothing.

A little louder now, "Honnneeey."

He rolls over and groans.


That finally startles him awake and he quickly looks at me and says "What?!"

"The dog was sprayed by a skunk again."

"Really?" (No, this is some REALLY funny joke that I thought up in my sleep at 4 in the morning.)

"Yes really."

He gets up, goes out in the hallway and proclaims that yes, she has been sprayed (good thing I had him there to confirm that for me) and that there was nothing we could do about it tonight so we should go back to sleep and deal with it tomorrow. Fantastic. Except that now the entire place smells like skunk and it is pouring outside so we can't even leave her out there. That is what brings me to my current state at 5 a.m., not able to sleep because it STINKS IN HERE!!!!

The dog and my husband are both sleeping soundly, though, in case you were concerned.

So later on today, somewhere in between dropping the kids off at my mother's, going to work, picking the kids up and coming home, I have to procure some tomato juice so we can try to de-skunk our stinkin' dog. While all that happens, she will stay outside, and I swear to God, I don't care if it's raining. I have to draw the line somewhere, don't I?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Generation MySpace

Point and click...

Upload, download...

Chat, search engine, e-mail...

This is all vocabulary that NONE of us possessed 20 years ago. I sometimes marvel at how quickly the internet has become such a big part of our lives, and especially our children's lives. They do not remember a time when this vocabulary wasn't a staple in their daily conversations. We are raising an entire generation of children who will never know the joys of looking up a book in the card catalog using the Dewey Decimal system. When they need a book at the library, they type it into the search box and a list of matching books and where they are located pops up on the screen. Voila! Instant gratification. If you can remember sifting through the cards at the library, and you now have a child between the ages of 2 and 21 who knows as much, if not more, than you about computers and the world wide web (and has never even heard of this Dewey Decimal dude), then you are a proud parent of Generation MySpace.

I happen to be one of those parents. I have an 8-year-old that can sit at the computer, turn it on, log in and do things ranging from playing cd-rom games to surfing the internet. He began going on the computer when he was 2 years old, and he has never looked back. Now, at this point in time, we have parental blocks on the computer, and he never strays away from or ToonTown, but there will come a day when he is lured into the appealing and popular world of social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and a litany of others.

Last night as my husband and I were surfing the channels for something to watch, we came across a Frontline report called Growing up Online. The whole program was devoted to this sub-culture of teenagers that are completely addicted and wholly consumed with online interaction with their friends and/or strangers. It probed the actions of teenagers online on sites such as MySpace and Facebook. Now, I will admit that I myself have a MySpace and have been thinking about a Facebook, but my reasons for having these are dramatically different from those of teenagers today. Instead of just wanting to connect with friends and having a place to keep in touch, teenagers are in essence "living their lives online" on these sites. I am not naive, I knew the rising reliance in teenagers on the internet, but I admit that I was shocked at some of the comments I heard from the teenagers on this program. Not only are they chatting with their friends and sending photos, they are connecting with perfect strangers (including sending nude or half nude photos--my stomach is lurching) and being recommended pornographic or completely inappropriate sites to "check out." Don't even get me started about the YouTube craze of recording disturbing scenes on their cell phones and posting them online, as in the case of a fight that broke out in a high school that got caught on tape. Does this not strike anyone else as detrimental to the development of our children? Sure, I did my share of looking at things I wasn't supposed to look at and doing things I wasn't supposed to do during my teenage years, but this technological age has brought the capability of teenagers to do this to a whole new level.

Then there are the anorexic girls that are joining groups online that encourage each other not to eat and stare at pictures of skeletal women to "motivate" themselves to stick on their diet. Great, like there aren't enough messages being sent on television and in magazines to girls promoting low self-esteem, now we have rah-rah cheerleading sections on the internet devoted to it. We also have the cyber bullies, who make it their life's work to find young, meek, unpopular kids with low self-worth to torment and torture in cyber space. On this program, one boy (13 years old!) committed suicide because of the bullying he was the recipient of online. Disgraceful. Sickening. There are so many words that come to mind, I just can't wrap my brain around it. Lastly, we have the girl that everyone calls a "freak" at school who develops an online personality at 14 to live an alter life of adoration as a self proclaimed "model." Really what she was doing was posting pictures of herself in lingerie (or nothing at all) and reveling in the positive feedback she received from perverts and sex offenders. Fabulous. I am sure all her pseudo-friends and followers online are wonderful support in her life when she needs it. How can these kids learn how to interact with people when they barely do it?

These kids can't hold a serious conversation in person. They search for other nameless kids with typical qualities to have "online" relationships with, but never have the real life experience that they need to function in society. But, worst of all, they feel like it is their RIGHT to have privacy from their teachers and parents when it comes to their online identities. This has become such a way of life for them that they can't even picture their lives without it.

How do we, as parents, deal with this? Especially without alienating our children to the point that they won't even speak to us anymore. One zealous mother in the program who was head of the PTO was diligent in monitoring her kids' usage of the internet and even helped other parents figure out what their kids were doing online. She seemed like a great parent that really paid attention to her kids and tried to be open with them. Her son hated her. He was so resentful of her attempts at trying to monitor what he was doing for his safety that he completely cut her out of his life. Now, I know that it is a normal teenage affliction to "hate" your parents and want them to butt out of your stinkin' life, but come on. When did we, as parents, lose all respect and the ability to keep our kids out of trouble without them feeling like we are destroying their lives?

There is always the argument that if the child is brought up right, and the parents always have open lines of communication without being judgmental, ya-da, ya-da, ya-da, that the kids will stay out of trouble online naturally. I think that is a load of SHIT. Yes, absolutely, they are much LESS likely to get themselves into trouble in this situation; but I also think that there are just as many kids out there that were brought up in great situations that are doing stupid-ass stuff on the internet and setting themselves up for trouble. It is the society we live in today. It is the outlook that they can do anything they want online and nobody will know except the people they want to know. It is the ignorance and lack of life experience that EVERY teenager possesses that spurs them on to seek attention and excitement on the internet.

The internet has given our kids a playground to try on adult personas and behaviors, without necessarily having to be accountable for their actions. This is a scary situation. I know that I personally will do everything in my power to teach my kids internet safety, how to be responsible, what is right and wrong, and that I have eyes everywhere so they better be f-ing careful where they web surf, but I just don't know if that is going to be enough. Apart from not having a computer in the house, I am not sure what else to do. I guess we have to hold our breaths, unleash them into the wild and hope they make the right decisions. And I hope they do--because it's a jungle out there.


Baby Panda!

When my daughter saw these pictures, she said "Baby Kung Fu Panda!" I stumbled upon these photos on and just thought they were absolutely adorable (and fascinating)! Isn't it amazing that the huge panda bear that we know and love started off as that tiny, pink, hairless creature?

Just wanted to share this magical transformation!

Savebuckets Will Save You Money!

If you are looking for cheap laptops, you have to check out Savebuckets! They are a UK-based web site that will find you a fantastic deal on a laptop and allow you to compare multiple brands and sellers with their specifications and prices. They have all the top brands, including Toshiba laptops, Macbooks, and Sony Vaio. Not only that, but they have a great selection of ultra-portable notebooks like the Asus EEC PC or the Acer Aspire, for those of us that travel or work from home and need the extra portability.

There is nothing worse than having to "shop" around and go to dozens of stores or web sites to weed through the offers and find what you "think" is the best choice. Now you can go to one place for price comparison so you know you are getting the best deal possible, and that is Savebuckets! Compare prices and models and feel confident that you are not paying too much. You will also be sure to get the best quality there is to offer.

Go compare prices now at Savebuckets and find yourself a great laptop at an even greater price today!

Monday, July 28, 2008

When Time-Outs are Fun

I think my discipline tactic needs to be re-thunk. It is possibly a bad sign when you find that your daughter has emptied the entire contents of your purse all over the front hall, including opening the change purse in your wallet and scattering the loose change from wall-to-wall, and you say "No! This is a big mess, this is mommy's stuff--you don't touch, go sit in time out!" and she says "OK!" and proceeds to trot over to the stairs and plop down, smiling and saying in a sing-song voice "I am in tiiiiiiime out, tiiiiime out. Mommy says tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime out"

Where have I gone wrong?

A Weight Loss Supplement that Actually Works--With NO Side Effects--Hallelujah!

I will admit it, I am a slave to the "diet." I try to convince myself that I "just want to be healthy" (which I do, of course), but most importantly I really want to shed those baby pounds that are stubbornly sticking to my belly, butt, thighs...OK, everywhere! I have tried pretty much everything to lose weight over the years. I have tried all the diet pills (including those ultra naughty ones with ephedra) and have done most of the work-outs. One of my biggest problems is my lack of time to exercise. I am a realist; I know that if I just worked out every day for about an hour doing high impact cardio that I would probably lose the weight in no time. But I just don't have that kind of time on my hands (what mother does?). So I try to squeeze in a half hour of some kind of exercise--my favorites being yoga and pilates for their gentleness on my knees--and I try to eat sensibly. The last component of my diet is always some kind of supplement because I tend to do a lot of research on natural ways to enhance or support your weight loss. In my extensive research and experience over the years, I find that I lose weight best while following a low-carb, low glycemic index diet (which pretty much means almost no sugar and no white refined carbs). As for the supplements, cinnamon is supposed to help with maintaining blood glucose levels, which in turn helps in the body's ability to process sugar properly. I just recently learned about raspberry ketones, which help with cravings and sugar processing. But the best thing I found recently was Tonalin CLA.

According to the Tonalin CLA web site:

CLA stands for conjugated linoleic acid—a fatty acid known for promoting good health. CLA is already in the foods we eat. But there’s less of it now. Beef and dairy used to be our biggest source of CLA. But diets have changed over the past 30 years. We eat more low-fat dairy now. And cows eat more grain than grass. These changes have drastically reduced the amount of CLA we all consume.

Today, the recommended daily dose of CLA is 3.4 grams. To achieve that level through your diet, you would have to consume more than 4 gallons of ice cream, seven pounds of beef, or almost 4 gallons of whole milk. Every day.

Fortunately, scientists developed a proprietary process to convert the linoleic acid of pure safflower oil into CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)—making it easy to take advantage of CLA’s many benefits. Be sure to ask for TONALIN® CLA, the highest form of all CLAs available."

I did my own research and found Tonalin CLA to be getting good reviews on multiple other fitness/weight loss web sites. included CLA as one of their recommended weight loss products (and they are VERY picky about what they endorse!). Below is their full review.

CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) Review

cla - conjugated linoleic acidCLA, or Conjugated Linoleic Acid, is a non-essential fatty acid found primarily in meat and dairy products. CLA is found in the highest concentrations in the meat of animals that chew their cud. Cows and sheep are good examples of such animals.

There is some decent data indicating that CLA, taken in doses from .7 to 4.5 grams daily, can decrease body fat mass in obese and overweight people (the optimal dose seems to be about 3.2 grams daily -- see Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;85(5):1203-11). CLA appears to work by inhibiting the action of the enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL) -- the enzyme that is responsible for transferring fat from the blood stream to the fat cells.

There is also some evidence that indicates higher doses of CLA can increase lean body mass. This contributes to an elevated metabolism, which is a good thing for weight loss! (J Nutr. 2007 May;137(5):1188-93.)

Unfortunately, it's impossible to get the beneficial effects of CLA directly from meat and cheese.


This fatty acid is available naturally in very low concentrations. In other words, you'd need to consume a huge amount of high-fat foods to obtain a reasonable amount of this supplement. By doing this, of course, you'd negate any positive benefits.

That's why it's necessary to supplement with CLA. Research has shown that CLA has great potential as a diet aid -- helping to prevent additional weight gain, and spurring on lean muscle growth.

In fact, several double-blind, placebo-controlled studies (see above) have confirmed that CLA reduces fat and preserves muscle tissue. And that's not all!

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Benefits...

  • Displays powerful anti-carcinogenic properties.
  • Helps diabetics control blood sugar levels.
  • Acts as an anti-oxidant.
  • Encourages muscle growth
  • Regulates and controls fat metabolism
  • Improves good cholesterol levels
  • Reduces the incidence of heart disease
  • Accelerates fat weight loss

Even better, side effects associated with the use of the conjugated linoleic acid supplement are extremely rare, and when they do occur they're usually mild (often manifesting themselves as mild gastro-intestinal maladies).

Considering the controversy surrounding stimulant based fat burners, the CLA supplement represents a healthy and effective alternative. We especially like CLA for those who are sensitive to stimulants, or for seniors.

Dosage should start at a minimum of 3 grams per day for women, and 4 grams for men up to 200 lbs. Men over 200 lbs. will experience greater results with 5 grams per day.

When you're looking for a quality CLA supplement, look for the "Tonalin™" name somewhere on the label. While not absolutely necessary, Tonalin is the patented form of Conjugated Linoleic Acid that was used in the studies determining the effectiveness of this supplement.
I purchased Tonalin CLA on e-bay for $18 with free shipping from Club Natural, a well-known and reliable e-bay seller. You can find it in various other places, such as, where they sell Primaforce Max CLA for about $16 a bottle plus shipping. Basically, for under $20, you can get started with CLA.

OK, now for my review. I started taking CLA about three weeks ago. I take 1200 mg three times a day, with each meal. Within a few days, I could notice a difference in my belly. It felt slimmer and tighter somehow. Taking the CLA was the only thing that I had changed, so my interest was immediately peaked. Over the next couple of weeks, my clothes started fitting better and my arms started looking much more toned. I hadn't exercised once this entire time! (I have been very busy, don't look at me like that!) But seriously, I had lost about five pounds and my body looked and felt like I had lost much more. I am attributing this to the CLA, since it was the only new thing in my diet regime. The very best part is that I have had absolutely NO side effects whatsoever. One of the worst things about other diet supplements for me has always been the jitteriness, insomnia or (worst of all) explosive diarrhea! CLA did none of this, but also has seemed to curb my cravings for sugar and carbs (my two diet nemeses).

I would like to add that this is NOT a paid advertisement and I am not receiving anything from this company for promoting this product. I just know so many women (especially moms) who are struggling to lose weight and could use a leg-up any way they can get it. Yes, we should all be exercising and eating lots of fresh veggies and whole grains, but at the end of the day, sometimes that is just not enough.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I gave birth to Michelle Tanner

How many moms (and/or dads) out there have taken your children out somewhere, perhaps the grocery store, the doctor's office or just to the park to play, and had someone tell you that your child looks like someone? I am curious as to how other parents feel about this. I suppose it should be flattering if it was someone attractive or famous, but even so, do other people find this annoying? My daughter, pictured left with me, looks like one of the Olsen twins. I am not sure which one; I guess both, since they are almost identical. I even admit to the similarity between them and my daughter (and am still baffled by it because I never in a million years would have thought that I would spawn children that looked like those two little money-makers), but for some reason it really gets in my craw when people tell me so. Maybe it is because I hear it about a THOUSAND times a week and it is just annoying to hear it over and over again. Maybe it is because they grew up to be pretty dysfunctional and I don't want my daughter growing up with a complex. Or perhaps it is just that I don't want people to look at her and see anyone other than her.

What if I hated the Olsen twins? What if I thought they were hideous and always detested Full House? (I didn't, on the contrary it was one of my favorite shows, being an 80's and 90's child, but what if?) I have considered firing back something random like "Yeah, well, your kid looks like Lindsay Lohan" or some other skanky celebrity, just to see what they say; but I am such a "yes" person and am always polite, so I say "Oh, I know, everyone tells us that. Funny, isn't it?" Once, just once, I wish I could be a wise crackin' smart ass and make someone blush and flee the scene.

I am not saying that I think these people are bad people or even that I disagree with them stating their opinion. They have the right to think my kid looks like anyone they please. But occasionally, I just need to vent about this daily occurrence that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. OK, I am done with my rant. Continue on with your day, and if you ever meet my daughter and I, make sure to say she looks like someone else. Thanks bunches.


Here you will find a featured review on a cool online or personal service.

The Scent of Babyhood

I have been inspired by Toyfoto, author of the blog Ittybits & Pieces to write this post. She wrote a letter to her 13-month-old son about all the things about him that have changed in his short life and how she hopes to keep all these fond memories of this time in his life. Well, when I got my 2-year-old daughter up this morning, I thought of that post as I looked at her squinty eyes, still so full of sleep. I picked her up and inhaled the scent of her, which was sweet and citrus-y, combined with the smell of sleep and laundry detergent. It was such a beautiful smell that I had to keep putting my nose to her head. But what I noticed about the smell, after a moment of taking it in, was that it wasn't the smell of a baby. It certainly wasn't an adult scent; it was much more pure and magical than that. And it wasn't quite the smell of my 8-year-old in the morning either. It was this "little girl" smell that, although beautiful and intoxicating, was not the smell of a baby.

My little girl is growing up. The tiny, wiggling little creature that I took home from the hospital is becoming more independent, can feed herself and knows how to use the television remote. I can have conversations with her, and she can tell me what she wants when she wants it (and oh, she does!). Although I am sad about this transition from babyhood to toddlerhood, I am also excited and looking forward to all the new things she is going to learn and experience. I just hope I can make sure she understands how magical these experiences are and knows how boundless her possibilities are.

Some people would say that this revelation means that it is time for another baby--I don't think so. I am still enjoying my daughter's journey way too much, and couldn't even imagine another baby in this picture. I know I have enough love and attention for another, but the fact is, I am content with what I have. And there have very rarely been times in my life when I could say that--and actually mean it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Say it Ain't So Batman

As a big fan of Christian Bale's, I was pretty disappointed about the recent allegations that he assaulted his mother and sister in a London hotel. Fox News reported:

While audiences were shattering weekend box-office records in the U.S., Christian Bale was in London, where his mother and sister reportedly leveled assault allegations against the star of "The Dark Knight" that have yet to become clear.

Bale said the allegations were false Tuesday, hours after the Wales-born actor was arrested, questioned by London police and released on bail. The 34-year-old actor spent four hours talking with authorities but was not charged.

British media reported that Bale's mother and sister told police he assaulted them at the Dorchester Hotel in London on Sunday night, a day before attending the European premiere of "The Dark Knight." The Sun newspaper said the complaint was filed by sister Sharon Bale and mother Jenny Bale.

"Christian Bale attended a London police station today on a voluntary basis," read a statement from Bale's lawyer, Simon Smith, of the London-based firm Schillings. "Bale, who denies the allegation, cooperated throughout, gave his account in full of the events in question, and has left the station without any charge being made against him by the police."

A woman thought to be Bale's sister Sharon told reporters "it's a family matter" from her home in Corfe Mullen, 110 miles southwest of London. A man who answered the door at the home of Jenny Bale in nearby Bournemouth said she did not want to comment.

The reports surfaced just days after "The Dark Knight," which co-stars Heath Ledger as Batman's nemesis the Joker, took a record $158.4 million at the box office in its opening weekend. Ledger, who took the iconic villain to a deeply disturbed and diabolical place, died earlier this year of an accidental drug overdose in New York -- a circumstance that has only added to the movie's brooding mystique.

Asked Tuesday whether Bale had been arrested, a London police spokesman did not refer to him by name but said: "A 34-year-old man attended a central London police station this morning by appointment and was arrested in connection with an allegation of assault."

The spokesman requested anonymity because he is not authorized to be identified under police policy. British police do not name suspects who have not been formally charged.

The force later said in a statement that the man had been released on bail pending further inquiries and told to return in September. It did not specify the date.

The Sun said police did not question the actor Monday because they did not want to interfere with the premiere of the movie. The next scheduled stops on the film's European premiere tour were Madrid, Spain, July 23; and Tokyo on July 28.

In the sequel to "Batman Begins," Bale reprises the role of wealthy playboy Bruce Wayne and his crime-fighting alter-ego Batman, a brooding vigilante superhero still scarred by the murder of his parents.

In his destructive battle of wits with the Joker, Batman pushes his own ethical boundaries, and ultimately is forced into the shadows. Winding up what may be the darkest -- and most critically acclaimed -- superhero movie ever, Bale's Batman truly becomes, as coined by Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred: "The Dark Knight."

Bale first made a splash as the child star of Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun" in 1987 and as an adult has made his name with intense screen roles. His earlier films include "American Psycho" and "The Machinist."

Bale is the youngest of four children and is the stepson of Gloria Steinem. Her assistant said Tuesday that the author and feminist leader was at a writing retreat and unavailable for comment.

Bale's current project is playing John Connor in "Terminator Salvation," scheduled for filming this week in New Mexico. The film "will continue to shoot with Mr. Bale when he has completed his International tour for 'The Dark Knight,"' said Lee Anne Muldoon, unit publicist for the movie.

A records check turned up no criminal record for Bale in the Los Angeles area, where he's lived with his wife, Sibi Blazic, and their young daughter. -FOX NEWS

I have been a follower since Bale's early days of the Disney musical "Newsies," with which I tortured my parents by taping it on VHS and playing it over and over while learning the words to all the songs and the moves to all the dances (yes, I was a big theater dork back in the day, still am as a matter of fact). I wasn't completely sold on the thought of him playing Batman when news of his role in Batman Begins hit the airwaves, but I was willing to be open and not prematurely judgmental of his ability to fill the shoes of the oh-so handsome and mysterious George Clooney. Although Batman Begins certainly wasn't my favorite of all the Batmans, I liked Bale's moody, sullen portrayal of the younger version of the super hero. I am anxious to see The Black Knight, of course to see Heath Ledger (whom I have heard is superb as The Joker), but also to see my dear Christian Bale. But, I have to admit that these recent accusations have put a damper on my excitement to see him on the big screen. I don't like not knowing whether he actually did something so nasty as assault his mother, because I like to pretend that I really know these untouchable celebrities and only "like" the "nice" ones. For example, as soon as Tom Cruise started acting like a looney tune, I began to dislike him and not enjoy his movies as much. Yes, this makes me slightly looney tunes as well, but living in my own little celebrity fantasy world is something that brings me great joy.

So here's to hoping that Christian is innocent of beatin' on his poor momma and sis. I will have to go see The Dark Knight and put visions of him hitting some poor old British lady out of my head for the two and a half hours (yikes!) that I am sitting in the theater. Hopefully Heath Ledger's stunning performance will distract me!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Word to Ya Motha'!

Right now my kids think I am pretty cool. My 16-year-old sister, not so much. This made me realize, oh so sadly, that in a few years, my kids are going to think I am (gulp) UNCOOL! This is devastating to me, for I have always prided myself on being pretty hip, always having my finger on the pulse of what is cool in today's society. Yes, I do like show tunes and occasionally belt out with 'N Sync when they come on the radio...and I still think that The New Kids on the Block were pretty damn cool and highly underrated...but that doesn't mean I am a completely hopeless case of the lame-o mommies does it? Right now my 2-year-old daughter thinks it is uber-cool to dance with me to various artists ranging from Raffi to David Bowie, and loves when I sing in the car. I will admit, I am a pretty good singer, so who could blame her right? But I can foresee the day in the not-so-faraway future when she dreads hearing my beautiful tones and says "Mom, you are SO embarrassing." Also, I deeply cherish our snuggling time on the couch, and can spend an hour just running my fingers through her hair or stroking her cheek--ahhhh--just thinking about it gives me the warm n' fuzzies. But someday, when she is floating amidst a sea of hormones and peer pressure, she may (I can barely even type it...) PULL AWAY from me when I try to hug her or blush with humiliation when I brush her hair out of her face. She is my best buddy, my little angel, my snuggle bug, but someday she will be a teenager, and will she still want to hang out with me??

As for my son, he still wants to share all his FASCINATING stories about his Pokemon collection or the new game that is coming out for Playstation. Am I wrong to assume that in a few years (literally a few!) he is probably not going to want to divulge ANYTHING to me about his life in any way, shape or form? Not to mention the fact that he begs me to come play with him in his room now, but in a few years I will be forbidden to enter his sanctuary of boyish secrets. Yikes--I am having visions of finding Playboy under his bed and him blushing at me folding his underwear. I don't think I can handle it. I guess I have to try to appreciate the information and company now while I am still receiving it, because in the blink of an eye, it will be gone.

I am not fully convinced that there isn't a way for me to retain what I have left of my cool factor. However, I do not want to turn into one of those mothers that tries to dress like her kids, listen to their music and hang out with their friends. Another vision--me in a belly shirt, hip huggers and UGGS at 45, lingering in the doorway to my daughter's room, desperate for a tid-bit of information about her life. Hmmm...perhaps I could just freeze them the way they are right now and avoid the whole situation. But alas, I know this is not an option, so I must continue to enjoy my time as a cool mom and get as many sing-alongs and snuggle sessions in as possible. Unless anybody has any ideas? I am fully open to suggestion...

Snippets from my morning so far...

"No, no!"
"Stop that please!"
"I am serious"
"Don't do that!"
"Hold on a minute please."
"That's not for you."

Let's see if I have any more intellectual conversations as the day progresses...

Here's one to add to the list (nothing much more intellectual so far...):

"Yelling for it over and over again is not going to make you get it any quicker!"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Working at Home--the good, the bad, the ugly...

Working at home. It sounds so appealing doesn't it? How many of us out there always thought how great it would be to be able to work from home. Working in our pj's--mmm, no travel time--fabulous, and best of all, being able to stay home with our adorable children! That is certainly what I always thought and pored over the "work-at-home" ads online practically every day, searching for that one telecommuting job that wasn't an MLM or pyramid scam, where I didn't have to sell anything or where I didn't have to chat with some fat, old pervert about how I was "taking off my nightie." Then, one day (while at my outside of the home job) I stumbled across an ad on Craigslist that peaked my interest. A week later, I was signed on for training to edit a web site from home! I was thrilled, couldn't wait and immediately quit my job as a massage therapist at an upscale spa. This was the break I was waiting for, I could finally work completely from home!

Now, don't get me wrong, I do love it. It is great to just be able to sidle up to my laptop (at home or anywhere with wireless internet) and log on to do my work. However, I didn't anticipate the downsides being such, well, downers :-) First of all, the last thing you want to do when you are in your pj's on the couch with a cup of coffee is work. It's much harder to motivate yourself (and keep yourself from thinking about all the things that need to be done around the house) when you are sitting at home than when you are in an office where everything around you screams "WORK!" And believe it or not, your children REALLY don't care when the clock turns to the time you have to start working, and they still REALLY NEED some chocolate milk or decide they have to use the potty (which actually means sitting there talking and playing with the toilet paper). I think I need to have someone set up a hidden camera because I think I would get millions of hits on YouTube for the hilarity of watching me try to type while my 2-year-old daughter climbs all over me and my 8-year-old son is telling me an hour-long story about the Pokemon he has collected. "Mommy has to work" really doesn't mean jack to them. When Mommy is home, she belongs to the children.

Which brings me to my next point. I am not getting paid for doing two jobs at once, but essentially, that is what I am doing. Instead of being able to drop the kids off with someone else (so they can do my "Mommy" job for the day) and go to my paying job to devote all my energy and attention to the tasks there, I have to do both at once. Which means sometimes my day consists of going back and forth between changing pull-ups, making lunch, cleaning up spills, and changing the DVD; and working on the computer, checking e-mail and logging my hours. Let me tell you, it's not easy.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I think how great it would be to get in the car, drop the kids off and go off BY MYSELF to a job and be able to just concentrate on that all day. Then, at the end of the day, I could go pick them up (where they would be SO happy to see me), go home and resume my motherly duties. But then I remember the reasons that I decided to work at home. And here they are:

-At work I can't be interrupted by my daughter because she needs a kiss
-At work I can't listen to my son's hour-long story about his Pokemon collection
-At work I can't feed them lunch
-At work I can't sit in the bathroom with my daughter for 20 minutes while she decides whether she has to go potty

These are all the things I didn't want to miss. These are the things that my kids are doing TODAY, RIGHT NOW, that I would miss out on if they were not with me all day. I don't want someone else doing my "Mommy" job. It's my job, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. :-)


Monday, July 21, 2008

Obama and McCain Overseas--My Goal Article of the Day

I read my goal article today, one from about Obama and McCain both making trips overseas and how each of their trips differed from one another. Their trips weren't the only thing that differed; the popularity results were fairly different as well, with Europe being far more favorable to Barack. It is interesting to me that McCain is met with indifference while Barack met with fanfare and all the big journalists there to report on his stay. I think the big difference between the two that makes the contrast in the European public's support is McCain's open support of the war, as opposed to Barack's talks to get out and get on with it. This is also something that I have tried (subconsciously, I think) to avoid. Think, talk or have an opinion about the war. I really don't know the true reason we are there, nor do I hold a strong conviction on whether we stay or go. My heart says "let's get the hell out of that deadly desert and get those poor soldiers home," while my head says, "how can you make an educated decision on your standing when you don't know the facts?" For an intelligent person, sometimes I feel like I ignore things that shouldn't be ignored, just because they don't affect me directly. I would never want to refer to myself as a selfish or ignorant person, but that behavior is exactly those two things.

So from today on, I am not going to change the channel when news about the war comes on, I am going to read the articles and I am going to do my research. Because nothing is worse than an anti-war citizen that doesn't even know the war's basis. Today I am calling myself out.

Varier Chairs

I don't know about you, but I have pretty bad posture and I sit in a computer chair ALL DAY long. Yeah, it's not fun. And I end up with all kinds of aches and pains and stiff joints. So when I cam across this site for ergonomically correct chairs, I thought it looked like something I could use. Varier is a Norwegian company that is expanding to the U.S. and Canada and they make amazing, really cool-looking chairs that are supposed to be extremely comfortable. According to their web site, the chairs move the way you move naturally, and support you in your movement. Sounds good to me. And they look really great too, so they would enhance the decor in your home. They are definitely New Designs for Comfort

I checked out Varier's collection and chose the chair I thought best suited my needs and personality. The Balans line looks like it be perfect for me, because I sit for so long. This ergonomic design helps you keep the right posture and keeps your balanced to avoid fatigue and muscle pain.

And it looks really cool too! I would totally LOVE to have this chair at my computer desk.

Go check out Varier and find the perfect chair for you and save your back!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

And my goal of the week is...

Every week I am going to set a goal for myself to meet, whether it be reading up on something in particular or going someplace new and interesting. This is an attempt at broadening my horizons, learning new things and keeping my life from shrinking to the size of my livingroom. (Also, from keeping my brain from being limited to enough brain power to choose between chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese for dinner or deciding whether or not to do laundry.)

This week's goal is to read an article every day that I wouldn't normally read. This might include articles on politics, religion or finance. These are all things I know little about, that I assume are not going interest me, that I SHOULD know more about, and that I will probably find actually do interest me more than I think. My husband and I watch Joel Osteen every Sunday (yes, I know he is cheesy and a bible thumper, but we just really like his curly-headed, smily-happy way that makes us feel better about life), and this morning he and his wife were talking about the "Do Not Enter" signs that we put up in our minds. In other words, the things that we tell ourselves that "we just can't do," or "just aren't interested in." Because of these areas we don't dare enter, we miss out on so much that we could be enjoying or at least educating ourselves on. I liked the idea of taking down the "Do Not Enter" signs and I am going to work on that.

What door in your mind do you have a "Do Not Enter" sign on? Think about it.

Sunday Morning Musings

First of all, I have to share what my adorable, funny little 2-year-old daughter did this morning. We have a set of treacherous steel spiral stairs that we are constantly trying to keep her away from. This morning she was trying to follow the cat "Cricket" up the stairs and we kept pulling her off and re-routing her. At one point, my husband and I were in the bedroom and we heard her yell from out in the hallway-"I AM SUPERBABY!!!" We looked at each other and cracked up and followed the voice to where we found her at the top of the stairs with her little hands above her head looking so proud of herself. She is the cutest thing that ever walked the planet.

So right now I am watching one of a thousand fitness info-mercials that are on every Sunday morning. I always find myself watching them, even though I know they are all sickeningly overpriced and most don't work. But I can't help myself being sucked in my this product called 10 Minute Trainer that says you can lose pounds and inches from this one ten minute workout every day. Of course this is very appealing to me, the crazed mom of a 2-year-old girl with endless energy and 8-year-old boy with ADHD who has no time to shower, never mind work out. I used to be a pilates instructor and was in great shape and now after a baby and no time to work out, I am desperate to get a semblance of my body back. I am seriously considering this 3 payments of $39.95 miracle work out, even though deep down I am pretty sure I will get it and use it for a couple of weeks with no results and end up shelving it with all the others that have come before. Ah, the life of the suburban working housewife...

Lastly, I just have to mention how much I love Jeff Buckley. My daughter wanted me to play "Kung Fu Fighting" off my ipod for the thousandth time and the shuffle next brought us to "Lilac Wine" by Jeff Buckley and it made my heart swell with happiness. His music just makes me think of times past and emotions put away that are remembered when his haunting voice hits my ears. If you have never listened to the late Jeff Buckley (taken way before his time in a tragic boat accident), check him out. You may hate him, you may love him. But listen.

On to the rest of my Sunday. Enjoy the day.

What Are You Gonna Be?

I'm debating about whether or not I should dress up this year, but when I found the site Halloween, it got me all excited about dressing up! This site has so many fantastic costumes for sale that I really wish I was invited to a costume party so I could justify buying one. (I might just buy one anyway, just for kicks!) As I browsed through the costumes, I found some of my favorites--the superheroes! Personally, I think if I could choose which costume suits me best, I would choose this one:

I think I would be a pretty great Supergirl, don't you think? I have always wanted to dress up as a superhero, but never have. Halloween Adventure has a ton of adult superhero costumes, such as Spiderman, Batman, The Hulk, and even Iron Man. I was so tempted to buy a costume for my daughter, even though she already has one, because there is the cutest Little Red Riding Hood costume!

Adorable! I would love to dress my little girl in this one!
And the boys' costumes are awesome too, everything from pirates to ghosts and goblins, Harry Potter--you name it! I will definitely be ordering my son's costume there.

So if you are still looking for Halloween costumes for you and your kids, check out Halloween!

Electoral College

For those of you out there who are as confused as I am about the electoral college procedure, here's a link that lays it out pretty simply. I will add to the resources of information as I come along them.


As a young under-30 (barely) Generation X-er, I have never really followed politics very closely. I have voted in a few elections, without really having educated myself on the hot topics and issues. I always used the excuses that I didn't like any of the candidates, that I didn't understand politics, blah, blah, blah...but this election has had me purring with interest. I loved watching Hilary (the first woman presidential candidate) debate Obama (the first black presidential candidate) and even tuned in to watch more than 5 minutes. I have researched some of the issues and feel like maybe, just maybe, I may be able to cast an educated vote. The thing that I think is just so cool about this election is that only in America could we have a black presidential candidate with a name like Barack Hussein Obama running against the wife of a former president who was practically impeached for screwing his intern and lying about it. Why can't all the elections be this amusing? I would certainly pay more attention and have more of a vested interest in the outcome.

Now what I need to know is how does this whole silly election thing work. Is anyone else completely befuddled about the 'electoral vote' thingy and how a candidate can actually get the most votes (but not in the places that it counts) and still lose? And how about this 'hanging Chad' situation that happened in Florida? How is it possible that a whole election may have been a sham because of a few little pieces of paper hanging off the ballot? I am going to get to the bottom of this and share my information so that all us kids with a cavalier attitude about government can start taking charge.

Hey, we are the future right? Scary...

Find Your Soulmate!

Well, fortunately, I have found my soulmate, but I know there are plenty out who haven't. In this day and age, it is hard to meet people safely while staying out of the bars and clubs--especially if you are a single parent or divorcee. I know I wouldn't want to get back out there nowadays! So that's why the day and age of online dating is so great, and I know so many people who have found wonderful matches using services like is an online dating service and web site that will help you find your perfect match. Not only that, it has cool resources like advice, safer dating tips and a coaching center! They also have a great screening process that makes sure you aren't getting matched up with people who are already married or have a criminal background. You can't get that at a night club!

Best of all, signing up for is free! If you are looking for that special person and want to search for free from the comfort of your home with the satisfaction of knowing you are safe, just go to their web site, enter some simple information about yourself and you are on your way!

Good luck in your search for True Love!


The Re-model From Hell

Well, I am going on three years living with my in-laws while we renovate our two-family house, and I am just about ready to pull my hair out of my head. Who knew when we bought a 150-year-old house with rotting floor joists and half the sill gone that we would be in a project that was too big for us--oh wait, we did...Yeah, we are basically living the movie "The Money Pit." Every time we turned around, something else that we didn't expect had to be done, and my poor 65-year-old father (aka our contractor) just couldn't work fast enough for our tastes. Here I am, still in my little tiny basement apartment with two kids and a dog--with my in-laws upstairs.

We took the difficult path of most resistance, in order to be able to own a home in this century. However, most young people are not willing to buy a dump of a house, spend years fixing it up and live with their parents in the meantime. So how are they supposed to afford to buy a house, pay for utilities and gas, and still stay above water? I know the answer--put yourself in massive amounts of debt that you will never get out of! Isn't it sad that that is the only way to live the American dream nowadays? Most people will never even pay off their mortgage in their lifetime, between re-financing and taking money out over the years.

I am on a mission to figure out how we young-uns can live comfortably and debt-free, while still saving money for retirement, our children's college funds and emergencies. There has to be a way to be a middle class family with multiple children and cars without burying yourself in debt and despair. Something's gotta give homies, and I am going to discover just what that is!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stale Hamburger Grease and Burnt Hair

There are a lot of things I don't know about. I feel the need to change that. Everyday I learn a new lesson, and here I will share those with you. Today I learned about lighting propane gas grills, and how large the flame can get when the gas builds up in four burners and you press the electric ignite button. Let's just say I ended up with a pair of scissors in front of the bathroom mirror cutting off the singed parts of my hair and eyebrows, smelling disgustingly of stale hamburger grease and burnt hair. I told myself, after about a half hour of snipping and cursing, that it wasn't my fault and that I didn't know any better. So I learned my lesson of the day--

--always let your husband light the grill.

Reviews Galore!

Here you can find the fantastic reviews featured on my blog! Click on the links to check them out!

Featured: Review Review

Campus Teamwear Review Review

Let 'Er Rip Review


The Complete Guide to Laser Hair Removal

ShopWiki Review
RepairPal Review
Culinary Schools USA Review Review
Made to Measure Review
Varier Chairs Review
Heritage Web Solutions Helps to Clean Up! Review
Nikon All Terrain Binoculars Review
SaveBuckets Review Review
Fasttrack Review
ForwardOn Review

Wine Survey

Looking for a New Career?

I know I have faced a few times in my life when I felt like I was I was in a rut and I felt like I needed a change of pace. When that happens, it is hard to decide what you want to do to change things, and it helps to have informative web sites to help you research and find out about new careers and training options. Culinary Schools USA can help you with that!

Do you love to cook? Do you make your own recipes and people drool over your delicious dishes? Then maybe a career in culinary arts is a good option for you. We all know that we, as moms, are expected to cook for our family, but how about getting professional training so you can get paid for what you love to do? If this is something that interests you, check out Culinary Schools USA.

There you can search for cooking schools in your area, and also learn about the programs. There are culinary arts profiles and articles about becoming a chef and working the field. It is a fantastic resource for anyone considering a career in the culinary arts.

Check it out and get on track for an exciting new career at Culinary Schools USA!

Ladies--Check Out RepairPal!

As women, I know that many of us may have faced the dilemma of needing auto repair and not knowing where to go, what to expect or how much we should be paying. Well ladies, there is a great web site that solves this! This site is fantastic if you are looking for a mechanic or need to find a repair shop in your area. Plus, you can submit a car repair job and get auto repair estimates from shops near you!

One of the coolest things about this site is that they also have educational sections that explain how a car works, the different things that can go wrong and how they are repaired! So the days of being ignorant in the area of car repair are gone and we can go into an auto repair shop fully educated and holding onto our wallets!

Go check out RepairPal, whether you need a new transmission, a timing belt replacement or an alignment, they can tell you where to go and save you money!


As a mom, I know I am ALWAYS (and I mean ALWAYS) shopping for my kids and am always looking for the best (and cheapest) stores online. ShopWiki is a really cool search engine, like Google or Yahoo, except it searches online stores for anything and everything you might need for babies and toddlers (and much more)! Other shopping sites only bring up searches of web site that have paid for placement with them, but ShopWiki brings you EVERYTHING on the net.

I am currently searching for a new car seat for my daughter, so I went to ShopWiki and searched "car seats." I got 18275 results! And I could sort them from lowest to highest priced or relevance. What more do you need? Whatever it is you are looking for, you will get results from EVERY site on the web that has it, so you can find the best deal!

So whether you are looking for diaper bags, strollers, bath toys, or clothing--ShopWiki can help you find it--AND save money!

Survey Fun!

Here's a list of some fun surveys from DNeero! Enjoy and join in with DNeero if you like!

Wine Survey - 10/20/08