March 31, 2009

Holy Crap!

So, usually when I exercise it goes something like this: Begin. Start breathing heavier. Sweat. Get tired. Keep going. Get tireder. Remind myself it's only an hour. Look at the clock. Finish. Feel like laying on the couch.

I've heard of things like the "runners high". Somehow getting a second wind that pushes you through, getting an adrenaline rush that makes you feel great and ending a workout on a high note, feeling like you could keep going or use that energy to go do something fun now.

But it's never happened to me.

UNTIL TODAY!

Holy Crap! I was at my Zumba class, and it was about 45 minutes in (it's a 60 min class). One song ended and when we started the next one... it was like I had a second wind! Instead of dragging, like I often do 45 min into the class, I started picking up my pace. I could do the moves along with the instructor, and with a bounce in my step! I was still sweating, but it felt great. I couldn't believe it. I have never felt this before, and it was amazing.

After class, I felt energized, like I wanted to go out and do something fun. In the parking lot, I was almost in tears. It's the little things like this that give me so much HOPE. That keep me on track. That remind me why I'm doing this, why I'm pushing myself. I am proud of myself for sticking with this. It's been 10 weeks and there's no way in HELL I'm stopping now!
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WW Week 9 Update

Current Weight: 257.4
+/- this week: -0.8
+/- total: -9.4
Short Term Goal: 250
Long Term Goal: 150

I was disappointed that I didn't get to 10 pounds this week, but the good news is that I will DEFINITELY get to it next week!! I didn't exercise enough last week because I was still a little under the weather and wasn't at home for several days, and went to a couple of birthday parties. I am happy that I did actually lose almost a pound despite all that.

It's a little discouraging that the loss is SO SLOW, but I have to try and be positive because even though it's slow, it's steady. I am getting bloodwork done this week to see how my thyroid levels are doing. When I talk to the doctor, I may ask about treatment for my insulin resistance and whether that would help me with weight loss.

Well, it's late and I should be in bed, so I'm going to head there now. I have more thoughts floating around in my head, so hopefully I'll be back before a week this time!
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Drifting

This week's theme for Heads or Tails Tuesday is See/Sea.

More days than not, I feel like I'm floating in a sea of uncertainty. Most of the time, I drift with the wind, I let the day and the weather carry me wherever it may go. Some days, it's sunny weather, and the tides moving me are barely noticeable. Other days, the sky fills with clouds and waves rock me as I wonder where the sea is carrying me.

Last week, I thought I may have discovered a solution to a problem we've been having, but as of today it's just another passing wave. It could still happen, but it doesn't seem likely. The truth is, last week the words came out of Justin's mouth: "We're officially poor now". Our backup is gone. As of next month, the boat that's been carrying us will start to fill with water. We won't be able to keep afloat on our own. The small amount we had set aside to patch the holes in our vessel will be gone, and our path will be more uncertain than it's ever been.

Some days the sun is so bright, it's hard to imagine that we're sinking. Some days, I hold my son tight, we splash in the water, we laugh together and his happiness overtakes me. He is blissfully unaware, and he reminds me that no matter whether we have a boat or not, as long as we are all together, we will survive.

I just wish that there was an island on the horizon.

For more Heads or Tails Tuesday posts, click here!
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March 30, 2009

Punk Goes Pop

Justin and I were at Hot Topic the other day looking at T-shirts and they had a display of CDs up at the register. We picked a copy up to look at it, and it was Punk Goes Pop Vol 2. Since it was on sale for only ten bucks, we decided to buy it. We listened to it on our date night in the car, and it was great! The description from Amazon says: "The eighth release in this compilation series features hardcore/alternative/emo bands covering chart topping songs from the likes of Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, Rob Thomas, Sean Kingston, and more. The line up includes Chiodos, Escape The Fate, Mayday Parade, Silverstein, August Burns Red, Bayside, and more."

A couple of the songs (Baby One More Time especially) were a little too metal for my taste. I can deal with yelling in music, but when it turns into screaming it isn't really enjoyable for me to listen to anymore. My favorites on the CD are Toxic (Britney Spears) covered by A Static Lullaby, When I Grow Up (Pussycat Dolls) covered by Mayday Parade and Love Song (Sara Bareilles) covered by Four Year Strong. I absolutely hate the Pussycat Dolls, but it turns out the song isn't so bad as long as it's not them performing it.

I don't listen to punk very often, but when I do, I realize how much I like it. It puts me in a good mood. I definitely recommend this, it's fun to listen to and a great one for driving around with the windows down on a sunny day. I didn't realize when we bought it that it was Vol 2, but now I really want to get Vol 1. The "Punk Goes..." line is put out by Fearless Records and includes other CDs like "Punk Goes Metal" and "Punk Goes 80s".

On a side note, we also scored a DVD copy of the live action Super Mario Bros movie, which I didn't know existed, but was also only $10 and rated PG, for my best friend's daughter's birthday.
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March 28, 2009

Knowing

Sometimes when I see a preview for an upcoming movie, I know right away that I am going to like it. If it has something to do with numbers, being psychic, seeing the future, natural disasters, aliens... those are all pretty good signs. So, when I saw previews for Knowing, the new Nicolas Cage movie, I pretty much knew I was going to like it, and was excited to see it.

We got to have date night on Monday night, and we went to see it. It was good! I was actually surprised by some stuff. There were some very creepy aspects of the movie, and I didn't expect that! It was nice because it was creepy without being terrifying, and only at certain points within the rest of the story. I liked it because the previews didn't give away the entire plot, and certainly didn't give away the ending. I didn't really figure it all out before it was over, and that is sometimes an annoying issue for me since I go to so many movies!

There were a couple of pretty good disaster scenes. Nicolas Cage... well, he's Nicolas Cage. To me, he kind of falls into the category of actors who only play one character, and might be playing themselves (accompanied by Jeff Goldblum). But, I sort of like that character, and he often fits in to movies I quite enjoy, so that's okay! The kids in it were very good, and I liked that it was different, it wasn't quite as predictable as so many movies are.

If you're a fan of Cage, if you like disaster-y movies about future predictions, or slightly creepy action drama movies, see it! In my mind, it was worth the price of admission just for one scene, which I will not describe because I don't want to spoil the movie, but it takes place near the end and is a spectacularly awesome display of CGI disaster destruction.
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March 27, 2009

Loud but Awesome

Haiku Friday

I must be getting
old, I thought, 'cause that was LOUD
but I still loved it

A long awaited
show, since I fell in love with
Every Second Counts

It's been awhile since
I stood in the dark, letting
loud music take me

Feeling the bass and
drums inside, the floor shaking
underfoot, rhythm

A band you love, in
a small club, you stand so close
there's nothing like it

I have been waiting for the Plain White T's to come to Seattle for over a year. When "Hey There Delilah" was becoming really popular, I went out and bought Every Second Counts. It doesn't happen very often that I buy a CD and listen, and love every single song. That I can listen to over and over, know all the lyrics, and not have one or two or a bunch of songs that I skip over. Since then, I've been checking their website for tour info waiting for them to come here.

I got to see them last night at Neumo's in Seattle. One of the things I love about Seattle is being able to see bands in these small venues. Before I met my friend Violet, I wasn't really introduced to the world of these places, I was accustomed to Arena concerts and nosebleed seats. It's really amazing to go to a small, dark club and stand 20 feet away (or less) than a band you really like and listen to them play.

So, this was a pretty good concert! The lead singer, Tim, is kind of a medium on the 'cocky' scale. Not friendly like Damien from OK Go, but definitely not dripping with "I know you want to sleep with me" like Adam from Maroon 5. But really, who cares, because this is what I kept my eyes on:

Guitarist Tim Lopez seems like the sort of guy that wouldn't say a lot, but when he did, it would mean something, and then he would pick you up and sweep you away. Um, what? Oh, yeah, he also is a good guitarist and sings vocals for a few songs.

Despite the fact that Tom liked to insert "Seattle" and shout out to Seattle way too many times, and the fact that during the very first part of the show the vocals weren't up high enough on his mike, I really enjoyed myself! "You and Me" is not one of my favorite songs off Every Second Counts, but I found that I really enjoyed it live, and a little louder. I loved De'Mar Hamilton on the drums, because he was totally rocking the fuck OUT. It was pretty great.

Now I need to go check out some of their older stuff, they played a few that I didn't know that were from older albums, and I liked them.

It's been a while since I got to go to a show, and I'm so glad I did. It's a weekend of music for me, tomorrow night I'll be going to Chop Suey to see OK Go, and can't wait. I've seen them with Violet 3 times, and they always put on a great show. Chop Suey is small, so I know it will be great, and after all Damien Kulash is the musician who made me realize that sweaty guys can be hot. If they got that way by rocking out in front of me. Ha.

For more Friday Haiku's click here.

Photo Credit: Florida Entertainment Scene

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March 26, 2009

Choosing Battles and Appreciating "Burdens"

Clearly, as may be evident from last Friday's post, I was at the end of my rope dealing with Sam's bedtime troubles. Over the weekend, I decided that we needed to stop doing what we were doing.

There are so many different aspects and reasons. What we were doing, the putting him back, the crying, the screaming... it just wasn't good for anyone. It was really stressing me out, it was taking up a whole bunch of our time, and it was creating a negative environment for his bedtime, which made him wake up more often during the night.

For now, I've decided not to worry about it. Forget what "they" say, or what we are "supposed" to do. I don't care. I want to provide a loving and amazing environment for my child. I also don't want to add more stress to my life when there are already other things stressful enough going on in my life.

Here's the deal. Sam is a very active child. He's only 3 years old. He doesn't have the ability to calm himself down and put himself to sleep at bedtime without help, and really I don't think there is anything wrong with that. He needs help so he can get used to calming himself down and falling asleep. I think he's just not ready to fall asleep on his own. Not when he doesn't have a "lovey" - a special toy or blanket or stuffed animal. I am his lovey, he feels so secure with us that he doesn't need something else. And really, considering how well behaved his is almost all the time, this is a pretty small problem to have to deal with!

I've thought a lot about what I realized on Friday - that he spends such a large part of the day with me, in contact with me. He sits on my lap when we're watching TV and we play on his bed or our bed, pretending to go to sleep. We cuddle, we wrestle, we tickle. We go for walks and he rides on my shoulders. Now that it occurred to me, it seems completely unreasonable to expect him to do those things all day and then get in a bed by himself and go to sleep at night.

At some point, we might try a different method. After laying with him as he falls asleep for a while until we have a routine, we might try sitting up, then moving to the floor eventually, then across the room and then out into the hallway. This could take weeks, months even. It will take however long it takes, and that's okay.

Tonight he didn't even want to lie down in his bed. He's started fighting more - saying no to going to bed, then trying to play once we're in his room. I ended up putting him on the bed and holding him there. He cried for 5 minutes or so, but then started to cooperate. It took less than an hour for him to fall asleep tonight. Sure I could have been watching TV or reading blogs, but I'm not giving up anything by spending time with him.

Instead of looking at this as a burden, I'm going to choose to enjoy that time of day. Since we'd really like to have him actually asleep by 8:30, we'll just start bedtime earlier, around 7:30 or 7:45. I can lie there with him, talk to him about the day, pull up his covers, let him hug me around the neck with his sweet 3 year old arms. Instead of thinking about what I could be doing instead, I want to consider that it won't always be this way. He grows older every day, and before I know it, he's going to be a boy who doesn't want to hug his Mom or spend days cuddling and playing. He's going to have friends, he's going to grow up, become a boy, then a teen.

It seems like we are always in a RUSH. Parents brag about how old their child was when they were potty trained. Kids are enrolled in preschool at 3 years old, and it's almost expected. When I was a child, I feel like it was so normal to go from home to Kindergarten - what is the hurry to send our children away from us? Later in life, they get homework in 1st grade. As teenagers, they are pressured to choose a college, choose a major before they even graduate. Really? We expect them to make that decision then, before experiencing life for themselves outside the home?

But WHY rush? I want to savor him as he is now, I want to provide for him the way he needs it right now. I want to hold him in my arms before he's taller than me, to hold both his hands in mine while they still fit. If he ends up in my bed some nights, I want to enjoy him snuggled up against me. He loves me unconditionally, and he shows it. One day, he will not show it. But I will remember.
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March 24, 2009

When Did This Happen?

When did this (almost exactly 2 yrs ago):

become this?


Click pictures to enlarge.

To see more Wordless Wednesday posts, click here.
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WW Week 8 Update

Current Weight: 258.6
+/- this week: -0.6
+/- total: -8.6
Short Term Goal: 250
Long Term Goal: 150

I wasn't surprised at my weight in this week, really. Last week I was totally sick all week and didn't even do my normal amount of low intensity activities like house cleaning, walks, or shopping. Let alone go to the gym! I am finally recovered other than a yucky cough that pops up every couple of hours, so I did make it to my Zumba class today, and am getting back on track!

All in all, I was really happy that I still managed to go down 1/2 a pound, and not stay the same or gain! I didn't go over my points last week, but it really shows that exercise definitely makes a difference, doesn't it? I did my class today and am planning to hit the gym tomorrow and Sunday, and maybe do a walk or something on Friday. I am hoping that maybe next week I'll get my 10 pound star! Then it's only 3 pounds to my 5% loss! Exciting.

I am doing okay with everything, but have fallen off a little on my fruit and vegetable consumption. I need to get back on track, and I'm still struggling with the whole milk thing. I also took away a point per day this week since I'm in the 250s now instead of 260s.

I had some inspiration last weekend, I went to my church's annual women's retreat and one of my church friends was looking pretty thin. I don't see her that often, and I asked her if she had lost weight. My other friend said "she lost a lot of weight!". It turns out that she lost 50 pounds last year - she lost 15 on her own after being sick, and decided to do something to keep going, and joined Weight Watchers! The reason I didn't notice the last couple times I saw her is because she just started buying new clothes that actually FIT her, so you can see how great she looks! I am very happy for her, and it's inspiring to meet people that have really done it with WW!
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Day by Day

I know her blog. I have never spoken with her, or met her, but a path lead me through Auds to Proposal 2.0 today. I am a sucker for romance, for grand gestures, and for THOSE stories. The stories of two people, separated by whatever circumstance, who come together to find each other again. The stories of how an amazing man figured out just the right way to pop THAT question. I cry when I hear proposal stories. I can't help it.

First, I read Aud's post. And the tears started. Then I headed back to Mr. Linky and started to read. My heart was full. So were my eyes. Of tears... Sometimes, it takes reading about love to remember the depth of your own.

I met Justin when I was 19. Just turned 19. He was 19 1/2. After dating for a month, we moved in together. We were together all the time, and it just seemed stupid to be paying rent at 2 places. Within 2 months we both talked about getting married. We didn't tell anyone else, we weren't crazy, we knew that people would think WE were crazy if they heard marriage out of our mouths at that point. Justin proposed to me in Arizona when we were 21 and 20. I wish I had a beautiful story, but all I remember is the beauty that surrounded us, beside a small stream in beautiful woods in Sedona, Arizona. I can't remember what he said, but I know I was happy. When I called my Mom, she told me that she thought we were too young.

We had a long engagement, and we were 23 and 22 when we got married. We were surrounded by people we loved, and were married by Justin's brother. We started trying for a baby right away, and had Sam when we were 25. We'll be 29 this year, and in December we will celebrate 10 years since our first date.

It's hard to give advice to people I don't know very well, but of some things I am sure.

Be yourself. You can have each other, and you can be together, but still maintain your own identity.

Don't go into marriage lightly. We know that for us, divorce is not an option. We have already been through trials, and we know that this is not just fun, but work. I can't imagine anything that would be able to rip us apart. And I love it that way, because I'm not worried about our relationship - it is never something that worries me, instead it's an incredible foundation when the rest of our lives are stressful.

Don't doubt yourself. It doesn't matter what other people think about how long you've known each other, whether it's time to get married, how you parent your child, or how you deal with snags that arise in your relationship. It doesn't matter. Trust each other, trust your instincts. You know what is right for you and your family, and in the end, that's what matters.

Nourish your relationship. You'll be parents together, but that's not everything. Take time to spend time as a couple that's just about you two. Happier couple = happier people = happier parents!

I don't know everything, but I do know how incredible it can be to find someone you can be excited about spending the rest of your life with. A friend, a lover, a co-parent, a confidant and supporter.

How lucky was I that I met him at only 19? People don't believe in lasting love for people so young. But we grew together, we discovered life together. And now I get to spend the rest of my life with him. I picture us growing old together . Travelling the country by car after Sam is grown. I look at the couples I know who have been together for 30, 40, 50 years, and they inspire me incredibly. One day, I hope I'll inspire someone that way. But I'm in no hurry - I'm enjoying it day by day. I hope that you do the same! Only 2 more hours and we'll be able to really say congratulations & celebrate... here.
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I want to hug it & squeeze it.


I tried to write, I did. But last night was date night. We went to see Knowing (review to come) and then hung out together. It was awesome, but now I'm tired. So instead, here is a picture of a red panda. My favorite animal. SO CUTE.

Above photo credit: Kerris Berrington
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March 22, 2009

My Brain is Mush... But in a Good Way

I wish I had more to say today, but I spent all weekend at my church annual Women's Retreat. It was wonderful, I wish it was more than once a year! I'm still gathering my thoughts and know that at least one great revelation came out of it for me, which I can't really talk about yet. It's a solution to a problem that we've been dealing with that would make things easier, and hoepfully it will be worked out soon so I can share it.

So, I don't have the energy to write now, and instead I'm sitting on my couch getting caught up on LOST. WOO! Love it. I'll be back tomorrow with something more intelligent.

PS Oh yeah! Something else wonderfully exciting happened to me this weekend - I won! I won one of the awesome Twilight gift bags Auds at Barking Mad was giving away. See what I won?


I am super excited because I wasn't going to buy the movie because we don't really have the extra money right now, and I also don't own any of the books, I just borrowed them. I think I might be re-reading them soon!

What did you do this weekend?
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March 21, 2009

It was the bear

So, I got an e-mail from Katie about a new product called Snuggle Creme. She offered a coupon to all of my readers for $2 off if anyone wants to try the new Snuggle Creme fabric softener. I wasn't sure if I was going to post about it or not, but then I went to the website and saw him. That bear. That holy-freaking-cow-its-adorable-AND-dancing bear right up there. So, I decided I would post. Because if this product makes my laundry as soft as this bear is cute, I'm sold! Click on the icon to get a coupon for $2 off, because who wouldn't want fresh warm clothes that smell like sweet almond!?
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Frakking Incredible!

*This contains spoilers. If you thought I was going to be able to write a post about the series finale of one of my favorite shows of all time, you were out of your frakkin' mind. So don't read it unless you have alredy watched it or don't care.*

Holy frak. How incredibly amazing was that? Seriously. This post might be a little hoppy because I was writing things down as I was watching it, but I tried to clean it up afterwards and make it a little less disjointed.

The last battle. Human extremists and cylon extremists eliminated to leave the future in the hands of a new breed of cylons and humans, working together to provide a future for both species. That was sort of the vision. But, there were still the cylon extremists to deal with in the beginning of this ending. That was a beginning.

The imagery of Anders in the tub in the CIC was amazing. Then the raid on the colony ship, the Centaurians and humans side by side going in, the image of a Centurian peering around the corner and waving soldiers in. The whole episode really was just great imagery, from inside the ship to the battle to Adama flying off the Galactica for the final time to the beautiful images of the new Earth as Adama and Roslin spent their last moments together.

Loved Boomer snapping the doctor's neck to stop the tests. Awesome. Centaurians agains centaurians, the whole battle kept me on the edge of my seat.

Random Quote: "Please continue stating the perfectly obvious. It fills me with confidence." - Cavil

Gaius having spine for once, staying behind when he could have left. Coming full circle, finally redeeming himself somewhat in the end.

Random Quote: Six: "I don't think I've ever said it before, but I always wanted to be proud of you. I guess I felt tht was the only thing missing."

Six and Baltar seeing each others halucinations/angels whatever they are? Awesome. In the end, they helped save the human race. Who knows where it would have gone if the planets hadn't been destroyed?

It was funny, during the flashbacks, it was so weird seeing Tigh without the eye patch.

Did anyone else notice that Jamie Bamber's hair was extra fluffy looking? I kept noticing it.

FRAK! When Leonidas was behind them and the shooting and Helo getting shot and Hera running. ARGH! I absolutely loved the juxtaposition of the Opera house scenes and the president and Hera running and Cavil walking by. The imagery of the Opera House they continue all the way up to the final five in the CIC was so well done.

Random Quote: "Hera's not a thing, she's a child. And she holds the key to humanity's survival as well." Baltar. "I see Angels, Angels in this very room. I may be mad, but that doesn't mean I'm not right."

Way to go for ending the series on a note of me not hating Baltar.

For whatever reason, the thing that got me teared up was the original/final five putting their hands in the tank and passing over the informtion. Tyrel seeing that Tori killed Callie was horrible. Then killing her before the transfer was done. Oh God! I was just shocked by that whole scene and then the Cavil offing and the music and the coordinates and the awesomeness.

When they found the planet at the end, and Gaius was talking about Divine Intervention, I admit I got teared up again. I loved the speech Apollo gave to Adama by the river, when he talked about our science being ahead of our souls.

I don't like endings. I would prefer that my favorite shows stay around. But as far as ending go, this was definitely the most satisfying of any of my top shows. I love the idea that they sent the fleet into the sun. I loved the imagery of Adama taking off from Galactica and flying through the fleet in the raptor one last time.

I wasn't completely happy with the ending for Apollo and Starbuck. But, I guess it's better than if she had died when her Raptor exploded before. I guess it would have been to neat and clean and... well, not BSG if they'd gotten together and lived happily ever after in the end.

Don't be afraid Kara Thrace. You will NEVER be forgotten.

I know, I said awesome a lot in this post. Sorry, but it was. Also, if you missed the special they showed the other night - BSG: The Last Frakkin' Special, you should find it on SyFy website or something and check it out.

PS That part at the end with all the robots totally freaked me out and made me laugh.

PPS I sort of felt like I could have done without the 150,000 years later part at the end. I sort of felt like it was a downer, saying things would just evolve the same way. Or not. Or whatever. I feel like I need a transcript of that scene to read and ponder.
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March 20, 2009

Betcha Didn't Know...

...how much I want to be WAY more interesting. Betcha didn't know how long I sat on my couch this morning trying to think of SOMETHING interesting to share after reading Aud's post for the Betcha Didn't Know Super Fabulous Twilight Givaway she is hosing on her blog. Oh well, I guess I'll have to make do, eh?

Betcha didn't know that my son is named after 2 people. One is his great x6 or 7 Grandfather, Samuel Denn. The other is a boy I knew when I was younger who took his own life in 1999. He was an amazing person named Samuel Girouard. I only knew him for a couple of years, but he was someone very important in the development of my adult self and understanding how I relate to other people, and how I SHOULD relate to other people. I think about him all the time, and am happy to remember him when I use his name.

Betcha didn't know that my husband and I both don't believe in divorce as an option for our relationship. We've had challenges, and I can't imagine anything that would split us unless one of us became a murderer or a psychopath. We met very young, and we know that sometimes that's a challenge, but we will always find a way to face the challenges that come up.

Betcha didn't know that yesterday I had to spend $500 to get my brakes fixed and transmission fluid flushed etc. And that we need new tires that we can't afford. And that I went to the dentist on Wednesday then afterwards realized there was no point because I can't afford the $700 worth of fillings and guards and cleaning I need, let alone the $1500 for a bridge I was supposed to get years ago but can't afford. And that my husband's job doesn't pay enough for us to pay our bills and buy groceries, diapers, and gas. And that I can't find a job and our "savings" (read: luck money from 4 year old lawsuit) has dwindled down to $1400 and is slowly being drained and that in a couple of months we have NO IDEA what we're going to do. Betcha didn't know that I'm scared, but I try not to think about it.

I feel that this post is completely paled in comparison to Aud's, but that's about all I can come up with at the moment! What don't we know about you? Write a post, link up at Barking Mad, and you could win the fab Twilight gift pack!
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Shadows Cast In Light

Haiku Friday

When my eyes fill with
the beginnings of tears, and
my breath starts to catch

I run. I grab my
favorite blanket, wrap myself
in it's warmth and sit

The air is cold out
here on our front stoop, but the
world is resting here

Screams I can't handle
replaced by the sound of cars
passing on freeway

Faint drumming from
a neighbors garage, the slow
roll of cars passing

I stare at shadows
cast in light, refocus and
try to forget the

shadows in my mind,
doubts, instincts, and fears I can't
seem to escape now

I know that I've written about this more than once lately, but honestly it's the biggest and most distressing issue going on with our kid right now. Sam is great. He doesn't throw many tantrums. He is mostly a happy kid, and we spend the majority of our days playing, running around, tickling, laughing and having fun. But at bedtime, things change. We read our stories, we put on his CD and lie down. Then Daddy or Mommy gets up to leave the room and the fight begins.

I know we are supposed to be 'training' him to go to bed on his own. I know that this is supposedly the 'right' thing to do. I know that I sleep better when he's not in our bed at night. But how can him crying and begging one of us to lie down with him for over an hour at bedtime be good for ANYONE in this family?

Okay, so it's not that bad every night. Some night he doesn't really cry much, and I only have to put him back in bed a couple of times, then he stays there and goes to sleep. But then we have a night like Wednesday where every instinct I have is telling me that this is stupid, but I am confused.

I just feel like we're not making any progress. Wednesday night he was so worked up, it was horrible. He was crying, really crying, yelling, begging. I sat out on our front stoop in the cold for an hour because I couldn't bear to be in the house listening to his cries, the sound of the door opening and closing, and Justin putting him back in bed. We've been at this for weeks, I just want to know when there's going to be a light at the end of this tunnel? It makes me wish that we hadn't switched him out of his crib. Maybe he wasn't ready. I don't know. All I know is that he was going to bed okay and sleeping all night, and now he's not.

Maybe it's because when he wakes up in the middle of the night, we sometimes let him come in our bed. My loose rule was if it was after 6 AM then Sam could come into our bed. But a couple of nights a week he's waking up too much, or being too difficult, and we let him in there. Justin thinks that's why he is having so much trouble, because we're not being consistent with his nightly wakings.

The problem is, I have enough trouble dealing with this ONCE a night, at bedtime. The idea of repeating it once or twice in the middle of the night is horrifying to me, even if after a couple of weeks of doing that it might be done forever. Maybe I just need to bite the bullet and do it - maybe I became spoiled and forgot that when you have a kid you don't get to have a good night's sleep sometimes. I don't know. All I know is that at 2 in the morning I'm so tired I don't know where I'm supposed to find the strength and energy to sit there and put a 35 pound almost three year old back in his bed a bunch of times.

On the average night, he wakes up 5-10 times during the night and needs to be put back into his bed and tucked in by one of us. Last night, he might have only woken twice, but I remember he was crying one of those times. It's surprising to wake up at 8 in the morning and not have him in my room, or in my bed. Tuesday night he flipped out so bad in the middle of the night that we brought him into our bed. He was screaming and flailing in the middle of the night.

Does he have bad dreams? I don't know, how do you explain dreams to a three year old? Is he afraid of something? Or does he just really like being close to mommy and Daddy? I spend most of my days in contact with him. When we play at home he's often sitting on my lap, having my arms around him, wrestling or tickling with me. Maybe it's unreasonable to expect him to give that up when it's time for bed.

It's all a lot of questions, but I don't have answers.

To read more Friday Haiku's click here.
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March 19, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: Music Edition

I'm really excited about a concert coming up next week - ever since I bought their CD last year, I've been WAITING for The Plain White T's to go on tour and come to Seattle. Well, next week they are FINALLY going to be here, and I'm super excited! A couple of days later, I'll be going to see OK Go for the 3rd time at another small venue in Seattle. My friend Violet is a huge music lover, and has introduced me to the joys of seeing bands in small clubs and venues. We've been to tons of concerts together, including a few arena shows. I went to my first concert when I was only a few years old with my Mom - Riley & Malone. When I was a teen, my first big concerts were Blues Traveler, then No Doubt/Goo Goo Dolls/Bush with my sister, Dad and Stepmom. It all got me thinking about bands I've seen live, and what my favorites were. So, my top 13 concerts (in no particular order) I've seen is my Thursday Thirteen for today!
  1. Prince - Seriously, it was freaking PRINCE. It was awesome. It's true that he was obviously completely full of himself, but dude, I would be too. If I was Prince.
  2. Sarah McLachlan - My absolute favorite artist, I finally got to see her in concert a couple of years ago when her last CD came out. I almost didn't go, and I'm SO glad I did. I was so enthralled during the whole thing. It was amazing.
  3. Barenaked Ladies - I've seen BNL four times, and they are just amazing! They put on such a good show, they're really performers and not just musicians. I would see them any time they came to town, which is why I was so sad when Steven Page left the band recently.
  4. Duran Duran - I saw Duran Duran a few years ago when they came out with their album "Astronaut". They were amazing, the new songs were so catchy and they did a perfect mixture of new and old material.
  5. Glen Phillips - My best friend Violet's absolute favorite band of all time is Toad the Wet Sprocket. Glen Phillips was the lead singer for Toad, and I've seen him twice on tour doing his own stuff. He is an amazing musician, and interacts wonderfully with the crowd. It's the kind of concert that just makes you happy!
  6. Lilith Fair: Natalie Merchant, Jewel, Emmylou Harris, Sarah McLachlan & The Indigo Girls - A women's music festival put together by my favorite artist? Absolutely! I went to Lilith Fair twice, once with my friend Sati, and once with my sister and Stepmom. It was just amazing seeing the talent they got together for them. Hearing Jewel, Sarah McLachlan, and the Indigo Girls sing "Water is Wide" together is still one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard.
  7. Garbage & No Doubt - Went to this concert just before Gwen Stefani started her solo career. It was a great concert, Garbage had come out with beautifulgarbage, and they did a lot of music from that. Went with my husband, Violet, and her husband and had a great time.
  8. Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Shawn Colvin & Bruce Hornsby - What can I say? This one was just amazing. I love Bruce Hornsby - I played the piano for a long time and I am somewhat drawn to music with a lot of piano. I have liked Bruce Hornsby for a long time, and I absolutely love Bonnie Raitt. We went to this one at The Gorge, my sister, my Mom, my Stepdad and I. It was late in the year, so it was cold, and we listened to the last part of the concert wrapped in sleeping bags.
  9. Toad the Wet Sprocket - We got to see Toad at either the Paramount or the Moore in Seattle. We went with Violet and her husband, and it was just an amazing show. Toad is a great band, and knowing that they were Violet's favorite made it a really cool experience, I loved sharing it with her.
  10. Green Day - Okay, so I mostly HEARD this concert. I was pregnant at the time, and just couldn't bear standing on my feet for long. We had actual seats, but since everyone around us was standing, we had to stand to see too. This concert was part of the tour for American Idiot.
  11. OK Go - I've seen OK Go a couple of times in small places in Seattle. One of the times we saw them, we were literally standing right in front of the keyboard, maybe two feet between us. It was really surreal, but amazing. They put on a great show and their music is just fun to listen to live.
  12. Tom Petty - Tom Petty is another one I went to with my Mom and sister. It's one of the musicians I sort of "inherited liking" from my Mom - she listened to it and I got to like it too. One of the best things about this concert is that there was no new album - it was almost like a "best of" tour. I wish more bands would do that, it was so fun to hear all of our favorites!
  13. Rhett Miller - Rhett Miller. Sigh... I've seen him once or twice, and saw him as frontman of The Old 97's once. His music is just awesome, he's one of those artists where I liked every single song on the CD. Also he's really cute.
What's your favorite concert experience?

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This is my 9th time doing the Thursday Thirteen - you can join in too! The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!


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March 18, 2009

Win $1000 worth of brand new cookware!

The good folks over at Food Service Warehouse are giving away a fabulous set of cookware. If you're not a big cooker, winning this set would certainly give you the bump you need to start enjoying your kitchen again! The best part (for me haha) is that if you win, I WIN! They're actually giving away two sets, one to a winner and one to the site that winner was referred from! I've got a button up on my sidebar, and winners will be announced in mid-April! If I win, I'll surprise my husband with it since he's the one who does most of the cooking around here and I know he'd love it. You could keep it for yourself, or give it as a gift... or a combination of both!
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March 17, 2009

A Favorite from Way Back When

This is one of my favorite photos of my husband, Justin, and I. We took it on a trip to Oregon the day we climbed up a sand dune at the beach. It was taken sometime in 2001 or 2002.

For more Wordless Wednesday pictures, click here!
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Did Jenny McCarthy cure autism?

This week's theme for Heads or Tails Tuesday is to "Make any kind of post using "Point" as your prompt. You can point something out, get to the point, make a point, etc." I've had this post in the works for a while, I'm going to point my finger at Jenny McCarthy, and point out the good and bad parts of her latest book. I also want to make a few points about how her experience with her son's autism might differ from that of a "regular", average mother. So... let's get on to it!

I recently read Jenny McCarthy's book "Louder than Words." I was interested in reading the book for several reasons. One is that I had read her book "Life Laughs" for my book club, and in that book she talks a lot about her son's autism because during the time she was writing that book is when he was first getting diagnosed and treated. Another is that I know that McCarthy claims that her son's autism is cured, and that rubs some people the wrong way. I wanted to know if she really thought her son was cured, and hoped to get more insight into what things were like for her. I am also generally interested in autism. It's an interest I've had for a little while, and I am definitely curious about the increasing rates of autism. I've referred to it before as the "new ADD" - a few years back that was the big hot button thing that kids were getting diagnosed with. Now, I know that as soon as a kid doesn't start talking by the time they're two, they start to worry about autism.

McCarthy's journey into the world of autism began when her son Evan was only 2.5 years old. He had his first seizure and didn't ake up for 7 hours. He was misdiagnosed with febrile seizures (caused by a high fever) and discharged from the hospital before he could even walk on his own. After that, he started to have vertigo and horrible tantrums. Three weeks later, he had his second seizure. It threw him into cardiac arrest and he required CPR. He was having continuous seizures and was given valium for several days. After 5 days in the hospital, he was misdiagnosed with epilepsy. He was put on a seizure medication and the tantrums continued, accompanied by violent outbursts and screaming until he passed out. The next medication caused him to stop talking and he became a doped up zombie.

McCarthy talks a lot about her mother's instinct - how she felt, that she could tell the doctors were wrong, and that she felt connected to her son. This is the point in the story though where McCarthy's story diverges. It becomes tinted by the privledges she enjoys as someone who has money and who has connections and the ability to get care and attention that a normal mother probably wouldn't. She is able to get in to the top Neurologist in the world through a connection with her new agent. The neurologist diagnoses Evan with autism.

At this point, McCarthy realizes there were signs before, the things she thought were quirks were actually signs of autism and self stimulation behaviors - hand flapping, wheel spinning, fixation on escalators and memorizing and repeating words, but not coming up with original words on his own. The miraclulous connections continue to be made - McCarthy flies to New York to promote her new book, and the other guest on Regis & Kelly just happens to be Charlie Weis, one of the founders of Hannah & Friends, a nonprofit organization supporting people with special needs. Also around this time, McCarthy discovers "the window". She finds information online suggesting that there is a window of time where agressive treatment can pull a child out of autism. She also makes her first discoveries of alleged links between vaccines (specifically MMR) and autism.

At this point she starts her interventions with Evan's diet and takes gluten and casein out of his diet. The diet made a difference. Her son started to speak more, and when he was given dairy (by his father, while McCarthy wasn't there), he regressed. I agree that if it COULD help children with autism, behavioral issues, or disabilites, doctors should suggest altering a child's diet. Whether or not it cures anything is not an issue, but I believe that we don't think enough about what we're putting into our bodies. Why wouldn't you recommend something that could help, and which honestly in this world is getting easier and easier to maintain? I also think that we should ALL pay more attention tow hat we are putting into our bodies. There has already been a connection made between ADD/ADHD and food dyes/high fructose corn syrup. Eating more naturally is not going to hurt ANYONE, and it just might help something.

McCarthy believes that Evan was born with a weaker immune system and that because of that, the vaccine wreaked havoc in his body and his intestines couldn't process it what was going on. She is definitely in the camp of "vaccines cause autism". I don't believe that's true, however, I think it's unrealistic to say that there is no link there. McCarthy believes that it doesn't make sense to expect ONE vaccine formula to work and be safe for every single child, and that is something I CAN agree with. I don't have an expert opinion here, but it seems like perhaps if a child is heading towards autism already, or already has it, the vaccines can bump it along and make it worse. McCarthy believes that there whould be a test to see if a child's immune system is strong enough to handle the vaccines before they are given, and I can't argue with anything that is going to provide MORE safeguards/caution in treating our children.

Overall, I liked the amount of information McCarthy shared in this book. She gave some good ideas for things you could try. The problem is, for a regular parent of an autistic child, there are other parts of this that are just not feasible. McCarthy sees the BEST Neurologist, the BEST DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctor, and the BEST Immune System doctor. That's just not an option for 'normal' people. Neither is self-funding autism treatment (such as the program at UCLA) that costs $75/hr ($2250/wk) , paying $150/hr for speech therapy ($4000/wk). Treatment for a preschooler with autism can easily run $50,000 a year. That's more money than many of us make in a year, and also explains why a lot of children with autism are just not able to get the care they should.

McCarthy also talks about God and her faith and her relationship with God. Which is great, however, I could see how that could be offputting for any parent reading this book that doesn't have the same faith. At the end, when McCarthy's son is "cured", I can see someone sitting there and thinking "well, why did God choose her son and not mine?". Talking about how much God did for you, or talking about how her motherly instinct helped her cure her son is a slippery slope. While it's good to have hope, and to try and stay positive, there's a fine line between being inspirational and making someone else feel like you are accusing them of being ignored by God or of not having enough motherly instinct or love for their child.

I don't believe McCarthy's son is cured of autism. I don't think that autism is something you can be cured from. He has been treated, and he is able to lead a more mainstreamed life because of it. However, I wonder where Evan would fall on the spectrum of autistic kids. It just seems like despire the hardships she faced, her story is much easier than most people's stories who are raising autistic children. I know that her son was not as low on the spectrum as Asperger's, but when I hear stories like Kelley's stories about her son, and raising him, it makes me wonder just how severe Evan's autism was in comparison to all the other autistic kids out there.

At the end of the book, McCarthy lists many things she believed would have helped her. I think this can be a good resource, because she points out things like educating yourself. She DOES point out in the end of the book that not all children with autism will be able to make leaps like her son did, but after reading an entire book about those leaps, it might be seen as a disclaimer or a passing thought. She states that when someone from the state came over to re-evaluate her son, they said "This isn't autism anymore. We have never seen a recovery like this. What happened?". It makes me very wary to think of people out there walking around saying "Well, Jenny McCarthy cured her son, why can't I/you do that?" when it just might not be realistic for some/most autistic kids.

This is just my opinion, and I don't have an autistic child, nor do any of my friends. I wanted to include at least a few thoughts from parents who DO. Firstly, there is Kelley of Magnetobold, whose son Boo is autistic. I remembered she had written this post about Jenny McCarthy last year, and here's some of what she had to say:

"So, Ms McCarthy, all the parents without ‘recovered’ kids (apparently Autism is like being hit by a bus, you recover and then you have a little boo boo - WTF!?!?!) just don’t have MOMMY INSTINCT. MI for short. I am sure she has trademarked that one.
OMG. I just don’t love my kid enough."

"My son was diagnosed with Classic Autism. Classic, no language, screaming day and night. I was told he would never have functional language or toilet train. I was told to take him home and love him.

He is now doing amazingly. Thanks to therapy. Thanks to hard freaking work. But he still has Autism. He will always have Autism.

He is not recovered. You cannot recover from something that is - in my view - an inherited neurological condition. Minimize the extreme behaivours, work on other issues. Some kids will respond to therapy, some will not. Regardless of how much MI ™ their mothers have. Regardless of how much they love their child."

I also pulled a couple of reviews from Amazon, but there are TONS more there to see if you're interested in what parents thought about this book.

Amazon - C. Magro says:

Jenny has NO idea on what it is like to be an average person with a child on the spectrum. Nannies, intensive intervention--we don't live in that world. We live in the world of waitlists, minimal services and fighting with public schools.

Amazon - Kate
says:

I have a son diagnosed with autism and have read many books about it. This book was very offensive to me. The author has every right to try any therapy she thinks is helpful to her child but she has no right to judge parents who do not make the same choice. To describe mothers who do not use DAN doctors as huddling in a corner bemoaning their fate because their children aren't getting better is insulting. Treatments for autism are controversial and parents should make their own choices and leave other parents to do the same.

Amazon - Susan
says:

I am a mother of a child with Autism. I am also a Developmental Specialist that works for my state's Early Intervention Program. This book made me sick to my stomach. It was offensive and rude. It was so judgemental to anyone who does not use non-mainstream treatment methods for their child. So much of the literature out there assumes that parents can afford any and all treatments for their child with ASD. Some parents have there hands tied with the financial burden of everyday life so much so that their only options for their child are those offered by their state's Early Intervention and public school system.

FINAL VERDICT: And, after having written all of this, I'm not sure who, if anyone, I would recommend this book to. It's a good read for someone like me who is interested in autism and reading various parents stories about dealing with it. It's interesting in that it describes in detail what her son went through, and I think there are a lot of people out there who don't know what kind of physical medical issues go along with the mental aspects of autism. There are some good suggestions about kinds of therapies and health things to look into for parents of autistic kids, and a couple of book suggestions. But all in all, I don't know how helpful the book would be to a parent of a newly diagnosed autistic kid. I feel like the chances for making people 1. feel like a failure or 2. have false hope are pretty high with this one.

To read more Heads or Tails Tuesday posts, click here!
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March 16, 2009

WW Week 7 Update

Current Weight: 259.2
+/- this week: -1.2
+/- total: -8.0
Short Term Goal: 250
Long Term Goal: 150

Weigh in was good again this week! I had another party over the weekend so I wasn't sure how it would go, but I'm down a little over a pound, putting my total at 8 pounds! 10 pounds doesn't seem so far away now, and my 5% doesn't either - only 5 pounds to go!

I am happy with the results, but I'm not going to write anything else right now because I woke up with a sore throat this morning and now I sort of feel like crap. I guess it's the last cold/flu before spring really comes (hopefully). I'm going to go lie on the couch & watch TV before bed!
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The Tattoo That Almost Wasn't

I've been wanting to get another tattoo for a while. The last one I got was my sixth, and I got it a couple of years ago. You can see my first six tattoos here. For my birthday last year, one of the things in my awesome gift basket from my friend Violet was 1/2 the price of my next tattoo! We planned to go before the end of the year, but that obviously didn't work out, so we just FINALLY made it last weekend.

One of the things Violet gave me for my birthday was that necklace over there to the left. It's a hippocampus. She bought one for herself at the Portland Pirate Festival and bought me one at the same time. We particularly like it because it looks like it has a unicorn horn. The thing is that Violet loves mermaids, and I love unicorns. So, this particular hippocampus is kind of like a mix of both! We decided that we would try to get a better picture of it and get it tattood on us. Yes, that's right, we got matching tattoos. I know, I know, it is a tad bit hokey. BUT, I have always felt like Violet and I are meant to be friends. We have such similar tastes that it's eerie sometimes, and I know we will be friends forever.

So, we managed to get a good quality photo of the necklace online, then asked one of our friends to draw it out for us. That's where the trouble started...

Reasons this tattoo almost didn't happen last Saturday:
  1. Our friend who drew it out for us got into a little fight with her husband. In his upsetness, he purposely threw away the drawing.
  2. When we found out, we started trying to print a copy out of the photo from the computer. It took forever because Violet's husband was trying to resize it and make it easy for the tattoo artist to copy.
  3. Once he was done, we couldn't print it because one of the printer's ink cartridges was out of ink.
  4. We finally got on the road, and arrived at the tattoo shop over an hour after we'd told her we'd be there. She didn't think we were coming, so was working on a walk-in and it was going to be a bit over an hour before she could take us. We had already been away from home at our big girls sleepover the night before, so we were a little nervous about how long it would take.
  5. The tattoo artist said it would be really hard to draw it from the actual necklace (which I had on), but Violet's husband had given her the photo on a USB drive, so we went off in search of somewhere to print it.
  6. We went to Walgreens down the block hoping we'd be able to print it at their photo center.
  7. There was someone using it. We waited like 30 min and she was STILL using it. At that point we realized there was a SECOND KIOSK we hadn't seen before.
  8. The picture wouldn't print because it wasn't in a recognized format.
  9. We drove around Everett looking for a print shop. THERE ARE NONE. We stopped at 2 different places and checked to see if they were open. In the pouring rain. They weren't.
  10. We found out there was a Kinko's by the mall. We drove over there. We never did find the Kinko's but we DID finally find an Office Depot. It took about 10 minutes to print it out, but we FINALLY had it.
  11. It had been over an hour since we'd left in search of our printout. We were feeling guilty about how long it would take. Violet wasn't sure we should still do it, we didn't know how long it was going to take for each one, and it seemed like the signs were all going against us!
Luckily, we got back to the tattoo shop (Mothership Connection in Everett, WA) and Janna quickly drew the tattoo out. I went first, and she put the stencil on my leg. It took even less time than we'd thought it would - less than an hour for each one! She was really excited about these ones, she had never heard of a hippocampus before, and she had done a little research and thought they were really cool. She was enjoying the design, and we are "model customers" - ie sit still and don't flinch or tell her to stop. We also generally take her suggestions on coloring, so she gets to do what she things looks good with just guidelines to go on. She told me afterwards that one of the reasons they went so quick is that if she really likes the design and the person is sitting still, she goes faster. Which also means she goes a little harder, but I think it's worth it for it to be over quicker.

We both got them on our right outer calf. Man, it frigging hurt. The thing is, I think the lining hurts more than the filling colors. But at the end, she switches back to the lining needle to do the highlights. With this one, I was definitely in "please stop it needs to be over" territory for the last 5 minutes or so. I think that this might be the most painful one because it was so big, and that part of my leg was fairly sensitive.

But that was yesterday, and today it is fine. It just feels like a big scrape, and it only really hurts when I flex my leg a certain way. Or when a cat rubs up against it. I wasn't able to get a very good picture, because my camera is still getting fixed, but I took a picture with my camera phone. So, without further ado, the tattoo that almost wasn't!

I can't wait for it to heal to get a really good picture because the colors are still not showing as well as they will because I bled a fair amount and it's still healing.
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March 13, 2009

Watch Watchmen

Haiku Friday

Finally here, so
highly anticipated,
and I couldn't wait!

Borrowed the comic
from my best friend, but never
got a chance to read.

Still, excited for
the movie, so when date night
rolled around, we went!

Loved 300 and
LOVED Watchmen just as much, it
was so amazing!

My Mom has been nice enough to watch Sam once a week for the past few weeks sot hat Justin and I could go out together, spend some time together, and reconnect. It's been really great - last week we enjoyed a night out in Bellingham, went out to dinner, went for a walk and to a local book store. This week we went to see Watchmen, which I have been excited about for a long time.

I am a huge fan of comic book/graphic novel based movies. I generally enjoy them (except Sin City, which I sort of hated), and I also like supporting the genre so that more will get made. I saw 300 in the theater and absolutely LOVED it. I have it on DVD, but haven't watched it in a while. I loved the stylization and the way the movie so invoked a graphic novel.

I knew I would enjoy Watchmen, but I didn't realize exactly how much! I had borrowed the graphic novel from my friend in hopes of reading it before the movie came out, and that didn't happen, but after seeing the movie I still want to read it so I can compare some.

There was so much good about this movie. The casting was absolutely amazing, and Jackie Earle Haley was absolutely perfect as Rorschach. He played the part so well, and looking back at the graphic novel, he had the perfect look for the part too. He was scary, mysterious, broken and brutal, everything he needed to be. There were several actors in this that I wasn't very familiar with, and especially liked the casting of Nite Owl.

The style of the film was great too, from the very beginning scene where The Comedian is murdered, you could tell just how the movie's visuals were going to play out. Speaking of The Comedian, Jeffrey Dean Morgan? I loves him. He was really good in this, just the perfect mix of tough, crazy, and hero. The action sequences were great, and they did an amazing job of filling in the back story. It was also completely accessible to us as people who hadn't read the graphic novel, which was great. This one also has an incredible soundtrack, and I loved the use of music.

I find also that I really enjoy parallel realities - in the world of Watchmen Nixon has been in office for several terms and it takes place in the 1980's, but in a different world.

We were at the theater for 3 hours, but we didn't notice. This is the kind of movie that you sit through and sort of hope it won't have to end. Definitely my favorite movie of the year so far. Go see it this weekend!

You can read two more reviews here:

Maria @ Immoral Matriarch: ETC is a huge fan of this graphic novel, and has read it several times, so her insight into the movie is definitely trustworthy!

Shana at Utterances will tell you about one aspect of this movie you'll definitely have a hard time forgetting.

For more Friday Haiku's click here.
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March 12, 2009

The Rest of the Story

So, this Chris Brown and Rihanna altercation has been all over the news. I admit that when I read it, I didn't really think much of it. I didn't really think about it, it seemed like just some other celebrity news. Well, you may have seen that new button over in my right sidebar about taking a pledge. I have been avidly reading a wonderful new website called Violence Unsilenced. It's run by Maggie of Okay, Fine, Dammit, and it's a place for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault to tell their stories, and for people to hopefully find courage and support. The other day, Maggie posted the rest of the story. Because I feel that this is very important, I'm going to re-post the section of the police affidavit she posted. This is reprinted from the official search warrant and affidavit in the domestic violence case involving Chris Brown and Rihanna (Robyn F.). Please know before you read it that this is a graphic description of a violent situation.

A verbal argument ensued and Brown pulled the vehicle over on an unknown street, reached over Robyn F. with his right hand, opened the car door and attempted to force her out. Brown was unable to force Robyn F. out of the vehicle because she was wearing a seat belt. When he could not force her to exit, he took his right hand and shoved her head against the passenger window of the vehicle causing an approximate one inch raised circular contusion. Robyn F. turned to face Brown and he punched her in the left eye with his right hand. He then drove away in the vehicle and continued to punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand. The assault caused Robyn F’s mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle.

_

Brown looked at Robyn F. and stated, “I’m going to beat the shit out of you when we get home! You wait and see!” Robyn F. picked up her cellular telephone and called her personal assistant, Jennifer [redacted]. [She] did not answer the telephone but while her voicemail greeting was playing, Robyn F. pretended to talk to her and stated, “I’m on my way home. Make sure the cops are there when I get there.” (This statement was made while the greeting was playing and was not captured as a message.) After Robyn F. faked the call, Brown looked at her and stated, “You just did the stupidest thing ever! Now I’m really going to kill you!” Brown resumed punching Robyn F. and she interlocked her fingers behind her head and brought her elbows forward to protect her face. She then bent over at the waist, placing her elbows and face near her lap in attempt to protect her face and head from the barrage of punches being levied upon her by Brown. Brown continued to punch Robyn F. on her left arm and hand causing her to suffer a contusion on her left triceps that was approximately two inches in diameter and numerous contusions on her left hand. Robyn F. then attempted to send a text message to her other personal assistant, Melissa [redacted.] Brown snatched the cellular telephone out of her hand and threw it out of the window onto an unknown street.

_

Brown continued driving and Robyn F. observed his cellular telephone sitting in his lap. She picked up the cellular telephone with her left hand and before she could make a call he placed her in a head lock with his right hand and continued to drive the vehicle with his left hand. Brown pulled Robyn F. close to him and bit her on her left ear. She was able to feel the vehicle swerving from right to left as Brown sped away. He stopped the vehicle in front of [redacted] and Robyn F. turned off the car, removed the key from the ignition and sat on it. Brown did not know what she did with the key and began punching her in the face and arms. He then placed her in a head lock positioning the front of her throat between his bicep and forearm. Brown began applying pressure to Robyn F’s left and right carotid arteries causing her to be unable to breathe and she began to lose consciousness. She reached up with her left hand and began attempting to gouge his eyes in an attempt to free herself. Brown bit her left ring and middle fingers and then released her.

_

While Brown continued to punch her, she turned around and placed her back against the passenger door. She brought her knees to her chest, placed her feet against Brown’s body and began pushing him away. Brown continued to punch her on the legs and feet causing several contusions. Robyn F. began screaming for help and Brown exited the vehicle and walked away. A resident in the neighborhood heard Robyn F’s plea for help and called 911, causing a police resopnse. An investigation was conducted and Robyn F. was issued a Domestic Violence Emergency Protective Order (EPO.)

I couldn't help crying as I read this. It completely took my breath away. I wish that every magazine that has been publishing fluff pieces about this story would re-print this. It was a pretty big reality check for me. If I heard the same things about someone I knew, I would be completely and utterly heartbroken, and would do anything I could to help that person get away from this kind of abuse. I hope that Rihanna has a support system that will allow her to do the same. I don't think it's fair for anyone to judge her, so please don't do it here. I realize she has money and resources that others don't have, and that she doesn't have children or a marriage with this man. I also know that it must be hard as hell to have the whole world scrutinizing you, and that we don't know her or what her circumstances are. I choose to give people the benefit of the doubt, and she doesn't need anyone saying that she's not doing her duty by not leaving and publicly denouncing him.

This just reminds me how much can happen and then be glossed over. Whether it's a story getting around about how someone got pushed by their significant other and people thinking that's not a big deal or a sensationalized news story, this is a terrible abuse. I hope that people will stop supporting Chris Brown in any way. He doesn't deserve your money or your respect. I hope that this will be an opportunity for parents to talk to their children about domestic violence, what to do when someone crosses the line, and the amount of respect every human being deserves.

For more thoughts on this, please visit Maggie's post at Violence Unsilenced, Jodi's post at Mamapop, and Samantha's post at Canada Mom Blogs.
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March 11, 2009

More Greatness!


The wonderful Deb at A Devonshire Design gave me this award for trying to move my life in a positive direction! I just discovered her blog recently (Thanks, SITS!), and you should go check it out. Thanks, Deb!

There are the rules that go along with accepting this award:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

So, I am now passing this award along to...

Enz at The 4 Walls. She has been reading this blog and encouraging me from the beginning - let's all support her too!

and

Rachel at Journal of a Non-Dieter, who has also been reading and supporting me.

Without their support, and yours, and that of the people at WW, I guarantee you I would not be able to do this.
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March 10, 2009

Favorite Things Swap!


Guess what? The other day I got something FABULOUS in the mail. It was my package from Emily! I wanted to wait a little bit to open it since I had just mailed mine, but I only managed to wait a day. Oh well! I apologize in advance for the crappy pictures - they certainly don't do the package justice! But, my camera is broken (again) and has been sent away for repairs, so I had to make due with my camera phone.

I slowly unloaded the box and found many spoils!

A pretty pink polka dot mug with hot chocolate (yum!), Hershey kisses, Smarties (love them!) and Harry Potter suckers as well as a couple of stickers because Em loves rock climbing.

Nail polish! I put nail polish in my package too, of course. She also sent me some lip gloss (which I will be lucky not to just put on my lips and lick off because it tastes like candy), really good smelling 'calm' lotion, some Bath & Body works lotion and last but not least a bottle of dream angels perfume from Victoria's Secret, which I've never bought, but it smells WONDERFUL!

Em loves Disney, so she sent me some stickers and a Cars bottle (which I have been letting my son carry around as he LOVES that movie). There was also a popcorn tub with popcorn in it, which I not only love, but is a great snack to eat on Weight Watchers because you can eat A LOT for very few points. I had seen on her blog that Em likes Hannah Montana, and I too am guilty. So, she sent me a cute Hannah Montana pen, along with a container of High School Musical Hand Sanitizer. I laughed out loud, because I also love HSM, and at that point my husband asked "Why were you made for each other?"

A really cute little flower painted wood block (now residing in my kitchen), a small star Christmas ornament (love stars) and a framed photo Em took. I also included a framed photo I'd taken in my package, since I love taking flower photos, so that was pretty cool.

And, lastly, the books! Em sent me a sketch book, a really really cute pink blank book with black velvet patterns & a magnet closure, and "Stand a Little Taller", which is a book of daily devotionals.

I read Emily's blog after we were matched as swap partners, and we have common interests as well as some similarities in other areas. One of the absolute BEST parts of the package was getting a note from her that she had gotten some good news in an area of her life she'd been hoping for! I was so excited for her.

I also cannot believe how good a match we were - I have looked through a lot of posts, and out of all the prizes I've seen none of them would have been better suited to me than what Emily sent! Talk about luck!

I had an absolute blast doing this swap, and can't wait to do it again! To see what other people got for their swaps, visit Mamarazzi at Dandelion Wishes!
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Wordless Wednesday: Recent Favorites



For more Wordless Wednesday posts, click here.
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Close Your Eyes, and Think of England

This week's theme for Heads or Tails Tuesday is to share a springtime memory. For whatever reason, the memory that came to mind first for me is an old one - it happened almost 10 years ago.

When I was 19 years old, I got to go to London for a study-abroad program through the community college I attended. I'd guess there were around 30 of us on the trip, although I'm not positive. We were all friendly, but we all made our little groups. The person I connected with the most was a girl named Heather. She was the same age as me, I think, and it was one of those things where we started talking, and something just clicked. I felt comfortable with her and we became friends, passing notes in class and hanging out.

One day, our group took one of our day trips up to Oxford. We had several hours to wander around and look at stuff, and Heather and I took off. At one point we got lost. I don't think we were REALLY seriously lost, we weren't scared about missing our bus back or anything, but we didn't really know where we were. It was a pretty day outside, and we were walking around in the sun laughing, and just having a carefree good time. We were young, happy, away from home and having an amazing experience. At one point, I decided I needed a photo of us, being lost. So I propped the camera on the edge of a trash bin and we ran in front of it and smiled. I remember Heather heckling me because I insisted on doing it ourselves even though we probably could have asked a passerby to take our picture.

That's only one of the great memories I have from that trip. I stayed friends with Heather for several years after we came back and then we lost touch. A couple of weeks ago, I found Heather and her husband on Facebook, and reconnected, and I was so excited! So, that's my good memory for today.

What is one of your favorite Springtime memories?

To read more Heads or Tails memories, click here.
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WW Week 6 Update: 5 LBS!

Current Weight: 260.4
+/- this week: -2.2
+/- total: -6.8
Short Term Goal: 250
Long Term Goal: 150

I DID IT! It took six weeks, but I FINALLY passed the five pound mark! I was SO excited when I got weighed, when she wrote my name down on the paper and I saw my total, I got tears in my eyes.

It might seem like a small victory, but it's huge. I have NEVER even been able to lose five pounds before. Something is WORKING this time! I was also really excited because I had a REALLY bad day last Friday. As in, I drank a lot of alcohol and ate a bunch of cheese fondue. But it was just one day, and I did get to the gym three times last week, and ate well on the other days. It really reinforced that tomorrow is another day, and slip ups every once in a while aren't going to kill me.

I'm at a total loss of 6.8 pounds now, which is HALFWAY to losing 5% of my weight, which would be 13 lbs down. Setting small goals is perfect, because now that 13 doesn't look so far away and from there, the four more pounds to my short term goal (250) will be so close!

Last week I went to Zumba on both Tuesday and Thursday. Thursday was a milestone for me because I did NOT feel like going. In fact, I hated the class that day. I was lethargic and it was hard. But, I DID IT. I went, and I stayed for the whole class.

I was also proud of myself today because my first thought after my weigh in was to reward myself and think maybe I could have pizza tonight. But instead, I decided on the way to pick up Thai food for my husband I would stop at Robek's and get a fruit smoothie instead! WAY better for you, full of fruit, and I got fiber added since you get one add on free. It was really filling for a snack, gave me at least one (maybe 2) servings of fruit, and was delicious! Then later I ate a WW Smart Ones frozen meal for dinner.

Speaking of which, I am TOTALLY impressed by Smart Ones. I have had the lasagne, chicken quesadilla and chicken fettucine alfredo (that one I had tonight) and they are REALLY good quality! Better than any other frozen meals I've had. The other night I tried a new product of theirs - brick oven pepperoni pizza! It was definitely the best low fat frozen pizza I have ever had. Totally satisfying, and for only 8 points! I also learned today that Lean Cuisine meals have WW points values on them, which is good to know because I'm pretty sure they're on sale at my local grocery for only $2 each.

I feel REALLY motivated and encouraged this week, and am actually looking forward to the gym tomorrow!
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March 9, 2009

Boys Don't Suck

Today I got a chance to watch one of the recent Momversation videos titled "Are Boys Getting a Bad Rap?". I really enjoy the Momversation videos (check them out here if you haven't already), and am often left with thoughts and opinions, but this one really made me want to share.

When I found out that I was having a boy, I admit I was a little disappointed. I didn't love my baby less, and I was still super excited, but I always wanted a little girl. I think that this is mostly the result of two things: the great relationship I have with my mother, and the fact that I have never been exposed to a mother-son relationship that was as close/as good as my relationship with my mother, so I think subconsciously I may not have thought it was possible. I also don't have any brothers, and had no IDEA how I would go about raising a boy!

Well, now my little boy is three years old. For the first few years of life, let's be honest, it doesn't really make a difference what sex your child is. Other than the toys they play with and the clothes they wear, babies and toddlers act very similar whether they are male or female. But every month, every year that goes by, I know we are getting closer to a time in life when it WILL make a difference he's a boy, and

Rebecca of Girl's Gone Child and Dana of Mamalogues both participated in and posted about this Momversation. In her post, Rebecca says "Just like when a man disrespects a woman it shows his weakness, so does a woman disrespecting a man show hers." I like Rebecca's view that we should concentrate on men's rights or women's rights - we should be enforcing HUMAN rights. Every person deserves to live without being made to feel bad for their sex, color, or any other thing they were born with - as Rebecca says, all human beings should be treated with respect.

In Dana's post, she writes "I mention in the video that there seems to be a prevalence of "man hate" in our society - one example is found in television where the majority of the sitcom dads/male figures, et al. are made to look like total buffoons." I find this to be a very interesting point, especially after recently reading the book "Self Made Man" by Norah Vincent. In the book, she talks about going to Men's Movement meetings, and it's pretty amazing to read. She talks about how women have had their movement, but men are deprived of some things - being able to feel what they feel and the ignorance most people seem to have about the issue. I think that this is exactly what we're talking about. By showing boys from a young age that "Boys Suck", we're hurting their feelings early and then telling them to "man up". Not only that, but if you're told that you're supposed to act a certain way from an early age, that men are jerks, pigs, whatever, then what are the chances you're going to act it out in some way? I'd say they're pretty high.

I've seen the art Rebecca talks about, and the shirts Dana talks about that say things like "Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them.", but I have never thought about what it would be like to try and explain that to my child. I totally agree with Dana that if there were a shirt that said "Girls Suck" people would be up. in. arms. So why is it acceptable to send these messages to our little boys? I mean, seriously? Do you remember the whole Barbie says "Math is hard" debacle?

Watching this Momversation made me sad. I feel lucky at least that I can be aware of these issues so that I can prepare my son, and try to nurture him to know that those things aren't really okay and that we won't support them. Instead of putting anyone down, we should be empowering our children. Boys are awesome. Girls rock. That's what we should be telling our kids.

Can't we all just get along?
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