April 30, 2011

B Corns

Sam pretends to throw something.

Sam: I threw a nut at you!
Rachael: Like an acorn?
Sam: Yes, like an acorn. Like a b corn!
Rachael: Oh, a b corn, huh?
Sam: That's what acorns are called in the future.

*****

Sam likes us to "do Danny's voice," talk in a high voice and pretend we are Danny saying whatever. I was doing Danny's voice.

Sam coughs.

"Danny": What was that noise?!
Sam: That was just me coughing.
"Danny": Why?
Sam: Because people are meant to cough. And sneeze.
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April 28, 2011

Friday Fragments: Video Edition!

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, "Heard" items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post.

Friday Fragments are the brainchild of Mrs.4444 and you can find more at Half Past Kissin' Time.

*****

This week for my Friday Fragments I'm feeling quite fragmented, and have decided to do a video edition. I will intersperse my fragments with videos of the songs I sing to Danny when I'm putting him to bed. It can be pretty random. Here's the first one - one I had sung to me as a child. Who could possibly not love this one?



*****

This week's Glee was SO GOOD. I loved it, particularly this fabulous mashup of Rachel & Quinn singing Unpretty/I Feel Pretty.



Also, Kurt is FINALLY back! He is my absolute favorite, and Chris Colfer singing As If I Never Said Goodbye? SO GOOD. I was glad they gave him such a wonderful song, and a totally full length version of it too. And they always do Gaga well, don't they? I totally teared up a couple of times, including when poor Emma was sitting in the psychiatrists office getting her prescription. As someone who has had to take that step to ask a doctor for help I am glad they are treating it a little bit as a serious issue instead of just having it be 'funny' forever.

*****

Here's song #2 I sing regularly. I couldn't find an official video, please ignore the weird imagery.



I have never been a HUGE country fan, but I do like some of Garth Brooks stuff, and this is perfectly in my range.

*****

Are you on Pinterest yet? If not, WHY NOT? Yes, is is completely and ridiculously addictive. But it's so much fun! Also, having a place to go and basically just look at pretty things you like? It's awesome. I also like it because I can use it to pin things instead of bookmarking them in my browser, then I can access them from anywhere and know where to find them later.

*****

Song three... sad subject matter, but I love, love, love this song.



*****

Sam is turning FIVE on Monday. Can you believe that? I can't! For his birthday, we're dropping Danny off at my Mom's and having a just-for-Sam day down in Seattle going to the Pacific Science Center, including the Star Wars exhibit. He is SUPER excited, and I honestly can't wait. Extra bonus, I'll get to dawdle around in the butterfly room with my new camera!

*****

Another Dixie Chicks song. I wasn't sure about this song at first, because I thought it was about a man. Then I realized it wasn't, and it might have made me tear up a little. It's beautiful.



*****

Danny got his first bleeding injury today. Twice. Yeah, he did not have a great day. This morning he finally managed to hurt himself on the two brick steps leading down into our living room. I didn't actually see it happen, but he somehow fell directly on his face and got a bloody nose. Not five hours later, Sam managed to kick him in the face with sock feet and he was bleeding in his mouth. Poor little dude. He was happy again by the time he went to bed though, and went down without even waking up.

*****

Here's another song I like to sing as a lullaby, because I like some of the lyrics. It's relaxing.



What lullabies did you/do you sing your kids? Did your parents sing to you?

*****

We got Sam Kirby's Epic Yarn for his birthday. He has been watching the Ultimate Wii Challenge video of the two guys playing it for weeks, and he LOVES it. We gave it to him early because we knew how much he was looking forward to it, and it's tons of fun and easy enough that he can play it for the most part. We have all been having a good time playing together.

Well, I guess that's all for this week. I'm off to visit you guys! I haven't been getting as much computer time lately, so I'm really looking forward to reading the fragments this week.
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April 22, 2011

White Chocolate (Coconut) Macadamia Nut Blondies

WHAT? Did your mouth just explode with wanting to eat these? It should have.

White Chocolate Macadamia Blondies

My Mom went to Hawaii a couple of weeks ago, and brought back a bounty of fresh macadamia nuts. She bought the special nutcracker you need because it takes 300 lbs of pressure to crack their super-thick shells. It took me an hour to crack a small ziplock bag full, and then I had to decide what to do with them. Today I decided I wanted to make some kind of cookie bar instead of just traditional cookies, and I'd bought white chocolate chips to go with them since they pair so well.

I looked through my Better Homes & Gardens red and white checkered cookbook and found a recipe for blondies, so I decided to modify the recipe to what I wanted. I also decided to make mine with gluten free flour and made sure none of the ingredients had corn since my mom's husband has both Celiac's Disease AND a corn allergy and I really wanted him to be able to have some.

White Chocolate (Coconut) Macadamia Nut Blondies

2 cups packed brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used a mix of Pamela's and Bob's Red Mill baking mixes)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
(optional: 1/4 cup coconut flakes)

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease a 13x9x2 inch baking pan and set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan heat brown sugar and butter over medium heat until butter melts and the mixture is smooth, stirring constantly.
  4. Cool slightly, then stir in one egg at a time.
  5. Stir in vanilla.
  6. Stir in flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  7. Spread batter in prepared baking pan.
  8. Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate. If you want some with coconut, sprinkle the 1/4 cup coconut over half the pan.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Cut into 36 bars while warm.
I had trouble with the cooking time and they looked dark when I took them out, although once I cut them, they do not seem overcooked except for the corner pieces. I'm not sure if it was because of the gluten free flour or because I used too much coconut (I reduced the amount for this recipe), or because maybe my baking powder is bad. In any case, depending on the ingredients, you may need to adjust the cooking time. I just kept putting it back in for 5 more minutes until the toothpick was clean.

Gluten Free  White Chocolate Macadamia Blondies

I also just let them cool in the pan - I'm not sure how I would have gotten them out of the pan in once piece without cutting them. I cut them while they were warm, before the firmed up too much.

Also, one great thing about this cookbook is that it includes nutrition facts for the recipes. These are 4 Weight Watchers Points Plus per piece - not bad for something SO GOOD.

White Chocolate Macadamia Blondies

Enjoy!

PS I obviously totally failed at my first attempt at NaBloPoMo for 2011. Bygones...
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April 14, 2011

All the Maybes

Tonight, my head is spinning with words like interoception, sensory processing disorder, diagnosis, and occupational therapy. With the introduction of his whisper repeating/palilalia and echolalia, our minds have crossed the line between waiting for him to grow out of it and seeking more help.

***

On Thursdays, we have to walk to the bottom of the driveway in time to move the trash can before the school bus comes. If I don't get there in time, it's in the way, and the bus driver has to get out and move it before he can pull off on the edge of our drive.

Today, Sam decided 5 minutes before we had to walk down, as I was trying to get his boots & coat on him, that he was hungry. He ate goldfish crackers, then wanted water. I had been asking him all morning if he was hungry or wanted something to eat, and he turned me down. It's frustrating when these things happen, but I also can't deny him because he barely eats at all.

As we walk down the driveway, Danny babbles in the front of the stroller. I pulled out the double stroller with the bench seat so Sam could ride too. I'm sure it's hard to have Danny get so much attention. Sam wants to play a game on the way down, and we talk about monsters.

I don't worry anymore about whether he'll get on the bus or I'll have to walk him to the door and encourage him to set foot on the stairs. He takes his backpack and does it on his own now. His driver chats with me about the weather, and Sam taps him, says he needs to tell him something. He tells him how much snow there was this morning. It's all melted now.

***

Justin has a harder time dealing with Danny than he did with Sam, because he sees so much of himself in Sam that he knows how to handle him. Now, with all his quirks and his personality, Justin remembers things that made parts of his childhood hard for him.

In the end, it all comes down to this: no parent wants their child to have a rough time. It's hard to keep my mind from thinking of this as something being "wrong." It's not wrong, it's just different. It's everyday life for me, and whatever happens happens. But I've heard too many stories of kids whose parents had a hard time getting them what they needed. Too many stories of fighting with insurance companies, school districts, labeling our kids. Sometimes, when your child is on the edge, or not classified/labeled, it makes things harder because you need a diagnosis to get treatment.

It's all just speculation on my part. I'm sure I'm getting ahead of myself here. I read checklists and there are things that hit the nail on the head. But there are a hundred more than don't describe him at all. It's such a big basket, this sensory thing.

***

I got an email from my Mom today. I think she said it perfectly - as a grandmother, she wants to believe he'll just grow out of it. But as an educator (20+ years in early childhood and special education), she thinks he needs more help. I totally agree. I think he does too. As a mother, though, right this moment? I don't fully want to accept it.

Justin has had this feeling in his gut for a while that it's not just passing phases and things he'll grow out of. Maybe it would have been better if we'd pushed harder, sooner. Maybe not. Maybe Sam WILL grow out of this stuff. Maybe not. Maybe he'll get diagnosed with something like sensory processing disorder. Maybe they won't put him in that group, but there's no denying he has sensory issues.

***

I know I'm all over the place, but that's how I feel right now. I'm not committed to a diagnosis, or to an explanation, or to a certain feeling. I'm just all maybes and what ifs and wheres and hows and love and fear and pain and somewhere in there, there's some peace & hope. I know it will come to the head of the class soon.
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April 13, 2011

30 Days of Truth Day 17: We are all made of corn

The prompt for Day 17 of 30 Days of Truth is "a book you've read that changed your views on something."

I had a hard time deciding what to post for this one. I read a lot. But I don't tend to read books that go against something I already believe. I do read nonfiction, but usually I'm reading about a subject I'm already interested in. While this was definitely the case with "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan, I feel like the book opened my eyes a little bit. I was already interested in sustainability and eating more healthfully.

Here's my review, originally posted in July 2008.

I just finished reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, which marked my 25th book read this year, and the halfway point in my goal to read at least 50 books this year. I have been wanting to read this book for quite some time, and was finally given a little push when it was chosen as the July book for my book club.

Corn

I LOVED this book. Despite that I ended my reading with many more questions than answers and a sense of general uneasiness about the way I eat and feed my family, I am glad I read it. It is much easier to be ignorant of what is really going on with the food and farming industries, but that doesn't mean it's right.

My first shock when reading this book was reading the list of things in the food I eat that are made from corn. I cannot believe how much corn I am eating, especially considering the amount of processed food I eat. It made me think about how much I DON'T think about where my food comes from, or what I've been putting in to my body. This is an issue that's come up in our family recently anyway with Justin being diagnosed with Celiac Disease we've had to really start checking our food and making sure that nothing he eats contains wheat gluten and other things like malt, barley etc. Despite becoming more familiar with our food, it still made me feel a little weird when I found out that 13 out of the 38 ingredients in a McDonalds chichen nugget can be derived from corn. Beyond that beign weird, what are 38 ingredients doing in a nugget anyhow?

Not only that, but knowing how all of the corn I'm ingesting gets processed really made me less excited about eating it. Did you know that it takes 50 gallons of oil to grow 1 acre of corn? No? I bet you also didn't know that after WW2 some munitions plants were switched to making chemical fertilizer, which is made from the same stuff used to make explosives. Which means instead of shooting those bombs off, we're eating them.

Gluttony

This book also gave me a lot of insight into some of the reasons why we are so fat these days. And by WE I mean Americans. I mean, have you ever been to another country? They walk. They exercise. After I spent 3 months in London walking everywhere, and walking FAST, I was in the best shape of my life. In America, they figured out that people felt like gluttons asking for seconds, so instead they just made the portion sizes ginormous. Have you noticed what you get now when you ask for a small at most fast food places? 20 oz? A small used to be 8 oz, Coke used to come in 8 oz cans.

Organic vs. Sustainable

For the past couple of years, I've made much more of an effort to buy organic. I buy Sam organic milk, and I try to buy organic products as often as possible because I figured it was better. What I'm really thinking about now is buying organic vs. buying sustainable. What does organic really mean? In some cases, not much at all. At a chicken plant, the only difference between an organic chicken and a non-organic chicken is that the organic chickens are fed a certified organic corn feed, which probably costs a tiny bit more. Other than that, they're treated the same way as the other chickens. In the same category, you might want to think about what it really means when a chicken is labeled as 'free range'. It means bupkis, that's what. The average lifespan of a chicken in a plant might be around 7 weeks. For the first 5, they're kept inside because organic chickens are so susceptible to disease and infection. For the last 2 weeks they are given a door with access to a grassy strip outside. Guess what? They don't go out. They've already lived five weeks without going outside, why the hell would they go out now? Two weeks later, they're on our plates.

I'm not saying there is no upside to 'organic', there is. The land that grows organic crops isn't spread with chemicals. But the field right next to it, owned by the same company, might be.

Pastoral Farming

My favorite part of the book was the middle section, where Michael went to live at Polyface Farms, a pastoral farm on the East Coast. They grow everything naturally, and the lives of the animals and plants on the farm are so intertwined that you couldn't have one without the others. This section of the book literally made me want to go and live there. Yes it would be hard. I would be working for ten or twelve hours a day doing manual labor. But I would also be healthier, in better shape, well fed, and wouldn't have to worry as much about the kind of damage I'm doing with the food products I choose to buy. The farm is much too much to describe here, but it's an amazing place. Pollan also points out that if the 16 million acres now being used to grow corn to feed cows in the US were converted to this kind of pastoral farm, it would be the equivalent of taking about four million cars off the road. That's a lot of freaking cars.

What Do I Know?

There are several quotes in this book from people eating wild meat, or meat raised on farms like Polyface. They say that it tastes like the chicken they remember from when they were kids, or that it really tastes like chicken. This got me thinking that perhaps I don't even know what REAL meat tastes like. I was talking to Violet about the book and admitted that in a lot of cases, I would rather order something without chicken (like a quesadilla) because the chicken is just... protein. It doesn't taste like anything, it's not particularly tender or juicy or flavorful. It's just an ingredient. It made me wonder how far this extends into my life - have I ever had REAL meat? Pollan also makes an excellent point regarding the price of food - honestly priced, more expensive food (like a dozen eggs from Polyface) versus irresponsibly priced food where the costs to the earth, the costs to the environment, the amount of oil it took to be produced are not considered or factored in to the cost.

So What?

What I've written here is a tiny slice of the pie. This book was so good that I find it hard to sit down and write anything about it without just saying, heck, just go read it! I do recommend it to anyone who is interested in getting the facts about where food comes from. Pollan is very fair and factual in his representations, I was actually very appreciative of the way he talked about vegetarians and showed both sides of the argument without bias. He observed, experienced, and researched, and the outcome is an amazing look into the food we eat in America today.

It's not easy to change your life overnight. It would have been a lot easier not to read this book, to have stayed ignorant and never considered where my meat comes from or the huge cost of industrial farming. This book made me want to think more about what I put into my body. To buy locally and try and support local and sustainable farmers. To go to the farmers market more often. Not everyone can change everything. These products can be more expensive. But every tiny step that you take in the right direction can make a difference. I don't know where this book will take me, but I would like to hope that I'll be able to make some changes in where and how we buy our food that will allow the earth and our family to be a little bit healthier.

To be honest, we have not changed that much since I wrote this (which I cannot believe was three years ago!). I try to buy some local foods, and I love farmer's markets. My sister runs one in Seattle, and works for the Neighborhood Farmer's Market Association, so she brings me great stuff sometimes. When I'm in Seattle, I sometimes visit her markets. Regardless of how we're eating at home right now, I hope that between my sister and I, we will teach our kids a lot about sustainability and how to fuel their bodies.

For the other 29 days, click here.
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April 12, 2011

Dr. Google, Parenting, and Knowing When to Worry

Yesterday during bath time, I noticed something interesting. Sam has started whisper repeating the last word/few words of his speech. Basically, if he says "The monster is coming," it is immediately followed by "is coming, is coming" whispered, or "coming."

Today, he was still doing it. Justin and I have sort of tried to ask if he is doing it on purpose or if he knows he is doing it, but it's so hard to tell because he doesn't like to be asked direct questions sometimes and even if he answers, he's only four so it's hard to tell if he's telling you the truth or what he thinks he should say etc. I told my Mom about it and she heard it when he got home from school. She thought it was really interesting too, and had never heard of something ilke that.

Like any computer addicts, what do we do? Turn to Dr. Google, right? So Justin does a search and quickly finds Palilalia. I've heard of Echolalia before, and it's very similar. Then you start reading into it, and find that it's connected to Autism, Aspergers, Tourette's and OCD. And your mind starts going crazy. And you suddenly don't feel like it's strange, you feel actually WORRIED. Because this one article says that a lot of times when it's connected to OCD it can be triggered by Strep (which we all just had).

Then, if you're smart, you STOP.

Sometimes, as a parent, as a person in this information-rich world, it's hard to know when to worry and when to let things go. It's so easy to let your mind just run away, and to find yourself dragging behind wondering what got you there.

I did another search for 'whisper repeating,' and I found this page with dozens of people whose children do this, or who did/do it themselves. Some grew out of it, some didn't. Most of them are not autistic or OCD or anything, it's just a tic. It can come and go, and it's probably not a big deal. Justin found another site that said unless it lasts more than a year, and is combined with some other traits of whatever, it's not really a concern.

Then I found this great quote on another message board:
Our late, great ADD doctor (yes, you've heard me mention him a thousand times, and probably will again; but he changed my entire life by teaching me how to understand my kids) said this about tics:

Everyone has what he called a "tic threshold." Some kids have very low threshold (such as with Tourettes's); their tics are triggered very easily, sometimes constantly. Others have a high threshold so you will rarely see tics. But if you put ANYONE under enough stress, you will see tics begin to emerge.

For example, When I'm very tired, my eyelids twitch. That means I've reached my tic threshold. After a good night's rest, it goes away.

It's completely involuntary and often the child doesn't have any idea he is doing it. I wouldn't worry about it unless it begins to interfere with his normal daily routine or with relationships. Then I'd ask a doctor.
It's a little bit like a breath of fresh air, and it reminds me of one way I stay grounded. I remember that we all have differences. We're individuals with personalities that all fall along a spectrum. Somewhere on the greater human spectrum lies the autism spectrum. Perhaps we all have a little bit of it in us. Having one symptom of something, or having one trait on a huge list doesn't really mean anything on it's own.

The bottom line is that we have long known that Sam is not "typical," although what is that anyway? The more kids I know, the more I wonder if normal actually exists. He has had speech delays, sometimes he thinks differently than I would. He shows a lot of traits in common with Justin in relation to ADHD. He has some sensory issues. So, it's not really surprising that he'd move on from old quirks and develop new ones. Last year at one of our parent-teacher conferences, the teacher did bring up Asperger's Syndrome. She was not saying she thought he had it, just that there were SOME behaviors he possessed that would be consistent. Justin and I both agreed that we think it's just a part of how his ADHD manifests, but if things changed, we'd just handle it.

As a parent, there's always a choice, and an instinct. Even so, sometimes it's so hard to know when to worry and when not to. We have a beautiful almost-5-year-old. He is smart, he is amazing at memory, he loves Batman, and he tells his little brother that he loves him. He loves baths and doesn't eat much, and has a "million pounds" of energy most days. He is amazing, and he's fine.
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April 11, 2011

Mommy Confession

I hate bathtime.

Sam takes a bath almost every night before bed, and he loves it. Sometimes, he would stay in there for hours if we let him. Lucky for me, a lot of nights I put Danny to bed and Justin does bath & bed with Sam.

Tonight, I got stuck with bathtime, and I finally admitted to Justin that I hate bathtime. I hate sitting in the bathroom. I hate sitting on the floor playing games with Sam while he's in the tub. I'm tired and it's uncomfortable and I usually get wet and whatever.

It's just not my favorite time of day, that's all.

Do you have a particular parenting task that you could do without?
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April 10, 2011

Sunday Funday

Well, it actually hasn't been that fun so far, but I expect that it will look up as I am having dinner and a movie with my girlfriends for my cousin Courtney's birthday tonight. We're going to see Hanna, which I have only read a synopsis for and have not seen any previews. This is quite unusal for me, usually I hear about most movies quite a while before they're out and look forward to many of them, and since I go to the movies around once a week, I usually see previews. I'm hoping it will be good! Today's post is a little random, I just have a ton of thoughts bouncing around in my head, so here are a few. About 3 weeks ago, Danny's mouth made a decision. It said "Only two teeth? Are you kidding? Here are FIVE MORE ALL AT ONCE." It's been a little crazy. There are now four teeth growing in on top, and I can't wait to see how it changes his smile once they're all the way in. I am totally drooling over this Tamron 70-300 Lens. I want it so bad, and the price on Amazon is excellent! I am working on selling some of our DVD box sets, then hopefully I'll be able to get it. Last week we went to the zoo, and the whole time we were there I just kept thinking about how I wished I had a telephoto lens. My mom and her husband went to Hawaii for spring break, and even though they've only been gone for a week I can't wait to see her tomorrow when they get back. I forgot that we were supposed to drop her car off at the airport today, so I'll have to go to the airport at 6:30 AM to pick them up. Oh well, not much sleep for me tonight. Sam is back to school tomorrow, which I am very glad about. We had a pretty good spring break, but it's better for him to get out of the house. I was very excited because the little letter and calendar the teacher sent home for April showed they are going to watch some caterpillars turn to butterflies! How fun. We have been watching the Batman movies with Sam because he likes playing Lego Batman on the Wii. So far we have watched the old, old one, Batman with Val Kilmer and Batman & Robin. Justin asked who my favorite Batman is, and I have to say that after watching part of B&R this morning I am kind of digging George Clooney. Is that weird? Sam likes the original old one the best. Well, that's about it for now! I'll be less random tomorrow ;-)
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April 9, 2011

Without

Without
January 17, 2000

Night falls,
silently
overtaking day
like a cancer
spreading.
How did the night
fall when
you fell
with a bang, your
head fell
Broken.
Night fell at
9 am
the sun shined
without effort
cried
without end.
Repeating,
No, no, no
I couldn’t believe,
and I’ll never forget
the phone call.
stuttering
and sobbing
your name
my name
my number
to your
grandmother,
collapsing alone
in a phone
booth,
driving
without aim,
not knowing where
to go
who to tell
how to say, you
were gone.
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April 8, 2011

A Story for You

I recently pulled out my old binder of my short stories and started reading through it. I have a bunch in there that I really feel pulled to start working on again, and hopefully sharing some of them here. I found this one in the back, in the section for beginnings and very short stories. I laughed and thought it was silly, but Justin was entertained. So, here it is. I'm not sure when I wrote it, maybe 13 or 14 years ago.

*****

When I was little, my grandma used to tell me stories about when she was a girl. We would sit there together in her cozy living room, with the old fashioned futons and her old CD player, and she would play her favorite oldies for me. I guess that's how I got hooked on artists like Sarah McLachlan, the Goo Goo Dolls, and Matchbox Twenty. Most of my friends think I'm kind of crazy - none of them walk around listening to the oldies stations - but I find most nineties music much more appealing than the new single from Blue Fungus or the other "bands" that are popular now. I don't think that their music is very talented, especially compared to how music used to be. Grandma was a beautiful woman. Sometimes after she told me a story we'd get out her old photo album. Back when she was young, a lot of girls had long, flowing hair. Sometimes when I'm looking in the mirror, I wonder what it would be like to have hair. I picture myself with long, red, curly hair, or short blonde hair like Grandma used to have. When I was younger, we lived in a colony where there was a five o clock curfew every night, because that's when the Cybots would come out. They figured the earlier everyone was in their own houses, the less crime would go on. So, I used to go to Grandma's house in the evenings, and sneak back home through a hole we'd made in the hedges. We don't live there anymore, so now I can visit Grandma whenever I want, in the new colony we don't have to be home until nightfall...

I remember the day that someone told me that it was time for Grandma to go. To stop the overpopulation problem, the authorities decided that if anyone were to live to the age of sixty, they would have to be put to sleep and sent out into space. They stopped burying people in the ground a long time ago, there was much too much space being taken up for cemeteries. Now we have grieving chambers. You can go into the small, dark room, usually they hold two or three people, and see where your loved on is by a camera that is attached to the body before it is shot into space. The camera's self powered battery usually lasts about five months, and after that the film is just part of the Hall of Records and you can go view it anytime you want to.

It was October 3, 2045. Grandma's birthday was on the fifth, and we all knew what would happen. On this particular afternoon, we had decided to have a coming to peace party for her. She had lived a full life, but Grandma wasn't even sick or weak. I was seventeen years old, old enough to fully understand what was going on. I had been thinking about losing Grandma for the past couple of years. I didn't know what I'd do without her. She was my best friend, and she had been like a second mother to me. We all gathered in her backyard that afternoon, and we had an old fashioned barbecue like they had when she was younger. I don't know how she got a hold of an old charcoal powered grill, but it was so much fun! We cooked our protein patties an some long skinny things that Grandma called protein dogs. She said when she was a kid, they used to barbecue real meat, and they had things called hamburgers and hot dogs. They used to eat them with fresh vegetables too! I had never even had meat, by the time I was born, there was only the protein substitutes that we eat now. There had been problems with all the cattle when a terrible disease spread through the world, and now the only cows were in the animal containment museums. We rarely had fresh vegetables either. When Grandma was young, they'd had a garden, and they'd been able to grown their own vegetables too. She told me about how sweet and crisp the onions tasted, and how good the tomatoes were when they were just right. Id' only seen pictures of these things, but somehow Grandma had managed to get some fresh onion, lettuce, and tomato for our barbecue.

*****

It was really hard to type that up without editing it, and even just doing that I had a couple of ideas. Maybe I'll work on it.
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April 7, 2011

My 13 Favorite Glee-ful Songs

I used to participate in Thursday Thirteen more regularly, and since I love lists so much maybe I'll jump back in. This is a list I've been thinking about for a while - my list of my top songs from Glee. I've included videos for each, though a few are just audio with a static picture because it's all that was available. I still love Glee every week, and it makes me laugh and cry. The first five are my absolute favorites (in no particular order), and the remaining 8 videos are not in any certain order.

1. Thriller/Heads Will Roll - I wish there was a video of the actual performance for this one. This has got to be one of the best mashups I've ever heard, and it's definitely in my top 5.



2. It's My Life/Confessions Part 2 - This was one that just wowed me when it happened. I loved the crazy manic energy of this episode (courtesy of some type of cold/sinus medication Terri was giving the students).



3. Defying Gravity - Seriously, this is where I fell absolutely in LOVE with Kurt. He's my favorite character on the show. Once, when I was pregnant with Danny, this song came on while I was driving and I burst into tears because it was so beautiful.



4. Bad Romance - Kurt again! And Santana really showed her stuff in this one. This is my favorite to sing along to while it blares in the car.



5. Dream On - When I heard that Neal Patrick Harris was going to be on, I was so excited! This duet is just so good. Also, this is a song I would DEFINITELY not know all the words to if it weren't for Glee.



6. The Boy Is Mine - Santana and Mercedes battle it out.



7. Give Up the Funk - One of the things that was cool about this one is that it was one of the first times that you were able to get the true range of Chris Colfer's voice - there is no autotune or adjustment, that's really him singing those notes.



8. Bills, Bills, Bills - It's just different. And Kurt and Blaine? LOVE.



9. Vogue - How could you not love this? Sue cracks me up nearly every week.



10. Lady is a Tramp - Puck shows his stuff. Awesome.



11. Don't Rain on My Parade - Another one where I was just absolutely WOWED when I saw it.



12. Alone - Kristin Chenowith is pretty awesome, and I had no idea she could sing like this. I knew she sang, but when she belted the chorus out? It was awesome.



13. Slave 4 U - I really like Britney. She's funny, but innocent and caring all at the same time. And do you ever just focus on her dancing? Really good.



Also, I totally love Burt Hummel. This totally made me cry, and he rocks.



Also, Matthew Morrison and Jessalyn Gilsig totally acted the shit out of this scene where he discovers her fake preggo belly, and it is STILL stuck in my mind.



Do you watch Glee? What are your favorites?


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April 6, 2011

Crafty!

Sometimes, I like to get crafty. I knit occasionally, like to color, and sometimes get the urge to make stuff. I like stickers and glitter and photos and lots of other things.

One of the things I like to do is make my own cards. I am not a HUGE cardista or anything, with dies and brads and stamps and layers. But I DO enjoy an occasional trip to Michael's, where I drool and bargain in the scrapbooking section, then make my own cards. I am a huge fan of snail mail, and I often find that the cards at the store are just too much. To many frilly words etc. I use these for everything from a 'hello' or 'miss you' note to Thank You and Birthday cards.

I went to Michael's last night and almost all of the craft stickers were 40% off! Score. I got tons of stuff for only $30, and made about 45 cards - less than $1 a card, which is WAY cheaper than if I bought blank cards at Hallmark. Here are my favorites from last night's batch.

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Do YOU ever get crafty?
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April 5, 2011

The Things We Miss

You know what I miss? Going a full day without anyone touching me. I love my kids, they are awesome. And it's wonderful that we have such a strong bond, but some days all I want is a big bubble around me so that no one can grab my nose, pull my hair, sit on my back, climb into my lap, hang from my neck, poke my stomach, put their hands in my mouth to feel my teeth, yank my earring, slobber on my arm, smear food all over my just washed pants, or honk my head with theirs.

I miss spontenaiety. Being able to leave the house without changing three outfits, making sure the diaper bag is stocked with diapers, extra pacifiers, wipes, outfits, formula, snacks, sippy cups, toys, and of course I can't forget my keys and wallet and cell phone.

One day I will sit and write about how I miss having my boys near me, how I miss tiny hands and feet. I will miss these days where we stay home all day and cuddle and snack and hang out in pjs all day. One day. One day I will have my body back to myself and maybe I will miss their touch... probably... definitely.

Just not today.
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April 4, 2011

Uninspired

I'm feeling uninspired as I sit here listening to Danny scream in his crib. I don't get why he can be sound asleep before we put him in and and soon as we set him down he starts wailing. Cry it out sucks. I have PMS and I totally feel like crying too, little dude.

Justin and Sam are in the living room playing Lego Batman. Before this, we watched The Phantom Menace, probably only the 2nd time I'd seen it since it was in theaters. We've been playing a lot of Lego Star Wars so I've been exposing Sam to the movies a bit.

This morning my sister and her boyfriend came over. He's a farmer so he brought us a ton of potatoes, delicious bacon, and eggs. We made blueberry pancakes, then they played with Sam outside and hung out with us for a few hours. It was a good day, but I feel really tired. I haven't been getting enough sleep lately, staying up too late to hang out and watch TV with Justin. Last night we watched TV and played WordFeud with each other. He won both games. The second one, I was way ahead, but he played a couple of good words.

Justin still seems sort of sick from his Strep relapse last week, and I feel fine except my throat feels slightly off. This week is Sam's spring break, and on Thursday we're going to go to Woodland Park Zoo, so I'm looking forward to that.

I tried to think of something to inspire me, but it just didn't come today. I looked back at my blog posts from this time of year for the past 5 years to see if there was anything interesting. There was not really anything that made me spark. So, here's what my life is like right now. Maybe in four years on April 4 if I feel uninspired again, I'll read it. But I'm not sure it will help.
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April 3, 2011

Weekly Winners - Around the Town


Weekly Winners is the creation of the beautiful Lotus from i am lotus (aka Sarcastic Mom). It gives us a chance to share our favorite shots of the week every Sunday.

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For more weekly winners, visit I am Lotus.
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April 2, 2011

30 Days of Truth Day 18: Let's Get Rid of the Gay in Gay Marriage

The prompt for day 18 of 30 Days of Truth is "Your views on gay marriage." And yes, this is totally out of order because I'm finding myself stuck on day 17. It'll come along in time...

Let's get rid of the gay, because come on. Marriage is marriage. In short, my views on gay marriage are no different than my views on straight marriage. It's awesome. It's not for everyone. But for those who want it? They should be allowed to have it.

Gay Marriage Makes Me Cry
Originally posted July 4, 2008


A special kind of
joy, celebrated at last
brings tears to my eyes

Twenty seven years
finally matrimony
after all this time

Hateful signs are there
but overshadowed by the
signs of love, support

Hateful thoughts exist
but can't compete with kisses
hugs between couples

Families smile
Bride loves bride and groom loves groom
Children's parents wed

You deserve this joy
All people should have the right
To wed who they choose

I can't wait until
This scene repeats in my town-
Congratulations!


Photo Credits:
1. Hamming with the Family Planning Guide, 2. SF Gay Marriages June 16 & 17, 08, 3. SF Gay Marriages June 16 & 17, 08, 4. sf city hall gay marriage equality 6.16 (36), 5. sf city hall gay marriage equality 6.16 (20), 6. SF City Hall After the Legalization of Gay Marriages, 7. sf city hall gay marriage equality 6.16 (48), 8. Marriage-004, 9. Appreciation, 10. Together for 27 years..., 11. same-sex marriage san francisco, 12. Marriage-004B

For the other 29 days, click here.
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April 1, 2011

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, "Heard" items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post.

Friday Fragments are the brainchild of Mrs.4444 and you can find more at Half Past Kissin' Time.

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I tried out NaBloPoMo in December and missed it by about 2 days of not posting. I've decided I'm going to try again for April. The "official" theme for April is 'sprout.' I guess in a way, my idea fits - I feel inspired by little things right now - everyday things that happen that spur me to write. So, that's going to be my sort-of theme for April, ideas that sprout from moments, but really anything goes.

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So in the last month, we have pretty much all had strep throat except Danny. My throat got all sore again on Monday, but it is much better now. Justin, on the other hand? The penicillin they gave him did not eradicate the strep throat he had and it came back with a vengeance on Tuesday. I am not even kidding, his left tonsil was the size of a walnut. Horrible. So, he got some better antibiotics, and he's on the mend. He did miss work yesterday and today, and it seems like he was even worse the second time around. Hopefully this time the medicine will really get this bacteria OUT of our house!

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Sam's Kindergarten registration paperwork came in the mail this week. HOW DO I HAVE A FIVE YEAR OLD?! I don't even know. It's insane. I look at him and I just can't believe I'm a parent to a kid that age. He'll be five in a month, and Danny will be one. Crazy.

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One of my friends has recently become a consultant for Arbonne. She is a really cool woman who is trying to remain a stay at home mom while still providing for her family. Normally I don't host parties for friends who do this kind of thing, but after hearing about Arbonne and their products, I hosted a party last weekend. It was SO much fun! Here is the beauty of Facebook. The people who attended were: a friend I've known online for 2 years but never met, a woman I went to high school with who I haven't actually seen SINCE HIGH SCHOOl, my Mom, and a friend from a local Moms group. Talk about a mixed bag. It was awesome though. And they have amazing incentives for first time buyers. I am going to get a HUGE box this week with all the stuff my Mom and I ordered. I am probably most excited about the FC5 Mattifying Powder (I gets shiny, yo), the Self Tanning Spray (my legs are an unholy shade of white, and it's getting warmer), and the Hydrating Eye Cream (EYE BAGS BEGONE). I'm going to be hosting a 'virtual party' soon, so if you might be interested, let me know. They really are a cool company, all pure and natural and green. Check 'em out!

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I walked around downtown this week and took a bunch of photos. I'll post more on Sunday for Weekly Winners, but here are a couple.

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This next one I just happened to catch, I saw the bike cop, then the soldiers, then they met up and started talking and joking around. It was just a cool sight to see.

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I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! I am excited because my sister's coming up Saturday and her boyfriend (who is awesome) on Sunday, so it's going to be awesome! Now I better be off to visit the other Friday Fragmenters!
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