Friday, March 08, 2013

Stan the Man in the Tan Van...a Sesame Street Literary Rhyme

Bad news: I finished a great book. How to follow up an engrossing read, especially before you're ready to turn out the light? 

I had this dilemma last night when I closed the back cover to Amy Tan's gripping memoir, The Opposite of Fate. It was 8:30 pm. Now what?

The process:

First, a palate-cleansing break. Rearrange the (5 or 6) pillows and get comfortable. Second, pick up the library book I have 3/4 finished, titled, The Spellman Files. Remind self that it contains an interesting mystery, despite trying-too-hard style, and prosaic writing. I still want to find out what happens. Third, get reading again. Break over.

It wasn't Amy Tan, but then again, very few books are.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Howdy there. How are you? 

So many changes with a baby are monumental, and then also kind of mundane. 

Take today. It's Friday. We're upstairs in baby Evelyn's bedroom instead of downstairs in the kitchen, trying to work on our homeschool lessons for the older girl. I decided to grab my laptop and relax up here in this different space. We have the radio tuned to NPR, like usual, and Evelyn is enjoying a blanket-covered floor with the toys that stay upstairs. The older one is cleaning her room. At least, she is supposed to be cleaning her room but it's awfully quiet in there. It sounds more like she's reading books than cleaning. It's like a whole new thing, except for girlie's book-reading, but without all the effort of actually leaving the house.

This little house. It's small, but at around 1,600 sq. ft. it's not small at all. It is cozy, our house built for elves. In 1945, post-war, people must've been shorter? I don't know, but I love the low ceilings, the built-in shelves (WE NEED MOOOORE), and the steep stairs that were made, I can only assume, for the teeny little people that used to live here. They didn't bonk their heads on the doorframe that we do when we walk down the stairs. Or bonk their heads on the sloping ceilings on the second floor. But it's a romantic kind of ceiling, so the goose-egg that it leaves on our heads is cute. One of these days, we'll probably  move. I just wish we could find a house with as much cuteness - some people call it character - as this one. But character in one built for not-elves, like us.

Evelyn is enjoying her room. She is much less screechy this morning than usual, even though her tummy has been giving her trouble. She's had several poops during the day, whereas her normal routine is to have just one... or two at the most. Aren't you glad you asked?

It's just a normal Friday. My teeth are not yet brushed. Both children are clean and dressed. We will probably go to the library, if their mom can get it together enough to clean her teeth to a socially acceptable level, that is.

It's a good day.

Monday, October 08, 2012

The World is a Magical Place

Remember the child from the box? Well, she's taking her afternoon nap. And this morning, she had a morning nap. And last night? Last night, she slept in her crib for the first time. Her father and I took turns sitting with her until she fell asleep. When she woke during the night, I was prepared to soothe her but not feed her. She mostly self-soothed before I could go in there and muck things up, except for that 2 - 3:30 am stretch where I went into her room LIKE A MORON. See: previous part about SELF-SOOTHING, dumdum.

There is a reason why sleep deprivation is a torture device, people. Think about it.

Holy sweet Baby Jesus, today is a marvelous day!!!! The world is a beautiful place!!!!!!!! 

Meanwhile, there's the other one. The older one. She is running cross-country this fall for the first time.

She's the blondie in black shoes. I screamed maniacally for her as she ran by. I think she loves that.

Kids. There's nothing like them. Sometimes you put them in boxes in a vain attempt to hang onto your mind and get through the next few minutes, and other times you shout out loud your support for all the world to hear. Much to their dismay. I'm not sure which is the truest indicator of a loving parent. 

Probably both.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Baby at Nine Months

Yesterday, I put my kid in a box. She was screaming and unhappy everywhere else I put here, might as well go for broke. It kept her happy for a surprising amount of time. I think I washed dishes.

She still won't crawl, eat solid foods, or allow any teeth to come through her gums. I'm trying not to panic, which means NOT going to the internet and googling "eight month old doesn't crawl". Because I did that and the results range from "crawling is normal at 9 to 10 months" to "it could be the result of central nervous system damage...". Good old internet.

Today Evelyn turns nine months old. To mark the occasion, she took a nap with the cat. The cat jumped in her bed as I was feeding her in preparation for her afternoon nap, when he pointedly looked at me  before settling down as if to say, "you're stuck under the baby, so watch this."

I shook the bed and tried to get him out, but he just looked like he was enjoying his free massage. So, I put the baby in on top of/next to him. I think I made my point.

Who know what tomorrow will bring? Maybe crawling, and the minute she pulls out all the books from the bookshelf and gets into my purse to rip out all the checks, I know I will wonder why I wanted it to happen so badly in the first place. Immobility is not so bad.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Day When My Daughter Insisted Upon Her Own Personality

My oldest daughter is going to run cross country this fall. I want to start running again to get into shape, so we have been running together this week. The benefits: mother-daughter bonding time! Motivation to get outside! Other stuff!

It has been good. We have run intervals, done sprintwork at the track, and are supposed to go for a longer, easy jog today. (Meanwhile, I'm on my third cup of decaf and she's eating a late breakfast. It's also Friday, which means there's more than an incredibly precise chance that we'll do pretty much anything else than a longer, easy jog today. Like, not run at all.)

One interesting thing has popped up over this past week's running. My 11-year old has decided it's time to start "growing up" and "separating herself as an individual" a bit. This has taken the form of questioning much of what I ask her to do during our run workouts. She questions me, and has a tiny attitude. Which is normal, I get it. But yo, you wouldn't do this when your DAD coaches you, would you? No. I guess it's just moms that get to see the full force of the fancy hormone-changing grump-tasticness?

Not being grumpy, just reading.

Which I guess, makes me special. With her mom, she feels like she can be herself, even if that self looks more like a cat getting a bath rather than the sweet kid we've raised from birth.

I tell myself that it's okay. It's a phase. It's supposed to happen this way. And besides, that's why God invented wine, for when our progeny do their hardest growing* and we need something to prop us up for the process.

My husband tells me our daughter wants to do things her way, just like me. (We'll deal with THAT characterization later.......crap, it's true.)

* (And we're not even to the years that end it -teen...)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Baby Food

Found out that the cereal I've been feeding Evvie is giving her constipation. Turns out that cereal, commonly used as baby's first food, should be one of the last foods introduced to a breastfed baby for a number of reasons. 

It is a processed food that has to be fortified. The iron it contains is not necessary for breastfed babies. The iron it contains is not as readily absorbed as that contained in human milk (10% vs. 40% absorption rate). The extra iron can cause constipation. The nutrition it delivers is substandard when compared to human milk...the list goes on. (Information courtesy

I have two children. Why did I not know this?!?

Evvie's not too fond of solid foods yet. She liked her cereal room temperature. If her fruit was refrigerated, it had to be warmed up first. She hasn't loved anything in particular, except breastfeeding, God love her.

Forget the cereal. She's getting bananas and applesauce now. The only thing coming out of this butt will be pure fruit.

And maybe popsicles.

Minus the stick.

Friday, August 10, 2012


So, there's this topic I've been immersed in for a few months. Most of us don't have a clue about the farming practices that go into our food, and let me tell you, it's a scary thing. But we've got to know, and we've got to find a way to fix it. Much like a hot dog factory, it's disgusting.

Who reads the Congressional Record, unless forced to as a condition of release from hostage-takers? Not me. Government language is boring, full of "strike line 9 and amend line 13....". I've included a little bit from the latest farm bill which addresses genetically modified foods, and consumers' right to know what we buy.

It's a dirty job, trying to do the right thing. Highly-paid lobbyists are outside the doors, panting and clouding up the windows of Congress with their hot, nasty breath. Meanwhile, regular Americans are at work, at home, and busy taking care of children and doing dishes rather than paying attention to the details of all that legalspeak.

But, there is a reason you should care about the farm bill recently under consideration in Congress. Why should we care? Isn't the FDA on top of things? Well, if by "on top of things" you mean on top of opening the door to hiring regulators directly from the biotech companies they are supposed to regulate? Then yes, they are on top of that.

It's not the first time government and business are in bed together, but this is what we eat. This is what we feed our children, and it affects our health. There are no studies that consider genetically modified foods and their affects, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that it is harmful to children by causing severe allergic reactions, among other things. If you've read "The Unhealthy Truth" then you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't read that book yet, you should.


   SA 2256. Mr. SANDERS (for himself and Mrs. BOXER) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 3240, to reauthorize agricultural programs through 2017, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

    On page 1009, after line 11, add the following:

    (1) surveys of the American public consistently show that 90 percent or more of the people of the United States want genetically engineered or modified foods to be labeled as such;
    (2) a landmark public health study in Canada found that--
    (A) 93 percent of pregnant women had detectable toxins from genetically engineered or modified foods in their blood; and
    (B) 80 percent of the babies of those women had detectable toxins in their umbilical cords;
    (3) the tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States clearly reserves powers in the system of Federalism to the States or to the people; and
    (4) States have the authority to require the labeling of foods produced through genetic engineering or derived from organisms that have been genetically engineered.

    (d) Right to Know.--Notwithstanding any other Federal law (including regulations), a State may require that any food, beverage, or other edible product offered for sale in that State have a label on the container or package of the food, beverage, or other edible product, indicating that the food, beverage, or other edible product contains a genetically engineered or genetically modified ingredient.


   SA 2257. Mr. SANDERS submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 3240, to reauthorize agricultural programs through 2017, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

    On page 1009, after line 11, add the following:
   (1) IN GENERAL.--No agricultural producer shall be liable to a biotech company under any provision of Federal, State, or local law, including for injury, monetary damages, or patent infringement, resulting from the contamination of the seeds, crops, products, or plants of the agricultural producer by a genetically engineered product that is created, produced, or distributed by the biotech company.
    (d) Private Right of Action by Agricultural Producers of Nongenetically Engineered Products.--Any agricultural producer of nongenetically engineered products whose seeds, crops, plants, or products are contaminated by a genetically engineered product may, in a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction, bring an action against a biotech company for monetary damages for injury to the agricultural producer caused by the genetically engineered product.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Did you see the part about pregnant women having toxins from genetically modified foods in their blood? How about 80 percent of those women's babies had detectable toxins in their cord blood? How would you like to give birth knowing your baby had toxins in his system? Thank Monsanto for that.

I know, I just had a baby seven months ago, and I read "The Unhealthy Truth" and I'm angry. Nevermind opinion, those are some nasty statistics. Just because I'm a mom doesn't mean I don't know what I'm talking about.

There is good news. That part toward the end about "No agricultural producer shall be liable to a biotech company..." means that farmers cannot be sued when their fields are contaminated, from wind or insect, by a genetically modified seed from a neighboring field, which are patented and considered "stolen". Not only that, but a farmer whose fields DO get some crappy GM seed blown onto it CAN SUE.

And yes, CONTAMINATED is the right word for it.

I'm no tree hugger. I grew up in rural Oregon with Republican parents who were by all accounts quite reasonable people who wanted nothing more than healthy, happy, and productive children. They disliked waste of any kind, and respected hard work and people with integrity.

Europe, Japan, and Russia - Russia, for godsakes! - won't allow these crops to be grown in their countries without further study. Why not America?

It should be harder in the U.S. to plant unstudied, genetically-modified crops than it is to farm in the old-fashioned, healthy way. Like it or not, oppressive, well-financed biotech and bioagricultural companies care most about money and selling its products than to bother studying them and selling an ethical product. What's worse is to NOT TELL CONSUMERS what they are purchasing. You want to grow GM crops? Fine. Make a label that reflects the ingredients, and Republicans and Democrats alike will tell you, LET THE MARKET DECIDE,  MOTHERF&#%ERS.