Monday, June 30, 2008

Adventures at the park

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I have never been so happy for the start of a new week in my entire life. Last week involved traveling halfway across the country, chest colds for my husband and I, and a double ear infection and the croup for Wito.

*exhaling slowly*

The good news is that we are all on the mend! And the Southern California rain has stopped! You know what that means, don't you? Park time!

We are lucky enough to live within walking distance to a fantastic park, complete with all sorts of climbing equipment, slides and swings. Unfortunately, Wito has NO interest in the equipment. He just wants to run and run and run and run (preferably straight to the busy street where the gas-guzzling Hummers rule the road).

I find myself envious of all the other mothers, sitting together at the sandbox and chatting up a storm while their little ones build sandcastles and play with toys. I, on the other hand, am usually dripping in sweat and huffing like a horse, chasing his little rump around a two-block radius.

I wonder, is it a boy thing? A toddler thing? Will I ever be able to sit down?

Ultimately, who cares? I'll take a park mini-marathon over the barking croup anytime.
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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Jack Black to be a dad again

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Jack Black and his wife Tanya Haden have announced that they are going to be parents again. The couple, who eloped in 2006 already have a son, 19-month-old Samuel.

While out promoting his new film, Be Kind Rewind, he told reporters, "Yes, she's expecting." He also shared some of the warnings he's been given regarding life with two kids in the house. "I've been told that two children is three times as hard as one child, but then strangely, three children is easier than one," he said.

Is that true? I've only raised kids one at a time and lately I've been thinking it would be so much easier if Ellie had a sibling. Somebody besides myself to play Hot Wheels with. Someone who will eagerly do what she wants just because they are happy to be included. Someone whose bones don't pop and creak after spending an afternoon on the floor building a mini-replica of Radiator Springs out of Lego's.
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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Neglecting one of the ones you love

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My poor dog. She used to be the sole object of our combined devotion, and now she's routinely ignored, told to get!, and her stank-breath is no longer tolerated without vigorous criticism ("Jeeeeeeeeeeesus, dog!").

I still love her-how could you not, there's not an unlovable bone in her body-but I sure don't have a shred of patience for her. After a long day of toddler-wrangling, I cannot stand to have one more creature doing something annoying nearby. If she's licking herself, I howl for her to stop; if she's padding around the kitchen, I yell for her to sit down already. When she does her usual routine of coming inside from the backyard and immediately grabbing the nearest shoe with Labby excitement, I grouse about how tired I am of picking up shoes, DAMMIT DOG YOU DROP THAT RIGHT NOW.

Then Riley imitates me: "Doggy DWOP it, WIGHT NOW." Shaking his little finger at her, while she wags her tail apologetically, unsure what all the fuss is about.

Oh, Dog. I'm sorry I've been impatient, that we haven't shown you the attention you deserve. I'm sorry your face is white and your bones ache and instead of a golden retirement, you're in the House of Toddler. I'm sorry we're about to bring another tiny, squalling human into your life. I'm sorry we don't feed you steak scraps more often (but O! the gas, it is horrifying).

In the spring, there will be more Frisbee time, and walks with stroller and leash. I promise.
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Friday, June 27, 2008

DNA helps nab piggy bank thief

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What parent among us has not swiped a few bucks from our kid's piggy bank? Okay, maybe that is just me, but there was a time when a couple of dollars meant the difference between buying milk and eating dry cereal. If those couple of dollars happened to be sitting in Christy's piggy bank....well, you get the picture.

Helping yourself to your kid's cash stash is one thing. Stealing from somebody else's kid's piggy bank is quite another. Just ask 30-year-old Ryan Mueller, who has been charged with doing just that.

Police in Sheboygan, Wisconsin say that Mueller climbed through a window of a sleeping 2-year-old girl's bedroom and proceeded to help himself to the contents of her piggy bank. The girl's mother happened to notice the light on in her daughter's room and when she went to investigate, caught him red handed with the piggy bank. He managed to extract $20 from the piggy before fleeing the scene.

He might have gotten away with it except for the bit of blood he left behind on the window blind. DNA testing of the blood linked Mueller to the scene of the crime and he's been charged with felony burglary, which could get him up to 9½ years in prison.

I don't know what he needed the money for, but I would be willing to bet it wasn't milk.
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Taser parties

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You've gotten invitations to home parties hawking Tupperware, baskets, children's educational books & toys, candles, lingerie, jewelry, make-up and skin care, and even sex toys. But have you been to a Taser party yet?

Dana Shafman is an independent entrepreneur who's been selling Tasers the same way my girlfriend has been trying to hook me on Arbonne cosmetics, by going into people's homes and demonstrating the product.

The C2, a civilian version of the Taser, became available in August. It is smaller than the version police officers use, but it packs the same electronic wallop, can fit into a purse, and is available in various colors-including pink.

"It's a girl power kind of thing," Shafman says. "You're kind of making a statement: I know I'm a woman. I know I'm the most sought after victim in regards to sexual assault, sexual abuse. So please stay away from me. If in the event you do come after me, I'm going to use my pink Taser to put you on the ground."

Because the C2 is legal in every state except: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Michigan, Wisconsin, Hawaii, and Washington D.C., mentioning how you'd love to attend the Taser party but are afraid the tentative plan of moving to one of these areas means you'll have to send your regrets should extricate you from the electrifying demonstration, should you need an out.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The new pomegranate?

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Every so often, it seems, we're breathlessly marketed the newest and greatest-ever power food -- cancer-fighting apples, anti-oxidant rich pomegranates. In the last year or so, pomegranates were everywhere in my supermarket -- in thickly purple cleansing drinks, listed as a crucial ingredient in All Things Healthy. I like pomegranates, so I hopped right on the bandwagon, but I wonder, is there a new miracle fruit in town?

I've recently become a vegetarian, and though I haven't yet given up all dairy (although tomorrow might be the day, now that I've finished reading The China Study), I've been buying vegan alternatives to dairy-rich desserts in an effort to test the water. At Whole Foods last weekend, Nolan and I picked up a pint of Sambazon Acai sorbet. I had no idea what I was picking up, it looked like delicious strawberry sorbet to me, but after we sampled a small dish this afternoon....omigod, yummm, I read the package to discover more, because the icy deliciousness might just become my New Rice Pudding.

According to the package, the acai fruit (it has accents not available on my keyboard), is grown in the Amazon rain forest and has more antioxidants than both blueberries and pomegranates. Additionally, says the carton, it has loads of Omega fats, protein, and dietary fibre. Now, I realize this is the carton, a marketing tool for the company, but a google search on the berry confirms that it might be a very good staple to add to the family diet. I'm in.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What would you do if your child proved to be a gifted athlete at a young age?

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While we were riding the lift to the top of the ski slope last weekend, I'd hold my breath each time someone would shred up the triple black diamond run below us, certain I'd witness their death on the sheer cliffs of ice and rock and vertical drop. I mean, I still experience heart-pounding fear doing a particularly steep section of a blue square run.

And then suddenly, over the top of the cliff came two little kids.

They couldn't possibly have been older than ten, and quite possibly a good deal younger. They were wearing cute little pink and blue snowsuits and matching helmets. They were flawless. And fearless.

Watching them it suddenly dawned on me that, oh dear god, my kid could be one of those kids in a couple of years.

And then I started to think about what I'd do if my son proved to be a gifted athlete in a year or two. There is so much pressure in the field of sports--and so many questionable practices (doping, steroids, etc.) A part of me thinks that for a child to really excel at a sport they'd have to give up some part of their childhood. But then I think, what if my kid really did have that kind of talent? Who would I be to stop them from chasing their dream?

So I'm wondering, what would you do if your kid proved to be a gifted athlete at a young age?

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Two-drink limit for parents

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In the UK, a chain of pubs has decided to implement a two-drink limit for parents accompanied by their children. The idea is to limit the amount of time kids are hanging around the pub with nothing to do. "Once parents have finished the meal with the child, we would expect them to leave soon after," said Eddie Gershon, spokesman for the JD Wetherspoon chain.

Not everyone likes the policy, however. One group of visitors -- seven adults and a two-year-old child -- got upset at being cut off, especially since the child's mother was only drinking water. "I was furious. We left. It was embarrassing not to be served," said Stephen Gandy, a member of the party.

Actually, it doesn't sound like a bad plan to me. I know that over the course of a meal, two drinks would be nothing for me, but for many people, that's a significant amount of alcohol. Even if it isn't, I don't think it's such a terrible hardship. If you really want to settle in for a night of drinking, it seems to me you might want to get a babysitter anyway. Or, find a pub that offers childcare.
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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday morning surrealism

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It started when Sara came into our bedroom asking "is this your package?" over and over again. Rachel was still asleep (or trying to be) and I was faced away from the door working. At first, I couldn't see what she had in the way of a "package" and it occured to me that we wouldn't have gotten any packages so early on a Saturday morning.

Next thing I know, I hear Rachel say "that's your father's wallet."

I turned around and, sure enough, there was Sara, holding out my wallet. "Where did you get that?"

Her reply befuddled me -- "it was on the floor in our room." All I could think was that perhaps it fell out of my pocket last night when I was reading their bedtime stories. I took the wallet and thought no more of it.

Then, moments later, Jared comes in complaining about Sara and a penny and I realize that my wallet had been in the front right pocket of my pants, along with a single one cent piece. (I leave everything in my pockets to make sure I don't misplace anything.) That led to a question I haven't asked in at least twenty years: "where are my pants?"

"They're in our room," came the reply.

"Why are my pants in your room?"

"Because Sara wanted to be a robot." Well, duh.
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Blogger's Flickr photo aired on NFL game

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Tracey Gaughran-Perez blogs at Sweetney, co-edits and co-"overlords" Mamapop, and like many of us, has a husband who watches NFL crap games.

For once, being parked in front of a football game served a useful purpose. During a break in the action on the field, Tracey's husband noticed that the picture of a pug in a Santa suit FOX was airing looked an awful lot their THEIR dog in his little Santa suit. Thanks to the power of the TIVO pause, Tracey was able to ascertain that the FOX NFL pug photo was the very photograph she had taken and posted on her blog and in her Flickr account with the slight modification of a photoshopped Santa hat.

There have been many instances of blogger photographs being used without their permission, but this might be the first time a television network has been caught lifting pictures. The network has blamed the snafu on a low-level production assistant. (Does no one train interns or assistants anymore?!)

Tracey has responded to the theft of the All Rights Reserved Copyrighted photo with a list of reasonable demands that included a spot in the upcoming American Idol competition and a large sum of money paid out in unmarked twenties. It will be interesting to see what transpires in what Sweetney has dubbed Dog Photo Kerfuffle 2007.

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