Monday, December 7, 2009

"December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy"

Did it really live in infamy?

Did you have to think twice...or three times when you saw the quote? I bet most of you did.

In 68 years will Americans forget the horror that occurred on September 11, 2001...or will it too live in "infamy?"

Just something to think about.

The 12 Days of Christmas - Mommy Style

The 12 Days of Christmas - Mommy Style

On the first day of Christmas,
My children sent to me
A sticky kiss planted on my cheek!

On the second day of Christmas,
My children sent to me
Two captured bugs,
And a sticky kiss planted on my cheek!

On the third day of Christmas,
My children sent to me
Three hasty mends,
Two captured bugs,
And a sticky kiss planted on my cheek!

On the fourth day of Christmas,
My children sent to me
Four a.m. feeds,
Three hasty mends,
Two captured bugs,
And a sticky kiss planted on my cheek!

On the fifth day of Christmas,
My children sent to me
Five toilet rings,
Four a.m. feeds,
Three hasty mends,
Two captured bugs,
And a sticky kiss planted on my cheek!

On the sixth day of Christmas,
My children sent to me
Six stubborn stains,
Five toilet rings,
Four a.m. feeds,
Three hasty mends,
Two captured bugs,
And a sticky kiss planted on my cheek!

On the seventh day of Christmas,
My children sent to me
Seven swiffers swiffing,
Six stubborn stains,
Five toilet rings,
Four a.m. feeds,
Three hasty mends,
Two captured bugs,
And a sticky kiss planted on my cheek!

On the eighth day of Christmas,
My children sent to me
Eight maids (I wish!),
Seven swiffers swiffing,
Six stubborn stains,
Five toilet rings,
Four a.m. feeds,
Three hasty mends,
Two captured bugs,
And a sticky kiss planted on my cheek!

On the ninth day of Christmas,
My children sent to me
Nine babies dancing,
Eight maids (I wish!),
Seven swiffers swiffing,
Six stubborn stains,
Five toilet rings,
Four a.m. feeds,
Three hasty mends,
Two captured bugs,
And a sticky kiss planted on my cheek!

On the tenth day of Christmas,
My children sent to me
Ten lads a-leaping,
Nine babies dancing,
Eight maids (I wish!),
Seven swiffers swiffing,
Six stubborn stains,
Five toilet rings,
Four a.m. feeds,
Three hasty mends,
Two captured bugs,
And a sticky kiss planted on my cheek!

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
My children sent to me
Eleven minors whining,
Ten lads a-leaping,
Nine babies dancing,
Eight maids (I wish!),
Seven swiffers swiffing,
Six stubborn stains,
Five toilet rings,
Four a.m. feeds,
Three hasty mends,
Two captured bugs,
And a sticky kiss planted on my cheek!

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My children sent to me
Twelve sitters running,
Eleven minors whining,
Ten lads a-leaping,
Nine babies dancing,
Eight maids (I wish!),
Seven swiffers swiffing,
Six stubborn stains,
Five toilet rings,
Four a.m. feeds,
Three hasty mends,
Two captured bugs,
And a sticky kiss planted on my cheek!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Say Thank You

This only takes a few seconds and it's free - say thank you to active duty U.S. military personel this holiday season

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hey All

I've been busy with the four year old in the hospital for pneumonia this week (he got out last night - yay), the baby up all night with croup, and simultaneously trying to plan a fabulous pirate bash for the now-six(!!!) year old. I'll post when I can, which is not today. Thanks for checking in, though.

If you want to comment, post me something funny - I could use funny this week.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Almost 18 Months

Attention Babies!

50 Free Photocards and Free Shipping!

You can't beat that!

See details HERE. The offer is good through the end of November 2009.

I'm excited about taking some holiday shots very soon...let's hope the brood cooperates!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

More Park

Tree full of elves. Shhh - they are sleeping!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Monkey Do


This is her first real attempt at a slide - it's been so hot, then rainy, then muddy, then mosquito-ey and then back to hot and so on. I feel bad that we haven't been to the park more than a few times this fall, but the weather is nice now, so we'll definitely start going more often.

An added bonus was that the boys actually asked if they could go to be early. Seriously - you cannot get any better than that - and they were out by the time their heads hit the pillows. Brilliant.

Guess who Peed on the Coffee Table?

No, not me!

It's been one of those days - Her Highness Babybeast climbed onto the coffee table (not a problem), took off her diaper (small problem), and took a massive wee on the table (bigger problem). By the looks of it, she had been saving it up for days.

I was in the kitchen organizing the cupcake sprinkles (No, not kidding, yes, I know, my life is so glam), and heard squeals of delight coming from the living room. Of course, I didn't realize it was because she was happily splashing about in the sogginess of a pee puddle. Awesome.

Here's hoping the day improves. Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Jellyfish and The Robot

I was really pleased with how these turned out - both got many many comments from other parents and even other kids - particularly the jellyfish costume. Plus, I liked that both had the lights as a built-in safety feature. The Jellyfish even stopped traffic at one point, which was when I knew the get-up was a true hit.

Jellyfish and Robot in action:

And you thought demonic candy was the worst of your worries?

Now there's this:

"Consumer Reports' latest tests of canned foods, including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans, have found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods tested contain measurable levels of Bisphenol A (BPA)....

...BPA, which has been used for years in clear plastic bottles and food-can liners, has been restricted in Canada and some U.S. states and municipalities because it has been linked to a wide array of health effects including reproductive abnormalities, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, and heart disease."

The Endocrine Society, a medical group, has some additional warnings to share with us in this statement from mid-2009.

I try to avoid canned foods for this very reason, as well as nutritional reasons, but we do have canned soups in the house. I think they are nasty, but Mr. Lawyer likes them occasionally. We also stock canned organic tomatoes and red and kidney beans for quick soups and other dishes.

For those who choose to formula feed their infants, you should note that many baby formula containers are also lined with BPA which leaches into the formula. BPA-free baby bottles are now the norm, but how beneficial is that when the formula is stored in BPA for months before consumption?

So what are we to do with this information? How do we limit exposure, particularly with regard to young children and babies?

~ Heat food and beverages in ceramic or glassware rather than in plastic containers. I no longer heat in any type of plastic - I have a cabinet stocked with Pyrex that gets used daily.

~ Check all of your baby bottles, sippy cups, water bottles, and other reusable plastics and when buying food or drinks, avoid plastic containers marked #7 as a general rule:

"BPA is found in polycarbonate plastic food containers often marked on the bottom with the letters "PC" recycling label #7. Not all #7 labeled products are polycarbonate but this is a reasonable guideline for a category of plastics to avoid. Polycarbonate plastics are rigid and transparent and used for sippy cups, baby bottles, food storage, and water bottles. Some polycarbonate water bottles are marketed as 'non-leaching' for minimizing plastic taste or odor, however there is still a possibility that trace amounts of BPA will migrate from these containers, particularly if used to heat liquids...Soft or cloudy-colored plastic does not contain BPA."

~ For plastic servingware for children, look for a #5 code on the bottom - these are generally considered safe, though I personally heat in glass and then transfer to plastic bowls. Stainless steel bowls, while harder to find, are a good alternative, though obviously not microwave-friendly.

~ Choose fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, and other foods over canned goods. Particularly acidic foods, such as diced tomatoes or pineapple will inevitably break down the BPA faster than other foods, and should be avoided proportionately. Some studies suggest that fatty foods (such as infant formula) will also break down the lining faster.

~ Breastfeed your infant. Of course there are a multitude of reasons to choose breastmilk over formula already, but since boobs aren't lined with BPA, here's just one more reason to add to the list. For those with adopted children, medical issues, or for those who choose to use formula, consider using glass bottles, avoid older or secondhand bottles unless you call the manufacturer to confirm they are BPA free, and most definitely avoid canned pre-mixed formula.

~ And lastly, if there is a product with BPA that you love, CALL the manufacturer and ask them to make their products safer before you will be able to buy them again. And urge friends and family members to do the same - Money speaks volumes.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Drink to Your Health!

I keep seeing an annoying television commercial that features a sympathetic, presumably lower income, mother who tells us, in a very serious tone that, and I'm paraphrasing here, "poor people need junk food too - please don't tax our already overextended budgets." The commercial attempts to illicit sympathy for the underprivileged who will be forced to go without their soda and fake fruit-flavored drinks if a law of this nature passes. Can you imagine anything more horrifying?

For starters, we ALL need as much incentive as possible to eat healthier and if a three cent tax helps in any way, then Booyah! - I'm all for it. Secondly, for a number of reasons, lower income individuals and children tend to be more overweight than those who earn a higher income. There are educational reasons and cultural reasons at play, but the biggest reason is likely that overprocessed, minimally nutritious foods are cheaper than their fresher and more natural counterparts. And thanks to scientifically proven marketing methods and modern manufacturing, it is not only tasty and convenient, but you can easily be lulled into thinking it's not really that bad....or even fooled into believing that it's beneficial.

One five year old child I know brings ramen noodles, potato chips, and a "juice" drink (containing little, if any actual juice) to school every day. Devoid of protein and complex carbohydrates and, frankly anything of redeeming nutritive value, this is truly the lunch made in hell. He has a toddler sister and Mom is expecting a third child (heh - that part sounds familiar) - perhaps their budgets are stretched too thin? Or perhaps his parents truly don't know any better. I don't know.

Back to the commercial. It's really a complete no-brainer that the less soda and sugary artificially flavored drinks a population imbibes, the better. There is actually no real downside, despite what our friends, the drinks manufacturers would like us to think.

If a tax is ultimately in the best interest of the entire US population, if it would very effectively raise money for nutrition education and for programs to help improve the diets of our youth and if it will contribute, even in a small way, to the long term health of our children (and ourselves), how can it be a bad thing?

No one, even those of us who delight in our daily diet soda, no one, NEEDS soda. No one NEEDS high fructose filled, artificially flavored, chemically enhanced beverages. And if you must (I use that loosely) have them, then pony up that three cents, knowing that it will do some good down the line. And yes, as a non-coffee drinker, I readily admit to my diet soda habit - it's no secret.

With regard to the overall obesity problem, I realize that there is blame to spread around, but when we have a well-funded national campaign to convince voters that the underprivileged will be deprived if a soda tax passes, that is just more evidence to me that our nutritional priorities are completely fouled up in this country. Common sense doesn't come with a huge lobbying budget, but I certainly hope in this case it wins out.

Meanwhile, I'll be making a list of other things to tax.......keep an eye out.

Food for Thought

"Nearly half of all U.S. children and 90 percent of black youngsters will be on food stamps at some point during childhood, and fallout from the current recession could push those numbers even higher, researchers say......

....The analysis is in line with other recent research suggesting that more than 40 percent of U.S. children will live in poverty or near-poverty by age 17......"

See also, The Nourished Kitchen's recent Food Stamp Challenge - Read about Jenny's attempt to eat not just healthfully, but optimally for a month on just a Food Stamp budget. Can it be done?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I'm going to have to get rid of this stuff - I keep eating it even though it makes me feel like crap. Mmmm, but it's tasty. Just one more Reese's....

I bought enough candy for approximately 4500 trick or treaters. Mr. Lawyer reports that we actually got nine, give or take. So I have something like 150 pounds of candy left - and it's going with Mr. Lawyer to work. He won't eat it. OK, he'll probably eat all the Almond Joys, but the rest he'll dump in the kitchen area of the office and it will probably be gone within a half hour - we have found people there eat anything.

Crackers that no one likes? Send them to work.

Cookies that come out not-spectacular? Send them to work.

Box of baked goods that I realize in horror contain transfats and refuse to feed to the kids? Send it to work.

It's actually kind of a joke that there is no foodstuff that someone at his office won't eat. I would never send anything stale or actually burned or anything nasty like that, but if it's perfectly good food that for whatever reason isn't welcome in my house, off to work it goes and it apparently welcomed by the overworked and underfed.
I'll admit, there have been a few items that I told him to dump anonymously. They disappeared in record time. I won't go into specifics other than to say not all my baking experiments turn out like the photo.

Of the Halloween take, I siphoned off all of the peanut candy (yum), the stuff made in China, anything made in Mexico, a bunch of Saf-T-Pops that look like they had sat in a hot car too long, all of the Tootsie Roll Products (which I adore but just noticed they contain Partially Hydrogenated oil), the jawbreakers, cheap bubblegum, super sour candies (Very acidic - those are terrible for little teeth!), and anything really difficult to chew. It's all going to work along with the stuff we bought to give out. Oh, don't worry - there is plenty left. Lots of chocolate and Junior Mints and SweetTarts and tons of other things.

Oh, and about food made in China - we don't eat it if we know about it. China is notoriously lax in their food manufacturing standards (remember the horror of the melamine in the baby formula?) and it has extended to many products. There is no guarantee that anything that comes out of that country is what it claims to be, particularly with regard to food products. Further, even if the manufacturer is an honest one, China is so horrifically polluted that the food is almost certainly contaminated from the water and other ingredients that were used in its production.

"Environmental woes that might be considered catastrophic in some countries can seem commonplace in China: industrial cities where people rarely see the sun; children killed or sickened by lead poisoning or other types of local pollution; a coastline so swamped by algal red tides that large sections of the ocean no longer sustain marine life."

So, the Halloween candy from China doesn't go to work - it goes in the trash. I have no problem pawning off mediocre snacks on Mr. Lawyer's co-workers, but I draw the line at poisoning them.

Now, will it be a snack sized Milky Way or a Snickers? Decisions, decisions.....

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hey, it's Halloween - Time to Sacrifice the Baby!

I've been anticipating this moment all year, when I can get jiggy with a demon goat and sacrifice my children to the Lord of Darkness, driven by the bewitched Halloween candy I consume.

According to this eminently believable article, the author warns us:

"During this [Halloween] period demons are assigned against those who participate in the rituals and festivities. These demons are automatically drawn to the fetishes that open doors for them to come into the lives of human beings. For example, most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches.

I do not buy candy during the Halloween season. Curses are sent through the tricks and treats of the innocent whether they get it by going door to door or by purchasing it from the local grocery store. The demons cannot tell the difference."

My friend Shannon reports that she observed a coven of witches encircling the candy display at Costco this past weekend - it all makes sense now.

I did buy several bags of Halloween candy this week. Mostly because the demons in the first bag I bought spirited me into mindlessly devouring the contents within days - obviously Twix Cookie Bars are an element of Satan.

I was smarter the second time - I opened the bags outside while reciting the Lord's Prayer and emptied the candy into a brown paper bag and the demons into the sand box. Lord help that stray cat next time he takes a dump in there. Two birds, one stone, eh?

Oh and I know you thought you were taking the kids out dressed as Spiderman and a Tinkerbell to gather a little sugary loot, make wonderful family memories, and enjoy fun annual traditions like candy apples, visiting the pumpkin patch, and making jack-o-lanterns, but whether you've realized it or not, you are actually training your children to worship Satan. Specifically, you are teaching them to engage in the following activities:

"~ Sex with demons
~ Orgies between animals and humans
~ Animal and human sacrifices
~ Sacrificing babies to shed innocent blood
~ Rape and molestation of adults, children and babies
~ Revel nights
~ Conjuring of demons and casting of spells
~ Release of "time-released" curses against the innocent and the ignorant.
~ ...necromancy, or communication with the dead. "

I know, it didn't seem so dark when you were digging through your kid's candy bags for the last Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, but I and author Kimberly Daniels can assure you otherwise.

Further, football fans, candy or no candy, you are totally out of luck. You bought a one way ticket to hell when you attended those occult Homecoming pep rallies:

"Gathering around bonfires is a common practice in pagan worship. As I remember, the bonfires that I attended during homecoming week when I was in high school were always in the fall. I am amazed at how we ignorantly participate in pagan, occult rituals."

So dear readers, enjoy your Milky Way snack bars and your Peanut M&Ms, and your mini Twizzlers while you can, oh and those pumpkin shaped Reese's are divine, aren't they? But remember the time will come to pay the piper and he wants more than your candy apples. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I don't think USPS forwards mail to H-E-double hockey sticks, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

I must now go and prepare the altar.
P.S. See also Stuff Fundies Like for more on the subject. Eeek!

"I got a rock."

Halloween Flower Fairy 2009

I see that the slideshow tends to cut off her head...I think if you click on that "see all images" button it will show you the full photos, if anyone is interested.


If anyone knows how to fix the off and on wonky blog format, feel free to chime in - it's driving me nuts. Thanks.

OK, now it's back and I look dumb. Thanks Blogger! XOXO

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Confucius Say: Are You People Serious?

Interesting story:

WASHINGTON (CNN) – In a belated celebration on Wednesday, the House marked last month's 2,560th birthday of Chinese philosopher Confucius by passing a resolution recognizing "his invaluable contributions to philosophy and social and political thought."

But some members apparently prefer their Confucius confined to a fortune cookie rather than on the House floor. According to the vote tally, 47 voted against the birthday resolution and 13 voted "present," while 361 supported it.

"We love Confucius, but what a joke of a vote," Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told CNN.

"I can't go back to the people of Utah and say, 'Yeah, we're voting on Confucius today,'" said Chaffetz, who called the resolution "absurd." "How many more birthdays do we vote on before we start fixing the economy?"

The resolution's sponsor, Democrat Al Green of Texas, said on the House floor the resolution is meant to celebrate the "personal introspection" of the Chinese philosopher and his "respect of social relationships, personal and governmental morality."

"He preached that politicians must always present truth and morality. He taught the philosophy of reciprocity, never impose upon others what you would not choose for yourself," said Green.

When asked about the criticism aimed at his resolution, Green gave CNN a Confucius-like statement: "Although I would like 100 percent of the people to agree with me 100 percent of the time, I have learned that rarely happens."

Arizona Republican Jeff Flake, who also voted against the measure, tried conjuring the Chinese philosopher in an e-mail prediction: "He who spends time passing trivial legislation may find himself out of time to read healthcare bill."

OK, I don't really care what your politics is, this IS a joke. I'm admittedly not current on Al Green's record as a legislator, but I had a couple cases before him way back when he was a Justice of the Peace here and I do have an impression of him based on that.

First, when you were scheduled for court, even a one minute hearing, you had to sit and listen to his spiel: the rules of the courtroom, the rules of procedure as they differ between Justice of the Peace Court and Small Claims Court (a JP in this state will hear both types on the same docket), what mediation is and why your case will be sent to it, the postjudgment procedures, his personal theory of justice, and several personal anecdotes, and so on and so forth.

Don't get me wrong - many JPs have a little speech that they repeat before they begin hearing cases. However the speech is usually less than ten minutes. Justice Green spoke routinely for an hour or more.

When you are a busy attorney charging your client by the hour, this expense of time is no trivial matter. Also, it was pure torture to have to sit and listen to.

I quickly came to the conclusion that Mr. Green really likes the sound of his own voice. Like. Really. And I began turning down any case in his court or that would have to be filed there (there weren't many, but still). In retrospect, this may have been part of his plan - lower his workload by boring the attorneys into fleeing his precinct, in which case, I do have to give him credit for a job well done.

I had one case - fairly trivial, but the client was willing to pay and legally they had an interesting case. Two extremely hostile neighbors were fighting over a tree and the damage it allegedly did to a carport and garage. Note: tree cases are rarely about the actual tree - they are much more likely to be about something else altogether. Bad feelings were not new between these neighbors - they had bickered for years over this and that - as I said, the problem was not rooted in the actual tree. It was a power struggle and nothing more, but there were legal issues that the parties could not (would not) work out, so to court it went.

Trials in JP court are often only a few minutes long. Once in a while you end up before a jury and even then, it doesn't last long. I think my maximum prior to this was a couple hours, but that included taking the judge out to a property (Road trip!) to personally view the damage.

This case (part of it the judge's speech and I think we went involuntarily to mediation for a short time, which did not go over well with either side) lasted six hours. I wish I was kidding - it lasted all day long. It was insane. I have never worked so hard for such a trivial matter in my life. And we won - I don't remember the details, but I do recall the Client thanking both myself and Jesus, so I know we won.....the specifics are irrelevant now. Six hours for something like a $1,400 case. Moral victory. Financial loss.

The same case in any other court would have lasted maybe an hour - there were a few witnesses and an expert witness (yes, I'm serious) to put on, but certainly not all day. It was solely because of justice Green that the parties and I unnecessarily wasted the better part of the day in his courtroom.

I don't think he is a bad guy. But in that instance, he was inconsiderate, impractical, dismissive of the value of each parties' time (and the financial repercussions of having counsel present), and I don't know if it was caused by an unduly high valuation of his own importance or that he was just completely oblivious of other peoples' needs. Maybe both.

This vote on Confucius seems to be a waste of time too. Perhaps not the biggest waste of time, but a waste nonetheless - a waste of effort and a waste of time. And it did bring him some recognition to boost his already inflated ego. I'm inclined to think it's not out of character for him at all. I hope I'm proven wrong.

The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.
-Confucius, The Confucian Analects

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Our Candy-Eating Robot

The costume is dotted in LED lights, which you can't really see right now, but they are truly the highlight. They look great at night. Hey - I just noticed one of the blue reflectors fell off....I'll have to fix that (yay for extras!).

For Halloween night he'll have on silver shoes and glittery silver makeup (probably just on his cheeks for the effect).

Here's a video - it's loud, so take those speakers down a notch. I'll try to get a nighttime video or at least one at dusk so you can get the full effect:

Since I've been asked, the costume consists of the following:

1 - Turkey Roasting Pan ($1.00)
2 - Sets of small reflectors ($1.00)
6 - Small mirrors (unbreakable) ($2.00)
1 - Generic Tin (I used a candy tin) ($0.00)
3 - Sets of battery powered LED lights ($0.00)
1 - Multicolored battery operated LED pumpkin light. ($0.00)
1 - Solar Powered Calculator ($1.00)
7 - Reflective Stickers ($?.00)
2 - Foam-backed reflective car sunvisors ($2.00)
1 - Roll of metallic tape ($1.00)
1 - Roll of Clear Packing Tape ($1.00)
1 - Nail to make holes in pan ($0.00)
1 - Small hammer to make holes (could do by hand)
1 - Shower sprayer hose with sprayer removed ($1.00)
1 - Pair of grey sweat pants (with hole in knee) and grey shirt

I already had the items marked as $0.00, so the total price was about $12.00, primarily purchased from our local dollar store.

You can pretty much figure out the how-tos by looking at it and you might have some better ideas for materials or configuration than what I used but I'm pretty happy with the result. The base of the robot is just a piece of the sunvisor wrapped around and stapled directly to his sweatpants - it's open in the back to allow for movement. I do have another pan for the back of the costume, but I'm not sure I'm going to bother with it at this point.

Note that it is not the most resilient costume, though, so for a really boisterous child, you'd need to find something more durable than an aluminum pan. Other ideas - paint pan (still shiny, but much harder), dish drying rack pan sprayed silver, several layers of cardboard sprayed silver.

Happy Halloweening!

The Kittysuit

By request, here's the babe at the neuro appointment. Full body shots with tail will have to wait - she wouldn't look up when I tried to take some outside today. Far too busy gathering acorns - you would have thought she was wearing a squirrel suit by the way she went about collecting them in her little paws.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Mr. Lawyer asked me, "Why does the baby keep yelling "No!" at me and whacking me in the face?" (He's not kidding - for the record, she wields a mean uppercut.)

Me: "She's showing you your nose, honey. Isn't that sweet - she has a new word? Just acknowledge it, tell her she's smart, and she'll move on to poking you in the eye instead."

Mr. Lawyer: "Why can't you just teach her about belly buttons?"

Dear Local Republican Party:

Thank you so much for the multitude of recent telephone calls lately. Mr. Jared Woodfill, in particular - so nice to hear your robocall. I really do like touching base with you on a daily basis - or should I say with your grating recorded message?

I have three children ages five and under and two of them still nap. Heck, I still nap on occasion. I think it's adorable when they wake screaming and crabby to your calls. You see, I'm on the Texas no call list and the Federal Do Not Call list, so I don't get many other calls other than humans who actually wish to speak with me and care what I think instead of calling to dictate what I should believe.

However, I realize you have the First Amendment right to annoy me in my own home, so it's not actually the calls per se which concern me.

I see you have set your caller ID information to read the name of the county in which I reside rather than "Republican Robocall" or some other more honest label. I can only assume that is because when people see "Republican Robocall" on their caller ID, they ignore the call altogether, yet when they see a call from what deceptively appears to be a government entity, they snap to it and answer the phone.

I know I do - in part because family members work for that government entity and I also do occasional work for cases in the county. While I can't imagine a court would call me at home, when I see the caller ID, I answer it just in case - you never want to ignore a call from a court.

So, dear Local Republican Party, do I think you have set up the caller ID information like this intentionally? Of course - it's just naive to think otherwise. Do I think that's deceptive, even a little dirty to con people into answering their phones? It's not exactly Bernie Madoff, but yes, it's dishonest to be sure.

Strangely, I never get automated calls of any kind from the Democrats. I'm not sure if they are so disorganized that they can't put them together, they realize people hate getting automated calls so they put their money into other activities, they can mysteriously tell that they probably already have my vote, or I simply didn't make the calling list. Fine with me - keep me off. I doubt an automated political call has ever changed someone's mind, but I can tell you it certainly wouldn't change mine.

In conclusion, Local Republican Party, cut it out, for Pete's sake - this isn't endearing you to anyone, I assure you. And frankly, you really need to work on being a little more endearing because it's not looking real good right now.



Noggin Report II

September 2009

We (finally) had out consult with the pediatric neurosurgeon today about the Baby's head. The good news is that - most likely no surgery will be needed. Babybeast has a CT scan on Monday to make sure her brain has enough space, but that seemed like a formality more than anything. I'm not sure how I'm a) going to get downtown by 6:30am with a baby that normally sleeps until 9:30 and b) how I'm going to convince her not to eat or drink all night. We may seek a second opinion, as a matter of course, but I'm very pleased with the news from today.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Toxins Be Gone!

Too bad it's not that simple. One website, has tested thousands of children's products and other household items to find out what you are really buying.

They test for all sorts of toxic nastiness:

While there are a number of chemicals of concern that have been found in common consumer products, focused on a subset of chemicals that could be detected by the XRF technology: lead, cadmium, chlorine, arsenic, bromine and mercury. also contains information on consumer products that contain chromium, tin, and antimony. Each of these chemicals also represents potential exposure to workers or communities during the manufacture of products containing them, and potentially to communities where the products are disposed. selected these elements and related or associated chemical compounds because they have been identified by many regulatory agencies as problematic chemicals or they are associated with problematic compounds and/or because of their toxicity or suspected toxicity, persistence, and/or their tendency to build up in people and the environment. These chemicals have also been linked in animal and, less often, in human studies to long-term health impacts such as birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and cancer. They were also chosen because these chemicals, or their elemental building blocks, have been subject to either regulatory restrictions or voluntary limits set by industry associations or third party environmental certification organizations.

While I don't have the time to search for each and every item I own on the website, it's reasurring that someone out there is checking up on products that children and babies will be handling (and chewing on), especially since, as we've seen, it's not necessarily cheapo dollar store items that are contaminated.

The CPSC, which is charged with protecting the public "against unreasonable risks of injuries associated with consumer products" has had its fair share of controversy in recent years, but I beleive it's one of our better functioning government agencies, despite the criticism. Not that it is necessarily inept or corrupt, but simply overworked and far too small and underfunded for the job at hand. I hope that more attention will be paid to its importance in the future.

Until then sites like exist to help fill in the cracks of missing information and help push consumers to demand safer prodeucts for their families.


A bit of this and some of that in a stream of consciousness format...

~ We had Curriculum Night in kindergartenland tonight. My kid has been trying to teach the others to read - how sweet is that? I'm so proud of him - he just loves his teacher, adores school, and I know I'm really lucky that it all seems to come naturally to him thus far.

~ Babybeast has her head apointment tomorrow afternoon. I'll report back sometime after that.

~ Blogger seems to be farking up people's comments and giving a warning that they can't comment. It's done that to me several times, but if you try again it typically goes through ok. Don't give up!

~ The google hits on this blog are pretty funny. And some less so. The "rape" search that hit this political entry was a little disturbing. I was excited to see someone out there wanted to know more about veggie crunchers today - and who wouldn't, because they are the epitome of veggie awesomeness? And couple of people who I've spoken to have googled the blog by name because they keep forgetting the url - just bookmark me - or click that follow/fan button over on your right - it's easy! And some Google hits are completely random and almost certainly not what they were actually searching for, but it looks like I'm interesting for them to stick around and read a few pages anyway - how cool is that?

~ It has come to my attention that someone thinks I'm a dude. Nay nay buffalay; this writer is 100% female type human person.

~ I've got a few click-throughs from to particular entry. You can't see the forum without registering but with that name, I must know what it's about - if any members are visiting, please enlighten me!

~ My afternoon was spent grocery shopping in a thunderstorm with three kids 5 and under. Grocery shopping in a thunderstorm with three kids 5 and under sucks big time - there's no sugarcoating it.

~ One of our cats pooped a big rank steaming kitty turd into the kids' Christmas ornament box last night. Seriously, cat - WTF?

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I showed this to the kids. The 5yo thought the giant bird was absolutely hilarious. "Play it again!!!!"

The 4yo was perplexed by the fact that the newscaster was "talking like a girl."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The First Step Is Admitting You Have Problem

I gots one.

I just downed an unholy amount of Veggie Crunchers - they are deeeeeelish!
I'm feeling rather.......full.

They were so nice, I was going to do a review and whatnot, but for reasons unknown, the product is not featured on its manufacturer, Amport Food's website, which is annoying. And then I was going to take a photo of the bag, but, quite frankly, it's much less attractive when it's not full (read: mostly empty), so I'm linking you to someone else's blog for pics instead. She has a great review on there as well.

Veggie Crunchers are basically thinly sliced vegetables (sweet potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, taro, and green beans) vacuum dried, rather than fried and then lightly coated in nonhydrogenated canola oil and sea salt. I admit I had to look up Taro since I can't say I'm the most adventurous eater out there.

The result is fantastic. They are just as crisp and crunchy as if they has been deep fried, but without the scary carcinogenic health risks. Each variety is sweet yet salty, but not overwhelmingly either. And the green beans, which are not my favorite vegetable, are crispy and sweet and almost unrecognizable to the palate. And yes, the taro is quite tasty as well.

There are no preservatives or artificial colors - the veggies keep their own colors quite well. Besides fresh vegetables, canola oil, and sea salt, the only other ingredient is dextrin, which makes for a short ingredients list which makes for a happy mommy. I cannot tell you how often I am excited about a product and yet horrified by the ingredients list.

I'm under no delusion that this product can replace vegetables on a daily basis, but it's a great choice for school lunches, on-the-go-snacks, or to replace a less healthy option.

The downside is that as far as I can tell, the product is available only at Costco where I paid six-something for a fourteen ounce bag.

The picky four year old begged me to try them and promptly spat out the carrot I offered. I don't think it was what he was expecting - carrots are his favorite veggie, but the texture was so different. He then he warily tried some of the other flavors. I may or may not have fibbed and said they were all "fancy potatoes" but he liked them enough to finish what I offered him and ask for a couple more pieces.

Babybeast ate the bits I gave her and screeched for more, so they were definitely a hit with her.

The five year old is part goat. He devours most anything in his path. I have have absolutely no doubt that he will snarf however much he is offered and then hound me for more. The child eats almost constantly - this is the one who is likely to be 6'5" or so like his uncle.

Mr. Lawyer will not get to sample them, but he'd probably like them if I had left any for him to try....

Post Script to Franken Amendment Controversy

The Dept. of Defense opposed it as well. The article deserves a read - several interesting tidbits in there.

I promise, I'll post some cheerier stuff later today, ok?