Saturday, March 31, 2007

Fly Like an Eagle

Stephen Colbert and I share something, other than a love of sarcasm -- a love of eagles. If you've watched his show, the intro has a giant animated eagle screeching as it flies towards the screen. I don't have anything like that here, unfortunately.

I get a huge thrill from seeing eagles, though, and it happens relatively often, living in the Pacific NW. It seems like I see a bald eagle at least once a month, usually when driving over or around Lake Washington, a weekly occurrence as I ferry Hutton to various appointments. I saw one yesterday as we were heading home from Hutton's "Friendship Group" at the UW, driving over the Lake Washington 520 floating bridge. The eagle landed on a light post on the bridge, and was just so amazing.

I guess my fascination with eagles comes from many aspects. There's the fact that they're our national bird (tough luck, turkey!), that my parents loved to listen to their namesake band (see this post for more on my youthful intro to The Eagles), but probably most from the fact that growing up, the love our our endangered national bird was indoctrinated into us in elementary school. By first grade, I was learning about how the eagle was endangered from DDT thinning their eggshells, and it really struck me as a young environmentalist, how screwed up the world was if our national bird was endangered because of the use of pesticides.

Of course, DDT was only part of it. Loss of habitat, and shootings and/or poisoning of eagles and their prey by humans were other causes. The Bald Eagle Act, passed in 1940 helped stop the deliberate killings. The banning of DDT in 1972 helped further the destruction of eagles. Though if you believe this story, DDT had nothing to do with the deaths of eagles. Huh. But, strangely enough, I don't believe anything that Faux News has to say. Cough, biased, cough.

Now that I'm an adult, I'm still a tree-hugger, and I still love eagles. The eagle population has recovered enough that it has now been moved from "endangered" to "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act, and it could possibly be delisted from the Endangered Species List next year!

For your further eagle enjoyment, I found these web cams so you can watch eagles live! No, not those Eagles.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sanjaya: WTF?

I watched American Idol last night since we played our weekly soccer game Sunday instead of Tuesday night. I was very impressed with Gina for the first time ever, and I loved Melinda, as always. Even Nosferatu Phil sounded good. When they showed a brief shot of Sanjaya before they cut to commercials, my brain couldn't process what was going on with his hair. It looked like a big puff on his head, like Pebbles Flintstone's hairstyle, minus the bone.
When he came on to perform, I realized it was worse than I thought. He looked like a Trojan warrior, minus the helmet part of the helmet - just the plumage. And his performance...uh, let's just say I don't have anything good to say about that.

Simon actually summed it up pretty well when he told Sanjaya it really didn't matter what he (Simon) said, implying crazy people will still vote for him. We shall see!

I think Hayley or Sanjaya need to go. Though Chris Sligh's performance was pretty bad and he's never really impressed me, I'm willing to give him another week or two. (Aren't I nice? Like I have anything to do with who will succeed on the show!)

A sort of related nicety: Yesterday I was watching a DVD with the boys before bathtime, and when I turned the DVD player off, American Idol was coming on. Hutton looked at the TV and said, "F O X spells fox!" He had read the FOX icon on the corner of the screen. Yay! And here his report card last week was saying he didn't know any sight words. I beg to differ!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Peek into My World

This morning, after I got my lazy body out of bed, I said "Good morning!" to Hutton and he ran downstairs to use the potty and get dressed. That's one of his routines we're trying to change. He always gets up, comes upstairs to play, then goes to use the potty and get dressed after Hubby or I remind him.

Anyway, after he dressed himself, he came into the kitchen and asked for cereal, or more specifically, Koala Crisp and Puffins. I put the two cereals in his bowl, along with almond milk, and he happily ate his cereal. (Harrison was already finished, as Hubby had given him his cereal a little earlier.) While Hutton ate his breakfast, I poured him a cup of orange juice, which I laced with a few drops of grapefruit seed extract, to kill yeast. I got out all of the chewable supplements Hutton will eat with no problems - two different enzymes, a multivitamin, a B12 tablet, a DMG tablet, four omega 3 capsules - and put them on the table. I then decided instead of adding more supplements to his juice, I'd put them in a small bowl of applesauce. Hutton had readily taken the supplement laced applesauce the other day, so it should work again. I put a few spoonfuls of applesauce in the bowl, opened a capsule of probiotics and added that, along with two "bio-inflammatory" powders to help with his "leaky gut" and then a capsule of folinic acid, which helps the body handle the B vitamins. I mixed them together and walked over to Hutton.

"Here buddy! Do you want some applesauce?" Suspicious look from Hutton. "It's applesauce. You've had it before." More "I don't trust you or want that" look from Hutton.

"Here, take one bite. It has your supplements in it, but you had some the other day. Remember?"
"No! No applesauce! Want more cereal!"
"You can have more cereal if you just have two bites of applesauce."
"No, want Puffins! No applesauce!"
"Please, sweetie, it's just two bites worth of applesauce."

After a few more attempts, Nice Mommy was fading quickly. Bitch Mommy was awaiting her grand entrance.

"Hutton, if you don't eat your applesauce, you can't have any more cereal."

Guess the result of that.

"Hutton, if you don't eat your applesauce, you're not going to get to play any Xbox today!"

Hmm, that didn't work either.

"Hutton, you MUST eat this applesauce! The probiotic capsule alone is worth at least $1!"

Yeah, that sure worked.

"Hutton, Mommy is getting angry!" (Unfortunately, Hutton isn't familiar with the Incredible Hulk, and doesn't realize that he wouldn't like me when I'm angry.)

"Hutton, Mommy really doesn't like having to force you to eat this! Do you realize how hard it is for me to do this every day? Struggle with you to get you to take your supplements so your tummy will get better and you won't have to be on this restricted diet forever?"

Strangely enough, my little soliloquies on Mommy Stress, Mommy Anger, and Mommy Guilt went nowhere. Nor did my near-tears pleas for him to take his supplements.

Back to Angry Mommy. "Hutton, you're NOT leaving the table until you eat this applesauce! I'm NOT giving in. This is important!"

Brief break for me to go change Harrison's diaper.

"Hutton, will you eat it if I add some sugar?" Think Mary Poppins. Just a spoonful of sugar helps the supplements go down. Added a spoonful of brown sugar. No go.

"Hutton do you want some sunflower seed butter?" This at least gets a, "Yes!" from the angry boy. Then he realizes it's still the same blue bowl with the cursed applesauce in it, just some added sunflower seed butter. (This is one of the substitutes we use for peanut butter, and it's pretty darn good, if you ask me!)

"Please, sweetie!"

Finally, after (how long has it been? I don't know, it seems like hours, but the sun is still shining) X amount of time, I try the "Mean Mommy gives herself what Hutton wants" approach. "Well, I'm going to have some Puffins. Yummy!" As Hutton looks at me like I'm the worst Mommy ever (yes, I already know I am), a brilliant idea pops into my head.

"OK, Hutton, you can have some Puffins. Give me your bowl." I add a handful of Puffins, smearing them as best as possible with the now disgusting supplement strewn applesauce, brown sugar, cinnamon and sunflower seed butter mixture.


"Can I have more please?"

Hallelujah! I add a few more, smearing what's left of the brown sauce on them. He finishes and happily says, "Let's go upstairs!"

Of course, if I try to get him to eat Puffins smeared with random crap tomorrow he will probably not want to even touch it.

UPDATE: I got Hutton to take a spoonful of sunflower seed butter with a half teaspoon of "Yeast Aid" powder mixed in this afternoon. Woohoo! Yeast Aid smells nasty, so I'm sure it doesn't taste much better.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Catch Up Post

I've been working out lately. I made it to the gym on Monday in time to go to the "Amazing Abs!" class. Twenty minutes of core work. Hey, I can handle twenty minutes, right? I mean, Harrison was born in less than twenty minutes, for Pete's sake (heh-heh - I used that one instead of another name!). Surely doing twenty minutes of crunches and such can't be that bad.

Yes it is, and don't call my Shirley! I did the beginner level of all the exercises. We did half the class on the exercise ball, the other half on the mat. I knew I'd be sore later. After class, I ran on the treadmill. By the time I got Harrison out of the childcare, I was already feeling my abs tightening up uncomfortably. And it's not like I don't have a 3 inch layer of fat over the top of my abs, so I didn't at least have some nice ab puckering to look forward to. Nope, you really can't tell my abs got any work.

Tuesday night I played soccer in the freezing rain. Welcome to the spring season! We only had 10 people, which means playing one short and not having any subs. We got our asses kicked handily, and I headed home with the heat blasting in the car, and I was still freezing and shaking when I got home thirty minutes later. That's one thing about wicking underlayers -- when they get rained on, they do a great job of holding cold water! After a very long, very hot bath, I felt better, but my abs were still sore from Monday.

Wednesday I very foolishly did the abs class again. I figured it would help me get in the habit of going to the class. It's only twice a week, so how hard can it be to get in the habit? My abs were still sore. I did the beginner stuff again, and my abs are still sore today. Plus my legs are sore from soccer.

Let's see, what else? Discover Magazine has a great article on Autism in the April issue. I bought two copies, and gave one to Hubby to read. It has lots of information on biomedical treatments for Autism. I told Hubby he had to read it, since it's "scientific" and he was a chemistry major. He read it. I asked him what he thought. He just made a noise, like, "Mmmm." I have no idea what that means. Oh well. I'll continue taking Hutton to different doctors, doing difficult diets and trying everything that sounds remotely helpful until he's better. I'm not expecting a full recovery, but when I think how far he's come, I'm excited. Oh, and Hubby also told me Hutton can't have the cranio-sacral therapy anymore. We've been going weekly. Because it's weekly, and it's not like a dramatic overnight change, it's hard to tell how useful it is. But, I like the doctor, and she has been great support for the dietary changes and says she can tell Hutton's improving. Because we have a co-pay, though, Hubby didn't like it. Oh well. Have to work on him more.

Also, for those who watched American Idol -- WTF? Sanjaya's performance was....OK, since my first post on American Idol, things have changed. I now find Sanjaya quite lacking in the voice department, and in fact, he annoys me. Brandon is gone. Melinda is my fave. Jordin is my second place. LaKisha third. The guys are seriously lacking. I was shocked Stephanie was voted off. SANJAYA needed to be gone after that horrific version of "You Really Got Me." I fast-forwarded through the second half of the song, so unless it changed dramatically in the second half, I stand by my initial, "It sucked hard!" The only redeeming part of his performance was the crying preteen girl in the audience the cameras kept panning to.

Oh, and even though I love Melinda, I have read comparisons of her to Arthur's sister, DW. I have to agree, the resemblance is there. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Bus Gods Smiled

Today after taking Hutton to the bus, Harrison and I headed to his new art class. It's a nice way to get all the crafty stuff done without having to make a big mess in my own house. He gets to paint, cut things out, and use glitter, and I don't have to worry about the glitter everywhere until we bring the finished project home next week. Win-win!

After art class, we headed to BFF's house for lunch and companionship (I get some adult conversation, Harrison gets to play with her four-year-old daughter). As I was announcing, "Harrison, we need to leave to go get Hutton!" he was in the process of pooping. OK, quick diaper change. Then we got out to the car, and I realized we were going to be late. Crap. We had 10 minutes to get home -- a drive that takes at least 15. D'oh!

I drove as quickly as I could, without endangering the life of my child and myself. I managed to hit every red light. My stomach was dancing around, telling me, "You suck! You are going to miss the bus, and I bet the driver doesn't have your cell phone number and it will take an hour to track her down and get Hutton. Yep, you suck, all right!"

"Shut up, Stomach!" (This wasn't necessary to say out loud, as my stomach and I can communicate without speech. Stomach also tells me when it needs chocolate.)

I was growing more anxious by the second, as I was at least 5 minutes later than the regular bus arrival time, but when I turned onto the next to last street before our house, I noticed a short bus a few streets up driving in our direction. Hmm. It didn't look like Hutton's bus, but just maybe....

I turned onto our street and pulled to the side of the road. I got out of the car just as the bus pulled up. It was a substitute bus -- smaller and older than the regular one, which was why I hadn't recognized it. Hallelujah! I commented on the "new bus" to the driver, and she said, "Yeah, it's small, old, and SLOW! The regular bus is getting an oil change." I smiled and thought, thank you, Slow Bus! I made no comment about how I had been late and just pulled in moments before. No reason to let the driver know how irresponsible I am, right?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Another Busy Weekend

Golly, I've accomplished so much this weekend! Yesterday I got up late, showered and went to the grocery store, sans kiddies. Last night I stayed up so late I got to watch the local Seattle "comedy" show from the early 90s, "Almost Live." It comes on after Saturday Night Live, and is surreal in just how cheesy and 80s the performers and audience members all look. You'd never know from watching the show that the grunge scene was happening in Seattle at the time. I then watched some "Excess" weekend show, and a infomercial from a local builder, Quadrant Homes. (Gee, I sure wish I had a spacious new Quadrant Home, instead of my mid 80s fixer upper! It really seems so fun and easy to build a home to my exact specifications!) I was growing tired, by the time the infomercial started over again, but the big yarn ball I was attempting to untangle was still tangled, and I wasn't going to bed until it was untangled, by gum! (Do you like my new words I'm using instead of curses?)

Anyway, after going to bed around 3 a.m., I was cursing myself for being stupid silly. (Yeah, even stupid gets the cut -- thinking of words I don't want my almost 3-year-old using! Because, you know he's reading my blog!) I mean, I already have a cough and sore throat. Did I really think going to bed at 3 a.m. iss the best way to optimal health?

This morning, the boys were up around 8, and Hubby had a conference call with some guy in Germany - yes, that's why it was at 8 a.m. on a Sunday - so I had to get up to get the boys breakfast. After feeding children and pets, I promptly went back to bed for three more hours. Ahh, that's the way I like to spend my weekends - pure sloth!

I've had a bad weekend NCAA basketball-wise. On Matt-Man's blog, he posted about his tournament bracket the other day, and I'd commented that I didn't really care if Duke wins, but really didn't want UNC to win. Matt-Man assumed this was because I went to NC State, but no, I went to Duke (or, the Evil Empire, as Hubby's Evil Cousins who went to UNC call it). Anyway, the reason I didn't really care if Duke won was because of their mediocre regular season, and it's a young team, so I wasn't expecting much from them. (Drat, I've failed my team, by not believing in "The Secret"! If only I'd thought more about them winning, the would have blocked that last shot the other day!) So, Duke lost, and the REAL Evil Empire won yesterday. The only silver lining was Hubby's school, Vanderbilt, won yesterday. Of course, I wouldn't have been sad if they lost. Sour grapes.

So, it's 1 p.m, I'm still drinking coffee* and wearing my pjs, and the boys are asking about lunch, so I suppose I better go.

Oh yeah, in addition to getting to the grocery store, I also did a gazillion loads of laundry. That's all the excitement I have in store for me this weekend!

*Today I had a crazy idea, and made my double shot latte with chocolate almond milk instead of regular cow's milk. It's really good! I have gone milk-free before -- when I was a newlywed, I drank soy milk for a year -- but it never lasts. We'll see how almond milk thing does. It works on coffee, but I don't know if I can handle regular almond milk in my cereal.

Oh yeah, Part II -- I only posted this, er, exciting post, because McEwen called out my lazy ass! (I still use ass, because here I'm comparing myself to the animal, of course.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Milk This

I love cow's milk. I have it daily, in my lattes, and sometimes with cereal. I remember drinking "Quik" all the time as a child. Man, that stuff was good.

When Hutton was a toddler, I did the expected thing, and introduced milk to his diet when he turned one. He was still nursing, so it wasn't something he drank a lot. When he weaned at 15 months, he moved from drinking my milk to cow's milk. At that time, he also developed his first ear infection, and started to get a funny rash on his face. As I was a first time mom, and pretty clueless, I didn't think this had to do with cow's milk. That he'd weaned - sure, that might be it. He wasn't getting immunities from me, so he was more likely to get sick and get an ear infection.

The pediatrician gave me a steroid cream to give him for his rash, which turned out to be eczema. His ear infection went away with antibiotics. Another one happened a few weeks later, and his eczema flared and cleared, but never stayed gone for long. I can't remember what led me to decide to stop cow's milk in Hutton's diet -- if it was a suggestion from the pediatrician or something I found online while looking for eczema treatments. Either way, I stopped giving Hutton milk around 17 months. He still ate cheese and yogurt, but no more cow's milk straight up.

Soon after, he stopped getting eczema. He stopped getting ear infections (the one he currently has is the first one since he was a toddler!). I had my "aha!" moment. Keeping cow's milk out of his diet wasn't too much trouble. I mean, it was nothing compared to the diet he's on now!

I, of course, still had my milk in my lattes, and drank it throughout my pregnancy with Harrison. Though, at this point, Hutton had been diagnosed with Autism and we were trying the gluten and casein free diet for the first time. While I was pregnant, I read in various Autism groups that cow's milk was a big problem for many with Autism. That mothers drinking it could cause their nursing babies to get colic. Huh. Hutton had colic. I decided Hutton definitely had a milk problem, and he hasn't ever had milk straight up since I first took it out of his diet. When he had ice cream around Christmas time, he said his stomach hurt. So, even if we ever are able to add back in dairy to his diet, I'll still be very watchful of cow's milk.

Fortunately, Harrison never had colic as a baby, so I was able to keep up my life-affirming addiction to the delicious goodness of lattes. He doesn't drink cow's milk, either, though, because it's easier for us all to be on the diet. (Or for me to hoard the precious cow's milk for myself.)

So, when Hutton came home with milk propaganda in his backpack the other day, I just laughed. They're talking about nutrition this week at school, and we all know how cow's milk "does a body good!" Especially when you're allergic to it and it causes ear infections, eczema and colic.

If anyone wants, I'll scan the "How We Get Our Milk" coloring book, too, brought to you by "Your Dairy Council, 'The Nutrition Education People'" so you can indoctrinate your own kiddies!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Putting Things in Perspective

I was reading Time magazine this morning, when I came across this startling statistic:

"33.2 Years of life expectancy for women in Swaziland, where the HIV infection rate is nearly 40% and life spans are the lowest on earth"

Thirty-three. That's how old I am now. If I lived in Swaziland, chances are good I'd be dead or dying, as would most of my peers. That's pretty crazy.

Speaking of horrible living conditions, I read the following on Kim's blog, then saw it on another online Autism group. It's long, but well worth reading. Autism is a huge, and growing, issue worldwide that needs to be faced. This really struck me:

We were in North Korea where their solution is to send children with autism upon the first symptoms to a remote institution where their life expectancy is less than 2 years. Most starve.

Even in 2nd world countries with strong economies -- lots of Starbucks -- conditions can be horribly bad - I have been in Autism institutions where these children are literally warehoused in shocking conditions.

You are permanently changed from the experience of walking through an institution and seeing 3,000 children with autism - some tethered to their beds lying in fecal matter as a result of chronic diarrhea and untreated medical problems.

Yep, reading that makes my own struggles to help Hutton with biomedical treatments for Autism seem no less important, but far more reachable. My hope is that the money going to Autism research will actually go that: real research with real solutions for a real problem.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Mom of the Year

I hope the Mom of the Year voting committee doesn't hear about today. I'd definitely be out of the running. Hmm. I probably shouldn't blog about it. Wait, the committee members don't have Internet access.

This weekend, on Saturday, Hutton didn't feel well. He said his ear hurt, he threw up, and he slept most of the day. We tended to to him and he was feeling better by evening. Yesterday he was fine, and said his ear didn't hurt.

So, this morning, I chugged along in the classic school day style. I fed the boys breakfast, then lunch a little later, and hustled Hutton off to the bus, barely making it on time. I also forgot it was library day until the bus pulled up, and I'd neglected to put Hutton's old library book in his backpack to return. Oops! Oh well, nothing major.

A little while later, I was talking to a friend on the phone while getting ready to go to the gym. I noticed that Harrison wasn't in the room with me. "Hold on. I'll call you back!" I ran downstairs. Not in the kitchen. Not in the TV room, or his bedroom. I was about to panic when I heard him in Hutton's room. Phew. I told him to please answer me when I call him.

Harrison and I head off to the gym. He likes the gym daycare -- good toys, he gets to eat a snack and have a juice box. These are very special to him. I realize as I pull onto the highway that I'd left my cell phone charging on my desk. Drat! But, if I turn around, we'll be late for the daycare reservation. Oh, it will be fine.

After working out, I pick Harrison up from the daycare. He doesn't want to leave, and I bribe him with the promise of a snack from the gym snack bar if he stops screaming. Yep, so far, I'm already slipping in the Mother of the Year competition ranks. I get myself some sushi at the snack bar, and a smoothie to share with Harrison. The cashier asks if he can have a cookie - there's one that's broken that they can't sell. Sure! Things are going well -- a free cookie for the child NOT on a gluten and everything else free diet!

We eat our snacks at a nice leisurely pace, then head to the car to run some errands.
At the vitamin store, Harrison colors in the kiddie area. I don't really pay too much attention as I attempt to hunt down various supplements without asking for help. (I almost succeed except I have no idea what DMG - dimethylglycine - is considered, so have to ask for help finding that. It's in the "energy" section.) I'm the only customer and there are three workers, so I'm not too worried. The employee at the front desk comments that Harrison is still happily coloring. Great. I check out and we clean up the crayons and head to the grocery store.

At the grocery store, Harrison walks beside me and helps me pick out what we need. I notice it's getting late, and after we check out, I hustle him to the car. I'm a little worried as I pull up to our street and notice it's 3:51. The bus comes around 3:55. But today it doesn't. Finally, at 4:05, I curse myself for being late, and drive home, figuring there will be a message from the bus driver asking where I am.

There's not. There are two calls from Hutton's school on the caller ID - at 2:30 and 2:35. Hmm. That's not right. Even with Daylight Savings Time. I ran upstairs to get my cell phone. Three missed calls. ShitSmurf. I call my voice mail and hear the first message.

Hutton's teacher called to tell me Hutton was complaining that his ear hurt. She was taking him to the nurse. The second call is the nurse, telling me it looks like Hutton has an ear infection. Smurf, smurfing smurf. The third call is Hubby telling me he's going to pick Hutton up at school. Well, at least one of the parents in this family is reliable.

I called Hubby, and he told me he was at the doctor's office and would be back soon. I apologized for not being home or having my cell phone. "I was at the gym..." "Yeah, but they left messages..." While waiting for them to return, I felt guilty. Then I pondered the fact that antibiotics are going to further screw up Hutton's yeast problem. Then I worried that the doctor's office would comment that Hutton is behind on his vaccinations and want to give him some shots, "since you're already here." (That's an entire different post there. Maybe I'll bless you with that soon.) Then I felt guilty some more.

Hubby and Hutton came home, Hubby returned to work, and Hutton is happily playing "Wallace and Gromit" on Xbox. Time to figure out the best way to treat an ear infection without antibiotics. We have the prescription, but I really don't want to screw up Hutton's already messed up stomach flora.

Sigh. You other Mothers of the Year won't turn me in to the MOTY police, will you?

Sunday, March 11, 2007


No, I'm not on hiatus, like so many of my blogger friends are this week. It just seems like that, since I haven't had time or the inclination to post. Plus, my posts lately have had a less than overwhelming critical response from the mass of readers I get. By "mass" I mean less than three.

I forgot about the oh-so-savory Daylight Savings Time until late this morning. I thought I was sleeping late. Well, guess I slept even later. Then, by the time I ate breakfast and showered, the day was already gone. So much for savings! I did get some couch-sitting and knitting in, while watching "Tristan & Isolde" on TV. It was OK. I remember reading it in French class in highschool, though it was called "Tristan et Iseult" in French. The movie was somewhat interesting, but not really life-changing; though, since I'd already lost an hour to Daylight Savings, it wasn't like wasting another few hours watching a "meh" movie could hurt (after watching an oh-so-exciting Thomas the Tank Engine adventure with Harrison - so yet another "wasted" hour!). Hey, I got probably three inches of a blanket knit during that time, so I have something, other than an extra inch of fat on my ass, to show for it.

Speaking of fat-asses, I've been to the gym twice now this week -- yesterday and Thursday -- in the attempt to at least tone up my fat-ass somewhat, so I'll be ready to huff and puff on the soccer field in a few weeks. My mother has added some fire to my desire to work out as well. She's been walking every day, and is now only about 4 pounds heavier than I am. Mom turns 60 this year and is still teaching sixth grade full-time, and if she can lose 20+ pounds by walking every day and eating healthfully, then I have no excuse. Well, I have plenty of excuses, but none that really count.

Monday, March 05, 2007

More Dolphin Fun

You may be interested in the latest from the world of dolphins. If you remember this from last month, you may be interested in the latest dolphin love swimming with dolphins ad.
I may be flattering myself to think the advertisers saw my blog post about their campaign, but you'll notice how toned down and non-bestial this new ad seems. Hmmm.

What? You want MORE DOLPHINS?! Well, here you go.

Let's see. I knit. I LOVE DOLPHINS. I'm so there. Well, actually, cough, I think I have, thing...that night. Have to check my calendar. Seriously, could this possibly be real? Seriously? It takes a really kickass dolphin to pull off a jaunty scarf. Now, if a killer whale is wearing a beret, you're still going to play it smooth and pretend it looks cool, cause it's a killer whale and could kick your ass. "No, Shamu, the raspberry beret is totally hot! No, the matching scarf doesn't make you look fat!"

Sunday, March 04, 2007

What the Smurf?

The other day, I woke up in a foul mood, and wanted to start cursing nearly immediately. I then thought, "Hey, I should start saying other things instead of cursing. You know, for the kids."

My friend and I discussed on the phone at some point the backwoods redneck Southern terms, "dagnabbit" (heard by my friend while watching Disney's The Fox and the Hound), and I explained the related terms, "dadgummit," and "dadblame" which were used frequently by my grandparents and my father. Those are all good faux-swears, if I can start using them instead of my go-to words in time of stress or anger: fuck, shit, fucking shit, fuckety-fuck, fuckety-shit, shitty probably get the idea.

Growing up, we watched Saturday morning cartoons. That was the prime time for cartoons, back in the day. Of course, on weekday mornings, I could watch Scooby-Doo reruns, my favorite. (Sundays just sucked, as far as TV was concerned. Because we didn't go to church, we were subjected to the subtle Christian indoctrination of Davey and Goliath.
Well, my brother and I, at least. My sister always slept late on Sundays, so never sat around watching this lame claymation thing with us.)

Yes, my kids will grow up hearing me say, "When I was a kid, we only got to watch the good cartoons on Saturday morning! Just once a week! We didn't have cartoons on DVD or cable at our beck and call. No! Heck, we didn't even have DVDs! We had to wait until the mid-80s before we even had a dag-burn VHS!" At which point, the confused children will ask what a VHS is, and why I've turned into a grumpy old prospector.

Anyway, one cartoon that debuted sometime in the early 80s on NBC was The Smurfs. When this first came on, my sister (this was one I don't remember my brother watching) and I loved it! I remember watching with our neighbors, too. It was a exciting, adventure-filled cartoon. That was until the evil Gargamel (why the fuck smurf did this guy want to eat the smurfs so badly? Were there no animals around to eat? Seriously, did he think blue human-like creatures would be really tasty?) decided to trap some smurfs with the creation of Smurfette.

I remember watching this episode at the neighbors' house. The three of us watched as Gargamel created a lady smurf to lure in those other smurfs. In hindsight, this raises some good questions: How did Gargamel create a living smurf from thin air (or twigs and herbs, or whatever the fuck smurf he used)? If he can do that, why doesn't he just make more smurfs to eat, instead of trying to kill the ones living happily smurfily in their mushroom village? And why does he make a girl? It seems since there are only male/unisex smurfs, they must reproduce asexually. Smurfette isn't going to be attractive to them sexually if they have no sexual organs. Hmm. Anyway, Gargamel creates Smurfette, but she is not like the Smurfette we are expecting. We know Smurfette has long blond hair cascading from her cap. This one does not. No, she has a short, black, scraggly-looking bob. The three of us, all brunettes, exchanged confused looks. Isn't the Smurfette figurine blond? (The plastic Smurf figurines were already around everywhere before the cartoon came out.)

By the end of the episode, Papa Smurf had magically smurfily transformed the evil, brunette, Gargamel-created Smurfette into a real, good, blonde Smurfette. Even as kids, we brunettes were annoyed by that. Why did she get blonde hair when she turned good? What's wrong with black hair? This time we exchanged angry looks.

No, really, that happened. We soon grew tired of The Smurfs, long before it went off the air in 1990 (yeah, it was on that long!). The smurf this and smurfing that was annoying, as was the fact that we knew Gargamel and his cat Azrael were never going to catch the Smurfs. (I hope they came up with some new story lines after the first few years. I can't imagine nearly 10 years of that tired Gargamel and Azrael shit smurf.)

Of course, as a child, I didn't analyze the episode to death as I can now, comparing Smurfette to Eve in the Garden of Eden, with Gargamel being Satan, and Papa Smurf some kind of God or Christ figure who redeems the Smurf world by taking the sinful black hair away from evil Smurfette and turning her into a good Smurf.

What's the point of all this rambling on about a cartoon from the 80s? Well, that I have the perfect word to use in place of my frequent swearing: SMURF!


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Those Meddling Kids, Part 2

This afternoon, I got to watch an adult movie. (Wait, that sounds wrong. No, it wasn't that kind of movie. Just a movie the under 10 crowd doesn't go for. Really, it was The Devil Wears Prada. Not The Devil Does Debby Does Dallas.)

So, when the boys insisted on watching something else, I started flipping channels, and landed on a cartoon channel. After an episode of Tom and Jerry, I fell asleep, and awoke to What's New, Scooby Doo? I hadn't seen this updated version of one of my childhood faves. (It was my favorite in third grade. I watched it before school every day, and literally kissed the TV at the end when a big picture of Scooby came on after the show ended. I hated it when they showed those f'ed up episodes with annoying Scrappy-Doo, though!)

What's New was pretty similar, but the kids were kicking it '02 style. The episode featured the gang on vacation in Hawaii, where a troubling sea monster happens to be wreaking havoc. Shaggy was still sporting the voice of Casey Kasem, and Scooby was as lovable as ever, though I had no desire to kiss the TV this time. Guess I've outgrown that little crush on an animated dog.

What really threw me about the show was when I heard the opening bars of the Ramones singing "Rockaway Beach." Surely not, I thought. But sure enough, it was Rockaway Beach, playing to a scene of the gang, wearing scuba gear, being chased by a sea monster. As Shaggy might say, "Whoa!" Or as Velma might say, "Jenkies!"

I slowed down the credits to make sure it was really the Ramones. It was. Some more surprises: Velma was voiced by Mindy Cohn, who you may remember as Natalie from the Facts of Life. What? You don't remember that? OK... And Daphne was voiced by Grey DeLisle, who is the voice of Emily Elizabeth on Clifford, the Big Red Dog, among others. Oh, and I just found out that she sings, too! Have to check that out.

Dinner time. And it won't be Scooby Snacks.

The Secret

I read an article on "The Secret" in Newsweek yesterday, and I'm demonstrating my understanding of it with my new blog design.

It's all about springtime, instead of the icy one I had going for several months. So, if my blog is Spring, it will attract Spring. The snow outside should magically melt now that I've changed my header picture. (That's a pic from the 2003 Tulip Festival in Skagit Valley, WA by the way.)

Now that I've spent the entire night trying to get my blog in order, I don't really care about the snow. Remind me to not do a new template unless I'm really sure I've got a copy of the old one on my computer somewhere. Cutting and pasting gets tiresome. Oh, and let me know if I need to add you to my links! And Blogger really needs to do some 3 column templates, so I don't have to hunt down codes on random sites to do it. I used this one, but looked and tried about 5 others before I got this one to work.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lakishas on TV

Last night, after braving the snow to get to the grocery store to replenish my food supply (really needed milk so I can continue to support my latte addiction), I sat down to watch some TV. I flipped on American Idol, and frogged, or ripped, a sweater while listening very carefully to the ladies sing. (Frogging a sweater is basically when you unknit something. You "rip it" - get it? Like a frog. Hey, I didn't make the term up! I had made a sweater with lots of very pretty, very expensive yarn, and it was just too funky looking and ill-fitting, so I decided I'd have to do something else with the yarn, so I frogged it. I usually hum or sing the Devo song, "Whip It" changing the words to "Rip It" when ripping a knitted item back to the original balls of yarn it once was. When a sweater is too long/You must rip it! You know those sleeves look very wrong/You must rip it!)

Once again, I liked Lakisha, and Melinda. Melinda seemed a smidge better to me last night. I also like Jordin and Stephanie. Sorry, but all you white girls are not hitting it, in my professional opinion. Whoops! Keep forgetting, I'm not a professional.

After A.I., I stayed firmly planted on my ass on the couch, and watched "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" I watched this on Tuesday night, as well, and both nights the answer was sadly, "No, I'm not smarter than a fifth grader." For the contestants, at least. I might be able to hold my own.

This show is one of those, like American Idol, that makes me feel guilty for watching TV. Guilty pleasures -- definitely. The idea is that an adult contestant is asked a series of 10 questions, from first grade to fifth grade level of difficulty, on a variety of grade school subjects. The "class" of 5 of so fifth graders on the show can provide help three times if the contestant needs to cheat. Though there are some questions that had me second-guessing myself - Wait, are fiction books in the Dewey Decimal System? - most of them just had my shaking my head in disbelief at the stupidity of the contestants. Now, last night's contestant, named Lakisha, did pretty well, earning over $100,000. But that's with cheating off the fifth graders on questions like, "How many sides does a trapezoid have?" She had no idea what a trapezoid is. I guess they probably have a special test before allowing contestants on the show. If you do well, you're automatically disqualified. I have to admit, the first night I was stumped on a question about the area of a triangle. For the life of me, I couldn't remember the equation for figuring that out. It's not pi R square, I know that much! I finally remembered after the show that it's A = 1/2 b x h, but really, those things are hard to remember, buried in the vault of my brain as they are. I seriously could have kicked some ass on that show if I were a fifth grader, back when I was smart! The fifth graders they did have on the show -- the "class" that the adult contestant can use to cheat on the answers if they don't know -- were very smart.

Off to change a poopy diaper. Oh yeah, it's a snow day today. We have several inches of the purty white stuff, but I was really looking forward to spring. My bulbs were all popping out, and are now buried. It's supposed to get warmer again this weekend. Let's hope so, or school will still be in session in July.

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