Monday, October 31, 2011


       Happy Halloween All!  I hope you're all having as wonderful a holiday as I am so far.  Last night was our Samhain ritual at church, and it was a huge success - a very satisfying way to recognize lost loved ones and emerse ourselves in the feeling as the veil between the worlds reaches its thinnest point.

      This post isn't actually about Halloween, though. You'll get the real Halloween post when there are pictures uploaded to go with it.

      This post is about my hair. Tres interesant, no?  Like most women, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about my hair: Up or down? Straight or curled? Long or short? 

       On a day to day basis, I don't have a lot of options. The Marine Corps is pretty stringent on acceptable hairstyles.  I have three go-to uniform hairstyles: french twist, big bun, and cinnamon bun.

       Outside of work, I like to get a little more creative with my hair while still going for a more natural look.  Lately, I've gotten pretty good at the messier styles, and MacGyver loves me in headbands or pigtails. . .

      Today, though my hair is definitely different. Not the style, though. Today, I'm trying out a new color.  For my Poison Ivy costume, I'm dying my hair very red.  Naturally, it's a reddish brown.

      Growing up, my hair was blonde. I remember my chagrin in high school (or late jr high?) When I realized it was turning brown.  Then I was really upset when it started turning red.  Erg. The last thing I wanted was for my hair to turn into Boo's!

      So all through high school, I lightened my hair to the blonde it had always been.  My hair was supposed to be blonde. It just was. To this day, I have a couple friends and family members that insist my hair should be blonde even though my natural shade is clearly no longer blonde.

      I've been thinking though, with this jump to red that maybe afterward I'll lighten it back up a little. Maybe to some heavy highlights again, just to see if I can still pull off blonde.  I definitely had a couple of styles that worked better in blonde.

      What do you think?

      Also, there are new recipes up on the recipes page.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Business and the Breast

This is a first draft. I expect to be editing it in the near future
      The other night, I gave a presentation to the Board of Directors for our church.  It was a very important meeting regarding the future status of our organization. I saw it as a professional presentation and was treated with respect and deference throughout. 

      I also breastfed throughout.

      There was a time when I probably would've seen breastfeeding and professional situations as mutually exclusive. Now, I see no reason for such a crowbar separation of my statuses as a mother and a professional.
If I'm perfectly capable of giving a speech or presentation with a baby in a carrier or even breastfeeding, why shouldn't I?

      The typical answer for that is because it might make OTHER people uncomfortable. And you know what? Bite me. If breastfeeding makes you uncomfortable, that's YOUR problem, not mine. The fact that our culture's views on breastfeeding are skewed and completely screwed up is a well documented one. And the only way to overcome this weird and unnatural "problem" our culture has with breastfeeding is to get out there and DO it.

      So I do. Sure, there may have been members of the board who were uncomfortable with Flintstone breastfeeding while I spoke, but if they were, they didn't say anything. They recognized that breastfeeding is natural and normal and that any discomfort on their part was something for them to overcome. They recognized that Flintstone breastfeeding did not have any impact on the content of my presentation at all.

      At work, I pump twice a day, and everyone knows what my infamous cow sign means. I've never had a real problem with pumping at work. I have breastfed at work, but not "openly," mostly because the uniform makes it more difficult to do discreetly and rank issues make things a little more complicated. I HAVE breastfed at military functions in civilian attire.

      BUT (of course there's a but) it's not always easy. There are plenty of obstacles and frustrations, both internal and external. There are silly little things like when the Lieutenant below me told the Major above me (who wasn't my biggest fan at the time - probably because I make a point of being open about such "female" things as breastfeeding and mothering) that I couldn't process a certain doc right away because, "Capt T is currently lactating."

      There are slightly bigger things that really piss me off. Today, for example.

      Whenever I know I'll be spending most of a day anywhere, I call ahead to make pumping arrangements. My TAD trip to the JAG school was no different. And after I made the call, I didn't think there'd be any issue. The LTCOL I spoke to was immediately understanding and said he'd put me in touch with a female who would set me up with a room and whatnot. Great.

      I found that woman immediately Monday morning, and she showed me the office I could use. Then she spent 10 minutes explaining how to lock the door to me over, and over, and over again.

      I could see it: that twitch at the corner of her fake smile. She was not ok with even the mere IDEA of me pumping breastmilk. But she didn't say anything. Then. Later, after I had pumped, I put the two bags of milk - double-zip, reinforced breastmilk storage bags, into my little bottle cooler and walked past this woman to put the milk into the office fridge.

      She sputtered. She looked chagrined. She clearly wanted to find a way to stop me from putting the milk in the fridge (it's milk; where the eff else would I put it?!). "That has to be in a sealed container." I explained to her that it was, and put the milk in the fridge. Note: When I called ahead, I had made clear my need to use a fridge.

      Oh, and access to a fridge for breast milk is FEDERALLY MANDATED. Ahem.

      The rest of the week, I walked back and forth in front of her icy smile to pump every day. I tried to be super pleasant. She remained fake and icy. Whatever. Then, today, after 4 days(!), when I got to put my little cooler in the fridge, she tells me "someone" complained, and I have to seal the cooler before putting it in the fridge because "no one wants to see that."


      I don't seal the cooler because that defeats the purpose of putting it in the fridge. And, ohbytheway, you can't see the milk inside the little cooler unless you look down inside it. AND there is no reason why anyone else would even KNOW it's breastmilk.

      It's not like this is some super strict fridge. There is plenty of food not in sealed containers. There is tons of stuff in clear containers - INCLUDING COW MILK!!! But MY milk is this big scary deal.

      "No one wants to see that." Seriously? This is a school for military attorneys. We are routinely exposed to all manner of blood and gore, not to mention the details of heinous crimes and even photos and videos of such. But they can't even handle SEEING breastmilk? Please.

      Those people need serious psychological help. I'm not kidding. So I'm pissed. And when the course is over, you can be damned sure I'll be filing a complaint.

      But I'm also a little glad this woman is such a screwed up imbicile. Because now I'm too busy being angry to bother with the tiny nagging guilt that still plagues me.

      The guilt that says I'm inconveniencing people. The guilt that says that since for two 15 minute periods a day I have my office door closed and no one can come it that I'm slacking at work. The guilt about making people feel uncomfortable - even though I know full well it is unreasonable for them to feel that way! And then more guilt for going back on what I know is right by allowing this guilt in. It's a vicious cycle. Welcome to being female in the US.

      No woman should have to feel guilty about combining her desire to do the best she can for her children with her desire to make a difference as a working professional. I CAN do both, and have for over a year. I SHOULD be able to do more. I don't see any reason why, if I CAN competently perform my job, public or not, while wearing and breastfeeding my baby, I shouldn't do that.

      I see in my dreams a brave new world where there are babies on the breast at board meetings and professors leading lectures with babies on their backs. So long as the job is still getting done well, everyone else can deal with it and accept the fact that mothering is a natural part of life, not a handicap.

      I am a skilled professional, and I am a breastfeeding mother. I am both. At the same time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Screw Spring Cleaning. . .

      . . . I'm more a Fall re-vamp sorta girl.  For weeks now I've been all over our house trying to instill a little organization and style here and there.  We're talking nesting level obsession with organizing and prettifying.

      I love our house.  It is beautiful and bright and has a brilliant open floor plan.

      And I hate our house.  It has this freaking open floor plan that means there is zero storage space and if there is one disorganized space in any room, you can see it from the whole damn house.  *ahem*

      We won't even touch on the fact that I can't JUST clean the floor in the dining room because it's the same floor as the entryway, livingroom, and sunroom so I have to do them all at once every freaking time.

       But it's just a rental.  So, lesson learned, in a couple years when we go elsewhere, we'll be sure to get a place with more storage and separate rooms for everything.  Because that's just my style.

      In the meantime, I'm on a mission.  I am building and creating and moving, reorganizing and stashing.  On a budget, because we STILL haven't settled with the freaking insurance company on the VA house.

      I have been all over Pinterest (have you added me on Pinterest yet? I have a button right over there on the right ---->), finding all sorts of inspiration and ideas.

      My next two big projects are the entryway chaos and Flintstone's room.  I may post pictures when I'm done. But we all know how great I am about remembering to upload pictures.

WWTK Wednesdays: Shopping

I'm finally back on the WWTK Wednesdays train! Mostly because I saw the topic and thought, "Crud, I have a whole lot of that to do over the next couple months." Though, surprisingly, there are no questions about shopping for the upcoming winter holidays (and birthdays in my world).
This week's theme is SHOPPING! Here are your questions... 1. Do you shop til you drop, or are you in and out as soon as possible? 2. Are you a price conscious shopper? 3. What store could you spend HOURS in? 4. What is the most frivolous purchase you've ever made? 5. What was the last thing you bought for yourself? 1 Do you shop til you drop, or are you in and out as soon as possible? - This depends on a million factors. I used to get instant headaches just walking into the grocery store. These days, I like grocery shopping. I think meal plans help. And I love fun shopping. But in either case, if the store is to crowded (and I have a low threshold for what counts as too crowded), I'm out. 2. Are you a price conscious shopper? - Yes, yes, and yes. I grew up poor. I struggled to make ends meet in college. I sold blood twice a week. I lived in my car. I look at prices for EVERYTHING and have been known to go back and forth ad nauseum over 50 cents. That said, I make a comfortable living now, and I will spend the money where necessary. This applies mostly to food: local, organic, humane. Humanely raised local meat is expensive. Then again, when you eat meat once a week or less, the increased costs even out. But clothes and shoes and "me" things? Thrift stores and discount all the way. Oh, and the AWESOME store at Rainforest tab - amazing and helps charities. Go. Now. 3. What store could you spend HOURS in? - So many! World Market, Pier 1, Target (even though I know it's bad, I can't give it up yet, I love it too much), Le Chateau, Rue 21, ANY BOOKSTORE, and, of course, the Rainforest Store on, just in case you forgot to click over the first time even though I asked so nicely. 4. What is the most frivolous purchase you've ever made? - Another air compressor. Oh, wait. . . That wasn't me. ;-) 5. What was the last thing you bought for yourself? - I'm guessing we're not talking about the soy chai tea latte yesterday. Honestly, it is very rare for me to buy things for myself. I got a new eyeliner for Halloween. I DID get a really cute top from - you'll be so shocked - the Rainforest store at The Animal Rescue Site - NOW, after you've left me a wonderful comment, Go To The Site. Pretty please. You won't be disappointed. Promise.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Can't Get Enough

      I may actually be able to get a real post up today, but in the meantime, there are new posts up on both the  Ethical Eating and Recipes pages.

Monday, October 24, 2011


A little military  jargon lesson for my civilian readers: T.A.D. = temporary additional duty. Doesn't sound good, but it's really not a bad deal. Effectively, in most cases at least, its basically time off your regular job to go do something else. In my case, this usually means training. Legal training. And, if you're a dork like me and love school as much as I do (not to mention getting paid to go to new places), TAD for legal training is a happy thing.

       . . . And, despite the Marine Corps' penchant for trying to turn acronyms into words, TAD is pronounced T-A-D, not Tad like a country club tennis pro.

This week, I'm at the Army JAG school getting schooled up for my new position as Legal Assistance OIC.  Just half way through the first day, I'm already picking up tons of useful and exciting information. 

I can't exaggerate my excitement over all the information and tools I'm accumulating. If I can make it work, I can use this information to really, really help people. I'm hatching plans. The proverbial wheels are spinning away. Big things are afoot.

I'd be happy enough with just the classes and information, but this TAD is even better because after my days full of learning potential, I get to head out for mini-vacation evenings. Things worked out sarendipitously enough that MacGyver could take time off and the whole fam came with me (originally, it would have just been Flintstone and me).

Did I mention this course is taking place on UVA's campus? In a historic VA city?  Full of fun stuff to do? YES!  So in the evenings, we'll be galavanting around town taking advantage of a free(ish) mini-vacation*.

Blogging will likely be minimals, but hey, you're all getting used to that by now ;-)

*The government is only paying MY expenses, we are by no means using federal money for the fam to galavant (though they are staying with me in my hotel room - which I conscientiously booked at less than the gov max).

Friday, October 21, 2011

Title Ideas?

      I will shortly be launching a new blog (yes, another one). The new blog will be my professional law blog - something I'm undertaking with an eye to future employment in the civilian sector. But I'm having a rough time coming up with a title for the new blog.

      It needs to be something somewhat professional without being too dry, and I don't want to restrict it to one area of law or practice, as I'd like to have the option of allowing it to follow me throughout my career.

      So, any ideas? Just throw them out there, even if you don't think they're great because right now, I've got nothing. Any idea will get my wheels turning.

      Other than that, I'm not sure you'll see a real post from me today. I have dozens of things I want to post about, but things are uber busy right now. Punky's birthday party is tonight and I'm going out of town for work Sunday. Somewhere around those events, I have 6 million other important things to do. But I miss you all and may have more time to blog next week from the Army JAG course.

      In the, meantime, let's hear those title ideas!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Someone Like You

      So Adele is all the rage these days, no?  (Yes, I said all the rage.  What?  I'm old.  And a dork.  You already knew that.)  And I'm totally on board.  I love Rolling in the Deep.  Her voice is beautiful and powerful and her lyrics - for the most part - are moving.  For the most part.

      But her newer song, Someone Like You, has been getting on my nerves lately.  I mean, I still enjoy listening to it, but every time the song gets to a certain point, my hackles go up a little.

"I hate to turn up out of the blue, uninvited,
but I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight it.
I hoped you'd see my face, and that you'd be reminded
That for me, it isn't over."

      Ok, I get it.  It's all poignant and whatnot.  She's still in love.  She hurts.


      I picture this person standing on some unsuspecting former lover's doorstep one evening, confronting them.  Baring their own unresolved feelings and burdening this other person with - expectation.  As if this former lover is somehow responsible for the singer's feelings and inability to let go and move on.  And all I can think is . . .

      "Who the hell do you think you are?"

      One of my exes.  That's who.  Off the top of my head, I've had at least three of my exes suddenly reappear in my life - out of the blue, uninvited - and seem to expect something from me.  Like I'm going to feel guilty for having moved on, for being happy.  OR like I'm going to turn around and just give it another shot - hoped you'd see my face, and that you'd be reminded that for me, it isn't over.  Well screw you.  For ME it is over.  Get the hell off my porch.

      Ok, so of course I was never that harsh with them.  Though maybe I should have been.  I lent the sympathetic ear to how hard things have been.  I have gracefully turned a cheek to attempted kisses and deftly dodged ill conceived passes. 

      But every time I hear that song, it annoys me.  The nerve of some freaking people.  I'm sorry you got your heart broken and your life sucks and you somehow think that is my fault.  I'm rather flattered that you think I'm that significant a person to have actually wrecked your life by refusing to put up with your BS anymore.  But, let's face it, I'm NOT that significant and you're just looking for a scapegoat.  So how about you save us both the awkwardness and you save yourself the embarrassment - not to mention the pain of another rejection, and you leave me the heck alone if you can't behave like a civilized, PLUTONIC acquaintance.

      So if you're reading this and you're still hung up on one of your exes - ESPECIALLY if that person has clearly moved on, take my advice:  Don't listen to the messages of ridiculous romantic comedies.  People don't call off their wedding 10 minutes before the ceremony to get back with someone they dumped 3 years ago.  Move the frig on.  And for eff's sake DON'T show up at their home or place of work uninvited and act like they owe you something.

      I know that I am not alone in having this experience, so let's hear it:  Have you ever been accosted by an ex who still had feelings for you?  Have you ever been the guilty party and created this awkward moment?

      A couple of caveats:
      -  Yes, MacGyver was at one point in time my ex, and yes we got back together, but it was NOT planned out that way.  We started talking again as friends.  There was no awkward "I'm still in love with you" or "I bet you didn't think you'd be hearing from me . . ." moment.  We talked, exchanged emails, and eventually decided maybe since we had both I had grown up a little, it was worth another shot.  So there.  Not quite as hypocritical as I look.

      -  This is the second post I've recently written about songs on the radio.  In my last post, where I was b*tching about how old some music made me feel, I talked about the phrase "pumped up kicks," and I'd like to clarify something:  I KNOW what pumped up kicks ARE.  I'm not that old!  Frig.  I just don't understand why the person singing wants to shoot people on the basis of wearing said kicks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vote For Me! (Pretty Please)

      I just wanted to take moment to direct everyone's attention to my lovely new "Nominate Me" button over in my sidebar ------>

      I've even included it below, just for your convenience, dear readers.  As we all know, I've been working on getting the Ethical Eating, Recipes, and Reading blogs rolling, and I'm trying to use For The Love of Blogs to facilitate that.  So if you find yourself with an extra 30 seconds, and you love me which OF COURSE you obviously do, please click on over and let THEM know just how much you love me.

      I'd be happy to do the same for you.

Schooling Myself: Political

      I've mentioned before that I don't often comment on politics in general because I feel the topics are more complicated than most people give them credit for and I don't have the time or the energy to collect enough information to feel completely confident in my opinion.  And I think people who buy into the over-hyped spinmiesters are complete tools.

      This morning, I was listening to discussions on the radio of President Obama's Jobs Bill as well as some of the Republican proposals.  My thinking (based solely off what President Obama and the Republican Candidates said about their own proposals)?  I think   READ MORE>>

Thursday, October 13, 2011

All Hallows Grim

      I rarely join Blog Hops/parties/etc.  Mostly because I hate committment (yes I am a Marine and am married to my ONE and ONLY husband, and YES I still have committment issues.).  Because I usually find that I want to post other things outside of what's "required" for the blog hop.  And because I forget.  A lot. 

      But I found this one too hard to resist, 1) because it centers around Halloween/Sahmhain, 2.) because it has almost no rules at all (WooHoo), and 3.) because I love Magalay (our lovely - if occassionally demented - hostess over at Pagan Culture).

      The only thing I had to do was post a post about Halloween/All Hallow's Eve/Samhain/ETC by today (putting things off to the last minute = the way I roll).  This will not be my only Halloween related post, and I'll probably slap the blog party button up on any more I do between now and the 31st, but this is my start:

      It's All About the Spooky

      I love Halloween.  It is quite possibly my favorite holiday.  I thoroughly enjoy a lot of holidays, but there is something truely special about Halloween.  Something near and dear to my heart.  And when it comes to Halloween, I'm a bit of a fundamentalist.  (I know, who ever would have guessed I'd ever call myself a fundamentalist anything?)

     It's true.  Just like you have those people who run around all during the Solstice holidays exclaiming that their particular religion's take is THE only acceptable way to look at the season - I'm not going to get into it now, but be ready come December to hear how I feel about people who want to tell me my kids shouldn't expect a visit from Santa just because I am not a Christian.  *Ahem*

      And yet, come Halloween, I go all righteous on the matter.  Because it's just so OBVIOUS:

Halloween is meant to be Scary!

      I mean, come ON, people.  Let's just stop with all this smiling, happy pumpkins and kids dressed up as princesses NONESENSE.  For real.

      Fall is my favorite season, and for most of it, I love beautiful displays of organges, reds, golds, and browns.  Pumpkins and gourds and straw. 

      But come the few days around Halloween, I want BLACK.  I want Black and orange.  I want cobwebs and ripped gauze and blood spattered walls.  Give me gore.  Give me creepy.

      On a cool, crisp Halloween night, I want to see happy kids dressed up as goblins and warewolves running happily from house to house - but still looking back over their shoulders from time to time; peering into the shadows with just that trace, that icy ribbon of fear weaving it's way through the merriment.

      After all, the veil is thin.  If the ghosts and monsters are ever going to be about, it will be tonight.  If mischeif is going to be worked, it's going to be worked tonight.

      Growing up, Halloween was a hallowed event.  Every year the excitement was high as we went to the basement and the shed and pulled out all the Halloween stuff (and we had TONS, the shed was darn near full of decorations and in the basement we had boxes and boxes of costume supplies and body parts).  We would set up the graveyard, with real-looking worn down old tombstones (not of the cartoon-y crap and there were enough of them that it actually looked like a small church graveyard).  We would put up the hanged man in the graveyard.  On the night of Halloween, add a little dry ice and the effect was chilling. 

      For the adult party, we also had a working "rack" - for stretching torture vitims, though our rack only had a gory dummy on it.  There was a full size pendulum blade (as in The Pit and the Pendulum) stained with blood that swung over a horrificly disemboweled dummy.  There was a massive mad scientist setup behind the bar.  There was a coffin with a VERY real looking dead body inside.  And then there were all the other touches - rats and bats that moved, spiders and cobwebs everywhere, bloody handprints here and there.  This party was EPIC.

      And our Halloween costumes?  No chance in heck you'd ever catch us in some chinsy, cutesy, store bought crap.  We always went as something spooky, and it was usually a lot of work.  Even in KINDERGARTEN when I went as a witch, I had a very realistic fake nose that my dad painstakingly applied with liquid latex - real movie magic type stuff, none of this stick on schtick for us.  I can still remember so clearly every year waking up so very, very early Halloween mornings - usually around 4am so my dad could spend an hour or so getting us ready before he left for work.  I remember the cold of liquid latex being dabbed on, the tickle of liquid colodian in my nose, the stickiness of fake blood.  It is creepy and weird, but they are dear, dear memories to me.

      For me, a REAL Halloween costume itches, smells like colodian and spray paint, and is either hard to sit down or eat in.

       And man did I have some GREAT Halloween costumes.  I mean, awesome enough that people I went to school with STILL mention them to me now, 10 years later.  Two different people brought them up at my reunion last month! 

      Of course, that was back in the day when you could still wear good Halloween costumes to school.

      This tape (and eventually the CD) - which is, by the way the BEST scary CD I have EVER heard still to this day - would play over and over through most of December.  Granted, when I was younger, parts of it terrified the hell out of me, but I refused to admit it.

      Many of my fondest and clearest memories are from Halloweens growing up.  Tonight I'm going to scan in a couple pictures of old Halloween costumes and add them to this post.  Be sure to check it out when I republish it.

For the Love of - Me!

      Woo Hoo, guess who's featured over at For The Love of Blogs today??? 

      I'm tempted to get all cute with the "I'll give you a hint, it's your very favorite neurotic food blogger" or "She has a super hot husband," but I'm trying not to scare anyone away today ;-)

      My hope had been to have a super fun post up the day my FTLOBs feature came up, but, alas, I think I'm going to fail in that.  Because I have a mid-term exam in about an hour.

      "WTF?"  I can hear you thinking.  "Isn't she a lawyer?  Doesn't she routinely b*tch remark about how she's always working?  What the heck is she doing taking classes?"

      In addition to my normal lawyer duties, for the next few months I will also be the OIC (Officer in Charge) of the Tax Center for the base, so I'm taking a Tax Law and Prep refresher course.  fun.  Actually, it's not bad.  If you've been here before, you know I'm a total dork and I love school and classes and learning and all that jazz.  If this is your first time here, well now you know, and you'll probably high tail it out of here right now.

      Today is ALSO my very first day as the OIC of the Legal Assistance section - meaning I have completely changed the area of law I practice.  There will be another post with more details on that soon.

     But I'm rambling and not saying what I started this post to say, which is:

      Welcome FTLOBs visitors!

      I hope you like what you find here.  Leave me a comment, and I'll happily return the favor as soon as I can (though it may take a day or two).  I am completely addicted to comments, and always try to keep up with my regular bloggy buddies.

      Please stop in again over the next week or two for some more interesting posts as I get settled into the new job.

      And to my every beloved Cheap Winos who've been with me all along:

      Did I mention my taste in music tends to be just as dorky as the rest of me - except when it's dirty and wrong?

      One last piece of information you NEED to know:
THIS is the cutest little boy to have ever walked the Earth.
He's already obsessed with anything that has wheels, which is fine with me.  He's going to look adorable in my 1976 Mustang II Cobra 302.
 Thanks for stopping by!  I look forward to getting to know you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Eating Our Own

      I am not a vegan, and I don't claim to be.  I am not even a vegetarian.  And I don't claim to be.  Most of the time the meals I prepare are vegan or at least vegetarian, but I myself can claim neither of those labels.  And there are reasons for that.  Reasons that have become even more clear to me in the last few days.  READ MORE>>

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Home Remedies

   Flintstone went into the Dr's office a couple days ago to get his shots, and I'm pretty sure he came back with some sort of a bug. I hate all the germs in Dr's offices. Which is another reason I chose to give birth at

   Poor little monkey has been a congested and snotty and at night seems just generally uncomfortable. During the day he is, for the most part, his usual happy, active, mischievous self (though covered in snot), but at night he has trouble breathing through his nose. He tosses and turns and cries in his sleep. I've been bringing him into bed more than normal and he's on and off the breast every few minutes. He wants to nurse so bad, but his poor stuff nose makes it hard for him the breath while he does.

   I feel so bad for the little guy. I don't think I've ever seen him stay sick for more than a day.  As a family, we don't get sick very often at all. I credit avoiding meat, eating tons of veggies, staying active, and not smoking - a biggie.  And for Flintstone, I think a lot of his heartiness comes from breastfeeding.  He has never been Really sick (something I am thankful for every single day) and he's never had a fever or been what I'd call sick for more than a day.

   But now he is sick, and it's time to start breaking out all the home cold fighting remedies:

   Breastmilk - first and foremost.  Full of antibodies and perfect nutrition, breast milk has even been recommended for older kids (and even adults) if they happen to have a milk mama in the house. It also works like a charm for eye ickies - just fyi. Plus, it's been proven that sick kids recover faster with lots of loving touch, so breastfeeding doubles up on the healing goodness!

   Mama's Cold Remedy Soup - specially formulated from ingredients proven to help ease cold symptoms, plus it's yummy and there is no food more comforting for a cold than hot soup. Check out all the details be clicking the recipes tab up top!

   Steam - humidifiers, pots of boiling herbs, and hot baths and showers.  What parent hasn't spent a night in a steamy bathroom with a congested baby?  Yesterday morning (when I first tried to post this . . .) Flintstone and I spent a nice long time playing on the (clean) floor of a nice steamy shower.

      Hot Drinks - MacGyver and I differ on this.  My grandma is a nurse, and growing up whenever any of us didn't feel well, she'd make us something warm (not too hot, esp if there was a fever involved, and non caffeinated) to drink.  It was always instantly soothing to a sore throat and warming to the spirits.  To this day I swear by hot tea (or hot toddies ;-)) when I'm not feeling well.  Lemon, honey, and ginger being the old standbys remedy wises.  I haven't yet given Flintstone anything tea like even though there are plenty that are safe for him now.  I just haven't seen the need yet.  MacGyver, on the other had swears by cold when he's sick.  Frozen juice pops and sorbet.  Each to his own, I suppose.

      Ginger Ale - with actual ginger in it.   I've never understood drinking "ginger ale" that doesn't actually have ginger in it when you're sick.  Kinda missing the point, right?  Not to mention swigging down a whole lot of high fructose corn syrup.

      The list goes on and on.  A paste made of ground mustard seeds does wonders to ease congestion and stimulate circulation in kids old enough to follow the "don't touch this" directions.  So many remedies I can't possibly think of them all right now, and this post would be super long if I did.

      What remedies to you use when you or your little ones are feeling under the weather - for colds or other ailments?  I have a hiccup cure that works every single time . . .

      Tell me about your home remedies, and don't forget to check out my new Mama's Cold Remedy Soup over at the Recipes page.  It worked like a charm.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Reason to Skip

      As we all know, I'm not one for skipping Holidays. It frustates the heck out of me when I walk into a store that's all fancied up for Christmas/Yule/Chanukka/Festivus and all other holidays on or around Winter Solstice before we've even hit Halloween (or even Patriot Day in some cases!).

      But I'm breaking my cardinal rule and skipping ahead a holiday. This skipping, however is necessary and is only preparatory. Heaven knows I would never fully gloss over Halloween/Samhain! But poor Thanksgiving really gets short shrift anyway, being sandwiched right between Halloween and the Soltstice holidays . . . READ MORE>>

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Turn That Trash Down!"

      Sometimes, I think my taste in music kinda dates me.  I listen to a lot of classic rock - Meatloaf, Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon, and Blue Oyster Cult rock my socks, just to name a few.  At work, I mostly listen to classical music on NPR (though I do occasionally change it up with my YouTube playlists).  At dinner, we listen to classical, smooth jazz, blues, or new-age-y soothing nature sounds classical stuff.

      Based on that, my taste in music seems to scream "Old Person."  But I'd like to think my taste hasn't totally passed over into that realm just yet.  Because I do still love current music - rock, punk, some alternative, and, yes, Top 40 Pop.

      I love Top 40 Pop, and that's usually what I listen to on my short commute.  And while my age hasn't yet wiped out my taste for this stuff, it has definitely had an effect on my thought processes listening to it.  Just a couple of examples:

      If I Die Young by The Band Perry - I really liked this song the first time I heard it.  The voice, the melody, the whole package - it's a very pretty song to listen to, and very catchy.  Which is probably why it became so popular.  The problem is, after hearing it just a couple times I knew all the words to the song and one verse started to haunt me: 

"Lord make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother
She'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh and
Life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no
Ain't even grey, but she buries her baby"

      The first time I caught that verse, it kind of gave me the shivers.  The next time, it almost brought me to tears.  Just copying it here threatened to choke me up.  And you know why?  Because I'm a mom.  The thought of burying either of my babies is the most horrifying proposition in the world to me.  That very last line is like all my worst fears rolled up into 8 words.  And it made me instantly hate the song.

      But I couldn't escape it.  The damn song is on ALL THE TIME.  At one point, it came on so I flipped the station, and it was also on the next station, so I flipped again, and IT WAS ON THAT STATION TOO!  Then it would get stuck in my head.  Eventually, falling asleep with the song in my head even gave me absolutely aweful nightmares.  (As I've mentioned in passing before, I have been diagnosed with "obsessive thoughts" when it comes to anxieties about my kids' safety).

     And 10 years ago, I never would have had this sort of reaction to this song.  But now, I'm a mom.  And maybe that means I'm a little old and silly pop songs can make me cry.  Deal.

      E.T. - by Katy Perry w/ Kanye West - I love this song.  I makes me smile every single time it comes on.  Probably partially based on my unnatural affinity for anything remotely X-Files related, and also because the song just all around amuses me.  But I can tell I'm old because I am straight up ASHAMED that I love this song.  It is an awful song.  It's perverse and weird and dirty and weird.  So I was relagated to loving the song in secret, because seriously - I can't believe the crap they'll put on the radio these days:

"Infect me with your love and
Fill me with your Poison."


      But the last straw may have come last week.  There was a new song out that I really enjoyed, but I couldn't quite make out the words.  I even told MacGvyer one day when it was on, "I really like this song, but I wish I could make out the lyrics.  It's no fun if I can't sing along (which may be yet another sign I'm getting too old for Top 40 Pop)."

     I heard it a few more times and continued to like it.  I could peice together some lines, but the main parts of the chorus remained a mystery to me.

      Until I caught the title of the song (which also happened to be the words I couldn't make out) from a DJ:

      Pumped up Kicks - by Foster the People.

"All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You'd better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You'd better run, better run, faster than my bullet"

      Oh my effing bob, seriously?  I CAN'T say that out loud.  What the eff does that even mean?  Pumped up kicks?  Really?


      I think I'm too old for this . . .

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sex Ed: Amazing!

      When I was pregnant, Punky started asking questions.  Nothing too risqué, nothing particularly specific, but it was clear that she was curious.

      The first time she asked, I was completely unprepared a little surprised.  I pulled up some handy internet images of the good old female reproductive system (internal) and promptly bored the curiosity right out of her with talk of cells and tubes and gestation.  I also answered her question of just how the baby would get out of my stomach.  That pretty much quelled the curiosity at that point.  But it didn't hold it off for long . . .  READ MORE>>

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Food Day!

What could be better than a day all about food?

A day all about using food to make the world a better place!

Check out my Food Day Post!  (Includes an opportunity to be a featured blogger here on Cheap Wine and Cookies).


      The 10 year High School Reunion was a smashing success.  I know everyone's dying to see pictures of me with random people I knew 10 years ago.

      Leading up to it, I was super excited.  I had been looking forward to my reunion for 12 years.  Yes, I'm such a nostalgia junkie that I was already looking forward to my reunion before I even graduated high school.  But then when the day of the reunion actually rolled around, I became completely apathetic about the whole thing.  I was having fun hanging out with the Fam.  We went to the local Harvest Festival and the car show, and we were having a really nice, chill day.  I was really surprised at my lack of excitment. 

      We finally pried ourselves away and got ready for the reunion.  And, let me tell you, I looked GOOD.  Sure, it's conceited, but whatever, it's true.  MacGvyer bought me a new dress for the night (he's even better at shopping for me than I am!), and it fit just right.  I put on just a touch of eye make-up, and we were off.  We decided at the last minute to check into a hotel nearby that some of our other friends were staying in even though it worried me leaving Flintstone without either of us overnight.  In the end, I was SUPER glad we did. 
I swear I looked a lot better than I do here .  . .

     We met up with a couple friends at the hotel and walked over to the piano bar where the ruinion was taking place.  When we walked in, I looked around and thought, "WTF?  I don't know any of these people."  Which is a little strange given the fact that I had a very small graduating class and I know half of them on Facebook.

      So we went upstairs to where the reunion was :-) and the first person I made eye contact with when I walked in was an old friend I used to party with - who also happened to be an old friend of Evil Ex's.  A moment of panic struck me.  I know at least a couple people from high school read my blog even though it's supposed to be anonymous and whatnot.  The LAST thing I wanted was to deal with any Evil Ex drama that night - or ever.  But the moment washed away quickly as a huge smile broke over that friend's face and he greeted me excitedly.

      From then on, it was a whole bunch of happy, excited greetings, reminiscing, and catching up.  There were so many people there I was so happy to see and there wasn't a single person there I didn't want to see.  It was so great to see so many of my old friends from high school, and I was thrilled that there wasn't any of the drama I had been worried might present itself.

      Well, almost.  There was one bit of drama, but it stayed very low key.  A friend of mine from high school who had always had a crush on me (who is WELL aware that I am happily married and was there with his fiancee), who has always viewed our relationship as a sort of a "star-crossed" thing did push the boundaries a little.

      I wasn't wuite sure how seeing him would go down.  Though we never dated, we flirted heavily in high school.  We came very close to getting together a couple times, but the timing just never worked out.  I've mentioned this particular friend to me.  He's the one who played me the song Drops of Jupiter by Train while waxing poetic about unrequited love.  I was dating a friend of his at the time, and even though we both knew exactly what we were talking about, even then I dispised the idea of cheating.

     Shortly after we graduated, he declared his deep love for me in a letter, but alas, the timing was off again and "it was too painful" for him to stay in touch with me.

      A few years after that, we started sending some friendly emails back and forth, but he put a stop to it saying that he felt that being in touch with me was a threat to his new relationship even though I lived 500 miles away and was not interested in being in a relationship with him.  Surely, I told him, I wasn't a threat.  "You'll always be a threat."  And that was it.

     SO, now we've been Facebook buddies for a year or so.  As it turns out, I'm friends with his fiancee through other channels.  I'm happily married.  Things are cool.  Finally all the drama - for as much fun as it is to get a little nostalgic about - is over.

      We said a fleeting hi to each other in passing, then went about our nights.  Later - after much drinking had been done by all - I was standing, talking to a friend and her husband about who knows what, when a hand slides across my VERY LOWER back and a person I assume to be MacGyver stands next to me.

      Except it's not MacGvyer.  Ahem.  I was so taken aback, I didn't even know how to react.  I didn't exactly want to draw attention to it.  After all, I had had a few glasses of wine and thought maybe I had been imagining it.  But then, as he's talking to us, his hand keeps brushing my bare thigh, just below my skirt.  I immediately saw someone I just HAD to talk to and was off.  Didn't think much else of it.  It was probably a mistake, and no one had noticed it.

      At least, I thought no one had noticed it.  Later, my friend's husband told me that they had both very clearly seen it.  And apparently I hadn't hidden my thoughts quite as well as I thought I had.  "I thought you were going to smash your wine glass on his face!"  he told me.  Ha.  Oops.  Well at least I DIDN'T . . .

      And honestly, I was a little flattered, too.  Actually, I was flattered a lot of times over the course of the whole night.  I mean, isn't that what these things are all about?  "Oh, my gosh, it's so great to see you; you look amazing; I can't believe what you've been up to," and so on.

      I took it all with a grain of salt.  Flattery is enjoyable, but not very substantive.  There were only two compliments I received that I took seriously, and I am STILL super tickled by them.  An old friend who is super smart, extremely pretty, and has done great things with herself education and career wise since we graduated told me that in her opinion I was the most successful person at the reunion.  How amazing is that?  I don't care if there were only 10 people there, that is such a super sweet thing for anyone to say, I probably squeezed her guts out hugging her.  I am NOT trying to say that was true.  Just how happy I was that someone thought so.

      Then, a few days ago NotDonna told me that I was the hottest female at the reunion.  Now, I don't actually believe this for a second.  I even pointed out to her who the hottest female at the reception actually was.  But it was so sweet of her to say.  And being with everyone from high school, I will say this (braggy though it may be): I have aged well (so far!).  There are a lot of days when I get down on myself, feeling old, feeling out of shape, feeling like I have huge circles under my eyes.  But really, standing in that room, and looking at pictures, I haven't changed much since high school.  I really haven't.  I weigh the same as when I graduated (even though it's distributed a little differently - better, if I do say so myself); I don't have "mom hair," I've stayed fit.  No, I wasn't the hottest female at the reunion, but I've taken care of myself pretty well.

      Not that that means much or makes me any better than anyone else, but come on.  It was my high school reunion!
Chatting with NotDonna

      Really, my favorite meaningless triumph of the night came a few hours in as I was standing watching MacGvyer, NotDonna's husband The Engineer, and the husband of another friend (the one who made the comment about the wine glass above) talk to each other.  And it dawned on me.  They were EASILY the three hottest guys in the room.  Seriously.  If you had told me in high school that I would be thin and successful at my high school reuntion, I would have been happy but not shocked.  But there is no chance in Hell that I would ever have believed that NotDonna, ShortOne, and I would have the HOTTEST husbands at the reunion, bar none.  Even hotter than ANY guy in our class.

Hottest guys at the reunion

      But, man was it true.  And that tickled me more than anything else could have.  Shallow and pointless as it may be.  It's just one of those crazy tricks that fate plays.  We weren't popular.  We weren't unpopular, but we weren't the prettiest girls out to get the handsomest husbands.  What an interesting turn of fate.  (Not to mention an enjoyable one).

      After the "official" reunion ended, the party continued and MacGyver and I found ourselves on the dance floor.  A whole lot of our history is tied up in dancing.  MacGvyer and I dance very well together, though when we've both been drinking it tends to get somewhat provacative.  I'm told there was a fair bit of watching going on.  This maybe should flatter me, but really I just find it embarassing as hell.  Even if our dancing was super impressive, I'm not thrilled at the idea of being watched. C'est la vie.

      After we retired from dancing, we decided to hang out back at the hotel with some friends, but were stopped on the way out. 

THIS is the last thing I remember at the reunion.  Then suddenly we were back at the hotel . . .
       I did a couple shots, then we were miraculously back at the hotel.  Don't know how that happened . . .

      We hung out with ShortOne and her hubs for a while before turning in for the night only to enjoy a wonderful complimentary breakfast (I am a complete sucker for complimentary breakfast) and a late check out in the morning.  Flintstone had a fine night, well taken care of by Uncle Boo and Nan.  Nan was ready for a nap since Flintstone apparently decided he wanted to walk from the house to the Crick and back (which is not a short walk) - over and over again.

      Now I can't wait for the 20 year!

I was also possibly the least photogenic person at the reunion.


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