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March 2006
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New Graphics!

So here is my new design - all thanks to Steven, graphic designer extraordinaire!  I asked if he would make me a (single) logo and a (single) banner.  Instead, he made me a whole slew of super cool and FUN graphics that could be used all over the place.  I am so excited!  Here is a sampling.

A wg logo (he did more than one treatment).

  Wg_sil_black_sm_copy_2

Just hanging out.

Wg_hand_on_hip_rt_copy_1

Emoticon heads.  Strangely, these actually capture my real-life goofiness.  For example here is me mouthing off.    

Head_3_copy_3

Me (or rather my character) as a superhero in my killer car, speeding off to fight crime! (or succumbing to road rage)  How cool is that?!

Wg_car_drive_copy

I had a lot of fun on this project (and I think Steven did, too).  Because I work in marketing as a project manager who can also write/edit, I’ve produced a lot of different materials.  Basically, someone (usually paid better than I) comes to me and says, “hey I need a datasheet / promotional ad / newsletter, etc.” and my job is to get it done.  I’m usually the one pulling all the resources together, working with the designers, working with the writers or writing the content myself, making sure everything gets printed the right way and delivered.

This is the first time I’ve ever had graphics done for me.  What a rush.

And hopefully I wasn’t too much of a pain in the butt for Steven.           

           – the weirdgirl


Why is the Word Monkey so Funny*?

Today completely got away from me.  (I’m not even sure how it happened.  Damn runaway days!  Always loitering in front of the 7-11, smart-mouthing honest folks and dressing atrociously.  Get a job, you!  Be productive!)  Therefore I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

It was just brought to my attention that my blog was experiencing problems in Safari.  Mad thanks to Eric who both pointed out AND helped me with the HTML issue. Eric, you rock!  I think I’ve got the problem fixed, but if anyone sees anything strange in Safari (or any other browser) please give me a shout.  Thank you all!

I’m in the middle of doing some redesigns for the site.  Stay tuned and if I don’t post for a couple of days it’s ‘cause I’m playing with colors in typepad.  What?  I like to play too, and they keep taking away my crayons.             – the weirdgirl

*I’m so tired that first I’m finding the word monkey incredibly funny (OK, I think it’s funny all the time), and then second, I started looking up quotes about them.  Obviously my brain just stops functioning after a certain point.  But here’s what I found:

“We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true.”   - Robert Wilensky, speech at a 1996 conference

And a bit of sage parenting wisdom (in this typing monkeygirl’s opinion):

“If you raise three children who can knock out and hog tie a perfect stranger, you must be doing something right.”   Marge, The Simpsons


The Agony

I have this strategy I employ when I’m really in a hurry; I let my son play with inappropriate toys.  (Bad mommy, BAD!)  See, if he’s having one of those particularly clingy moments (which luckily doesn’t involve so much of the clingy but the need to be within the same three feet of me) and, say, I’m trying to get dressed / put on makeup / dry my hair I’ll let him dig through the bathroom cupboards or unroll the toilet paper roll into a pile on the floor or play with my feminine pads.  It keeps him happy, lets him stay in my vicinity (and theoretically in sight), and let’s me get ready somewhat peacefully. 

Recently that strategy bit me in the butt.

One of his favorite things to do in the bathroom is dig through my makeup drawer.  And who can blame a kid, right?  All that cool packaging and bright colors.  Little boxes, and bottles, and cool pencil things all shiny-like and pretty, perfect for little hands.  He was quite entertained and I could get ready for a luncheon with girlfriends I hadn’t seen in months.  I was going out, baby!  All by myself (I mean, sans kid) and I was going to hang with other chicks and we were going to do chicky things and eat good food in peace and wear nice clothes with no little hands smearing stuff on them.

So you can see I was a little distracted. Distracted enough not to see Chance manage to wrestle my expensive face powder out of it’s wrapper.  Nor to see him make his way to the toilet (where I had idiotically left the lid up).  It was the slight motion out of the corner of my eye and the PLOP that got my attention.

AARGH!!!

In a split second I had plunged my (nicely moisturized and perfumed ready-to-go-out) arm in and fished it out.  And then I had another decision.  Do I throw away the expensive makeup that just fell in the john?  (Well, you say, why are you still buying expensive makeup anyway?  What are you, one of those narcissistic moms?  Expensive because at almost 35 I am still occasionally breaking out and, yes, the expensive shit really does make a difference.)  OR do I just wipe off the powder (it didn’t look like it absorbed any water) and pretend it didn’t fall in the toilet?  Maybe figure out a way to disinfect it later after my lunch? 

Guess which decision I went with?  And then, because I was still distracted and now in a hurry, I forgot to set aside that particular powder for later disinfection and instead it got mixed up with my other packages of powder.  (What?  You don’t buy makeup in bulk?)  I no longer know which one got dumped in the crapper. 

I could very well be wearing toilet powder at this very minute.  Is that a metaphor, or what?

(Strangely enough, I haven’t had a breakout since that incident.)      

             - the weirdgirl


Sharing the stories, part two

In continuation from yesterday, here is the second story I promised Cynical Dad, the FBI Bugging Story. 

As you may have gathered from past posts, and in direct contrast to my conservative grandparents, my parents were hippies.  They even belonged to a “commune” at one point.  Commune is in parentheses because I have to preface this story with a few notes first.  My parents were hippies but they weren’t such extremists that they never washed, walked around barefoot singing kum ba yah, and made their living weaving hand-crafted hemp baskets that they bartered out of the back of their VW bus*.  My dad had a job (in, ironically, high tech even though for years he was a complete technophobe) and my parents owned a house.  The commune they were part of was actually a local church (Episcopalian), where a number of the congregation all lived together in an adjoining house.  The church ran a number of outreach services, such as a Crisis Hotline and counseling services, out of the house.  Except for all living together and adhering to hippie aesthetics and principles the church never sounded to me like it was all that extreme or different from other churches.  But in our (then) small town most of the townspeople apparently referred to our church as “those damn hippies” and eventually the city council succeeded in getting the house condemned so they all had to stop living together. 

Alright, back to the story.  So a good friend of my parents and one of the members of this church/commune was a priest named Brother John.  It was a really tight community and they were close enough that he was even my older brother’s godfather.  This was also still during Vietnam and everyone in the commune was very opposed to the war and were pretty active about protesting, but it had always been peaceful protest.  Well, one day Brother John walked into a local government building and set fire to the room containing all the draft records.  He then helped several ladies out of the building and waiting calmly outside to be arrested, giving himself up to the police.  It was a very strong, though not very passive, anti-war statement.  He went to prison and served time.  I don’t know how much the other church members knew or not about what he was planning to do, but it has always been my impression from the stories that Brother John acted alone.  This was before I was born so I never got to meet him.  I think my parents also lost track of where he ended up over the years (I’ll have to ask them).

The fallout of Brother John’s torching of the draft was that most of the church/commune was under heavy surveillance for quite some time by local authorities.  Most of the group assumed that they were also being bugged by the FBI and federal forces as well.  I always thought it was kind of funny how both entirely convinced and nonchalant they all were about their “government files”. 

I don’t know if my family was really bugged, but that’s the story I heard. I do know it was the 60s and “herbs” were freely available. 

I’m sure some would say that the government is probably still keeping tabs on us “radicals” (and children thereof) today.  And if that’s true I kinda feel sorry for the poor agents bugging my house… ‘cause that’s gotta be the most boring tapes EVER! 

Agent 1: Wait, it sounds like she’s got a “package.”  I can’t get a clear signal… can you confirm, Sparrow?  Over.

Agent 2:  Yes, she has something… hold on, I’m getting audio… it’s poops in the pants.  I repeat, poops in the pants.  Sounds like 2:00 diaper duty.  Over.

You know an agent really screwed up somewhere if he/she got stuck doing home surveillance.         

What kind of crazy stories did you all inherit?         – the weirdgirl

(*My parents did own a VW bus, though.  They had to use it once to drive everyone at the commune to the hospital when they all got food poisoning.  My parents were the only ones who owned a car.  And we did sing kum ba yah, but only at church… and sit-ins… and sometimes camping.  OK, and my mom did weave but that’s only because she’s really into textile crafts.  And she never used hemp.)


Sharing the stories…

So Cynical Dad finally shared his famous (and scary!) death threat story after several of us pestered asked him about the details.  I, in turn, promised to share some stories as well.  So here goes…

The Nuclear Weapons Story

My grandfather worked in the labs where they were developing nuclear weapons after the second world war.  He had been in the Navy where he was trained in electronics, and at the time training through the military and working for the government put you pretty much on the cutting edge of technology (well, unless you went to MIT).  For example, my grandfather learned all about TV and radio equipment repair before TVs were found in every household.  (OK, TV repair isn’t a big deal now, but it was then.)  Anyway, he worked in labs in both California and Nevada. 

I am embarrassed to admit that I don’t know exactly what he did in the labs.  You know how it is when you’re a kid… you hear these stories, but the questions that occur to you as an adult never cross your mind as a child.  Now that I’m a grown-up I’m a lot more curious about the details and I want to learn more.  I know he wasn’t a scientist, but he was definitely part of the developing/testing teams.  (I know there are even a couple of books out there about the nuclear labs with his picture in them.)  I imagine that he was a technician.  This part of my family has mechanical aptitude in spades.  My grandfather can build anything.  He’s built instruments (such as my hammer dulcimer), electronics, a working spinning wheel once for my mom, he brews his own beer (and built all the equipment), etc.  For his last project he decided to build one of those pop-up campers.  You know those ones that fold down into a little u-haul-looking trailer?  He’s in his seventies and he built a CAMPER!  From scratch.  With folding down beds, toilet, and working electrical.  Then he made my poor granny go camping.

OK, so here is the freakiest nuclear story (at least, I think so) of the family stories and the one that I wanted to share.  While my grandparents lived in Nevada, there used to be this testing site they called Doomstown.  It was basically a whole little town the testing facility built, and they used to drop bombs on it so they could see what happens.  At the time they still didn’t fully understand how long the radiation lingered at a test site and its effects (this is, after all, one of the reasons why they continued to do such extensive research for so long).  They thought that the radiation levels of the town were pretty safe to walk through only two weeks after a bombing.  They regularly took the local elementary schools on field trips through Doomstown!  My mom was still in grade school while they lived there.  My mom (and obviously, my grandfather) was seriously exposed to nuclear radiation.   

(I keep waiting and waiting for my mutant superpowers to appear but to no avail.  I probably should just shut up and be happy.  Anyone see the Hills Have Eyes?) 

I’ll save the FBI bugging story until tomorrow (if you all still want to hear it).  That one features my hippie parents (in direct contrast to my conservative grandparents).  Is it any wonder I came out strange?         - the weirdgirl


Things parents should be able to include on their resumes

Special Skills:

Highly adept at wrestling others into submission (children… co-workers… what’s the difference, really?)

Ability to sniff out poop at fifty paces (extra valuable against the office practical joker who always takes it too far)

Skilled at cleaning up other peoples’ messes

Immune to unpleasant odors or tense office meetings (or sometimes both) 

Extensive experience saying “no” consistently and in a firm voice until all foolishness stops (again, children, warring co-workers, what’s the difference?)

Ability to spoon-feed as necessary

Management-level conflict resolution training (i.e. tantrums)

Proficient in accurately categorizing employees (children or pets) for maximum efficiency; applicable knowledge of who to promote (pets)

Knowledge of the value of “incentives” (i.e. toys)

Other skills include mentoring expertise, multi-tasker, take charge attitude

Compensation Requirements: office with locking door; unsupervised potty breaks; unlimited caffeinated beverages (none of which are prepared by me)

References are attached.  Thank you for your consideration.  Sincerely, the weirdgirl


A Day in the Life (of a dingy smartass)

This is an example of the kind of dingy crap I’ve been doing lately. 

Walk into the kitchen to get a fresh cup of tea. 

Think about chocolate.

Rinse out cup, put it on the counter.

Because I MUST multi-task, also start water for Chance’s next bottle and wipe down counter.

Think about laundry.

Start filling cup from water cooler that has dual hot/cold water taps.

Think about the 1981 Reagan assassination attempt. (I have no idea why this popped into my head. Something about differing generational expectations… or something.)  Try to remember how old I was when it happened. (10)

Finish filling cup with water.

Walk to microwave, put in cup, start to punch numbers.

Stop.

Furrow brow. Think, “Why am I nuking it? Did I fill it with cold water?”

Stick finger into scalding hot water to check temperature.

Pull cup from microwave, put in teabag.

Contemplate the Bugs Bunny line, “What a maroon.”

Wonder if pregnancy permanently addled my brain.

Think about the color maroon.

What I’ve actually been doing is working through another (work) crunch period, taking care of my poor emotionally-regressed little boy (he has another cold), coordinating some playgroup items (wha? how did that happen?), and forgetting about a million other things.  Par for the course.  But I’m still blaming it on pregnancy.  In fact, despite how busy I become or how harried I feel, I have identified the TRUE recurring themes in my life. It is not, as you might imagine, “family, friends, work, blogging.”  It is instead, “family, chocolate, blame pregnancy, desire sleep, caffeine, writing.”  Please expect an anguished poem with these themes any day now.            – the weirdgirl

Alright, I couldn’t wait on the poem.  Envision with dramatic pauses and “significant” looks.  Oh, and I’ll be wearing a beret.

The thinning cry drifts

shallow down the hall.

Chocolate drips like tears…

like mucus…

robbing me from sleep. 

Muffled brain shuffles incomprehensively

across label:

the children’s Tylenol glares.

My stretch marks sing soothingly.

(OK, I’ll stop being a complete smartass now.)


Let’s Stick With the Basics…

“Carob is a brown powder made from the pulverized fruit of a Mediterranean evergreen. Some consider carob an adequate substitute for chocolate because it has some similar nutrients (calcium, phosphorus), and because it can, when combined with vegetable fat and sugar, be made to approximate the color and consistency of chocolate. Of course, the same arguments can as persuasively be made in favor of dirt.”   - Sandra Boynton (a children’s author I can really get behind)

“You go back. You search for what made you happy when you were smaller. We are all grown up children, really... So one should go back and search for what was loved and found to be real.”   - Audrey Hepburn

“The value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults.”  - Peter De Vries

“The only truly happy people are children and the creative minority.” 

    - Jean Caldwell

The three C’s: children, chocolate, and creativity – and they laughed at me when I said I was going to keep growing younger.           – the weirdgirl

(Plus, chocolate is an analgesic for, you know, when kids and creativity get you in trouble.)


Bunnies Wrapped

The end of another successful visit with the relatives. (Successful meaning I survived without getting really annoyed at anyone.)  I kid. (sorta)  It was nice.  But I know I’m tired because I tried to wrestle the foil off a chocolate egg and it took me a couple of MINUTES!  I mean, this aint brain surgery.  Once upon a time I could husk a Hershey kiss in the 1 ½ seconds it took to pick it up off the table and raise it to my mouth.  No one ever mentions the small ways we feel our age, do they?

I’m really looking forward to the years when the kiddo will get excited about meeting the Easter bunny or Santa, when he chooses his own costume for Halloween, when he sets up an ambush for the Tooth Fairy.  (What?  Admit it, of all the made-up holiday figures when you’re a kid the Tooth Fairy is the ONE character where you’re not too worried about getting on her wrong side.  Presents and candy versus a quarter for your tooth?  Psssh!  I think most kids will risk the quarter on the off chance they could catch a real fairy. Think of the street cred!)  There is something about watching young children still immersed in the wonder of the holidays… so much fun.  It’s the experience of it that’s a gift, more than the gifts of chocolate or presents.  You know, it’s that wonder and magic (both religious and not) that we parents really give them.  (And give ourselves.) 

Ah, I’m getting all sappy.  Chance isn’t at that point yet, but I bet it’ll start next year.  Until then… I get ALL his chocolate!  Bwa ha ha!  (It’s really been an evil laugh sort of week.)

On a completely different note I’m hoping some of you might help me.  Keen took a video on our digital camera that is now sideways when I downloaded it to my computer. Can anyone recommend a good video editing program (preferably cheap or free)?  All I really need is something basic that will let me rotate the frames.  Oh, and being able to add sound would be cool too.  Any suggestions?           – the weirdgirl

P.S. Additions made to both the Happy Preggers Day post below and The Things They Don’t Tell You in Lamaze.


Thursday, Thursday, so good to me

Today is Thursday (and you’re all thinking “duh” – but it is a feat for me to know what day it is, just so you understand).  Thursdays I drop off Chance for “bonding time” with his grammy (my MIL).  Usually I then run around on errands, stuff I didn’t get done the rest of the week, maybe with a little indulgent food or shopping thrown in.  Or work.  Thursdays are definitely used to get caught up on work.  But not today.  This Thursday, I’m came back home to a nice quiet house to catch up on my blogging*.  BWA HA HA!  (I didn’t really need to do the evil laugh, I just wanted to.)

I’ve been tagged by both Black Belt Mama and J’s Mommy (Another Mommy Moment).  It turns out that I was also tagged for this meme in February (I had to go back and check) which you can see here (those are probably the more interesting ones).  But for the sake of the game I’ll try to come up with six more weird things.

OK, six weird facts:

1. My mom apparently used to talk to me in Old English when I was baby (she was taking it at college).  I think this explains some garbled dreams I used to have as a kid.

2. I like to own several pairs of glasses in different colors so I can accessorize with my outfits.  (You know, like Sandra Oh on Arliss?)  Since getting pregnant and becoming a mom I only wear one set all the time.  (I now often unconsciously color-coordinate my son’s outfits with mine.  How much sadder is that?)

3. I find myself absolutely UNABLE to leave the house in sweats or pajama bottoms

4. I can play the hammer dulcimer (well, at least I used to)

5. I don’t get jealous (or very, very rarely, it’s happened maybe a handful of times in my life).  I have been told that this is strange and unusual(?).

6. I can remember changing my youngest brother’s diapers (he’s 13 years younger than me) and now he makes comments about his sex life in my presence.  (He is unfazed by my reaction.)

Now for six tags.  Please feel free to play or not. (I’ll try to pick people who I don’t think have done this meme; but forgive me if you have).  Zygote Daddy, Siren (if you’re not too busy moving), Kristen at Motherhood Uncensored, Cyndi at Times and Places, :p fuzzbox, and Stella at Finding Zen.  I just want to see what they’ll all say.

Good night folks!             - the weirdgirl

*Since beginning the writing of this post to finishing it several hours later, some work emails and calls I had been waiting on came in.  I didn’t get very far in my blogging after all.  DAMNIT!


Happy Preggers Day!

I wanted to give a shout out this hump day to all the blogging Moms-to-be. There’s a lot of them right now (and more coming every day) and I’ve been meaning to make a celebratory list for a while.  I just want all you new and continuing moms to know I’m thinking of you, as I imagine many of us in the blog world are doing.  And you all deserve to be wined (after), dined, celebrated, and honored!

If I forget anyone on this list (or if you know someone), please forgive me, and send me a link so I can add them to the list.  Or feel free to repost this list if you want to spread the love.

Moms-To-Be (or Moms-Repeat)

Mrs. Fortune – so sorry hon, I didn’t realize how close your due date was to Katie’s!  I’m sending lots of thoughts and well wishes your way!

Katie aka ktjrdn whom I mentioned before is very very close.

Sandra – AD’s gorgeous wife is percolating along.

d.w. – Zygote Daddy and his dear wife are expecting their first.

Bite My Cookie – who JUST FOUND OUT!  woo hoo!

Spitfire and The Phoenix are expecting their THIRD!

Mo-wo and P-man are expecting their second child.

And to my buddy P: fuzzbox - Congratulations on being a grampa! 

I have also just learned that two other IRL friends of mine are also pregnant. I’m kind of hoping to sucker them into starting their own blogs. 

So send them all some love!  All of us who have been pregnant know that the closer you get to your due date the more you need a little bit of lovin’.  Also a magic wand to speed the whole thing up would help, too.  (If I could send that to you I would!)    

                   – the weirdgirl


Bringing Out the Lions

Apparently a bunch of folks are going nutso because Sesame Street is now producing a line of videos targeted at kids 6 months to two years old.  Critics, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, contend that babies shouldn’t watch any TV under the age of two.  The reason?  It may be harmful. 

I had never heard of the “no TV under two” guideline.  And frankly, when I started to write this post I didn’t take the critics concerns too seriously.  I mean, TV has now been around for 50 years.  That’s at least two generations of people watching TV; including many of us who grew up with a TV on in the house all the time even if we weren’t watching it.  I think we would have noticed by now if anyone had developed serious side effects.  But wanting to be thorough I googled quite a few articles about TV and kids/toddlers. 

Then a funny thing happened.  I started to freak out. 

Even though in all the articles I read about TV’s potentially harmful effects the words “may,” “could” and “suggests” were used prominently, usually also followed by the phrase “more study needed”, they were freaking me out.  Even though a lot of the data seemed full of holes and some of the study methods sounded questionable (I swear, one article “study” was based solely on phone surveys – yeah, that’s controlled research) I started doubting that the educational programming I let Chance watch (and that’s all he gets to watch) was harming him.  Cookie Monster is the devil in disguise. 

Then I had to reel myself in from my freak out.

I’m not saying that TV is the best thing in the world for kids.  I think most of us agree that it’s not healthy to park our kids in front of the TV for hours on end or let them watch shows without supervision.  I’m just saying I don’t think the argument “we don’t know what it’ll do” is a valid reason to shoot it all down either.  (That’s an argument we hear a lot about a whole range of things in our society.  I call it the argument of the quantifiable unknown – it’s easy to say “don’t take the risk” when you don’t know if there is a risk involved in the first place.  Plus, this argument just doesn’t make sense to me, it’s OK to get in a car even though car accidents kill hundreds of people every year, but don’t let your kids watch TV because.)

The usual arguments are as follows:  TV leads to short attention spans and/or ADD.  TV leads to violent and aggressive behavior.  TV means kids won’t read.  TV leads to obesity. 

The TV was on almost all the time while I was growing up.  Ironically, I learned to read; proficiently and indulged in it in copious amounts, I might add.  I have quite a good attention span, thank you.  Any violent tendencies I am prone to I learned from other family members (purple nurple, anyone?).  I am not obese either, though this is the ONE argument I can actually see happening with kids.

What we seem to be really good at in our culture is perpetuating and sustaining myths.  For example, there is a common myth that city life is generally unhealthy whereas country life is much healthier.  This is a left-over misconception from the first Industrial Revolution when city life really was a cesspool of ill health and disease.  Today statistical data shows that people are actually much healthier in cities and urban areas because of better access to medical facilities.  However, I think that if you talked to most people they will general say that the country air is healthy for you.

Another myth: MTV has caused a generation of us to have short attention spans.  Really?  This is why, of course, teenagers can play online networked games for hours on end with their friends (I’ve seem ‘em do it); why Hollywood keeps making three hour epic movies (which really is too long, not for the attention span but because my butt gets tired sitting all that time); and why Amazon has made so much money selling books to people who apparently don’t have the patience to read them.  It’s all MTV’s fault.

And of course, the final myth: TV causes violence.  It doesn’t have anything to do with certain inherent violent tendencies in human beings in general.  It’s the TV.  One of the articles about kids and television discussed a study where they showed babies video clips of actors portraying neutral, positive, or negative (i.e. violent or aggressive) act.  The babies responded to the negative acts by being aggressive themselves.  The babies did not respond to the positive or neutral acts.  Now the article implied that this suggested proof that TV was bad for your kids.  Not that violence/aggression in general seemed to be catchy, and that this tendency should be studied, but that TV was bad.  However, Romans feeding people to lions, the Inquisition, slavery as an industry – those all occurred without benefit of TV’s influence.  Of course, I’m not going to dispute that a kid left alone to watch violent or inappropriate shows might develop wrong behaviors or ideas about violence – but the jump in logic to blaming the medium instead of the lack of parental supervision blows my mind.  (We don’t condemn all books as being bad, even if some of those are excessively violent too.)

I have the TV on almost all the time as background noise and I suspect many other parents do this as well.  If I don’t have the TV on, the radio is on.  When the TV is on during the day it’s almost always tuned to children’s educational programming.  My son Chance does watch TV.  Sporadically.  If a song he likes is on.  Or the Noggin promos with the business people (he loves those).  There are only two or three programs he will watch all the way through.  One of these is Play With Me Sesame (a whopping 20 minutes long), the other is Classical Baby (half hour shows).  They are educational, non-violent, age-appropriate programs.  These are two shows under fire in articles by the “experts”.  One of the critics scoffed at the idea that babies could absorb culture from a TV show.  (Which I thought was really funny considering how much classical music I learned from Bugs Bunny.)

   

To some extent I think we DO know (at a gut level) what TV will do. We all grew up with it.  Sure, unbeknownst to us we might all be slightly brain damaged from TV, but if so I think we’re all damaged together.  When I hear “experts” say TV viewing is not an “ideal environment” for developing children, I have to ask… compared to what?  Compared to a hundred years ago when most kids dropped out of school by sixth grade to work?  Compared to a hundred years before that when many people didn’t even read?  This modern age is very recent compared to the long history of the human race.  I’m not sure we know what “ideal” is.

Sometimes I worry that we’ve built a culture so dependent on “data” that we forget that we really haven’t been taking down that data for very long.  We are still very early in studying many things, keeping statistical records, and our power of creating mythos from hearsay is far stronger than the data we’ve gathered so far.  Perhaps the rise of TV coincidentally occurred at a time when records of violent crimes became more consistent and more accessible.  Maybe TV leads to violence and maybe it doesn’t.  Maybe we just hear about worldwide violence more through our modern news mediums, so we assume that we’ve become more violent.  Maybe we’re also trying to kill the messenger just a little too much.  Maybe we need another fifty years of data and perspective.   

In conclusion, I think I have no conclusion.  I find all the arguments, all the inconclusive studies, at turns irritating, worrisome, confusing, and exasperating.  (I even started and stopped this post several times, as it alternated between funny, thoughtful, and a full-out rant.)  It is one of my pet peeves of the modern era, I believe in the power of scientific study but I get irritated by the way people and the media will glom onto one facet of one study without looking at the big picture; without even realizing that it might be a while before we can even step back to see the big picture.  Some of the articles out there would make us more fearful of watching TV than driving on the freeways.  I think most of us know the TV is not a substitute for interaction with our kids.  Neither should it be used as a babysitter.  And yet it is a facet of every day life for many of us.  One of the experts said (paraphrased) that babies watching TV was “risky” and was tantamount to running “an uncontrolled experiment” on your children. 

But I kind of feel life is an uncontrolled experiment.  I know for sure that life is risky; hundreds of years of history have statistically proven the data on that account.

For now I am going to continue to let Chance watch Play With Me Sesame.  (I’m holding out for some real data before I feel too guilty.)   How do you all feel?  And what are you doing about TV and your kids?          - the weirdgirl

More reading:

http://www.wndu.com/moms/042006/moms_49084.php

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7832264

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3341598/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4664749/


A Brief Respite

Me and the kid are feeling a bit under the weather so I think it's going to be a slow day.  We've been getting a lot of rain lately.  But last week we had some short periods of morning sun.  You can see spring is here, it's just been a little wet.            - wg

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Honker Ducky Dinger Jamboree

There is a catchy little tune sung on Sesame Street. It’s called the Honker Ducky Dinger Jamboree and features Ernie and the usual musical monsters. The lyrics pretty much follow the title but it’s also punctuated with actual honking and dinging and rubber ducky squeaking.  It’s quite upbeat.  It always gets stuck in my head and I’ll wander around the house singing this song. 

Except I really shouldn’t. 

I cannot for the life of me sing this song!  I try, because you know, kids like to be sung to.  And it’s fun, right?  Everyone wants a fun household!  However, here are some examples of the manglings that have come out of my mouth.

hucky ducky donger

honker donker dingy

honky ducker dinger

honker dicky donger

honky donkey dinger

And of course, the ever popular…

Honky donkey donger jamboree!  The honky donkey donger jamboree!

Maybe a bit too much fun.  Maybe all that rubber squeaking and ducky dinging are more public service announcement than I suspected.  Obviously something subliminal is creeping into my vocalizations.  It can’t be me (world class mom) that’s demented, right?  It MUST be the puppets!            - the weirdgirl


The Evening

Queen, for those of you interested, was pretty good.  It wasn’t the best concert I’ve been too, and there were some specific things I didn’t care for, but it was good.  Of course, I can’t imagine it had the same energy it would have with Freddie Mercury, but Paul Rodgers shook his butt off the best he could.  Ironically, the Bad Company songs they played were dead on, while a few of the Queen songs didn’t seem as tight as they should be, whether this was due to experimental changes in the arrangement or, as Keen pointed out, changes made to compensate for Paul Rodgers register I don’t know.  There were also a couple of pacing issues (for me) of the concert in general.   Specifically they broke the concert up a few times with solo guitar acoustic or metal sets (by Brian May) so that the rest of the band members could go do costume changes.  I know the hard core fan wants to hear a 15 minute Brian May solo, but they were long enough I was getting a bit bored.

Some highlights of the concert?  They played every hit (yay!).  From where we were sitting we could look directly down into the green room and watch those costume changes and other backstage scurrying (which I always find interesting).  The light show was pretty cool though we couldn’t see much of the video screens (more on that in a minute).  And the crowd, for someone who’s a people watcher like me, provided much entertainment.  There was a woman probably about 6-7 months pregnant in the box next to us rocking out.  Plus an older couple who were also listening to the Sharks game on radio so every once in a while they broke out into spontaneous shouting out of time with the rest of the concert crowd.  And there was ANOTHER woman in the stands below totally, freakin’, tweaking out!  She looked stoned and/or drunk off her ass, was doing the typical Grateful Dead-esque dancing, and yet somehow was still managing to keep time with the band.  It was pretty cool.  And to her credit, she only toned down slightly when she got chased down by an usher for wandering too far away from her seat.  A concert just isn’t a concert until you seem someone like that. 

So I guess I should give a slight explanation about our seats.  Keen’s boss owns a sky box at our local arena.  When you buy a box, they seat 12, you get tickets for every event.  Keen’s boss isn’t much of a rocker so, besides taking lots of people to events, he basically offers up tickets for shows he and his family aren’t using.  This is how we’ve been able to score so many last minute tickets to events and why we can take Chance to hockey games.  If it was a matter of seating in the stands with a one-year-old I wouldn’t do it; too loud and too many people.  But boxes are great because they’re private, quieter, and they have plenty of floor space for kids to crawl around.  The downside to the box is its position for concerts.  We’re basically one box away from the cutoff point where they stop seating, and the box faces the side of the stage.  Depending on the stage setup we can see more or less of whatever background light/video show they have.  Every once in a while, part of the stage might even be obstructed.  However, they’re FREE TICKETS!  Trust me, no complaints here.  I just feel lucky to be a relatively new mom and to get out in the evenings as often as I do.                   - the weirdgirl


Last Minute Tickets

…to QUEEN!!! (and Paul Rodgers)  WOO HOO!!  This is proof that the universe is cyclical because while I was pregnant with the kid me and Keen saw the Queen “We Will Rock You” show in Vegas (and it rocked! SOOO much better than Mama Mia) and we were talking about how cool it would be to see them if we ever got the chance.  And now we do.  Tomorrow night.  You can’t see me but I’m twitching with excitement.  Hee hee!  (Oh, and Chance kicked me several times in what I can only assume was approval while in the womb at the show.       That was a really odd sentence.)

OK, so a few of you might have noticed I’ve been keeping things kind of light over here in the weirdgirl zone.  I kind of felt the need to counteract (i.e. ignore) some of the heaviness that had been going around the blog world lately, and consequently you haven’t heard me blathering on about random stuff in posts that go nowhere and have no point (I know you’ve missed them).  You know, my “everyday voice”.  And… um… crap, I’ve forgotten my point already.  But here are a few happenings in the blogoverse that I did want to share: 

Ktjrdn (I have no idea how to pronounce that) is less than 20 days away from having her second baby!  Congratulations girl!  If anyone wants to stop by and wish her well I know she would appreciate it. 

P: fuzzbox assembled an A-Team to hunt chupacabras.  Read all about his detailed saga of a hunting trip.  (I’m kind of jealous.  I want to go hunt chupacabras.)

I just learned that I am a Grup, courtesy of CroutonBoy.  (And you know who else is a Grup?  Dutch.  Dutch is such a Grup.)  This article that defines the Grup, discusses in part how the “generation gap” has basically eroded.  I thought it was pretty interesting, and it brought back the distinct memory of a fight I had with my mother when I was a teenager.  I was trying to open up a discussion about the Beatles, whom I really liked, and she basically had a fit and said something to the effect of how I was supposed to “go get my own music.”  For my mom the generation gap was supposed to be firmly in place.  For me, not so much.  (Though, I do think I dress better than this article talks about Grups dressing. I mean, like, I already did ripped jeans… in the eighties.  I’m not throwing down a ton a cash for something that looks like what I keep in the back of my closet to wear while painting.)

In other news, I think I need to start a headache journal. I’m starting to suspect that these behind-the-eye-headaches are only showing up at certain times of the month.  Specifically… when I’m ovulating.  Oooo-Kay.  Do you think this is my unconscious mind’s way of telling me I’m not ready for another baby?  Because I’m pretty sure my conscious mind is WELL in agreement!  I don’t need the headaches too, thanks.  (Not that any headache will keep me from rocking out to Queen!  Woo!  …sorry, still twitchy.)

I also realized I never did part two of my Roomba Review!  (This is only partly due to the fact that I lost the pad of paper with all my notes on it.)  Well, I think me and the Roomba are out of the gooey-eyed sparks of early romance and are well on our way to a very comfortable, long-standing relationship.  I go to the bathroom with the door open… the Roomba cleans his filter while watching TV.  It might not be all dust bunnies and linty chocolates anymore but he still, just for me, does a superior job cleaning up while I’m running errands (that Max mode works like a charm, people!).  That right there is real love. 

All right, so those are all my last minute tickets. ‘Till the next brain explosion…

                - the weirdgirl    


Chunky Poop

This really is the perfect name for a rock band, don’t you think?  It’s funny, it’s edgy.  It could be the fun, don’t-take-themselves-too-seriously pop rock band who does Gap commercials. Or it could be the hardcore punk or metal group with the out-of-control concerts, slinging stuff at the crowds.  (It probably couldn’t be Jack Johnson, but then who can?)  Either way Chunky Poop has got hipster written all over it.  (Or maybe pre-written, like when they’re still “it’s all about the music” indie and haven’t sold out yet.)  Of course anyone smart enough to pick a name such as Chunky Poop would be savvy about paving the way to selling out even as they hold on to their stick-it-to-the-man roots. Visualize the “I Like Chunky Poop” t-shirts, or the bumper stickers: “I Got Me Some Chunky Poop”.

Anyway,  HOW did I come up with such marketing brilliance, you ask?  Well, it involved my son… and some carrots.  And thus continues the adventures of my son eating grown-up food.  Having a bit of time on your hands helps as well.

So really, am I the only one who would wear a Chunky Poop t-shirt?  ‘Cause I think there’s a real (hilarious) market here.             - wg


Prevent WPT – drink your coffee first*

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who delurked or made a comment on my last post.  It was very cool of you all to share the love and I got to discover some new blogs!  Woo hoo!  And thanks for your patience, I’m pretty sure my brain is back (or at least a close approximation of a brain).

I also wanted to mention that there are new updates for The Things They Don’t Tell You in Lamaze list.  Thanks to all who submitted new entries!  Check it out.  And guys, please don’t be shy, I know some of you menfolk aren’t feeling it because of… ahem… physical discrepancies between the sexes BUT! seriously, the list is an equal-opportunity parenting vent-fest.  I’d love to hear some from the fellas, too.

Alrighty then.  I’ll resume the post I couldn’t finish on Thursday.

One thing has become blindingly clear over the last few months (but especially as we start to move into this toddler stage) I have definitely identified my Worst Parenting Time.  Or what I call WPT; as in, “I’m having an episode of WPT”.  My Worst Parenting Time is not, as you might expect, a particularly bad incident or an extra-frustrating day – no singular event where I proved to all concerned (i.e. me and the cats) that I’m a horrible, no good, very bad mommy.  No, it’s mornings.  Just… mornings.  (Man, even writing the word makes me a little tired.)  Mornings are rough on me every day, always have been rough actually, and have become my WPT.  Now it’s not like I think I’m a total monster of a parent at this time, snarling and tossing oatmeal every which way, making my son wear sissy clothes against his will, refusing to play peek-a-boo.  But I’ve never been a morning person.  It takes me a couple of hours and copious amounts of tea to really wake up and that’s on a good day.  And as a parent mornings are the period of the day where I can’t quite seem to keep up!  It is the most likely time I’ll catch myself wishing wistfully that I was back in bed (or maybe at a spa on a tropical beach) rather than having to wrassle a wiggling kid away from the catfood bowl for the tenth time or blocking his access to the DSL hub that he is so fascinated with (ooh, the lights) or trying to beat him to a doorway when he sees me pick up a babygate.  He is refreshed enough most mornings, with glee and giggles, to decide to test the word “no” at every opportunity.  His exuberance, his joy, his growing mental awareness and acuity, these are things I would normally revel in… but first thing in the morning, usually without any help yet from caffeine, I kind of wish they would be outlawed.   

I know, I know!  Bad mommy!  What about the baby smiles?  What about the morning snuggles? Why would you want to miss anything?  These things are great, don’t get me wrong.  But the proportion of energy my son has in the mornings compared to the energy my sorry old butt has… well, let’s just say if someone invented a caffeine IV/alarm clock I would be first in line to buy it.            – the weirdgirl

*This message brought to you by the Council for Awake and Safe Parenting – a joint committee of StarSmucks Coffee & CautionFirst Baby Products.  (Caffeinomatic Baby Monitor coming soon to a store near you.)