Monday, March 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Tasha

You never know what is going to happen when you mix your school friends with your church friends, but we didn't seem to have any problems in this area with Tasha, Andrew, and Noah...
Two hands, and two friends, easy.

Tasha had a "great birthday in the whole world" thanks to her friends and the Phoenix Zoo. What a fun morning we had just hanging out with the animals, playing in the children's area, and feeding the turtles and fish. We are so grateful that everyone could make this a special day for her, and we missed those of you who were not able to be there.

This is a shot towards the end of the day as she was contemplating how things were going. Her friends were very kind to her and let her set the plan for the day. We saw "giraffeses", elephants, and a few other things...

Tasha and Andrew held out the longest in the petting zoo. They followed the goats around saying, "cutie, cutie, cutie", then searching again and saying, "here's another cutie." It was pretty sweet, although I'm sure everyone else was bored as they were waiting for us to finish up. We made it to a birthday "bungalow" to have cupcakes and sing to Tasha. Wow was April supermom with the cupcakes in a bag and then whipped out the frosting in a can to spread on. Thanks! Obviously Tasha enjoyed them!

Some of the kids ate a little lunch here to wash down the sugar. Eventually, they all ended up at the edge of the lake checking out the turtles. All the moms were able to sit around and chat while Lorenzo manned the scene by the lake. At some point Jaylee decided that the turtles at the edge of the lake needed to be up on safer ground so Asher could check them out without her worrying about him falling in the water. Someone said, "who needs a clown?" as we watched Jaylee pick up turtles, carry them to the top of the hill and then release them to the delight of the squealing children. The turtles would race down the hill and back into the water and the kids would jump up and down and chase them. Not that Jaylee is a clown or anything, but her turtle antics sure were more entertaining for the kids than some weirdo in big shoes making goofy faces.

Before all of this happened we came upon some really big turtles. I missed the conversation between the kids, but I heard Noah say to his mom, "Mo-om, he said that's not a turtle!"

Well, no, it's a tortoise. Justin would know. Not only would Justin know, but he would care that you called it a tortoise and not a turtle. He probably knows the difference between the two, and I don't. So, on this one, I'm going to trust the 5 year old who seems pretty confident that it's a tortoise.

There are a lot more pic's that I want to post but I'm not so great at this particular skill. I really want to post this on her actually birthday so I'll end with the rest of her day: left the zoo, drove around looking for Sara's car, preschool, big-hug circle from the preschool crowd, about 30 minutes of down time before grandparents came over, 2 more presents, a little work on the super swing set, pizza dinner, butterfly cake, a few summersaults and bed.

Sound asleep, 4 years after her birth, almost to the minute.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Too much pressure

Apparently I put so much pressure on some of you to post that you give in and post about nothing in particular. That cracks me up. Really. Your nothing posts are so stinking funny because it really is just your brain oozing out all the crazy thoughts in your head. Sometimes I like to read about the ooze, sometimes I want real stuff. So, in case any of you are in need of a little push, here are some topics to rouse your brain into blogging...

Bill-Charles Barkley and politics (I tried, it's slow in coming)
Sara- stinky underwear OR the 5 best compliments you've gotten
April-A day in the life of a greenie, married to fanatical greenie.
Jaylee-A day in the life of a non-greenie, junk food eating, TV watching, SAHM.
Amanda-do a little Tempe bashing, what's really wrong with us?
Carianne-how about some Kindergarten antics? I know they're a riot.
Heather-a blessing post and please keep Matt away from the picture!
Matt J.-top 10 computer terms that make no sense to the rest of us
Rachel-top 10 things you wish you didn't know about living in the city
Mo-top 10 songs that make you sing out loud
Bridget-3 days without kids, what would that be like?
Scott-500 words or less on NBA salaries, or a topic of your choice
Davey-same as Scott, PLUS no words over 3 syllables
Jenny-where are you?! Stupidest things Seattle-ites do
Tori-where are you?! What you miss about AZ, besides us!

Feel free to mix and match topics here, but the point is to make you think. Assignments are due before Friday. You will be graded on a curve and extra points are given if you you post before Wednesday. Original posts are welcome and encouraged as long as they don't involve pictures of obscure drainage, YOUR children, or how your hormones are acting up :) (men, that includes you!) Remember now, this is for my amusement only and should be taken lightly.


Stay at Home Mom is something to be proud of and brag about. When I find out that someone has dedicated their life to bringing up their children, I am impressed and feel that there is a little more sense in this crazy materialistic world of ours. I sometimes envy those of you that can keep sane when you don't get even a few hours when your children are in someone else's capable care. I did it for a full year when Kyra was born. The days seemed to drag, while the months speed by. I would count the minutes until Bill would get home and be really irate if he was late. I specifically remember him coming home one day when Kyra was still just a few months old. I had just fed her so she didn't NEED anything from me. I handed her off and begged Bill to let me go mow the lawn. Of course, I also didn't have all the great connections that I do now so I'd be a little better off than 9 years ago. Tasha went to work with me for about 3 months, I was home for the next 3, then she was off to a sitter at around 7 months. I won't do that again, that was really hard.

Here's the real reason for this post: when I read anywhere that someone is a SAHM my brain flips the letters around trying to make it a real word. I have such issues with acronyms! (I hate when medical shows say "GSW" instead of "gun shot wound"'s like 2 extra syllables to use the initials!) So, sadly, when I see SAHM, I don't say in my head, "stay at home mom", I say "sham". That sucks. I'm reading, "I'm a sham of 2 beautiful children" or, "I've been a sham for 3 years now and love it." Yes, I'm laughing as I type these because my brain is saying it and it is so ridiculous. What to do?!

I think we need to come up with another name for stay at home moms. Something creative. Something that, when made into an acronym, really fits what a SAHM is all about. So that is the challenge :) come up with something that doesn't make brilliant, dedicated, interesting women everywhere a SHAM!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

Bill's dad turned 75 this past Wednesday. Wow. 75! That's 3/4 of a century. And I have to say the man is in crazy good health, super vitality, and keeping up with the young dogs. In fact, he's coming over this weekend to help Bill build a swing set for Tasha.

A big kudos goes to Bill for calling his dad last week and inviting him over for dinner. Yes, he made the call ahead of time and was thoughtful without me even mentioning a thing. As he invited him he turned to me in a hushed tone and said, "is that OK?!" Then I listened to him coerce a dinner menu out of him. I can imagine on the other end his dad just saying whatever about 5 times until he finally asked for Sauerbrauten. What's that?! I've heard of it but what did Bill get me into?!

More kudos to Bill for looking up the recipe for it...not the day of, but a week before. What a blessing that man is, especially since the meat needed to marinate for something like 3-4 days. (Ours only got a day and a half since it was in my mom's fridge, grrr, no fridge here yet) So I faked my way through this new recipe, using the crockpot since I would not be home in time to cook it for 3 hours on the stove. (who does stuff like that?) And what-da-ya-know, it was fabulous. It was just what his dad wanted and commented on how great it was, several times. I guess he even called ME last night to thank me again.

This tasty dinner, and a book got me to there something to this cooking business? If I take the time to prepare, sometimes marinate, add all the herbs a recipe calls for...will I enjoy what I'm eating enough to put the time and thought into a yummy dinner everytime? It really isn't all that great of a chore, just out of my element. I'll get out 10+ ingredients to BAKE something, but to COOK is another story. Why is that?! Although I used a box mix for Dad's German Chocolate Cake, I made the frosting from scratch and it was heavenly. Maybe I just enjoy desserts more than actual food. Go figure! The book I flipped through said that when you have really flavorful food you savor it more, eat less, and thus, lose weight. Good idea.

SO, Happy Birthday Dad! And thanks for the new experience. Maybe I'm on my way to be a Becky Sauer birthday host...oooh, and make a homemade pie that sells for over $40! WOW, wouldn't that be the day? A girl can aspire though, can't she. Maybe in Dad's honor I will try a new recipe each week...well, maybe each month would be a little more realistic.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Is my computer really allowed to growl at me?! A popup was blocked and I got a message from it that said, "Grrr!" Somebody needs to teach this thing some manners!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

WOOHOO! We're in!

Desert Marigold school called today to tell us that there is room for Kyra to attend there next year. For those of you who don't know, Desert Marigold is a Waldorf inspired school that just brings peace and joy to your stressed out body when you step onto the campus. This is the place for Kyra. She has been a little anxious (to say the least) about where she will attend next year, so I had to get on the ball to relieve her anxiety. One day when she was home sick I drove her onto the campus to see it. I actually saw her body relax as she looked around. I just have no idea what it is like to feel that way. Boy, if she had been aware of what was going on when I had to enroll her in Kindergarten she would have been freaking out! Anyway, we're in and set until 8th grade...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Well, DUH!

Most people know about and have had many "Ah-ha" moments in their lives. That would be the moment that you find a solution to a problem that has been plaguing you. Maybe it's something simple, maybe it comes after contemplation, maybe you are just plain brilliant. Well, I seem to have more of what I would call, "well, DUH!" moments. Those would be the moments when I realize how stupid I have been or ask myself, "why didn't I think of that?" It's the moment when I really think about how qualified I am to be a parent, vote, or even drive a car. My only refuge is that I've seen a LOT of people do a LOT stupider things than I have. (Like the really skinny ASU professor that bought a 90 lb bag of concrete and proceeded to load it onto his bike to take it home. I laughed hysterically as he tipped over at least a dozen times before he got out of the parking lot. Well, DUH!)

My latest DUH moment occurred just over a week ago. You see, I have been hanging my clothes outside for a couple of months now and as much as I enjoy it, my clothesline makes me crazy! Or at least, it used to. The forty feet of plastic line just keeps getting longer and longer as it stretches and sags. I would strategically place long pants at the highest points on the ends and let Tasha hang socks and wears in the middle. Yes, it was low enough that my 4 year old could reach, without a stool. I totally annoyed me (especially when unstable lady was yelling at her imaginary friends), but I dealt with it because it is so beautiful outside and my clothes smell so fresh. Then it happened. I went to the Sauer's house and they had 40 feet of jeans hanging on the same stupid retractable plastic line....with 2 support poles! Well, DUH! Prop the dumb line up in the middle! They used a couple of PVC pipes that come down with the line, but here is my version: :
I have many DUH moments when it comes to the computer. Stupid stuff, like not paying attention to the shortcuts written right next to the command I am surfing for. Even stupid-er things like insisting on typing the www. at the beginning of a web address. Yes, I've stopped this and Bill caught me not doing it. I think he felt a surge of power and influence over me and silently gloated for the rest of the night. I'm sure that any computer literate person would really go crazy watching me do things the way I do. I know words like toolbar, dashboard, link, browser, etc. but I really don't know what they are. Please don't ask me to use them in a sentence! I'm pretty sure I would even flunk a multiple choice test on this subject.

Music is another area that really brings out the DUH in me. I'm going to chalk this one up to the fact that I'm a simple listener with simple taste, and NOT a dirty mind. I don't always listen to the lyrics, especially if it's a guy singing with a good voice or if there is a catchy phrase that is fun to sing along to. Unfortunately for me, most of these songs are from the classic rock era. That would be the era of songs that Bill knows all the words to and I can't understand any of the words to. Here are a few songs I still enjoy, even though he has enlightened me on their meaning and/or lyrics:
YMCA ( well DUH! Young men singing about young men)
Roxanne ("you don't have to put out the red light", like I had any idea what a red light was in reference to)
Grease, the whole soundtrack and movie (DUH, the whole thing is about sex and getting some, but they are just such a fun group of kids. For goodness sake, my high school put on this musical during my Junior year. What were they thinking?!)
Who Are You (by The Who. I don't care about the words you can't understand, it makes a great theme song for CSI)
Oh, I know there are plenty of others out there but I think I've embarrassed myself enough. Except for the split second where someone says something sarcastic in a serious tone (JAYLEE) and I am gullible enough to believe them. That is, until the ridiculousness of the statement sinks in, I chuckle, and say to myself, "well, DUH!" Sometimes it is quick enough that I can fake off the fact that I ever believed it, but other times I think the person must really think I'm a dork. Oh well, at least I know there is plenty of wheat stored under the BYU football field to (music playing) "feed the wor-orld," (arms swaying back and forth) "let them know it's Christmastime".
So there you have it, I'm a dork. But the fact that you read all the way through this post tells me one of two things: 1) I'm a dork that can write fairly well, or 2) you're an even bigger dork than I am. At least I "man-up" to my dork-dumb and don't try to hide from it.

My Easter Post

I was cleaning out a drawer this last week and found a sign that Kyra left for me. It was at least a year ago because I was in the Relief Society Presidency and Bill was still working at the hospital. Come to think of it, it had to have been 2 years ago because we had 9am church and Tasha still napped. We had been rolling coins and putting them in the paper sleeves and had a lot of pennies to do. Bill was at work and I needed to be at a Welfare meeting that afternoon. Fortunately, the Hardy's are great people and Bob would watch the girls while his wife and I went off to the meeting. While I was gone Kyra rolled the rest of the pennies and I found them in a drawer with this note:

I seem to happen upon this note at the most appropriate times. I think I used it in a RS lesson once, and here it pops up again at Easter. It helps me remember that the Saviour did the rest for us. We do the best we can, and when we fall short He's there to take us the rest of the way. I love the way the Lord guides us to find these things when we need them and how our children are innocent enough to listen to the promptings of the spirit. It also reminds me of how much our Heavenly Father cares about us. (If we just listen, of course!)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My Coke Addiction

My mom came up to me after sacrament meeting today and said in a very hushed and serious tone, "so, I hear you have a Coke addiction." It took me a moment to register what she had said (I was expecting something like, "Happy Easter" or "nice program" or "the girls were so cute"), then, as the comment and circumstances sunk in, I burst out laughing. Here's the story...

Thursday night I developed a migraine which decided to stick around through Friday. I held off on the med's, having faith the the chiropractor would work his decompression magic later that afternoon. It didn't seem to have the instant effect but that evening and early Saturday morning seemed to go fine. Then the screaming started. Not me, the kids. Saturday's are tough because the whole weekday routine is off and everyone is underfoot. Anyway, it came back. I got away from the screaming. I shopped. I tried to lay down. None of this seemed to work so I asked Bill to get me a Coke. Wa-la!

So there I was, sipping soda as I made chili, cornbread, and strawberry shortcake for the Cub Scout Chili cook off. I felt like the drunk lady who sipped the sherry, poured a little into the sauce, took another sip, and eventually was really "happy". Maybe if I had poured a little Coke into the Chili I would have won an award. Oh well. Anyway, the migraine went away with the steady intake of caffeine and I started up again this morning as a precautionary measure. I had to switch to Pepsi this evening since my brother is a die-hard Pepsi man.

I'll probably finish off the 20 oz bottle stashed in my cooler but then I'll quit. So no mom, whatever Bill told you just isn't true. I can quit any time I want, really.

Fourteen, Seven

My brother's calling is with the Priests in his ward. The leaders issued a challenge to the young men to have personal prayers twice a day and read their scriptures everyday. Then they report in on Sundays. Obviously you want to hear, "14,7". I decided to take the challenge myself and hopefully I do better than my non-challenged week. I would have reported a 7,3 for this past week.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Random Questions:

1. How do my children play the car...while I'm driving...while buckled?

2. Does Bill really think that lining his shoes up neatly under the window in our bedroom is a substitute for actually putting them up, in the closet, where they belong?!

3. Which is worse...the Relief Society serving tea on church grounds, or me drinking it because I know it really irritates someone?

4. Do Americans really think that Barrack Obama is a Radical Muslim and that electing him to office will aline our country with Iraq? Or is it the black thing?

5. How can I cringe at the new brick, life-sucking buildings going up around me, and at the same time yearn to go to NYCity?

6. If I keep mentioning Corazona Foods on my blog will they send me some free chips for Tasha's birthday party next Saturday? (I've had a hard time finding them since that first bag)

7. Where did the expression "smart-alec" come from? Was there in fact a smart Alec somewhere that had all the answers, or was he perhaps a bit sassy?

8. Does it really take 2 weeks to fix a refrigerator, or should I get a new appliance repair guy?

9. Who left the annonymous post on my blog asking me where to buy one pound hot dogs? (I think I'm going to have to go fix that in my settings)

10. How can a cockroach survive a nuclear attack, but not Raid? And if Boric Acid powder cuts up their little feet, shouldn't we just stick some of that in the nuclear bomb?

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

After reading that great book that I blogged about, I've been more skeptical about the claims made on different products. I have also, apparently, become a more savvy shopper without even realizing it. What do you get when you put an skeptical, savvy shopper in front of her computer? A lady choking on the words that she typed, but not the chips that she ate!

Apparently eating Corazonas Tortilla Chips (any flavor!) will actually help you reduce your LDL cholesterol. Seriously. I checked out the research and those cool plant sterols that I knew nothing about until now really do the job. This is how it works (in lay-woman terms): First, you have the bad cholesterol. Then you have the good plant sterols. If you have both of them in your body your bloodstream will absorb the good plant sterols first and flush out the bad LDL cholesterol. Yeah for them!

Personally, I don't have high cholesterol and it doesn't run in my family. Yeah for me! Unfortunately, there are a lot of people that do and eating these chips alone isn't going to lower it, just help. You need a bunch of plant sterols to do it and you should get them from several different sources. If you want a cute doctor to tell you how, watch this video:

So, I guess my big mouth and sarcastic wit bit me in the butt this time. Thanks to Rob and Joe for keeping me in check and making me do my research. It's safe to say that you guys value your job and the work that you do a little more than the construction workers that I slammed a few months ago.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dear Corazonas Foods,

I purchased one of your heart healthy foods at my local Costco store last week. As I was eating your slightly sweet, cinnamon flavored cardboard oat triangles I noticed the following claim: "Foods containing at least 0.4g per serving of plant sterols, eaten twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 0.8g, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease." Does this statement really mean that you can label your Sweet Churros Dulce tortilla chips with the claim that they are "proven to help lower cholesterol"? I don't even know what a plant sterol is but I'm sure that if I eat this whole Costco sized bag (the recommend amount) of chips over the next week I won't be doing my cholesterol, or any other part of me, any favors...even if I do eat them with a meal. I did not purchase your chips to reduce my cholesterol. In fact, I bought them to stop the cravings for the actual churro I could buy on my way out of the store.

I am sure you have a fabulous marketing team that is doing their best to sell the most of your tasty chips. I feel sorry for the consumer that relies on your products to lower their cholesterol, or even thinks that eating them are good for their health. Maybe your team could come up with a nicer way to say, "eating our chips are better for you than Doritos". Yes, you have all natural ingredients and I commend you for that. Please don't insult our intelligence and make claims that really have no merit.



PS. I would like to understand the graph and study you did when testing your chips. Did you just simply lay some plant sterols chips on top of a Human Plasma Lipid, submerse them, or what?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Because I don't want to write about anything real...

Here is the Washington Post's Mensa Invitational which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.The winners are:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an a**hole.
3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting lucky
7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
9. Inoculatte: To take coffee! intravenously when you are running late.
10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
12. Karmageddon: It's when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, and then the Earth explodes, and it's a serious bummer.
13. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you
14. Glibido: All talk and no action.
15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
18. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

And now... I'll try to use these new words in sentences:
His Face Book profile was so full of foreploy that I couldn't believe he was glibido.
My ignoranus financial advisor used the dopeler effect to convince us to buy a house at the beginning of our intaxification. Unfortunately, cashtration soon set in and we have been inoculatting ever since to race from job to job.
Her bozone layer was so thick it's a wonder she wasn't reintarnated!
Trivia question: Which dance craze was really a result of an arachnoleptic fit?

Born Rich

This one is for Rachel who convinced me to Netflick the movie Born Rich. It is a documentary by the heir to the Johnson and Johnson fortune. Basically, this kid interviews all of his insanely rich friends and puts it together to let all of us lay-people get a glimpse of what it is like to not need or want for anything. Well, at least that's what I think he wants to do. I don't agree with other critics that say he was setting out to make you feel sorry for the uber rich, but I do agree with those that still don't feel sorry for them! I apologize for the lack of names in the following comments, but honestly, these people aren't that important to look up.

Something I did not consider until this film was the concept of "uber" rich. We're not talking about people that are destined to sit behind a desk and pretend to do a job and collect a paycheck. These kids don't even have to do that. The money is there and they will get it, at their parent's discretion. Some of them have to do "something" with their life, others are in school, some shop (one of the girls was hilarious about this), and ALL of them party.

The best thing about this film is what the "actors" got out of it. The movie is probably better than I will give it credit for because Johnson made his friends look at their lives and talk about it. Good for him. One of the guys tried to sue him to get his part out of the movie, but lost. He was one that came off as a spoiled, snobby, show-off, better-than-the-poor-kid kid. The most insightful comment I remember was from Ivana Trump. She thought it was interesting that people cared about her and what she did when it was her father that was rich. Can a rich kid actually think about someone other than herself? Good for her.

I came away with the knowledge that kids are products of their parents. We all know this, rich or poor. This Jamie Johnson's father is a decent guy, and so is he. He didn't even know he was rich until he was in the 4th grade. His class was in the library and a kid in his class found an article in Time mag about the 400 richest families. I think Johnson is really just trying to decide what to do with his life and decided to make a few movies. Another kid, Hornblower, is an heir to the Vanderbilt fortune and was VERY down to earth, and completely likeable. He rides on the Subway everywhere and laughs about the time he first took his mom on it. His great-great-great...somebody designed, built, and ran Grand Central Station. But, like he points out, "it's not like I make money from it." And, as much as I completely hate Donald Trump, his daughter is very articulate, seems nice, and did not have that big rich chip balancing on her shoulder. On the other hand, those with chips were pathetic. One girl was trying not to live in her big sister's shadow (oh, you poor girl), and I hope this S.I. guy gets a really good shrink that can make him feel better about how detached his father was/is. Do I even mention the 2 "aristocrats" from Europe? I better not...aside from their fabulously dreamy accents, they belong in the trash. You saw The Man in the Iron Mask? It's the King all over again. Any thing, any woman, any way you want it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008


1. The next 3 posts have been written so I don't forget what I read in In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. If anyone else cares to read them you might want to start from the bottom.
2. I'm having a yard sale Friday and Saturday, birthday party Friday night, book club Saturday morning, funeral Saturday afternoon, and 3 meals/dishes to prepare for others so I probably won't make it back online for a couple of days.
3. You should never create a "to do list" when a) you know your kids will be home more than normal, b) you think you might have a minor emotional breakdown, or c) you are a woman and don't really know how your hormones are going to react at any given time.
4. You really shouldn't create a "to do list" when a, b, and c culminate together and you get d) all of thee above.
5. When your mother tells you that you can say "no" to some people, you should probably listen.
6. Friends really make a difference. Don't avoid them, embrace them. They make you feel better, even if just for the moment.
7. Matt Damon is really hot. There is a guy on TV that I thought was him but isn't and I'm still thinking of Matt. Maybe I'll have to put on The Bourne Identity.
8. After writing all those posts about food, I'm REALLY, REALLY hungry. But if I go eat now I think I would break all of Pollan's rules. I already know I will tomorrow so maybe I'll wait until midnight.
9. Sometimes I wish I was a southern Baptist so I could sing, dance, and get jiggy on Sundays. That might be a choir I'd do well in. Did anyone see Leap of Faith? Maybe I should be a revivalist.
10. I just needed to complete this list with a final number because 9 would have been weird and I probably would not have been able to sleep.

"...Not to much."

Finally, How to eat the food that you have discovered is good for you...

"Pay more, eat less...consider that quality itself, besides tending to cost more, may have a direct bearing on the quantity you'll WANT to eat." borrow Paul Rozin's term, exceptional food offers us more 'food experience'-per bite, per dish, per meal- and as the French have shown, you don't need alot of food to have a rich food experience. Choose quality over quantity, food experience over mere calories."

"Eat the dinner table parents can determine portion sizes, model eating and drinking behavior, and enforce social norms about greed and gluttony and waste. Shared meals are about much more than fueling the bodies; they are uniquely human institutions where our species developed language and this thing we call culture. Do I need to go on? (apparently so, what the western world considers a meal is not quite up to par. Then comes the fact that it used to be bad to snack between meals, now it is expected. Some good rules for eating the meal follow:)
1. Do all your eating at the table. No, a desk is not a table.
2. Don't get your fuel from the same place your car does...gas stations have become processed-corn stations: ethanol outside for your car and high-fructose corn syrup inside for you.
3. Try no to eat alone. (focus on feeling full, not when your plate is empty or you run out)
4. Eat to eat with a fuller knowledge of all that is involved in bringing food out of the earth and to the table...offering a blessing over the food or saying grace before the make sure that we don't eat thoughtlessly or hurriedly, and that knowledge and gratitude will inflect our pleasure at the table." (hmm, this makes me think more about my prayer over the food too, 'bless the hands that grew this food' instead of being thankful that Bill has a job to buy the food.)
5. Cook and, if you can, plant a garden. To take part in the intricate and endlessly interesting processes of providing for our sustenance is the surest way to escape the culture of fast food and the values implicit in it...So far I am more at home in the garden (that would be Mr. Pollan, NOT me! ) than the kitchen, though I can appreciate how time spent in either place alters one's relationship to food and eating." (pg 197)

LOTS of good stuff here. Maybe someday I'll borrow the book again and write down the great quotes from the beginning of the book!

"...Mostly Plants..."

Yes, more on my current book. I need notes for myself. You may find it funny to note that Kyra affectionately nicknamed this book, "the lettuce book" before we had even purchased it.

"Mostly Plants: What to eat" "If you manage to just eat food most of the time, whatever that food is, you'll probably be okay. One lesson that can be drawn from the striking diversity of traditional diets that people have lived on around the world is that it is possible to nourish ourselves from an astonishing range of different foods, so lang as they are foods."

"Eat mostly plants, especially leaves." (a lot of good in the leaf- vitamin C, an antioxidant we depend on getting from plants. Did you know our bodies used to be able to produce it? I don't know that I believe that. We need it for a host of reasons including: cell metabolism, anti-inflamatory, stop free radicals, stimulate the liver and so on.) "THere are literally scores of studies demonstrating that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits reduces the risk of dying from all the Western diseases." "So what about eating meat? Unlike plants, which we can't live without, we don't need to eat meat-with the exception of vitamin B12...I haven't found a compelling health reason to exclude it (meat) from the diet... (concerns about too much meat, especially red meat from a highly industrialized food chain increases your risk of heart disease and cancer)...studies of flexitarians suggest that small amounts of meat-less than one serving a day-don't appear to increase one's risk. Thomas JEfferson probably had the right idea when he rocommending using meat more as a flavor principle than as a main course, treatin it as a 'condiment for the vegetables.' " (pg 167)

"You are what what you eat eats too." (go ahead, read it again. I did several times. Pause in the right spots and you'll get it.) "That is, the diet of the animals we eat has a bearing on the nutritional quality, and healthfulness of the food itself, whether is is meat or milk or eggs." (There are just a whole host of ways to buy eggs now, bottom line is the yellower the yolk the better they are. If the animals eat green, you benefit.)

"Eat well grown food from healthy soils. Organic is important, but it's not the last word on how to grow food well...after a few days riding cross-country in a truck the nutritional quality of any kind of produce will deteriorate, so ideally you want to look for food that is both organic and local."

"Eat wild foods when you can." (This makes me smile because I used to go pick dandelions with my dad when I was a kid. It's a Greek thing, and yummy at that. I think we picked them off of Hardy, about where the beer plant is now.)

"Be the kind of person who takes supplements. They're typically more health conscious, better educated, and more affluent. So to the extent you can be the KIND of person who would take supplements, and then save your money."

"Don't look for the magic bullet in the traditional diet." (This is for my mom who is always telling me what the newest study has determined good for us. Healthy Mediterranean diets or Asian diets are because of the WHOLE way that they eat, not just the olive oil, fish, garlic, nuts or whatever.) "When researchers extract a single food from a diet of proven value, it usually fails to adequately explain why the peole living on that diet live longer or have lower rates of diet. The whole dietary pattern is evidently greater than the sum of its parts." (pg 178)

"Eat food..."

I have to record some more thoughts from The Defense of Food so I don't forget them. The bottom line for Michael Pollan's book is his eater's manifesto: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Here are a few thoughts: (anything in italics is me)

First he tries to define "food" and gives some rules:

"Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food (stuff like go-gurt, is it a yogurt or a toothpaste?) There are in fact hundreds of foodish products in the supermarket that your ancestors simply wouldn't recognize as food...cheeselike food-stuffs equally innocent of any bovine contribution; cakelike cylinders (with creamlike fillings) called Twinkies that never grow stale. Don't eat anything incapable of rotting is another personal policy you might consider adopting."

"Avoid food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable, c) more than five in number, or that include d) high-fructose corn syrup." (i.e. azodicarbonamide is pretty hard to say, try it!)

"Avoid food products that make health claims." This includes an interesting look at how easy it is to get a health claim approved by the FDA. While shopping the boxes and bags with all the claims screaming out at you in red..."the genuinely heart-healthy whole foods in the produce section, lacking the financial and political clout of the packaged goods a few aisles over, are mute. But don't take the silence of the yams as a sign that they have nothing valuable to say about health." (Ha ha, the "silence of the yams" made me laugh out loud)

"Get out of the supermarkets whenever possible" Here's where you get the plug for planting your own garden, buying organic, farmer's markets, and CSA boxes. He makes a good point that buying organic fruit from a distant land might not be as good as buying locally. (I think I've heard Ryan say this too.) Another good point is that all the above gardeners are much closer to their products and buyers than huge farmers. "Shake the hand that feeds you. As soon as you do, accountability becomes once again a matter of relationships instead of regulation or labeling or legal liability." (pg 160)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An Hour of Observations...

While waiting for Kyra to get her hair cut, Tasha and I hung out at the BK play zone for a while. First, summer is already coming. It smelled a little like stinky, sweaty kids and nobody else was there but us. Second, I need to work on my communication skills. I was pointing out that one of the tubes at the top of the play thing was a police car and suggested that Tasha climb up there. Did you catch the problem in that statement?! Yep, she jumped up on the table and was going to climb up the outside of the play thing to get to the car. Fortunately she decided, "I don't know if I can do this." Next came an employee "to clean up a little," as he put it. A little is about right. He swiped over 2 tables (the 2 cleanest, I might add) with a wet cloth and didn't even get the whole table. And finally, we tried to exit through the playroom door. I know you can't really do this for safety reasons but I had been eye-balling the sign that said, "buh-bye". Seriously. Burger King has a sense of humor and I think it's great. Anyway, we tried to push and push and still couldn't get out. Tasha suggested that we pull. Go ahead kiddo, what-cha-gonna pull on?! (she followed eventually)

As we were walking away from the BK I thought about that lame employee and wondered what he was thinking as he worked. Or, if he did. Clearly a 30-40 year old employee cleaning tables during the lull of the day is not in management. I'm not knockin' him, he's a workin'...or at least he thinks he's working. Seriously, if I was doing his job I would certainly be doing things a little differently. That's when I thought maybe his highly tuned work ethics were exactly why he's a 40 something table cleaner at BK. Is that very judgemental or what?! Good for him for having a job.

Do you know how much you miss when you drive everywhere?! At least as a spelling teacher it is much more fun to look at the hand written signs in strip malls. On our walk back to the hair place we passed some bistro employees hard at work chompin' the bit with some friends/customers. I leaned my head in to tell them that I let Tasha erase the 'e' off of "tomatoe" on their daily menu sign. The girl behind the register said, "yeah we keep telling the morning lady that is not how you spell it." Then I had Tasha walk over to the sign at her feet and erase the 'e' from indoor menu. Boy, that was tough, I would hate for her to exert herself.

I guess I just really miss my fast food days...Taco Bell, the Dollar Theatre (actually, 2 for $1), and Pete's Fish and Chips. When I applied for the job at Pete's the manager asked me to add up like 5 items, with tax. Yeah, that will do, you've got the job. And when I counted back the change he nearly drooled. All right, I'm just kidding about the drooling part.

Man have straws gotten big, or what?!

In Defense of Food

This is a book that has been on my reading list for a while now. I get sidetracked by the need to learn what to do to make my children sane, but then again, maybe that too is in this book. When I first started reading it I honestly thought to myself, "This sounds like Ryan, I bet he would like it." Turns out he was reading, or had read, this guy's other book, The Omnivore's Dilemma. Again, doesn't the title just sound like Ryan? Anyhoo (that one's for April), I am now frantically trying to finish this book so I can recycle it and give it to Ryan for his birthday. Isn't that perfect for Mr. Green?! But here is the real reason for the post (a quote from the book while he is talking about the Industrialization of Eating and how our relationship with food has changed):

"The milk of cows did not start out as a nutritious food for humans; in fact, it made them sick until people who lived around cows evolved the ability to digest milk as adults...(they develop a mutation and) the peple possessing the new mutation then had access to a terrifically nutritious new food source and as consequence were able to produce more offspring than the people who lacked it." (pg 102-3)

Fine, were are the spawn of people who mutated in a effort to digest milk from a cow. Now we pasturize it, manipulate it, and treat the cow as a machine, but at least it is somewhat natural. Here is where the real concern comes, if and when, we mutate far enough to accept high-fructose corn syrup. (Google it, it's a wonder we can consider it a food)

"Our bodies have a long-standing and sustainable relationship to corn that they do not have to high-fructose corn syrup. Such a relationship with corn syrup might develop someday (as people evolve superhuman insulin systems to cope with regular floods of pure fructose and glucose), but for now the relationship leads to ill health because our bodies don't know how to handle these biological novelties." (pg 105)

Oh, and just try to avoid HFCSyrup. I dare you. The only bread you can purchase off a typical, non-organic, supermarket shelf is Extra Sour Rye Bread (even the regular Rye has it). OR, you can just not think about and hope your insulin system is a superhero...that's what I do and it doesn't seem to be working. Diabetic coma, here we come!

Monday, March 10, 2008

"I am thankful for": (2001?)

(While cleaning out our back room I happened upon this thankful journal. No date, but I believe it was sometime after Bill was baptized (2001) and before Tasha was born (2004).
Thanks to Rachel for her gratitude blog. April for her journal ideas and organizing skills. Amanda for her memory blogs. And Crystal for not being able to go on a hike today so I could stay home and clean.) Anyway, here it is...

my family+ Jesus Christ+ Heavenly Father+ music+ the ability to hear+ photos+ running water+ scented candles+ vacuums+ missionaries+ baptism+ the Holy Ghost+ baseball+ smiles+ children+ movies+ sense of sight+ my husband+ brownies+ chocolate+ books+ ability to read+ education+ high school+ fun+ friends+ orchestra+ hugs+ love+ ice+ water+ a long nights sleep+ sleepless nights+ VCR+ DVD+ tape players+ cars+ the radio+ TV+ paper+ pens+ trees+ birds+ red roses+ prayer+ Priesthood blessings+ paint+ blankets+ sunlight+ Tupperware+ Relief Society+ my calling+ Visiting Teachers+ my house+ good food+ long talks+ silence+ heat+ air conditioning+ a Bachelors degree+ ASU+ financial aid+ New York City+ immigration+ the United States of America+ flags+ the military+ Home Teachers+ Faith+ the Ensign+ copy machines+ my mom+ strength+ independence+ a shoulder to lean on+ warm socks+ Birkenstocks+ parks+ dancing+ spinning+ laughing+ smiling so much your cheeks hurt+ Advil+ Costco+ frozen foods+ microwaves+ news reporters+ air planes+ quilts+ Express lane+ long lines+ Kisses+ extended family+ in-laws+ the smell of leather+ BLockbuster+ clothes+ white shirts and ties+ cheers+ fire+ cloudy days+ the rain+ long lost friends+ electricity+ our founding fathers+ Columbus+ Joseph Smith+ an answer to a prayer+ courage+ obedience+ a gas stove+ homade tortillas+ hair clips+ Nursery leaders+ "sisters"+ the ability to serve+ Temples+ geneology+ good speakers+ PineSol+ Yankee Stadium+ Name Day+ Washington DC+ memorials+ church+ a job+ being home+ marriage+ tense muscles+ massage+ nice people+ telephones+ answering machines+ tow trucks+ lock smiths+ braces+ toothpaste+ a night out+ a night in+ relaxing+ a clean house+ sewing machines+ sign language+ long hot showers+ faith+ prayer+ the park+ good frineds+ the library+ "Feed the missionairies"+ arguments+ making-up+ Elmo slippers+ grandparents+ stamping+ paper-cutters+ computers+ computer tech's+ night lights+ dimmer switches+ cross-stitch+ tolerance+ forgiveness+ family proyer+ fingernail files+ candles+ carpet cleaning+ a free lunch+ the temple+ scriptures+ LDS fiction+ long waits+ paved roads+ traffic lights+ right on red+ yeild on green+ lagging left turn arrow+ forgiving police officers+ flowers

(if April read closely she will have noticed the fashion blunder that I admitted to last week :0. And Rachel, I told you...I've always loved NY!)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Tasha's antics

We had an interesting dinner this evening because Tasha was full of wit and wisdom. I'm going to try to forget the screaming match that we had over the food she didn't want to eat and the fact that she finally decided on a hamburger bun with ketchup, to which I refused. She typically plays with food and then refuses to eat it so I wasn't about to let her squirt a bunch of organic $3 ketchup on a bun to throw away! I told her (alright, I yelled) that if she made it and didn't eat every bite of it she would have it for breakfast. She insisted on it and the stinker ate it! Shows me, right?! Ha, the kid had some dinner after all. Oh, but I digress...I guess that was an antic, but she was pretty funny too and that is what I set out to write about. These are in no particular order:

"Kyra, let me ask you a question."

"Kyra, now you tell me a question."

"What are you putting on that Durrenberger." (referring to the hamburgers we were having for dinner. At this comment Bill cringed and Kyra and I laughed hysterically. Bill really doesn't like it when people spell our last name DurrenbUrger, so you can imagine his dismay when our own daughter lumped us is with the cattle)

Oh, and then there was the prayer. She doesn't usually stray from the "bless our food, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen" but tonight she threw in a little bit for herself: "please bless mommy, and daddy, and Kyra to be nice to me." The table shook as we all tried to contain our laughter.

Last night, Tasha woke up to go to the bathroom while Bill and I were still up watching a movie. Strangely, she went back to HER bed, tucked herself (and apparently a teddy bear) back in, and went back to sleep. Bill went to check on her a few minutes after the toilet flush and found this:

AAH, how sweet. This is why we have kids! (so they'll sleep?!)

How I spend an hour and a half on the internet

1. Log on to check email.
2. Read and respond to mom.
3. What is that from Cost Plus?! Click on it...ooh, that's a pretty dining room set. What kind of wood is that? Rubberwood. Hmm, is that good or bad? Google rubberwood. Click on first link and end up at a site called (Enough said? Well, I'll continue anyway) Rubberwood is a decent wood that is not as hard to come by as teak and bamboo and also doesn't have the skyrocketing price that they do. They call it "sustainable". The rubbertree grows and grows and each year they suck the latex out of it. Eventually, the tree stops producing enough latex to make it sappable (that's my word) so they cut it down so a new tree can grow. The used to burn it for firewood, now they make furniture out of it. I know, I know, too much information. But see, this is EXACTLY how I end up on the internet forever. By the time I get to the bottom of the article there are, of course, other articles to link to. I think the links went something like this: green toys-recycle crafts-plastic bag crafts-making "plarn"-back to plastic bag crafts-clothespin I'll spare you all the details and projects and let you know that I DID read many of the comments posted at different sites. What is wrong with me?!
4. Go back to email.
5. Log back on.
6. Finish looking at the cute napkins at Cost Plus, get sidetracked by the silverware because last night while I was setting the table I was saddened that none of it matched. Since when do I care? I guess since having people over that I think might care. Darn those in-laws! Quit the Cost Plus search because I decided that it is Sunday and technically I am window shopping, even if it's not real shopping.
7. Blog about this!

Does this explain so much about me? Why I don't finish projects. Why my husband can't follow a conversation I have with him. Why I run out of time before the day is over. Why it is almost time to go to choir practice...

It makes me laugh because I think about the conversation in Harry Potter that Harry, Ron, and Hermione have after Harry kisses (or almost kisses) Cho. She tells the boys all the thoughts that are going through Cho's mind and why she might be crying. She ends up accusing Ron of having "the emotional range of a teaspoon". Yes, that is how I am going to justify my now 2 hour jaunt on the computer. Instead of being a "sidetracked home executive" (that's a funny organizing book that completely describes all of my inadequecies) I just really have a lot of interests in a lot of different things, love to learn about everything, and care what other people have to say about it. I love that strangers got good tips from another strangers recycling ideas.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Goals for Spring Break:

1. Post and sell bunk bed on Craigs list

2. Post and sell oak bedroom set on Craigs list

3. Address and send Christmas cards!

4. Set up and attend playdate with preschool friends

5. Prepare for garage sale by:

a. cleaning off back porch items

b. cleaning out Kyra's closet

c. cleaning out Tasha's closet

d. cleaning off bookshelf in living room

e. gutting the backroom of ALL unnecessary items

f. eliminating unnecessary VHS and DVD's

g. go through closet and get rid of clothes!

h. make Bill clean off the front porch

j. make Bill clean out his shed

k. clean out hall closet (find key to unlock it first!)

....and the list goes on...

6. Have a garage sale! Friday and Saturday, March 14-15

7. Go to the zoo

8. Set up and attend playdate with 4th graders

9. Girls night out?! (sounds like I need one)

10. Go on a date with Bill (sounds like I need one of those too!)

Bill made fun of my list because I've already done #1 and 5a. I always start my lists with a few things that I can check off to begin with, is that strange?! I didn't think so.

Now, I can hear unstable lady all the way from the center ramada at the park. She is quite jovial because her laughter is entering my living room every couple of minutes.

An unstable solution...

YIKES!!! Since my last unstable post we have had 3 incidents and more culprits:

Yesterday afternoon Bill caught the tail end of an argument with the unstable lady and another man. By the time he was in the backyard the man was following her down the street and they were yelling obscenities at each other. He could hear them 3 blocks away.

Late this morning I was in the backyard when the yelling really went crazy. Started by the unstable lady, she was walking off as our regular guy let loose with some well rehearsed and very colorful anger. I had to walk halfway there and ask him to stop. The guy with him yelled that he was hungry. I finished hanging out my clothes and then made them 2 ham sandwiches and took them over with a couple of oranges. He was VERY appreciative, and our regular guy was VERY apologetic. He said that lady just sets him off (just like I suspected) and he hates it when these other guys come over to "his" Ramada because he can't have any peace. Well, I hate it too.

THEN, around 3:30, as we arrived home from shopping, I pulled into the driveway to a big ruckus of 6-8 people. They were arguing fairly loudly, off and on as we unloaded the car but I couldn't make anything out. Fine. The girls did a puzzle while I started this blog and I turned the music up load enough to drown out their voices. When I took out the recycle I got to hear a string of F words aimed at one gentleman. AAAAH, that's enough. (but I'm certainly not going over there to that group) After a wrestling match starts I decide to call the police, they come, and things calm down as several of them leave.

Now, Kyra reported that the unstable lady is back because she heard her again. (No, she doesn't call her "unstable") According to our regular homeless resident they will hold her for 10 days if she is arrested. Hmm, that would give us 2 weekends of peace and all of Spring Break. Bring it on!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Reading 105: The Y rule

When you ask people what the vowels are they will say, "a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y". Well, I will argue that Y is always a vowel, even at the beginning of a word. It took me a while to buy into the fact that it's a vowel a the beginning, but after years of working with kids I am not willing to admit it.

Here's how the Y works in a ONE SYLLABLE WORD:

Beginning: the Y says "ee". This is a little funky but try it. If you say the "ee" sound before the word yes, you will see that the "yuh" sound you think is the Y is actually the "ee" sliding into the "e" sound. This is true with Y at the beginning because it is always followed by a vowel sound. Now, what if a kid tells me that Y says "yuh"? OK, it says "yuh", I don't really care unless he/she can't get it. This is for the people that can't get the sound at the beginning, it really works.

Middle: the Y acts like an I and says "i". You have with and myth. Identical except for the i/y. Obviously, I is much more common than the Y. This should be pointed out for spelling purposes. Since the Y is acting like a I, the E rule applies and will make it say "ie". Thyme, rhyme...

End: the Y says "ie". My, by, cry, sty, why...

Here's what a Y does in a TWO SYLLABLE WORD:

Same rules apply as above except for the ending. It is much more common for a Y to say "ee" at the end of a 2 syllable word than for it to say "ie". Happy, baby, crabby all say "ee". The Y does still say "ie" sometimes, like in the words apply, supply... For younger kids, "ee" is much more likely to come up in their reading.

You will also see a Y working WITH ANOTHER VOWEL sometimes:

AY says "ae" like in play and day. (see 2VGW rule)
OY like in the word boy or toy.

So there you have it, Y is always a vowel. Watch out for those last 2, AY and OY...Y is technically NOT at the end of the word by itself, it is working with the vowel in front of it. Woosh, no wonder it's so hard to learn to read!

Paradise Bakery's Crumbly Bleu Cheese Salad

Here's my version and how we pull it off at my house:

Take a bowl full of greens (P.Bakery uses hearts of romaine, I add spinach to mine).

Top it with Caesar dressing and mix it up so the leaves are lightly coated.

Add some sunflower seeds and toss it up again.

Take it to the table with delectable toppings of crumbled bleu cheese and dried cranberries.

Tasha pulls it out and eats it as is. Kyra adds dried cranberries (she attempted this for the first time last week). Bill and I add the crumbled bleu cheese and dried cranberries. Now, I am not a bleu cheese fan and thought it sounded really strange with Caesar dressing, but trust me...this is my favorite salad and it is fabulous! YUM!

Knock Knock...

Who's There?
Ice cream.
Ice cream who?
I scream so you'll open the door!

Theodore who?
Open "the uh door" so I can come in!

Humphrey who?
Hum three notes and I'll name that tune.

Maybe that last joke will get us headed on a new game of "name that tune". And here's a big, fake thank you to all of you that had no good jokes for me. Thanks Bill for trying but I'll let you keep that joke for when you are driving. And if you care, the website is for all these fabulous kid friendly knock knock jokes.

PS. Bill gets really annoyed watching me type in "www." on the address bar, saying that you don't need to. I know that, but it's habit. THEN I realized WHEN I do it. I do it as my right hand is adjusting to where it needs to sit to type. You see, you click the mouse with your right hand and then type with both your hands and they need to be in the right place to type. Oh, well, that's if you type with ALL your fingers, DUH! Not the hunt and peck effort that Bill gives it. SO, my left hand is bored for the second that it takes for the right to get placed and it just automatically blips up there for the www. Funny how anytime your husband tries to correct you or point out something dumb that you do it can end up being a slam on his inadequecies. Babe, learn to type!

PSS. Of upir jamd emds i[ pff cemter amd upir tru tp tu[e ot emds i[ ;pplomg spetjomg ;ole tjes! O lmpw sp,e pf upi jave dpme tjos om tje[ast!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

PUR Water filter

Who would have thought, years ago, that the issue of drinking water would be so complicated? All I want is water that tastes good. But if you are going to the trouble of purchasing water, or a water system, shouldn't it also eliminate all those grody contaminants and metals? Probably, but which ones, how many, and what percentage blocked is enough? Oh brother! Had I known all these questions needed to be answered I never would have stopped at Target this morning to buy a water filter pitcher...

So there I stand in the water purification isle (again, what would grandma think of that?) trying to choose between 6 different pitchers. There are now 3 different brands which list different contaminants being removed. Ugh. I figure I'll go with the one with the most stuff filtered, right? Well, it doesn't list lead which comes from old pipes, which we have, so I want to get rid of it! Upon further investigation, this PUR filter says it does meet the NSF standard for lead reduction. Great. So why isn't it listed? The Brita filter also says it meets NSF standards of all the metals listed. Ugh, ugh. And what does "Independent NSF Certification" mean? Are there really any standards or do we just test when and where we want and give ourselves the seal of approval?! Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Aaah, the memories of being in NYCity and drinking cold water straight from the tap. My aunts laughed at me because I gulped it down, even as a child. I don't know if Rachel's Brooklyn water tastes as good as Manhattan's, but if it is she's got that going for her. I don't care if there are contaminants in it, it tastes good, I don't have to pay for it, and I just turn on the faucet.

What did I do? I bought the PUR pitcher, set it on the counter, and then went to the Internet to see if it was worthy of my using it. It turns out that I chose well. Consumer Reports tested it and gave it a thumbs up, the Green People agree with their findings, and another consumer group put all these thoughts together and actually listed it in the number 2 position, just under the PUR water system that attaches to the faucet. Hmm, I must be getting better at label reading and smarter than the label writers! It is now filled, chillin' in the fridge and tastes great.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Hot Chocolate

A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives.

Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups - porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said, "Notice that all the nice looking expensive cups were taken leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups...And then you began eyeing each others cups.

Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have.

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us. God makes the hot chocolate, man chooses the cups. The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly."

And enjoy your hot chocolate!

H's note: This certainly explains a lot of my issues. I would have taken the widest cup that I could have wrapped both my hands around, much like the cup I have in my cupboard right now. I just continually gather things in my cup thinking that the more I have the better my life will be, when actually, I don't even need the literal hot chocolate that goes in the cup! Holding onto the cup with both hands also brings out the need to hold onto things, all the things that make me feel better temporally, but I don't need spiritually. I don't see any of this as being a good thing, but I also don't want to give up my big purple Tinkerbell mug. It sheads light on: weight problems, clutter in every room, the need not to insult people (gather all your friends into the big mug!), and probably a host of other things. I would have had no interest in drinking hot chocolate out of a dainty, china interest in things just because they are expensive and sought after. I realized this earlier today as I drove by an Inn that a friend recommended as a retreat for our last anniversary. It was swanky (for lack of a better word) to say the least, and not the least bit enticing to me. I like that about hot chocolate does not have to come in a fancy, stylish, or hip cup, it just as to be tasty. I like different flavors, brands, and sometimes with a little whip cream. Did you all get that I was talking about life just then?!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Cold Chicken

I love it. Bill hates it. That's it. I drive by a KFC 2-4 times a day depending on the route I take to school so I smell it all the time. Eventually I break down an buy some, sometimes at Safeway. I bring it home for dinner and put a piece in the fridge to eat later. Everyone has dinner, I have side dishes or salad, and then I eat my chicken an hour or so after the rest of my family. Is that weird? We're talking about fried chicken here, not boneless skinless, or even wings. Although, the hot boneless wings you can get now seem to be even hotter the next day. That's awesome!