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Monday, October 29, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: October 30, 2007

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1. marcia v.
2. ellen b
3. And Miles to Go...

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Almost Halloween

Have I mentioned this is my favorite time of year? Cool, crisp fall weather, the changing colors of the leaves, cider and donuts, apple picking, pumpkin carving (and pumpkin seeds! yummy!) hay rides, haunted houses and, of course, Halloween.

Which happens to be my favorite holiday. Why?

Well, first of all, I don't have to buy presents. Not that I begrudge giving gifts or anything, but everything is so commercial nowadays I get tired of the "Buy Buy Buy!" mentality that seems to run it all. For pete's sake, kids are even getting loads of gifts on EASTER now. When I was a kid, the Easter bunny left a basket with some candy and hid eggs. That was it. He didn't bring me a Wii and an Ipod. (Okay, so those didn't exist when I was a kid, but you know what I mean...) So I like the fact that, so far, there's no mythological "Halloween Bat" creature who goes around leaving X-Boxes for kids on All Hallows Night.

Second... I love the candy. I have the biggest sweet tooth in the known world, and if I indulged it as much as I wanted, I would have to join the circus or undergo gastric bypass. Seriously. It's that bad.

Halloween gives me an excuse to not only buy candy (because, of course, we have to have stuff to give out on Halloween!) but to eat candy. Leftover candy (and no, I'm not one of those moms who buys the gross stuff like Smarties or those awful black and orange wrapped chewy things so I won't eat it, either) and of course, candy stolen from my children's pillowcases.

Yes, I admit it. I'm a candy thief. I love the guy who started putting razor blades in candy. Or at least, I love the guy who started the rumor about the guy... I do! That means I get to "check" their candy and make sure it's safe before they eat it. Gee, honey, let me see that Snickers, I think there might be - CHOMP - nope, that one's fine, here's the rest...

Third, I love scary movies and Halloween is a perfect excuse to watch them.

Fourth, I love pumpkin carving. Okay, so I hate cutting out the top of the pumpkin, and scooping out pumpkin guts, and sorting pumpkin seeds, and actually deciding what to carve and then carving it and then cleaning up the pumpkin mess. I hate that part. But I love the end result!

And the pumpkin seeds.

And the kids won't love it like this forever.

Even the big ones!

Tomorrow's the big day!

I Hate DVRs

I take back everything I said about DVRs. I hate them.

I'm happily watching a show, tralala, something totally uninteresting (you'd think!) to the masculine, like Dr. Phil or something, and Michael comes into the bedroom and sits down. And suddenly, he's interested. Brightest thing in the room, and he's instantly entranced.

But, of course, he has to get up and do something. Pee. Get a snack. Chop down a tree. Build a fire. Fix the garbage disposal. Whatever.

"Pause it!"


Twenty minutes later, he comes back. I'm sitting there twiddling my thumbs, waiting, watching Dr. Phil's face frozen like he's got a tick in one eye. I know I'm developing a tick in one eye.

He sits down. "Okay, go ahead." I juuuuuuuuust get involved again, and "Oh, wait, I forgot to get a diet Coke."


I hate DVRs. The word "pause" should be struck from the dictionary!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I can sleep through a nuclear explosion. The only time in my life I've slept lightly was right after I had my babies, and that was only when they were sleeping right next to me. Then, I seemed strangely connected to them. I'd wake up and look at the clock and note the time: 2:12 a.m., and think, "What am I doing awake!?" and then the baby would stir. Not cry... just stir a little. Hungry, ready to nurse. Nature is amazing.

But now that I'm old (shut up, thirty-seven happens to feel very old lately, okay?) and don't have little hungry babies to wake up for, I sleep like a rock. The problem is, when I do wake up, I'm UP. I even fight having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night because I know once I get out of bed, I won't be able to get back to sleep. If something manages to wake me up and I actually have to get out of bed, I know I'm in trouble. I won't be able to get back to sleep, usually for at least an hour, maybe more.

It's funny because, as a doula, when I was doing births, I could sleep anywhere, almost instantly, and I could fall back asleep within minutes if I was awakened for some reason. When you have a job that requires you to be wide awake at two in the morning at the ring of the phone, it was quite a boon to be able to sleep whenever, wherever, however.

However, with one exception (a lovely home birth just before we moved here) I haven't done a birth in a year. I got quite burned out after doing six births in a month and decided to take a break. The break turned into a BREAK. Now, just I don't know. As much as I love doing births, that's about as much as I hate being on-call. And my family hates it even more.

But lately I've had time to wonder what this waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep is all about, because Dmitri's been going through a 'bout of nightmares, and I inevitably end up awake, tossing and turning and unable to go back to sleep long after he's snoozing in flying-dinosaur-monster dreamland again.

I guess this waking up and not being able to get back to sleep is called "late waking insomnia" or some such thing. I call it damned annoying. But I'm beginning to wonder if maybe it isn't related to my not doing births anymore? Maybe my ability to sleep was part of being a doula, knowing I had to get as much sleep as I could, as fast as possible, because I might be up for the next 24 hours at a birth?

Whatever the reason, whether it's age or job-related or something else entirely--I really wish it would go away. Sleep is one of my greatest pleasures in life. I hate not being able to sleep.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Favorite Fall Recipes

Have I mentioned lately that I love this time of year? We're carving pumpkins this weekend, and I can't wait to roast pumpkin seeds. The old man who sold us our pumpkins told us (in a rather toothless way, I might add) which ones would have the biggest, best seeds in them. Apparently, the oranger and brighter, the better. Which makes for good carving, too, so bonus!

I went searching for new pumpkin roasting seed recipes, but I thought I'd list my favorite... along with two more of my to-die-for Autumn Recipes.

Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 drops hot pepper sauce

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Stir together the pumpkin seeds and butter in a bowl. Add the salt, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and hot pepper sauce; stir. Spread the seeds in a single layer on the baking pan. Bake in preheated oven until crispy, about 45 minutes.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

3 tablespoons instant hot chocolate mix
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch chili powder
1 cup whole milk

In a small saucepan, mix the hot chocolate mix, chocolate syrup, cinnamon, and chili powder. Pour in the milk. Heat until the milk begins to steam (do not boil!)

Rocky Road Caramel Apples

6 Granny Smith apples
6 wooden sticks
1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Insert wooden sticks 3/4 of the way into the stem end of each apple. Place apples on a cookie sheet covered with lightly greased aluminum foil. Combine caramels and water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring often, until caramel melts and is smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Dip each apple into the caramel and gently run apples around insides of saucepan to scrape off some of the caramel. Scrape excess caramel from the apple bottoms using the side of the saucepan. Combine the miniature marshmallows and pecans on a dinner plate. Roll the apples in the mixture to coat. Place on the aluminum foil and chill. Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until melted and smooth. Drizzle over the apples and return them to the refrigerator until ready to serve.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Best Scary Halloween Movies

We've been loading up on scary movies to watch this month. I love this time of year! Since it's nearing Halloween, I thought I'd share some of our mainstays.

Like "It's a Wonderful Life" around Christmas, there are certain movies that simply have to be watched around Halloween. Here's our "must-see" list for after the kiddos go to bed:

Clive Barker - 2nd only to Stephen King when it comes to horror. This one is graphic and gory, but a totally original story, and fantastic makeup.

The original. I still scream through this one, no matter how many times I've seen it. Scary. Really creepy.

Stephen King - his very first. Poignant, powerful, and truly horrific. You just have to get past the 70's thing. Which, really, is sort of charming. John Travolta with feathered hair. Remember?

Cliver Barker again. The one that make him famous. With Pinhead. Fantastically original story. Really gruesome.

More Clive Barker. This one creeps me out for WEEKS afterward.

Wes Craven - an original. Will make you nervous about sleeping for a long time.

Must be the original. Black and white version. Amazing social commentary in the midst of all the horror.

Newer addition to the list, but WOW. Sometimes campy, but mostly creepy.

Classic scary. Poor Linda Blair!

Get ready for subtitles. But you HAVE to watch this one. No creepier monster has ever been made.

* * * * *

And here's a list of Halloween movies to watch with the whole family this time of year!

It's as funny as you remember it. I promise!

This is well done!

Tim Burton magic!

Totally fun story, and the witches are a riot.

Classic. Must watch.

Tim Burton again. Not as good as Nightmare, but still good.

A Ray Bradbury story. LOVE this one.

Don Knots. This is soooo funny.

Based on a Roald Dahl story. Really well done!

Very new addition, but a fanastic story, and actually really scary in places!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The "End" of Television

Does anyone else remember when television used to "end" for the night?

They'd play the National Anthem, wave the flag... remember?

And then the test pattern would come on for a few minutes.

And then nothing. Static. Remember?

That was the time of night the little girl in Poltergeist said, "They're here!"

And at first, it happened at midnight or so. Then around two in the morning. Then around four in the morning. It kept getting later and later... until all of sudden, we had television 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Now we've got hundreds of channels to choose from. We can turn on the TV and find something to watch whenever we want.

So how come... a majority of the time, whatever time of day it happens to be... there's still never anything good to watch on TV!?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #6: 13 Reasons You Shouldn't Go to A Haunted House



1. You're afraid of the dark

2. You've already spent ten years in therapy

3. You just ate three elephant ears, two corn dogs and a bag of cotton candy

4. You already have a second mortgage (have you seen how much admission to one of these haunted houses costs!? It's like getting into Disney World!)

5. You lost your youngest last year in the Haunted Maze and they still haven't found him

6. You don't have health insurance

7. You're allergic to latex

8. You just bought new underwear

9. Your own house is scary enough

10. You're out of blood pressure medicine

11. Your kids insist they won't let you sleep in their beds with them anymore when you have nightmares

12. You thought Frankenweenie was scary

13. What if it's real?!

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Thursday Thirteen Participants
1. pussreboots
2. nap warden
3. Comedy Plus
4. ellen b
5. Susan Helene Gottfried
6. The Pink Flamingo
7. Buck Naked Politics
8. susiej
9. jenn
10. Nicole Austin
11. A Cowboy\'s Wife
12. Grace
13. marcia v.
14. kristinaQ
15. babyamore
16. CJHill
17. SandyCarlson
18. Rae
19. Megan
20. On a limb with Claudia
21. Cindy

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Interview with a Vampire

Okay, so I'm not a vampire... but if people bled chocolate... I'd consider it! ;)

Here are my interview questions, kindly sent over by Amy from Musings of a Crunchy Domestic Goddess... thanks, Amy!

Q: As a mom to four kids, you've gained oodles of hands-on experience and wisdom over the years. If you could share any parenting advice with an eager mom-to-be, what would it be?

A: Alrighty, here's my top 10:

1. Don't sweat the small stuff - and most of it really IS small stuff.

2. When they make a mess, instead of freaking out -- grab the camera.

3. Take lots and lots and lots of pictures. Don't forget to hand the camera to someone else so you can be in the shots, too.

4. Newborns cannot be spoiled. You cannot hold them enough. And if you think you're a human pacifier - you are - and that's okay. You won't be forever, and trust me, you're going to look back some day and miss it.

5. Your husband, the man you love and wanted to spend the rest of your life with, is presumably and barring any tragedies, going to be with you forever, while your children will, eventually, grow up and go off to live their own lives. Don't forget about, underestimate, or neglect him in the midst of raising your children.

6. A clean house is less important than a toddler's need to explore their world.

7. Food is not a battleground. Children will eat when they are hungry, and should never be forced.

8. Teenagers tell you about 1/4 of what's really going on for them. Pay close attention when they do talk to you, and remember to times their information by four. Don't panic, they're more able to handle themselves than you think. But they still need you, your advice, your comfort, your care, and your attention.

9. You are not your child's friend, you're their parent. You don't need to be liked, but you do need to maintain a level of respect - on both sides.

10. Admit your mistakes and apologize to your children when you're wrong.

Q: What little known fact about you might surprise some of your readers?

A: Readers?? Bwahahahaha! ;) I think most of the people who read this little blog probably know most of my secrets... which aren't so secret.

How about this one: I spent the night in jail once. For driving on a suspended license. That I didn't know was suspended. It was four in the morning, and I was on my way to a birth. So I have a mugshot and the cops have my fingerprints, and I even got to pee in the toilet in the middle of the room (because I always drink two Diet cokes before leaving for a birth to wake me up, and if I didn't use the toilet, I was gonna pee my pants!) Why was my license suspended? Because I got a ticket in a residential area for doing five over the speed limit. Which didn't get paid. Why? My husband "forgot." He also "forgot" to tell me they sent a notice suspending my license because he "forgot" to pay my speeding ticket. :x The good news is, he bailed me out, and I did make it to the birth.

Q: Now that you've lived in the country for a while, can you ever see yourself moving back to the city?

A: Well, we never really lived "in the city" per se... although close. It was suburbia. I don't think I could live in a real city (New York, L.A.) and now that I'm used to the quiet... and the bugs... *shudder* I wouldn't trade it. So I guess the answer is I could... but I wouldn't want to. ;)

Q: Tell us about your experience as a doula. How long have you been doing it? What do you enjoy about it?

A: I've been a doula since just before my third baby was born... since the year 2000. My first two children were born in hospitals, the first with an OB, the second with a nurse-midwife, and although I was interested in the idea of home birth at the time, I didn't have the resources, connections, or the support to carry that out. When I got remarried and we decided to have children, I revisited the idea of home birth with my new husband--who was completely supportive. So we had our third and fourth baby at home, I got involved extensively with the local birth community, learned about doulas, and went through the training to become certified.

Having the privilege and honor of witnessing a new life entering the world is always a gift, but being there for women, with women, watching their power and grace and ability during labor, is even more powerful for me. Giving women choices and options they didn't know they had thrills me. I don't judge anyone who gives birth they way they would choose... I wouldn't wish a home birth on every person. Women are different, and it isn't right for everyone. But I would wish an educated birth on every woman.

As a psychologist, I've dealt with too many women who've experienced trauma during childbirth who now have serious regrets about the way things happened. Too often, I hear, "If I'd only known then what I know now..." I've been there myself. As a doula, what I really want is to give women that information now, so they don't have regrets later. That, I think, is my true gift to give.

Q: Let's say you are going to be stranded with your family on a deserted island for 90 days. What 3 things would you take with you and why?

A: 90 days!? Are you kidding me? I'd take a GPS unit, a fully charged cell phone, and a boat! :P

Now it's your turn. If you want to be interviewed, leave me a comment including the words "Interview me." I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions. If you don't have a valid email address on your blog, please provide one.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: October 24, 2007

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Wordless Wednesday Participants
1. And Miles To Go...
2. L.L. Barkat
3. Nap Warden
4. rhonda
5. ellen b
6. david mcmahon
7. Jos
8. Comedy Plus
9. SandyCarlson
10. KC
11. Natalie
12. susiej
13. babyamore
14. Parenting Project
15. Joyful Days
16. Aline de Chevigny
17. Mary mert
18. Gina
19. Mark Caldwell
20. CatSynth

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Art Imitating Vegetables

Don't you hate it when vegetables sneak up on you when you're not looking?

No, not Terry Schiavo.

(Ooooo I'm so going to hell. Line forms on the right to get out of the way of the lightning bolt...)

I'm talking about broccolli, carrots, zucchini, all pureed into nothing and put in your chocolate!

"You got brownies in my eggplant!"

"Well you got eggplant in my brownies!"

Who in the world would think of doing this to poor little ol' chocolate?

Apparently, two women--both who think lying to their children is perfectly okay--got this very same idea, at the very same time.


One of them is Jessica Seinfeld. Yeah, that's Jerry Seinfeld's wife. She published the book Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets To Get Your Kids Eating Good Food. And then appears on Ho-Prah to hawk it. It's now selling like hotcakes. (With shredded carrots hidden inside, of course)

All was well in the Kingdom of Seinfeld.

But then... the New York Post ran an article, wondering if Ms. Seinfeld might be a little, teeny, eensy, weensy bit guilty of plagiarism. Why? Because a few months before Ms. Seinfeld's books hit the shelves, another publisher released this one: The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies For Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals. Which has some very sneaky damned vegetables in it as well. And apparently, chef Missy Chase Lapine marketed her book to Seinfeld's publisher, but was turned down cold. Twice.

Now, maybe I'm a cynic. But first of all, does anyone believe that Jessica Seinfeld cooks? For her children or anyone else?

Secondly, I don't care who stole what from whom, both of these books should be banned and burned.

Children should have to sit in front of dinner plates with twelve peas, or three stalks of broccoli, from dinner time until bed time, and then have them served cold again for breakfast, just like I did when I was a kid. What kind of sissy generation are we raising, anyway? :P

And lastly, I think this whole incident just proves that Jerry's idea for episode #38, "The Letter" where he finds out his new girlfriend, Nina, is a plagiarist after he hears the words she wrote in a letter on television was just art imitating life imitating art imitating vegetables.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I love this time of year. The leaves turning color has always thrilled me. My son, Blake, captured this tree halfway there...

Down the road a piece (that's what they say around here... "Down the road a piece...") they keep horses.

There's nothing to see but gorgeous fields and farmhouses...

for miles...

Ah, but here's the reason we really chose this house... and why Michael has been playing lumberback for the past few weeks. All his hard work has paid off, and we now have a fire to sit in front of when the autumn nights grow chilly...

Dmitri loves helping Daddy make fires. Zoe and I just like snuggling in front of them.

Winter's going to rock this year! :D

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Halloween: Priceless

$40 for kids' Halloween costumes (Ariel the Little Mermaid and a red Power Ranger)

$20 for 5 pumpkins, ready for carving

$20 for candy purchased for trick or treaters (and packaged so I don't eat it all!)

Conversation at noon today:

"How many more days 'til Halloween, Mommy?"
"Ten more, baby."
"That means I have to have 10 more sleeps?"
"Can I go to bed now?"


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Four Things

Amy from How Many Lives tagged me. Again.

So, here we go... the "four things" meme...

4 Jobs I've Held:
1. Market researcher in the mall (one of those people who stop and make you do surveys? That was me)
2. Data Entry for an insurance company (where I learned to type 90wpm)
3. Secretary to a high school assistant principal
Birth Doula

4 Films I Could Watch Over and Over:
1. Boys on the Side
2. The Devil Wears Prada
3. A Knight’s Tale
4. Serenity

4 TV Shows I Watch:
1. American Idol
2. Entourage
3. Good Eats
4. House

4 Places I’ve Lived: (well, this is gonna be boring...)
1. Clinton Township, MI
2. Norton, MA (yes that IS Massachussets, I didn't just mistype Michigan... :)
3. East Lansing, MI
4. Wales, MI

4 Favorite Foods:
1. Waffles
2. Sun dried tomatoes
3. Pasta of any kind
4. Chocolate

4 Websites I Visit Everyday:
1. Bloglines
2. Yahoo Mail/News
3. Salon
4. Television Without Pity (esp during American Idol season)

4 Favorite Colors:
1. Tangerine
2. Sage
3. Lemon
4. Rose

4 Places I Would Love to Be Right Now:
1. A huge Jacuzzi tub with my husband
2. Swimming with the dolphins
3. A yummy little thai restaurant in Ferndale called Bangkok Cafe
4. Right here, right now

4 Names I Love But Would/Could Not Use for my Children:
1. Coyote (Zoe would have been Coyote if she was a boy)
2. Rain (Autumn was almost Rain Victoria)
3. Wyatt (Someone else took this one)
4. Naomi (I'm not Jewish... but I still love this name :)

I'm supposed to tag people, right? Um... let's do this the lazy way, let's pretend I'm sitting in a chaise lounge reading a book and drinking a fruity girlie drink... if you happen to walk by me, you're tagged... if, ya know, you wanna be... k?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Laughter is the Best Medicine

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but I honestly think the saying "laughter is the best medicine" carries more weight. (Do you think I could have fit some more trite phrases into that sentence if I tried a little harder?)

I've had people tell me they love my laugh. I don't get it, but all my life people have said it enough that I'm tempted to almost believe them. Apparently, it's infectious. My husband says my smile and laugh lights up a room. (But he has to say that, he married me, right?)

Still, I do love to laugh. My ex and I used to go to comedy clubs and come home with our sides aching from laughing so hard. I'm lucky now, though, that my husband makes me laugh every day. And he's especially good at it when I'm feeling sick or grumpy or headachy or premenstrual.

Michael has the goofiest sense of humor. He loves puns, plays on words, and strangeness. He comes up with thoughts and ideas that never would have occurred to me, which is why, I suppose, he surprises a laugh out of me at least twice a day.

Yesterday he came home for lunch and I was feeling cranky. It was one of those days I didn't feel like doing anything--including getting out of bed. Although I did anyway--begrudgingly.

We were cuddled on the couch while he idly flipped channels on the remote. (Ever notice how guys like to do that to sort of relax and zone out?) And inevitably, he skips over the shows I would stop at and stops at the ones I'd skip. It never fails.

So he paused briefly at one of those cop chase shows, "Disorderly Conduct" or some such thing. The voiceover is low and serious: "The suspect is driving ninety miles an hour, endangering life and limb, but the officers must proceed with caution, because they believe the suspect may be armed."

Michael snorts. "Of course he's armed. It would be hard to drive a car without arms, now wouldn't it?"

Surprised, I laugh out loud, shaking my head at his interpretation.

He flips for a while, we talk a little bit, he passes over good stuff like "The View" and "Family Feud" and somehow ends up back on the cop show again. We're watching a different car chase this time, a white Bronco going much faster than OJ's ever did, all over the road.

The announcer comes on, still deadly serious: "The driver, after failing the breathalyzer test and escaping in his vehicle, is now weaving, giving the officers a run for their money."

"Well no wonder he's all over the road," Michael says. "Thank god he wasn't knitting."

It took me a minute... what the--? Knitting? And then it clicks... ohhhhh, weaving... knitting. And again, I'm laughing, rolling my eyes and groaning, but laughing anyway.

And on it went... like a Mystery Science Theater in my living room. By the time he left again for work, I was in much better spirits than I had been before he came home for lunch.

He kissed me goodbye and said, "You know, you always cheer me up."

The feeling's mutual.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Vaccinations: Where Do You Put Your Faith?

There was an article today in Yahoo news about parents who are claiming religious exemptions to vaccination, when in actuality their religion doesn't prohibit vaccination. The implication is, of course, that these parents are doing something wrong. The article seems to say that these parents are putting not only their own children at risk, but other children as well.

I don't immunize my children. It isn't because I'm a lazy or neglectful parent. In fact, the opposite is true. I've done extensive research on the subject and have come to the personal conclusion that the possible risks (known and unknown) of the vaccines themselves are worse than the diseases they are trying to prevent.

Measles, mumps, diptheria, whooping cough--they're all diseases that rarely cause fatalities, and usually only in the immunodepressed, the extremely young (newborns, for example... who can't get vaccinated for these things) or the very old. Polio, which is the big, scary one, only causes paralysis in a very, very, very small percentage of cases. And in those cases, most people who do get the paralytic version of polio actually fully recover.

Maybe it's my Aquarian nature, but I'm not the type of person who is going to follow along with the rest of the sheep just because the government says so. I do believe vaccination programs were begun with the best of intentions--but we all know that good intentions don't always lead where we think they will.

I think the vaccination program is, like any bureaucratically run organization, bloated, outdated, and in need of a major overhaul or an outright burial. There have been many studies done that prove vaccines aren't as effective as the government would like you to believe.

From personal experience, I can tell you that I was vaccinated for rubella (which is a disease that can cause harm to a fetus if contracted by the mother) after having my first child because according to the titers, I wasn't immune. Three years later, I had my second child. According to the titers, I STILL wasn't immune to rubella. So I got another shot. Seven years later, I had my third child. Guess what? Still wasn't immune. I've had a total of four rubella shots in 10 years, and the levels still show that I'm not immune the disease.

The truth is, vaccination itself has become a huge money maker, for doctors as well as for individual states. Doctors actually get bonuses if their vaccination rates remain above a certain level. The federal government gives out tons of money to the states to offer "free" vaccinations to families. And I'm not supposed to be suspicious of this huge pharmaceutical money machine? Hmm... I don't think so.

For me, the most basic human right is personal freedom. I'm not against vaccinations themselves. If you want to vaccinate your child against the evil chicken pox - go right ahead. I will support your right to do so. But I should be supported in my decision not to vaccinate as well. Everyone should have a right to make their own health care choices, whether they go against what Mr. Bureaucrat says we should do or not.

Fortunately, I live in Michigan, where my right to choose for myself and my children is actually supported. Unfortunately, Michigan is one of only seventeen states in the union that will allow that sort of exemption. In the rest of the country, as the Yahoo article points out, parents are forced to lie and claim vaccination is against their religion.

The article says:

"Do I think that religious exemptions have become the default? Absolutely," said Dr. Paul Offit, head of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and one of the harshest critics of the anti-vaccine movement. He said the resistance to vaccines is "an irrational, fear-based decision."

One of the harshest critics of the anti-vaccine movement is the head of infectious disease? Oh what a surprise. How much is this doc accepting in "bonuses" to keep the immunization rate high, I wonder? As for the decision not to vaccinate being irrational and fear based? I'd like to ask Dr. Offit if he'd like a mirror. Because his response is the most irrational and fear-based one I've ever heard. It goes against the evidence, and frankly, I think the doc's a little afraid of getting thrown off the vaccination money train.

(And don't get me started on Dr. Offit. He's one of the holders of the rotavirus patent. The one that was originally pulled off the market? Yeah that one. According to the Wall Street Journal, he gets paid to teach other doctors about the "safety" of vaccines. And he owns stock in Merck, who manufactures the rotavirus vaccine now on the market--but he's on the CDC advisory board. Holy conflict of interests, Batman! Oh, and that particularly vaccine costs 5x as much as most vaccines.)

Let's look at the "facts" Dr. Offit and his cronies seem to want to believe. If vaccinations are as effective as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cite, then what is Dr. Offit afraid of, exactly? The CDC claims (depending on the vaccination) a 97-100% success rate.

Then why does the doctor from the Yahoo article say:

"When you choose not to get a vaccine, you're not just making a choice for yourself, you're making a choice for the person sitting next to you," said Dr. Lance Rodewald, director of the CDC's Immunization Services Division.

If vaccines were anywhere near the 100% effectiveness they claim, there should be no worries about those who have already been vaccinated. They're protected for life -- right?

The truth that Dr. Offit and other vaccination proponents don't want you to know is that contracting these childhood diseases - measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough - during childhood actually gives someone lifetime immunity to that disease.

Most of these involve a few days to a week of illness and are milder for children than for adults. In fact, immunizations often just prolong the contraction of these diseases, and when someone's supposed "lifetime" immunity from a vaccination runs out and they get the mumps, for example, an adult man could end up sterile.

So since vaccinations provide limited duration immunity, may contain potentially dangerous and toxic chemicals, and often only prolong getting the disease it's supposed to prevent, it seems to me the only rational decision available to a parent would be to waive immunizations.

If it comes down to lying and saying it's a "faith-based" decision, or putting my faith in Dr. Offit and the Vaccinations=Money Squad...

I'm all for lying.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #5: 13 Reasons Not To Shave My Legs Today

13 Reasons NOT To Shave My Legs Today

1. It’s getting too cold to wear shorts

2. It’s not Sunday, so I’m not wearing a skirt to church

3. We don’t have any more razors

4. The last time I shaved my legs, I cut myself

5. My five year old thinks it’s funny when I have “pokies” on my legs

6. The hair clogs up the drain

7. I’m thinking of moving to Europe

8. The stubble is a good defense against my husband’s sharp toenails

9. I have one long hair on my ankle I keep missing, and I want to see how long it will grow

10. I don’t have a gynecologist appointment any time in the near future

11. I have ambitions to run away and join the circus as JoJo the Hairy-Legged Girl

12. I’m conserving energy

13. If I get lost in the woods, I want to be able to rub my legs together to start a fire

See more Thursday Thirteens HERE!


The closer Halloween gets, the more the kids change their minds about what they want to be.

Zoe has flip-flopped more than a politician making waffles: I want to be a witch! I want to be a princess! I want to be a mermaid! I want to be Dora! I want to be a kitty cat! I want to be a goddess! But she doesn't want any help in deciding, thankyouverymuch. Should make for interesting costume-shopping this weekend.

Dmitri, on the other hand, asks his father a hundred times a day. "Would you rather be Batman or Superman?" Michael: Batman. "Okay, but would you rather be a Transformer or Deigo?" Dmitri's slowly narrowing it down based on Michael's opinion of superheroes and cartoon characters. By this weekend, we should have a winner--I hope.

Michael and I don't usually dress up unless we have a reason. When he worked at Gilda's Club, we had fun with costumes for their annual Halloween shindig. But for the most part, it's been a kid-focused holiday. (Heck, all of the holidays are mostly kid focused, come to think of it... even our own birthdays!) This year, though, we've been invited to a party, and I'm not only wondering what the kids are going to be for Halloween... I now have to consider what I want to be.

I have costumes already made. One year we went as Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf in Grandma's Nightgown. I have another costume I made the year I went as "Wonder Bread." (A white sheet with red, blue and yellow foam circles on it with "Wonder" down the side.) And then there's the nun outfit. The year I wore that one, people kept coming up to me and saying, "Oh my god, you scared me to death, you look just like Sister So-And-So." Good to know I could impersonate a nun--at least, on the outside.

So I lately find myself wondering a lot, "What should I be?" when I'm standing in line at the supermarket, or pumping gas, or cooking dinner...

This morning, it occurred to me... I haven't asked myself that particular question in any context for a very long time. All those pressing inquiries seem to fall away when we become adults. We don't ask ourselves who we want to be anymore--we already are.

Except... we aren't.

When I was in graduate school, one of my good friends there was a woman in her late sixties. She had been a well-known and respected equestrian all her life, but she fell and broke her hip and was forced to stop riding. Then, she reinvented herself. She asked herself the question: "What do I want to be?" And she went back to school to get her degree in counseling psychology.

How often to we pigeonhole ourselves into what or who we think we are? Do we think outside of the box - or are we content to close the lid and peek out the eyeholes we've made? It's interesting to consider the masks we wear. No, I'm not Dora the Explorer, or Ariel the little mermaid... but I am a witch, and a goddess. I'm also a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter. And a psychologist, a doula, a writer.

But is that all? Hardly. We are so much more than the labels we place on ourselves. And we can be so much more than that. The truth in the statement we parents often repeat to our kids: "You can be anything you want when you grow up" is the ultimate truth.

We can be anyone. Do anything. We are infinite in possibility. The masks we wear don't define us, but they can help us shape who we want to be. We can, in fact, take the shape of whatever mask we decide to wear.

The question is: Who do you want to be?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day: One More Way To Be Green


(Sung to the tune of the "Green Acres" television theme)

Blog Action Day's the place for me!
Green living is the life for me!
Landfills - we have to stem the tide!
Let's make conservation acts worldwide!

Denial is where I'd rather stay!
I'm allergic to Blog Action Day!
I just adore not having a clue.
Earth, I love ya, but I want my Starbucks brew!

Al Gore!
No more!
Fresh Air!
I don't care!

This is our earth!
How much is it worth?

Green living we are there!


Michael and I have always been environmentally conscious and conscienscious. We're Aquarians--apparently, its in our blood. Or, rather, our stars. We lay awake at night and dream together about living off-the-grid in a completely sustainable community somewhere in a very postmodern hippie-like existence. Of course, I want to have running water and electricity, still. I'm a spoiled sort of environmental activist that way.

And come to think of it... why can't we eat our cake and have it, too? Listen, humans aren't stupid, for the most part. There are ways to make it happen. Green building is possible. Green cars. Green EVERYTHING. I long for the day when I reach for a product and I don't have to wonder whether it was created with slave labor or may contain lead.

I'm know rather Al-Gore-ish when it comes to this: I want to live in a completely Green World, and this should be our number one priority above any other concern. Education, taxes, immigration, health care, sure, all important political issues--that completely disappear if we have no planet to live on in the first place!

Alarmist? Crazy? Noah building an ark perhaps?


I know there are folks out there with their heads stuck in the sand. Or, to be generous, they don't "believe" there's such a thing as, say, global warming. Welcome to the Flat Earth Society, would you like a cookie?

I don't understand how, as a nation, we can be so self-involved that we want to maintain the outrageous levels of denial we've managed to cultivate over the years. I don't know about you, but when someone says, "The sky is falling!" I look up. Perhaps the sky isn't falling. That's certainly a possibility. But maybe... just maybe... the sky is falling.

Wouldn't it be better to be safe, than sorry, as my grandmother always used to say?

Speaking of grandmothers, we can take a lesson from the indigineous peoples that lived here long before Columbus "discovered" this land and proved (yes, he did, Flat Earth folks... it really happened...) that the earth was, indeed, rather roundish. They had a custom they called "seven generations." Any time a decision was made that would impact the environment (and what decision do we ever make that doesn't impact our environment, I would argue!?) they would take into consideration the impact it would have for seven generations--both forward and behind. In other worlds, they asked themselves, how will this effect my grandchildren's grandchildren's grandchildren? And... What Would the Ancestors Do? (WWAD?)

It's not a bad policy. Think we can make it global?

Since we moved from the suburbs, I've been even more aware of our environment. Everything is so much more in-your-face when it comes to daily existence. You have to plan and think about rubbish pickup, for example, and have a limit on the amount of garbage they're willing to pick up. You actually count your bags of garbage. We take our recycled items to a center.

Whether you "believe" in global warming or not, conservation in and of itself is really a "better safe than sorry" proposition. It just makes common sense. Tell me, why wouldn't you conserve? I'd love to hear a really good reason.

Because you're lazy? Because it's too hard? *whine* Because you're too apathetic and what difference does it really make, anyway?

The reality is that we don't know what kind of impact we're going to have on future generations. But what it comes down to is this: do you care about what will happen on this planet after you're gone? If you do, then you can't do anything but try to be as much a conservationist as you can manage.

And (I'm so weird like this!) I'm always so excited when I find one more way I may possibly be able to impact the future--one more way to be green.

So when I ask: what are you doing to make your life more "green?" I really do want to know! The more ideas we share, the better. Because every little bit counts. Yes, it really does.

Here's a list of what we do:

**We consume as much local and organic food as possible

**We recycle and avoid buying things in non-recyclable packaging

**We don't use incandescent lightbulbs (and we recycle the energy saving ones we do use!)

**We conserve water

**We use rechargeable batteries

**We donate our old glasses and cell phones, recycle car batteries, etc.

**I use cloth menstrual pads

**We use cloth napkins

**We use cloth grocery bags

**I don't use toxic cleaners or herbicides (vinegar is a great cleaner, and it makes the house smell like Easter eggs!)

**We compost

**We're planning on installing solar panels next year

**We live as unplugged as we can

**We plant trees with the kids every year

**We refill printer cartridges

**We use energy efficient appliances

**We replace our heating/cooling filters every year

**We take community showers :)

**We hardly ever fly

**We freecycle and cheapcycle and hardly ever buy anything new, from cars to clothes

**We BookMooch

**We're working on the eating less meat thing :x (Michael isn't thrilled about that part.)

**Before we moved, Michael was carpooling, but now it's only six miles to work. Maybe some day he'll ride his bike ;) I'm pulling for telecommuting!

We've also signed hundreds of petitions, written lots of letters to Congress, belong to several conservation groups, etc...

So tell me... what do YOU do? I really want to know!

* * * * *

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1. Greenstylemom
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4. Simone\'s Butterfly
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