Monday, October 27, 2008

More U.S. Kids Growing Up Bilingual

I heard a piece on the radio today:
More U.S. kids growing up bilingual

Someone mentioned Language Lizard as a good source for dual language books, as well as audio books of stories in other languages. And if you're looking for a good reason to teach your kids a second language, how about this: research shows that it helps stave off dementia in later years.

Best to start 'em young!!

I still talk to MetaBoy in Spanish, though admittedly not as continuously as I'd like. We do try to get in a book in Spanish most days. His current choice is Ocho Monitos (Eight Monkeys). He definitely learns at a greater pace these days. However, given his greater exposure to English, with some Spanish thrown in for good measure, understanding him can be a bit challenging. It doesn't help that he is now listening to and repeating what he hears on the radio. One day, I caught him saying "get up, stand up." I only realized what he was saying when I heard Bob Marley in the background on the radio.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Shoe Pavilion Going Out of Business

Did you hear? Shoe Pavilion is going out of business. The sale is expected to last 10-12 weeks with some stores closing sooner.

Time to stock up on family footwear!

World Animal Day Photos

A friend sent me this link. There are some wonderful pictures of familiar and not so familiar animals. Have a glance.
World Animal Day

AP Photo/John McConnico - A zebra eyes visitors at the zoo in Chisinau, Moldova Sunday Sept. 28, 2008.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lashing Out

Oh, to be a girl. So many things to worry about. How does my hair look? Are my tights straight? Does this diaper make my tushie look big?

Well, we think she's darling. This outfit certainly helps bring out the precious qualities. That little vest? MetaNana's handiwork. Impressive, let me tell you. It seems I can hardly dress her. Making actual clothes would be highly improbable.

As I've mentioned before, she really resembles MetaBoy. One of the big difference is in the eyes color. MetaDaddy isn't as obsessive about the eye color as I am. Born and raised in Ireland, blue eyes were the everyday norm. He claims to really like my brown eyes. Then again, that's only the smart thing to say, n'est pas?

Anyway, having been born and raised in Los Angeles, blue eyes are much more rare. My mother's green eyes just tauned me...oh to be different. MetaBoy was born with very dark blue eyes which then became a dark brown like mine. MetaGirl's started off a much lighter blue than his, but have slowly gotten darker. I guess blue just isn't in the cards here. Ah well.

Hair is another of the differences they were born expressing. He was born with a perfectly coiffed head of dark hair. His eyebrows and eyelashes were well defined, and they've only become more pronounced over time. We've actually had strangers, specifically women, say "those eyelashes are wasted on him." I know what they're trying to say, even if they're not doing a good job at expressing themselves. A guy just doesn't appreciate the gorgeous lashes he's bestowed with as much as a girl does. I have long lashes, and I spent my childhood shielding myself from adult women ogling them. I've been taught to appreciate them.

But my little MetaGirl has much more fair, fine hair. And up until recently, she looked like she had quite the receding hairline. Precious for a newborn. I'm sure she'll grow out of it before the preciousness wears off ;-)

As for the lashes, when she's old enough to appreciate them, she might very well not appreciate her brother. At two months, you can't really see her eyebrows or lashes. Let's call them dainty. In any event, to prevent any fights, I'm hoping hers get thicker and darker...cuz she won't be using makeup on them for a long, long, long time.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Whole Foods Coupon

Woo Hoo!

A Whole Foods coupon for $5 off a purchase of $25. They must be hurting.

Melodramatic Toddler

MetaBoy can be so melodramatic. The whines and the yelps, all because you offered him a spoon full of food instead of allowing him to spoon it himself.

As MetaDaddy said, "he's a drama queen, but he's more of a stage actor than film actor."

So, we're raising ourselves a William Shatner. Score!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Jack in the Box ad

I've been avoiding a double stroller for various reasons. But this
is what I picture it to be like.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Like a German

Sometimes I feel like a German.

[Insert joke here]

I heard this piece on the radio explaining how Germany's banking system is relatively unaffected by the current economic climate because they didn't participate (or gain) from the excesses that led to the international meltdown. They didn't get involved in subprime loans. In fact, their equivalent system to a savings and loan is very conservative, only offering mortgages to those with at least 20% down. And depositors earn no more than 4%. Whoa, Nelly!!

The thing is that MetaDaddy and I thought about moving a couple of years ago, but we didn't want to (1) overpay for a property or (2) take out a mortgage we couldn't afford. Staying in our current home, we got to take advantage of the benefits of Santa Monica under affordable circumstances. That said, we'd look longingly at homes in our neighborhood while muttering under our breathe about how nice it would be...blah, blah, blah. But financially, we remained conservative...yardless, but conservative.

When the mortgage crisis started to unfold, we felt vindicated. Why should I feel bad for someone who made a bad decision if I restricted myself from the same luxury? Why should I bail that person out? Why? Why? Why?

But at some point it became obvious that something needed to happen before the U.S. economy, as well as that of so many other countries, is compromised. Is the 700 billion bail out the answer? I don't know. I don't think anyone knows for sure. It seems people with a lot of knowledge and experience are taking a shot in the dark to avoid repeating history.

As I heard this story about Germany, it seemed to me that they'll have to appreciate that even if they didn't benefit from the economy over the past few years, it doesn't mean that they won't suffer if the financial system isn't repaired. All of our economies are interwoven so tightly; you can see the tear ripping through the fabric of the international financial system. And while it's hard to help someone who benefited from stupid mistakes at an ultimate cost to you, isn't the alternative scenario worse.

Happiest Place on Earth

When you Google "Happiest Place on Earth," the first result is Disneyland.

Which leads me to tell you about the best text message ever.

"Do you want to go to Disneyland?"


Be still my heart. I don't remember when I've been so excited! I've been to Disneyland many, many times, but not for a while. In my 20's, it seemed like a ridiculously boring thing to do. But now, OMG, OMG, OMG!!

Speaking of the "happiest place on earth," I ran across a couple of interesting articles. This one and this one both rank Iceland as the 4th happiest place on earth. Basically, the populations of the happiest countries
  • have a higher GDP per capita,
  • have good healthcare,
  • have access to education,
  • don't have extremes in happiness or sadness.
Basic tools for a healthy body and mind while keeping to the middle of the road is where to be, I guess. Unfortunately, Iceland's been perhaps the hardest hit thus far in the global economic crisis.
"Iceland's whole economy appears on the verge of breakdown, with debts 12 times larger than its GDP. Its stock exchange was today shut down until Monday, due to the "unusual market conditions". Three days ago trading in financial firms was stopped."
The population of 320,000 seems panicky, as does the British government given that Prime Minister Gordon Brown is considering legal action against Iceland for its decision not to recompense those with savings in its failed banks.

Every day, another huge chunk of depressing financial news.

Curious to see what happens with WellsChovia Group. What's King Solomon gonna do with that baby?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Quote: Sir Winston Churchill

Solvency is valueless without security, and security is impossible to achieve without solvency.
--Sir Winston Churchill


Monday, October 6, 2008

Farmers' Market Delivery

I read about an interesting local service. Auntie Em's Organic Produce and Dinner Delivery delivers seasonal produce from local farmers and farmers' markets. I've always wondered why no one does this. Locally, there are so many farmers' markets, but the best are the ones held during the week. If you work, you can't go. What's more, unless you go religiously, you don't have the opportunity to learn about the produce and farmers, you can't ask questions about recipes and seasonality, and as a result you can't develop relationships that help you get the best food. It seems to me that a service like this has the potential of working their wisdom and connections to get you the best food.

I've always found that organic food from the FM is cheaper than organic food from the grocery store. This leaves a good deal of earnings potential for this kind of service. Based on their sample listing of food and the prices I'm used to, it seems to me like this service tacks on a hefty premium for their efforts. That said, local food is fresher, which means it'll last longer in your fridge. There's a lot to be said about that.

While you'd be better off going to the FM yourself, this is a close runner up. If you get a chance to try it, let me know how it goes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

An Economy of Cheap Comfort Foods

Interesting segment on ABC World News last night. The sale of inexpensive comfort foods is up, as is the advertising for said foods. Campbell's soup, DiGiorno pizza, Kellogg's...they're all touting their thrifty eats. Campbell's general manager even admitted that they haven't been as "explicit in focusing on value probably since the 1920s or 1930s." When the stock market took a dive on Monday (remember that 778 drop in the Dow?), the only stock on the S&P 500 index to go up was...drumroll...yup, Campbells.

The segment goes on to say that biologically, this marketing tactic makes sense. Animal studies suggest that fatty comfort foods may ease stress. They are sooooo preaching to the choir. If I could live on cupcakes, I would. I would.

Personally, I've noticed more ads focused on savings. I saw the first commercial for Kool Aid that I've seen in years. It wasn't very exciting, but it just felt unusual. Same goes for Velveeta. I can't believe they still make that stuff!!