Saturday, June 28, 2008

Groovy Dancing Girl

My sister in law sent me a You Tube video. Apparently, Groovy Dancing Girl is a graphics designer who dances...possibly as a means to make sure she fits into those jeans ;-)

Watching it reminds me of how I feel on any given day chasing after MetaToddler. Except my version contains more falling, bruises, and broken things (like dishes and toes).

On that note, groove.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

PhotoStory Friday: Tractors in Los Angeles

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

City girl that I am, I've never seen certain things.

I've seen cows, sheep, donkeys, etc. up close, but not until I was well past 20.

Although I vaguely remember seeing goats, chickens, ducks, etc. at a petting zoo when I was 8, they freaked me out.

Tractors, ploughs, combine harvesters (which make their way into many toddler picture books, btw) were as rare in my world as the Loch Ness monster. Mythological creatures, if you will.

This past week, I saw my first tractor in action. No, we didn't visit a tractor showroom. Nor did we visit Iowa. We just went down to the beach. Unfortunately, the photo was taken with my phone, so the tractor is teeny tiny. But it's there, I promise!!

On that note, more sand tractors, or proof thereof:

Someone else's sand tractor

One of the cuter sand tractors

Sand tractor tracks

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Women Paying for Health Insurance

I'm so terribly offended by this phenomenon that I can't quite make enough sense of it. Per this article, women are charged more for health insurance than men, at least on individual policies. Group policies have enough people pooled together that the insurance company can spread the "risk" among everyone, thus negating the need to charge different rates for each insured person.

But insurance companies are in business to make money. Their actuaries crunched the numbers that concluded women are riskier to insure. Their results lead Blue Shield to deem "Hack and all other women are somehow more accident-prone, or more likely to break a bone, or more susceptible to costly ailments."

Come on? How many women do you know that walk around in casts? MetaDaddy broke his collar bone, and spent much of his childhood recovering from head dings and other random boy mishaps. Prior to my c-section, my worst injury was a bump on the head from a flying flute bumping me. Who was at the other end of the flute? Some clumsy guy. Go figure.

I was curious to know why we women are so dangerous. I came up with a few theories, and the article countered each one. Keep in mind that the article is referencing Blue Shield's policies in particular, although they do throw in some data from other insurance companies as a point of comparison.
  • It's not about pregnancy because the policy in question doesn't cover pregnancy and maternity care.
  • It's not about seeking more preventative care because that should make them better insurance risks. Someone in the article questioned whether or not the actuaries are assessing how much insurance is used vs. true risk. Interesting point.
  • It's not a "women live longer" issue. As the article points out, on average, women pay more than men up until the age of 60, at which point the trend reverses and men are charged more than women. That said, men are "viewed as a lesser medical liability than women, who live longer on average because they tend to eat right, exercise more frequently and take better care of themselves." How contradictory can you get?
So, keep that in mind if you're shopping around for an insurance policy and you're a young, healthy woman. Even though you're likely a lesser risk than the clumsy slob down the hall who snowboards once a year and hasn't seen his ankles since Y2K was all the rage, you might still be paying more than him for the same insurance coverage.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Potter Fun

Warning: Seriously addictive ;-)
But fun and hilarious...fu-larious!

Potter Puppet Pals in "The Mysterious Ticking Noise"

Monday, June 23, 2008

Parents Say the Darndest Things

Things we never quite thought we'd say.

"No, you can't have any wine. Or beer."
--In general, I don't think either of us thought we'd be limiting anyone's alcohol intake. Especially for a toddler. What is it about MetaDaddy's glass that looks so much more enticing than his own?

"Take your shoe out of your mouth."

"Are you stinky?"
--Do I really have to break this one down?

"Take the bird out of your mouth."
--They're life-sized wooden birds. He calls them "bee bee" (birdie) in that high pitched voice. He kisses them. He loves them. Sometimes, he loves them too much.

"A clue! A clue!!"
--Blue's Clues. And no, not just around the toddler.

I'm sure your every day life is different to ours. Any fun moments?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

MetaDaddy's been threatening to shave off his goatee for a while now. Something about not liking the recent natural "changes." He's had the goatee for as long as I've known him, so it's hardly something I suspect he'll follow through on. I've been threatening to cut my hair mega-short, but I'm hardly going to.

I was looking at older pictures of us recently, and I realized how much shorter his goatee has gotten over the years. In fact, it's hardly more than a shadow these days. I told him I was on to his little trick, and to stop being cheeky. But it's there for now, which is good for keeping the status quo.

So, I was upstairs tidying up in the kitchen. I came downstairs to help make our bed. MetaToddler was off playing in his room. We're chatting away, then I look at the man across from me and scream "ACK!" as a bounced back in horror. Thoughts running through my head:

This sounds like my husband.

He's saying things my husband would say.

He's wearing my husband's Hawaiian shirt.

But who the hell is this guy?!?

"What did you do!!" Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

He said he could grow it back in a couple of days, but that's hardly better. I need to know where we stand here. To goatee or not to goatee? That is the question. I can't have a goatee here today, but not tomorrow. I need more stability than that. This is not helping my nesting instinct!!

OK, it's not so bad. But seriously, I couldn't look at him for a while. It was too weird. It looks like him, but with a pale area in the center of his face. I'm slowly adjusting, but it might take some time before I can look at him without feeling like he looks a little naked.

I'm just saying.

Friday, June 20, 2008

PhotoStory Friday: Smart Cars

Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

When we were in Europe a few years back (my, how time flies), we saw a lot of cool things. Old building, castles, towers. Had great food, met nice people, traveled the various metros. All good stuff. But it's the little things that really make you say "OMG, can you believe that?"

I kept seeing the Smart car. I've been hearing about it a lot more lately, and seen my fair share here in Santa Monica. There's even a dealership in Venice, just down the road. It's a small car, hence it gets great gas mileage. That said, it's a small car, so I'm hardly interested in driving Los Angeles freeways in it. When there's an accident, it's a doozy.

But I digress. It's not the miles per gallon, fun colors, lack of trunk space, or comedic size that caught my eye. It's the fact that it can be parked in non-existent parking spaces. Abso-lutely Awesome!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Changing Shampoos...Again

I've been trying to live a greener life. To that end, I've been revisiting my shampoo choices. Last year, I posted on trying out a new shampoo. The results? Blagh.

But it's been a while, so I figured I'd try changing again. This time, I went for the super organic hippie shampoo, Dr. Bronner's Classic Peppermint liquid soap. It's completely biodegradable, vegetable-based, organic, fair trade, and so on. There's even a lot of reading material to accompany the lathering process. And they claim there are 18 uses for their soap, though they only list 5 here. So I tried it as a shampoo. And guess what. Blagh.

Washing my hair with this soap left it squeaky clean. Interesting, but not bad. I tried using it with my usual conditioner, but it left me with that same heavy, unclean feeling I experienced with Avalon Organic Botanicals Nourishing Shampoo in lavender. I tried it a few times, just in case, but the heaviness only got worse. I couldn't get a comb, much less a brush, into my hair. Let me repeat that. I could not comb my hair. Pregnant...braces...straw for hair. It's a wonder why MetaToddler spends so much of the day laughing with (at?) me.

So, I'm back on the cheap drugstore shampoo. I did find the following tips on the Dr. Bronner's website, but honestly, it's going to take me a while to consider changing shampoos again. If you're thinking about it, however, here you go.

Can I shampoo and condition my hair organically?

1) Shampoo with your favorite Dr. Bronner’s soap. True soaps clean hair well but can leave a tangly look & feel; however…

2) Rinsing with our new Organic Shikakai Conditioning Rinse results in spectacular look and feel! Just stir 1- 2 capfuls of this rinse into a cup of water, close eyes and slowly pour while massaging into hair. Keep hand combing hair until hair feels entirely sleek (~30 seconds). Rinse out well. Repeat if necessary in extra hard water conditions or with longer hair.

3) After drying lightly with a towel, massage in Dr. Bronner’s new USDA Organic Leave-In Conditioning Crème for added silkiness and softness.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pregnancy's a Tough Racket

It's funny the things you conveniently forget about being pregnant. Some good, some not so good.

Getting big - Carrying around a bit of extra weight in tedious. Carrying around 30+ extra pounds that has a life of its own is seriously annoying. It's not weight that sits there, but it kicks and pokes your stomach, ribs, and (worst of all) bladder. It also sits in one spot which throws off your center of gravity, causing a change in posture and walking. This, in turn, has an impact on your back, knees, calves, and feet. I remembered getting big, and I remembered getting back pain, but I didn't remember the painful pressure from being on my feet too long (relative these days), constant cramps in my calves, knees that occasionally lock, and so on. Oddly enough, the back pain thus far has been a fraction of what it was the first time. I've got two months to make up for that ;-)

Kicking - I love the kicking. It's so bizarre to feel the little "somethings" (arms? legs?) feeling their way across my tummy. It's not so fun when the other appendages kick other things, but's hard to have it both ways, isn't it? As I sit on the sofa (which it seems to dislike, just as MetaToddler did way back when), the kicking starts in a serious way. Every night, I insist on sharing with MetaDaddy, but as it's rather removed from him, it's more an "ooo, look at that" reaction. I can't blame him. I do wish MetaToddler was old enough to experience and remember it. I can't think of anything else that's quite like it. Though the feeling of the movements compressing on my organs sometimes reminds me of being on the free-fall segment of a roller coaster (or sky diving, if that's your thing).

Anemia - It's not uncommon for a pregnant woman to become anemic. Pregnant women's blood expands by about 50%. The extra iron is required for the additional blood, as well as for the baby and placenta. My first pregnancy, I found out at the 6 month mark that I was anemic. After taking iron supplements, my energy levels increased dramatically. I had a terrible 2nd trimester because I was exhausted the whole time. In fact, as a result, the 3rd trimester was by far my "honeymoon" period. This time I found out at the 4 month mark, which has made a big difference in my energy levels. Whew!

Hunger - I eat a lot these days. I've never been a huge eater, in terms of quantity. When I was pregnant the first time, I had to get to month 5 before I was able to start enjoying food, thanks to morning (all day) sickness. But when I did, there was no kidding around. I would eat my meal and start nibbling at MetaDaddy's, much to his shock. My appetite stayed pretty hearty through the first 6 months of breastfeeding. As nursing lessened, so did my need for food. It was kind of a relief. But my appetite is back with a vengeance now. I need a hearty lunch and dinner, as well as a serious afternoon snack. And if I don't have an after-dinner something (e.g., snack, dessert), I wake up starving in the middle of the night. I'm usually too tired to actually get out of bed, but I have seriously thought about it, which says a lot for me.

Tired - If I don't sleep for 8 hours, I can barely survive the day. In fact, I probably need closer to 9, and if MetaToddler keeps me seriously active, there's no question as to whether or not I will need a nap. It's all I can do to avoid caffeine some days.

Sleeping - If I'm not waking up in the middle of the night with some bladder dilemma, I'm waking up to reposition the belly that gravity has taken a liking to. But this I remember. This is my body's way of saying "get used to surviving on no sleep." Oh, so afraid of what August holds. In fact, I know what it probably doesn't doesn't hold much computer time :-o

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Around the Internet

Belly Flirt - Sometimes, you just gotta be yourself. And sometimes, when that self is pregnant, things can get ugly.
But I digress. Since shirts have stopped covering the lower part of my belly...the part I don't get to see any might be time to invest in more shirts :-)

Kiva Nighthorse Go-Anywhere Tote - '07 Closeout - It's always worth keeping your eyes open for a good diaper bag. They can run pretty expensive, but other types of bags can be just as, or more useful. Except for occasional expeditions where you need everything, smaller and lighter bags are much more useful. So my advice? Don't spend a fortune. This one looks interesting. It's not a diaper bag, but it's interesting and has lots of pockets (dimensions:16" x 12" x 5"). And it's pretty darn cheap ;-)

Crumb Pod Tablecloth Sweeper by Casabella - I recently bought this at Bed Bath & Beyond, courtesy of their ever-abundant coupons. So far, I'm impressed. It's done what I hoped in that I no longer feel compelled to buy a useless mini cordless vacuum, which inevitably works for two days then conks out. Mind you, it's suited to clean up a few crumbs, not to de-crumb the whole backseat. I'm just saying.

I Am An Adult - Wow. Apparently, I've been an adult for a good few years. Like, I hardly remember not being one. I love, love, love concerts, but all those rowdy hooligans...ugh!

Friday, June 13, 2008

PhotoStory Friday: Debating Monks

Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Joining my ol' buddy MamaGeek in PhotoStory Friday. Ah, Friday mayhem :-)

We traveled to Lhasa, Tibet in 2004. There were many things to be said about the city, but one of the most intriguing to me were the monks. They were everywhere! It was such an interesting feeling. I don't know many (any) monks, but I always held them in a sort of reverence because they were so disconnected from the city life I know. It turns out they wear sneakers, use cell phones, and wander all over the city...just like real people. They were part of every day life.

Here's one exciting thing they do in Tibet. They debate. They gather in groups and debate religious issues, ending their point with a powerful *stomp* or *clap* to vanquish the evil perspectives. They were done with joy and excitement, not in a tedious or dire way. They enjoyed it so much, you'd hardly wonder if they were serious about their arguments at all! We consider ourselves truly fortunate to have been there to watch a few such exhibitions

I don't know how much has changed since we were there. I'm assuming a lot, but I'm hoping that it hasn't.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Quote: Otto von Bismarck

Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made.
--Otto von Bismarck

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Blogiversary? Already

Ah yes, it's been a year. Holy cracker jacks!! That certainly went by in a flash.

You turn around, and suddenly you're in your 30s, you're married, you're a parent, and then your blog turns one.

On the plus side, another excuse for cake.

Like I really need a reason. These days, taking a shower and getting dressed is enough to merit celebration.

On that note, MetaDaddy got me the one thing I truly wanted. He came back home :-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Beach

Sand up your nose,
and in your toes.
Sand in your hair.
Sand everywhere!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Gas Prices Soar...and Fast

I tend to drive locally, so I tend to fill up every 3 weeks on average. I've been doing a bit more driving over the past few weeks though, and I can't help but gasp every time I fill up. Primarily because of how fast prices have jumped. It's one thing for prices to go up, but this fast? Wowsers!!

Recent gas:
I filled up on 5/18 for 3.90/gallon

12 days later
I filled up on 5/30 for 4.10/gallon

9 days later
I filled up on 6/8 for 4.40/gallon

Honestly, the most frustrating thing is that the increases are obviously emotional. This is not a supply and demand problem. Personally, I think the problem is primarily in the commodities market where investors are so excited about the prospect of making a buck that they're creating a bubble, not unlike the tech or housing bubbles of recent years.

Let's see how this goes.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Juno on Apple TV

Despite feeling very Juno these days, I haven't seen the movie yet.

I know, I know. Shocking.

The thing is, we got an Apple TV recently. It's a fun gadget, but it didn't come with a cable. So MetaDaddy hijacked the DVD player's cable, which now doesn't work as a result. And he's away for the next few days, so I can't watch DVDs. So much for Netflix. I can, however, rent a movie on iTunes. Excellent, Smithers.

And so, I did. It's $4, downloads in no time, and you have 30 days to start watching it. Once you start watching it, you have 24 hours to finish. You can pause, forward, rewind, etc. No extras, but honestly, I never watch the extras. Well, I seldom do.

Very convenient, easy, and spontaneous. Netflix is great, but there's nothing spontaneous about it. And given where I'm at these days, it's nice to feel spontaneous. Apple does need a bigger selection. It's minuscule. Perfect for us though because we haven't seen movies in years! Ah, the joys.

As for the movie, it was cute. Juno and I are nothing alike, and yet I found myself relating to her completely with regards to the "getting bigger" part. After all, we're about the same size...which means we're both planets (and cranky) once the 8-9 month thing comes around (clip). For the record, I'm almost 7 months.

Incidentally, the ultrasound technician in the movie is...well, I don't buy her 'tude. Every UT I've been to has been super sweet. I figure it's the nature of their job. All they see are women giddy to see their little blob with fingers, toes, and a paunchy little belly. And I've seen a lot, lot, lot of UTs. I've had 5 so far. I think I had about 7 or 8 with MetaToddler. My obstetrician is a bit of a control freak. More on that later ;-)

The soundtrack is pretty fun, too. I had to buy it when I sampled it because Boogie started dancing around. Any excuse to see him spin in circles to a beat. If only everything was this easy.

Le sigh.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

David Sedaris on The Daily Show

I've told you how much I enjoy David Sedaris.

His advice? Move to Japan for 3 months to quit smoking...for a mere $23K :-o

I wonder what happens if you move to France for 3 months.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bubble Blowing Booby Trap

As a toddler mommy, I exposed a fatal flaw today. We went to visit a friend who had a bottle of soap for blowing bubbles. I tried to blow some, and I failed. I mean, nothing was happening, besides splooshing suds on myself. And by on myself, I mean on the belly, the most prominent part of my current self.

BTW, I do not recommend this look. Well, unless you're pregnant, cuz that's the only time it will ever, ever be completely overlooked. So guys, you're out of luck here. That said, you don't have to endure labor. Who won that one?

Ya, I thought so.

So tonight at bath time, I took out a bottle of bubbles that I've put off opening. Obviously, I've been avoiding it for a reason. But now, I was on a mission.




Ah, but wait...

I eventually got the blowing pressure better and started to get a few bubbles out. Small, but I'm not picky. MetaToddler was really, really patient because (1) he was exhausted and (2) he loves bubbles. If anything, he was trying to take the wand from me because...well, he makes better bubbles than I do. But hey, that's cool. One day someone will ask "did you teach that champion bubble blower how to blow bubbles," and I'll proudly say "no, he's just naturally fabulous."

In the meantime, I'll work on blowing more bubbles. Or learn to feign wrist pain and pass the wand on to MetaDaddy. Or buy some idiot-proof wand so we can actually enjoy the summery sunshine.

If you have any tips for the bubble impaired, please share. I've read around and figured this is a start.

Coldplay: Living La Vida Live

Coldplay is so ridiculously good in concert, it's not even fair.

Here's what I missed out on:Coldplay Viva la Vida Live MTV Movie Awards 2008

...tip, tap, tapping the toes...bop, bop, bopping the head...whoooooaaaaa-o...whoooooaaaaa-a...

So excited about the new album (June 17). It's a good thing Boogie likes to dance, even if it is in wee little circles. I figure it's all of the Latin heat he got from me ;-)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Nina Simone: Interviews & Live Music

A beautiful, if depressing, compilation of interviews by Tom Schnabel with Nina Simone and some phenomenal live performances. She passed away in 2003 after a turbulent life. She saw and did so much, though by the sound of some things she says the interviews, she might have preferred less excitement and more potatoes. She speaks so honestly, you almost feel like you shouldn't be listening to such private thoughts. It's intimidating. But her music warmly invites you to listen and enjoy. So I did.

I'm not sure of how long it is because I listened to it over several time bursts. Ah, parenthood ;-) It's not short, though...perhaps an hour or more? But I highly recommend it if you like Nina, or you just feel like listening to some sweet, golden honey. But don't call her a jazz singer. She hated that.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Around the Internet

99 Luftballons - First of all, I'm annoyed that they don't do maternity sizes. Second, it's probably for the best cuz if I get this shirt, I'll end up singing the song every time I see it in a mirror. In fact, I'm singing it right now...
And MetaToddler will just spend the whole time pointing at me saying "bee-bah" (translation: balloon).
And yet, still tempting.

Good News/Bad News: Gordon Ramsay at the London - Gordon Ramsey finally makes it to L.A. Per some of the Chowhound comments (see link), L.A.'s not impressed. Wonder how Gordo would rate his own shabby performance...tee hee :-)

Web feast of frugal meals - More families are cutting back on their food budgets, and it's getting more than's getting trendy :-o
Whatever about that, I'm not going to be making butter or cream cheese out of powdered milk. But kudos to anyone with that amount of energy and drive. I'm impressed!

Hangover Observations: Taste of the Nation LA - Eater L.A.'s review of the event. We ate so much, we couldn't eat a real dinner. And MetaToddler definitely made out like a bandit. From pork belly to poached salmon to gelato, all he kept saying was "more!!" We even got to see a few foodie celebs, like Antonia from Top Chef.