Friday, March 21, 2008

Oyster going to read this post?

"What did the clam say to the oyster?"

"Is that a pearl in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?"

Hardy har har.

If you actually laughed at that, I'll be amazed, because I made it up myself.

But seriously, this post isn't just about lame jokes. I wanted to pass along some important information that I was recently reminded of. This isn't a big deal for me now, since I decided to go Kosher-style a few years ago and give up treif, but it could definitely impact a lot of my friends.

There are some important rules about seafood consumption that not everyone knows about. If you are going to eat raw or undercooked Gulf oysters, then you need to know what the risks are. A lot of people can do this (it's considered a delicacy) without any problems, but if you are in an at-risk group, you should think twice before risking your health. The Web site can tell you what all the at-risk groups are, but for now, I'm just going to talk about one in particular. Pregnant women.

I went to a barbecue at a co-workers house when I was about 14-15 weeks pregnant. Most people knew because I'd announced it by then, but I wasn't quite showing obviously yet. I looked bigger, but it could have just been me gaining weight. A woman I didn't know very well had brought some oysters and they were cooking some on the grill, but also eating them raw. It was almost trusth-or-dare style, one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen adults do. Trying to intimidate people who thought it was gross into trying them. And of course, when I politely declined, they started razzing me too.

I didn't feel like they deserved an explination. It wasn't their business why I didn't want an oyster and I didn't deserve to be peer-pressured by 40 year olds. How lame. Anyway, I got pissed off enough that I just left and went inside. Later, the woman who brought the oysters came and apologized. She said she had no idea that I was pregnant and I was right not to do it. Raw oysters are bad news for the unborn. I gave her a look and didn't say much. I just wished that people would mind their own business at that point.

But I'm passing this information along because it occurs to me now that maybe she really thought she was helping. For all she knew, I was refusing because I thought it was gross and then would get brave later and go try them just to make a point. So since I never told her "I'm not eating them because I'm pregnant" she felt she should make sure I knew it was unsafe.

I recently had a conversation with a friend about sleeping on your back while pregnant too, which she didn't know was unsafe, so I figured I should go ahead and pass this along. Maybe I'll save a baby today :-)

A little lonely

So even though a large percentage of my friends have said that they think the lj boycott (yes, I agree that "strike" is the wrong word for many reasons) is dumb, I decided I would stay away today. There are two reasons for this.

1. I do remember the uproar about lj banning nursing photos as user icons and am very upset that they are contributing to our society's disgusting and incorrect view that breastfeeding is sexual or something you should be ashamed of and keep hidden.

2. Even though for the most part, the new changes don't affect me and aren't my cause in particular, I'm being repectful of the people who are affected. It's like I'm not striking myself, but am just choosing not to cross the picket line. I mean, c'mon, it's only 24 hours, I'm not going to die from lj withdrawals. Right? Right.

The one sport that makes sense

It's no secret that I'm not exactly what you would call a sports fan. I mean, basketball is a bunch of sweaty guys jumping up and down, football is a bunch of freezing guys jumping on top of each other and wresting is a bunch of naked guys trying to kill each other. But even I have to admit that Amercica's favorite passtime, baseball, can be pretty fun to watch. It's easy to understand and relatively non-violent. The year that the Mariners were doing so good that they made it to the playoffs (the lost to the Indians) I made sure I was watching baseball.

But there are people who are so into baseball that watching the real thing isn't even enough for them. They also play fantasy baseball, which is, as far as I can tell, pretty impossible to win. But a lot of people are VERY into it, and spend large chunks of their time online trading players, etc. At least now there is Web-based software that helps you keep track of all the decisions you've made. You can access it from anywhere, not just your home computer (good news for all those guys at my old work who spent large amounts of time playing fantasy baseball after deadline was over) and it even comes equipped with artificial intelligence that makes mid-season projections.

Apparently the reason we should all care about this nifty tool is that there is a significant amount of money to be made in fantasy baseball. Now that I did not know about.

If any of you are into fantasy baseball and want to sign up to use this software, you can enter the promo code BMC200 and get $10 off. Ta-da! Pass it along :-)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I'd like to purchase a time machine

The only good news I can report at this particular moment is that Ben went to bed at the fantastically beautiful time of 8:15. And that's not down to bed at 8:15, that's ASLEEP at 8:15. I've seen nothing like this in months and months and months. But at the same time, I haven't had a day like today in um, ever?

Our day started well. I woke up and we nursed. My alarm went off and I actually was able to get out of bed, so I scooped Ben up and carried him upstairs, stripped him down fast and put him on the potty. Ta-da!!! Dry diaper, overnight :-) That's right, I'm a potty-training genius. Yay! I suddenly felt a lot better about the $7 I spent last night on an online potty training course. (I wouldn't recommend it if things are going fine, but if you're having problems, it does have a few good tips. Probably worth about half of what I paid for it, but hey, $7 is not that much to begin with. Since a lot of things on the Internet turn out to be a scam, I'm happy that it was useful at all. It's actually one of the ads on the top of this page "potty training in 3 days" so check it out if you're interested.)

Anyway, I digress already.

He peed, we watched Backyardigans, we went to art class. It was an Easter-themed day, and I even thought about not going, but decided we'd paid for it and he'd have fun. He doesn't know bunnies and eggs have anything to do with the J-dude. So we did some fun projects and when class was over, lo and behold, he was still dry!!! Yay again. We went to the public restroom but he was too distracted. So I bribed him with candy to stay dry all the way home. He did, we made it and he went in the potty again!!!! A potty-training goddess, that's me.

Then we had lunch and nap. I set a nice alarm so I'd know what time to go get him to make sure he made it to the potty in time (if he wakes up naturally, he never makes it) Well, of course, he woke up 3 minutes before the alarm. And wet his pants. Ah, well. To be expected.

The next pee was when we were outside playing in the yard. We of course tried to go before playtime, but he didn't go. So I set an alarm on my cell phone for 3:45 to try again. Every 20 minutes until they go. Want to know when he went? Three mintues before the alarm went off. Great.

So now, it's late afternoon. We watched some tv. We did some potty sits. Nothing. Time went by. He got up a lot. More time passed. The more sure I was that he had to go, the more he refused to even sit at all. We tried the big potty. We tried the little potty. He screamed, "No potty!" Oh dear. I saw the carpet accident coming a mile away and had no idea what to do.

But thankfully we figured it out. I put on Penguin Movie which we haven't seen in eons. He peed right in the potty before the previews even STARTED! Yup, sure you didn't have to go. But what I can't understand is why he hates the potty later in the day. Seriously, each potty visit is harder than the last and by the end of the day he basically refuses to go at all. Our last accident was actually when Stephen was watching him and he was sitting on the massage table. Stephen actually got a little mad which is kind of unusual for him.

Le sigh.

By the time I got Ben to the bath, we were all insanely tired. He'd been screaming and getting into things and making a big ol mess of anything he came near. We get into the bathroom, and he goes for the toilet paper. About a third of a roll in .5 seconds. And then he threw a bunch of it in the bath. AGHHGHGHHGHGHHHHHH!!!

Things were better in the bath, he calmed down some and did some listening. All was going well until we got out. He tried to get back in, with his towel and I told him that bath was all done. So he bolted straight to the toilet paper. Double handed unrolling. And as much of it as possible into the draining bath. In an instant.

So. Onto the title of this post. I thought to myself while nursing Ben to sleep, what happened to my baby?

This lead me to two separate trains of thought. Why on earth would I want ANOTHER child when I'm so close to strangling this one? What makes me think that I could watch two? And live? They'll tag team me ... one will destroy things while the the other cries and then I'll go to clean up the destroyed stuff and someone will bite or pinch or cry and then I'll lose one and I just can't imagine what the hell I'm thinking.

But I really thought about why it is that I want another baby. Not just the two kids was always the goal in the long run. Not just so much that I want a daughter so much that it physcially hurts me to think about it for too long. It's that I want my baby back. And since Ben will never get younger, the only way to recaptures those wonderful sweet little newbaby moments is to have another one.

I wondered if people would have so many kids if there were time machines and you could just go back and visit your first at any age. Hmmm.

Cause seriously, if Stephen came to me and said "Throw out your pills! Let's make a baby tonight!!!!" I'm not sure I could do it. I am THAT tired.

I spent the whole six and a half hours that I slept last night dreaming about potty training. That's right, dry pants are so much a part of my life now that they're infecting my dreams.

I just want a little break.

PS: the newest good news is that it turns out that not only did he go to sleep at 8:15, he did it BY HIMSELF with zero get ups. Wow. That's one tired kid.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Gaining exposure

It's kind of ironic to me that back when I was working, I was in journalism, which I was always very careful to explain to people was completly seperate from advertising. But now that I'm at home, my extra income comes from writing ads, which is kind of what I said I was "too good for" when I was working. Ha ha ha. I guess that just goes to show you that you should never say never. After all, even when I worked at the newspaper, I was totally dependent on advertising. I mean, that's where my paycheck came from, right?

Ads are responsible for sponsoring a lot of things that we use every day that are "free" to us, like large portions of the internet. And since people buy stuff online all the time, it works out good for each Advertising Agency as well, because they want to get their names out there, gain some exposure and make some new business. Somtimes I click on various ads I see at the side of people's Web sites, especially if it is something I'm interested in, because you never know when you're going to find a good deal that you wouldn't have even thought to look for. :-)

How many flavors was that again?

To motivate Ben with his potty-learning, I've been giving him treats for two reasons. One level for staying dry, and one level for going in the potty. I read once that just giving reinforcement for going in the potty doens't get the whole message across. Then they get the idea that it's good to go in the potty, but not that they have to do it everytime. Just when its convienient for them.

Rewarding for dry pants is a completely different mentality. It's not saying "You have to use the potty" it's saying "Mama likes dry pants." It's hard to explain why it works differently, but it does. If you do this technique completely the way its recommended, you're not really supossed to make a deal out of using the potty at all. Rewards are for potty sits (trying, regardless of success) and for dry pants. This is supossed to keep him from feeling pressured or stage-fright or whatever. But I can't help but get really excited when he pees in the potty, so I'm kind of doing a combo approach.

Anyway, I decided to go out and get some special potty treats for dry pants. Out of nostalgia and a general good memory of them, I went with a box of Jelly Bellies. A pre-mixed set. Like 40 flavors.

And do you know the problem with Jelly Bellies? You can't tell what you're getting (yes, even if you pore over the little chart thing that they include) until you put it in your mouth. It's the worst guesing game ever. Will it be chocolate pudding? Or will it be root beer? Ewwwww!!!!

Ben asked for a "black one" the other day after using the potty and I gave it to him, warning him that Mama doesn't even like black ones, and that if he didn't like it, it was OK.

I seriously should have taken photos. I've never seen him so confused. He's like "It's candy. I like candy. But it's bad!!!! What's wrong with the candy? Why is it broken?"

Ha ha ha. I'd give up on the Jelly Bellies completely except for one problem. What's that? Juicy pear. OMG, if you've never had juicy pear Jelly Bellies, it's worth going out and getting a whole box just to pick out the pear ones. Mmmmmmm. Pear.

Thankfully, I like more than just the one flavor (I really like the popcorn ones, which I've heard makes me weird/rare) and interestingly Ben likes a lot of the ones that I don't, like Tutti Fruiti and Orange and Lemon-Lime. Ha ha ha.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Houses on sale

One of the things that's always been hard for me to understand about economics is the whole buyers market/sellers market thing. Like if the rates are low, then it seems like people would want to look into purchasing homes. But at the same time, how are they going to sell their previous home if rates are low and there are so many homes to choose from? Does that make any sense?

Not to mention, if rates are low, that means things aren't going so well in the economy. Which means no one has any spare money, and everyone is looking into mortgage refinancing. People can't afford to move, so they hope to just save money on the place they already have.

I know that if Stephen hadn't gotten that new job, that's what we'd be doing about now. And we actually got some pretty good mortgage rates when we bought our house about 18 months ago. Seriously, the highest rate we're paying right now is 7 percent and that's on a loan that we used for home improvement.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Playing ain't what it used to be

Do you know what would be a cool job? Designing children's play equipment. See, from what I was able to dredge out of my ancient brain, when I was a kid, a jungle gym was a jungle gym. You had your basic monkey bars, a slide or two and that was it. If it was a good park, there might be some swings or perhaps you'd hit the jackpot and there would be a tire swing.

It is my personal opinion that all the tire swings are now gone from the world because a park designer actually witnessed them being used once. This then caused that person to say "Holy crap, what were we thinking?!?!?!?"

Tire swings were one of the most deadly things ever invented and marketed toward children. I don't know what you did on a tire swing when you were a kid, but I know that I would pile on it with a whole bunch of other kids, WAY more than the recommended number, which I believe might have been three, and some big huge kid in junior high that was technically too old to be getting his jollies at a park anyway would push the big ol' hog pile of kids up into the stratosphere. Whoever was the littlest on the swing would get scared and start crying, which always made the big kid push harder. This continued until somebody fell off and bit it in the sawdust or little pebbles or whatever else they thought would be a "safe" landing zone for little kids being launched at a velocity of 238 miles an hour off of a tire swing.

It always ended in blood. And not once did it ever occur to us not to get on the damn thing, because hey, everyone else was doing it and didn't it look like so much fun? So I'm very glad that I've never seen one in all the parks I've ever taken my son to.

So clearly, somebody came through in the past 15-20 years since I was a kid and remodeled all the parks to take out the death traps for children and replace them with newfangled high tech, specially enginerered developmentally formulated fancy play equipment 3000.

The stuff they have at parks these days is beyond anything my poor little raised in the '80s mind could possibly dream of. There are bridge and weird step things, and seesaws that are fun without being launch pads for the smaller child. There are 543 kinds of slides and 83,434 things for kids to climb up and on. And somehow, they've kept the fear of death right there on the surface of the equipment (because that's what little kids want when they go to the park, right?) but taken the actual RISK of death down to a reasonable .5 percent or so. I mean, nothing is perfectly safe, and you have to just assume that if your 2-year-old is playing too close to a snarky 7-year-old that pushing could happen at any moment. But seriously, they guard rails are better, the materials are better (no more splinters from wooden equimpent, or burns from metal slides) and the creativity is better.

All this stems from my taking Ben to a park in Renton that I used to go to as a child and being bowled over at what has been done with the place since I was last there. They had two play structures, one that was labeled "Appropriate for children ages 2-5" and another that was labeled "Appropriate for ages 6-12."

Want to guess which one Ben wanted to play on? Thankfully, it was during school, so there were no actual 6-12 year olds to mow him down, but I was up there with him, standing behind him every step of the way, because there was some scary looking stuff up there and I didn't know what to expect. My child has been known to pull a "Chuckie" every once in awhile, and I figured I should be around to help him find his way down.

To his credit, he was amazingly brave. The thing that struck me the most about this play structure was they had a place up high where there were some stairs that had gaps in between them. You could see ALL THE WAY DOWN and of course the gaps were small enough that the worst that could happen is Ben's foot could get caught or maybe he might fall all the way to his waist. That would take some effort though. But to my toddler, it looked like THE BIGGEST SCARIEST THING HE'D EVER SEEN!!!!

He had both hands superglued to the vertical handrailing (like crib bars) as he carefully placed one foot on the first step. I verbally coached him through it, telling him to move his hands to the next blue bar while putting his foot on the next step. There were six total steps and when he made it to the top without my having to help or even hold his hand, I gave him like 20 highfives and a big hug and told him how proud I was. He was beaming.

And then I cried because I know it's moments like these that I'll think back to when he's adjusting his tie on his wedding day and asking me how he looks. The answer?

Absolutely perfect.

(boy, this post ended up in a completely different place than it started out, huh?)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Seeking buzz?

I've been trying to get a little more exposure for this blog, so I submitted a post to, which is supossed to distribute your material to a large group of interested people. I have no idea if it will work, but it was really easy to sign up. The downside is that they wouldn't let me market my first post without sending an email invite to at least five friends. So if you are one of those friends and you're not interested in this, let me know, and I'll take you off. In my opinion, that wasn't realy the point. My friends already read my stuff. I'm interested in meeting NEW people, you know? But I guess even if I get just a few new readers from doing this, that's better than nothing, right? I mean, it's free, so what have I got to lose?

Monday, March 10, 2008


Joe and I had a nice talk the other night. I told him that if no one else was going to talk to him about sex than I would. He interupted me to say "Yeah, yeah, I know. Don't do it." And I said that I was a teenager once and am not going to just say don't do it because that's how dumb things happen. I said that he could talk to me and if he needed anything but was too embarassed to go buy it, then I would go for him. I know that teenagers are going to have sex when they're going to have sex regardless of anything any adult says, so he might as well be protected. The last thing we need is 16-year-old Joe becoming a father. I shudder at the thought.

Anyway, at this point, he admits that Harley is on bc and she already has condoms for if they need them. They haven't done anything yet though. I'm glad to hear this, as they haven't really been together for very long, but I can see it coming a mile away. He loves her already, and I think maybe she loves him too. She's quite a catch and I just hope that neither of them end up with an STD or a broken heart.

So I've been feeling pretty close with Joe recently, and things have been looking up. But then, I found a bunch of ASH in the car I'm sharing with Joe. (Actually, Ben found it, as it was all over his carseat and he decided it looked yum yum yummers. Eww.) So I called my mom to ask if she knew of any reason there might be ash in the car. OK, mostly, I called to whine and complain about it because I was bitchy and it made me feel better to know that Joe was going to get in trouble for whatever the hell he did that got ASH in the car. I mean, he's not really my brother, and I could care less what he does as long as he stays out of my way and behaves himself (as in, not doing stupid illegal things like driving with Harley in the car or anything else dumb like that.)

But in order for this to occur, he would have to stop stealing all the gas I put in the car, which has been happening more and more recently and be straight with me when I ask him questions like "Why the hell was there ash all over the inside of the car?"

So I ratted on him. Big deal. Seriously, teenagers NEED someone to keep them from killing themselves or else they'll just keep on getting into more and more trouble. I should know, I was one.

Anyway, as we aren't really siblings, it's kind of weird having this relationship where it feels exactly like having a whiny kid brother who I love and care about, but still have the urge to shout "MOM!!!!!! Joe got ash in the car and owes me at least $15 in gas money."

Sometimes living here really feels like getting the childhood/teenagehood that I never got to have due to whatshisbucket ...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Shiny and clean

I am not a particularly vain person, but I do love my hair. Most people who met me briefly probably wouldn't think much about it, because I usually just throw it back in a ponytail. But the thing about ponytails is that then the hair is there when you need it. You can do it up or let it down or curl it or straighten it or whatever you feel like doing. Sometimes, I do my hair nicely just to remember what it looks like, since mostly it's just wash and go.

I was happy to receive natural shampoo and conditioner samples in the mail because I am a total hair product junkie. The idea of a natural shampoo that is good for both my hair and the environment is very appealing. I have to admit that my first concern was, would it work? I mean, those pesky chemicals are there for a reason! To scrub out the other crappy chemicals like hairspray and gel and whatever else. Also, applesauce. (I'm a mom, what can I say?)

Thankfully, I had a rich lather instantly, and my hair came squeaky clean. But that was just half the test. For me, the real reason I've tried practically every single hair product out there is because I'm in an eternal search for conditioner that will weigh down my frizzies. Thankfully, the naked naturals conditioner did a great job of making my curls separate and look cute.



(Of course, I never really look like this because my 2-year-old doesn't let me do my hair. So normally I'm either wearing a towel on my head, or I've got my hair shoved in a sloppy ponytail.)

The best part about the free samples is that they came with a $1 off coupon for the product. Oh, and the part where my hair smelled like lavendar. Mmmm. Nice :-)

How embarassing

I posted a cool poll on my livejournal about cleaning and privacy, and I'd just like to say that it is apparently time for me to hide under a rock and die. Or something. No, really. All those "You're supossed to do that?" answers were mine. And the "When company is coming" type answers. Especially the sheets and the bathroom. Le sigh. At least I'm lucky enough to be married to someone who is the same way as I am. I mean, maybe my house would be cleaner if I married a neatfreak, but he'd probably be really grumpy with me all the time.

And as for the other questions, they were mostly inspired by learning that my BIL and his girlfriend (they live together) leave the door open when the use the potty. And have conversations! While pooping!!!!! This horrified me. I have major stagefright and won't go any kind of potty in front of anyone. Well, Ben in an emergency, but it's really not my preference.

Le sigh. Thankfully, you're not required to disclose your own answers if you don't want to :-)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Help and support for paid bloggers

The paid blogging industry is something that has a lot more layers than you might thing when you first sign up. I learned about writing sponsored posts from someone I didn't even know in the breastfeeding community on livejournal. I was asking questions about egg donation because we were so desparate for a financial solution. So before I knew it, I was working for payperpost and writing sponsored posts for a few extra bucks. I've since joined a few other outfits like Smorty and SponsoredReviews and really put my heart and soul into this work. It's like a JOB for me, and it's really made a huge difference.

But apparently there's like politics involved, and all sorts of changes keep on coming about. First there was the pagerank issues and then the realrank stuff. Plus there's the fact that ppp seems to deeply dislike all free hosts, but livejournal in particular. More than anything, it really helps to talk to other posties (people who write sponsored posts) about what's going on and how to do better. I am really proud of how far I've come in the sponsored post business, but let me tell you, none of it would have been possible without the help of both friends and strangers who have done it all before and had some wisdom to lend me.

Seriously, before I started doing this, I didn't know ANY html, not even a simple href. Now I know how to embed photos and video and all sorts of cool stuff. How? By asking around. But eventually, you run out of friends, or everyone gets tired of hearing the same stuff. I mean, my blog is supossed to be for and about ME, you know? It's frustrating enough to read through all the sponsored posts without having to read a bunch of posts ABOUT them as well.

Anyway, I found this really awesome Web site that provides support to posties (from all companies, but especially ppp) and a place to complain and vent in a free place. It's not owned by any of the sponsored post companies, but still moderated to keep things ontopic. Everyone I've met there has been really nice and helpful, and of course it's free to joing. Go check them out!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sick again

Everyone at my house has been sick in the last three weeks, so I wasn't surprised when I started feeling ill last Saturday. I didn't figure I'd be lucky enough to escape. But how come everyone else got off with a sore throat and cough and I had to end up puking in my friend's toilet? Huh? Could someone please explain the fairness of that? I mean, our trip was meant to be for Stephen's birthday so he could have "adult time" and sit down and play a game and talk and stuff, and I managed to be all ill and lightheaded and go to bed early and ruin it. Nice. Good thing I didn't crash the car or anything too ... wait ...