Sound Off!

Sound OffHey moms – do you have something you’d like to express your thoughts & views on? It can be any subject at all! If you have an opinion or a “beef” about something? Now is your chance to get it off your chest. We want to know!

Submit your “Sound Off” here and yours may be chosen to appear in our print magazine! Try to keep your writing to 500 words or less. You can submit something that you have already included on your own blog – but please copy and paste your writing here and you can include a link to your blog writing.
C’mon Sound Off Mom Bloggers!

33 Comments

  • July 18, 2007 - 2:03 am | Permalink

    Happy Cow, Part 2

    I have just discovered the easiest way to convert a “meat-lover” (my husband), into a conscious meat lover. If I rank the arguments in this house on a scale from 1-10, buying organic meat (expensive) rather than cheap meat (massive) is probably on RANK 2.

    Yes, ma’am, my recent purchase of a 1/4 of happy cow got some really nasty “so, is that ALL the meat for xx$$’s??”.

    Today, on our 7 hour ride home from vacation, we passed Harris Ranch. They are a large distributor of “natural beef”. They do have a very large and luxurious resort out in the middle of nowhere (I am not sure what purpose it has), and right next to it, a huge feedlot of cows.I am assuming they belong to Harris Ranch, but I will just assume until proven guilty. I will bet my butt they are not happy cows. First, you are hit with the smell. Then, you will ride by huge pens, no grass, lots of cows. No trees, no nothing, just fences, dirt, cow dung, and cows.

    Here is an excerpt from their website:
    “Humane Handling

    Harris Ranch takes exceptional care to ensure the well-being of our cattle. Each and every day—rain or shine—cowboys ride the pens to ensure the health and welfare of every animal in their care. All cattle are fed in large, well-maintained, outdoor pens that are equipped with an automated sprinkler system to reduce dust and cool cattle during the summer months. World-renowned animal behaviorist, Dr. Temple Grandin, has assisted with the design of cattle handling facilities and conducted employee training programs to ensure proper animal handling techniques.”

    Ok, I did not see the “mist” misting the poor cows, it was only about 100C outside, what I did see was that there was no vegetation whatsoever near by. While riding down the “Agricultural Corridor”, we saw a few more of these feed pens. Dismaying.

    On a happy note: We did see several ranches with their cows doing what cows do: eating grass, shooting the breeze, and hanging out under the shade.

    My son informed us that WHEN he becomes a farmer, he will only have Happy Cows. My husband is finally seeing, live and real, why I pay $2-5 more a pound for happy meat.

    Quality instead of Quantity.

    P.S. Yes, I have considered becoming vegetarian, and was for a part of my life, but now I am not. For many reasons. Please do not try to convert me, or bash me for caring about the meat we eat. Grazie.

  • July 18, 2007 - 7:39 am | Permalink

    Twenty-Something Mom..

    Certainly some of the best things in my life thus far have been unplanned. Growing up in a strict and disciplined home, I was molded into quite a workhorse, but bucked at any notion of spontaneity.

    When I saw those 2 pink lines that cold winter morning, I froze. Sliding down the wall as my legs gave way; I sat atop the cold ceramic tiles of the bathroom floor, stunned by the sheer hard truth that fell before me. Pregnant, and twenty-something– not exactly what I planned.

    After many years of working with the most fragile, tiniest preemies in the world, one would think I would be better prepared for this role of motherhood. I mean, I’ve helped a fair share of children born at less than one pound to survive all odds in this world. And I’ve also seen many more suffer and pass; sometimes in my very own hands, alone.

    This acute, fast-paced career of mine would surely have me groomed for being a parent one day. Or so I thought. After a year and half in this parenting business, I find just the contrary.

    I’m a twenty-something mom caught in the cut throat, evolving world of motherhood. Yet again trying to find my way, and a new self. There are “young moms” and there “older moms”, but “20-something moms” are caught right in between. Like the listless middle child struggling for their own identity. There’s a reason why they made Jane Brady a little nuts-o in The Brady Movie.

    I’m too young to know enough or accomplish all that needs to be before starting a family.
    And I’m too old to hold on to those reckless dreams; to just break free and run. At times I feel as if I don’t have enough tread worn from my sneakers to be taken seriously, or I’m just a tattered old sole that must be tucked away in the suburbs. I’ve reached a point where I want to just take my shoes off, leaving nothing left for them to judge.

    I’m a mom. I don’t want to live my life like Britney Spears (I like my hair). I’m not ready to live in the confines of some gated community in the ‘burbs. I want to be a good mother. I want to feel like a woman, a mother, an individual. I don’t want to live my life in sweat pants. And I don’t want a white picket fence.

    Quarter life crisis, anyone? I’ve got one here, hot and ready to serve.

  • July 18, 2007 - 7:46 am | Permalink

    Here’s my Sound Off, on behalf of breastfeeding moms everywhere!!

    http://toddlertactics.blogspot.com/2007/07/breastfeeding-is-beautiful.html

  • July 18, 2007 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Here’s the link to my sound off on fashion magazines.
    http://carrielouise.wordpress.com/2007/06/09/saturday-ramblings-about-the-skinny/

    Thanks, Carrie

  • July 18, 2007 - 9:54 am | Permalink
  • July 18, 2007 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    http://unsealmylips.blogspot.com/2007/04/real-momsteach.html

    Real Mom Teach:
    Real Moms teach. They teach their children that being generous makes you a strong person. Politeness is a virtue, and honesty does not equate with rudeness and selfishness. An adulterous wife confessing to her husband that she wants someone else is not being “honest.” The time for honesty would have been way before “anything” happened. This example is not so weird or far off. I have five children. I want them to marry to a person who deserves them. I want for them to marry to someone who will love and respect them like I do.

    Real Moms teach their children that being in a relationship with someone who is selfish will not make them happy. A selfish person will always think of themselves first, last and always. They might “pretend” to care about other people, but it won’t last long. A selfish person is like a snake. You can give it your all and cherish the snake, but you will never know when a snake will revert to nature and bite you.

    Real Moms teach their children being in love does not mean you have to always agree with the other person. Loving someone means being true to each other, and when the other person is suddenly “not happy” anymore because they have found someone better despite all the caring and the support, then it’s not “love” anymore. It’s something selfish and perverted and it is time to abandon ship. In fact, leave right away and don’t let the other person play head games with you.

    Real Moms teach their children that the last thing they must do is marry a fixer-upper. Real Moms will explain to their children. Every one has a chance to be saved, but it’s better to leave it to the professionals. Happiness in marriage is not bailing out at the first, second or nth time of “boredom.” It’s so easy to get confused loving with being sorry with the first bloom of lust.

    Real Moms will gift their children with self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-confidence so their children can recognize someone selfish, narcissistic, and screwed-up a mile away and will steer clear. They show who those fixer upper are so they can be aware that some things are better left alone.

    Real Moms teach their children that people can make mistakes too. If they are already in a committed relationship, it’s better to make a clean break rather than cheat. Cheating is a sign of a weak character and bad judgment.

    Real Moms teach their children that Mommy will always love them as they are and willing to hear their side of the story, kiss away the boo-boo.

  • Pingback: comparative parenting « single mom with tiny tot

  • July 18, 2007 - 11:13 am | Permalink
  • July 18, 2007 - 11:41 am | Permalink

    Here’s the link:
    http://compostermom.blogspot.com/2007/05/may-day-and-blogging-against-disablism.html

    Here’s the post itself. Thsnk you for the opportunity!
    Disablism? What’s that? It’s another -ism, another indication of discrimination, subtle or overt, in the same family as racism, sexism, and others. I’m not sure who coined the term or if it’s even in use outside the blogosphere. Here’s my definition.
    Disablism. n (dis-ab-lizm) an active prejudice or discriminatory attitude toward persons with disabilities.
    I’m hearing impaired, and I’m a teacher. And yes, I’ve encountered discrimination in my field. It’s not important to rehash the difficulties I’ve faced; it’s more important to remind people that disabled people are just that — people — and are not solely defined by their disabilities.
    My teenage son, Amigo, is blind and has Asperger’s Syndrome. We’re quite a pair. When we go to a restaurant, I often read him the menu (if they don’t have one in Braille), and then he helps me order because I might not hear the server’s questions above the din of the dining room. We have typical parent-child moments, too. He likes the TV loud. I keep saying, “Turn it down! If I can hear it clearly, so can you!” He tells me when a timer goes off or the dryer buzzes, just in case I’m not close enough to hear it. He doesn’t get the laundry out himself, darn it. I guess the teenager part trumps the helpful.
    Sometimes he and I need small adaptations, “reasonable accomodations”, to achieve our goals. I need a phone that’s hearing aid compatible; Amigo needs screen-reader software for the computer. But hearing or sighted, if you were playing Trivial Pursuit, you’d want Amigo and me on your team. We’re good. Very good.
    But folks, we’re people. We’re good, capable, intelligent people. My disability is part of me. I am a good mother, a good teacher, an intelligent learner. Amigo’s disabilities are part of him. He’s a delightful and talented young man.
    Disablism? Forget it. Don’t waste your time looking down on us — because it is a waste of your time, and ours.

  • July 18, 2007 - 1:56 pm | Permalink

    This entry was written a while back and previously posted on my blog here http://runningwithbooks.com/2007/06/28/okay-listen-up/ but I submit it again to The Mom Blogs for this contest:

    Okay, Listen Up!
    Here are three Things I Want My Kids to Understand NOW, RIGHT NOW! NO, Actually, Make that YESTERDAY!!!

    And by kids, I mean Snags, the child of mine who’s just lost his first tooth, and Pee Pee, the dog who WON’T STOP PEEING ON THE FLOOR. Snags is 5 and just learning to read; Pee Pee is 12, but she’s a dog, and hasn’t shown that much intelligence. So that means somebody is going to have to read this to them. Preferably a policeman, or some other figure of authority, because it’s pretty much been proven that when I talk, something shorts out in their ear to brain wiring, and I get nothing but a blank stare in return.

    So here they are, the three things I want my kids to understand, and to eliminate all confusion, I will clearly indicate to which child each item addresses:

    To Snags: Your teachers are not smarter than I am. I know you think they are because they teach you things all day long like your ABCs and 123s and witty songs and words woefully mispronounced in Spanish. But most of them are young, barely out of high school, with just enough child care classes in their back pocket to get them through the door of your preschool. They are all nice young women and I’ve no doubt that if and when they finish college, many of them will be smarter than me. But I am here to tell you that contrary to what Ms. Becky says, YOU DO NOT PUT SUNBLOCK IN YOUR HAIR. Your hair will not get sunburned. So please. STOP. GLOPPING. IT. ON. YOUR. HEAD.

    To Snags: Remember when we read the Berenstain Bears book The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies? I bought that book to try and subtly teach you a lesson. Since subtly seems to have flown right over your head, I am simply going to give it to you straight: You cannot get something: a toy, a book, a candy, and most especially, not a fountain, every time we are out. When I say “I don’t have enough money to buy you a fountain” on any given day, I mean it. The ones you like the best cost upwards of $100 and I don’t have that money lying around. And no, I can’t “just use PayPal!” In order to use PayPal, I have to have the MONEY in PayPal in the first place. Which I don’t. So please, STOP. ASKING.

    To Snags and to Pee Pee: You are both old enough to handle going to the bathroom yourselves, and in the appropriate place. Snags, that means you must learn to wipe your own hiney. You’re 5! I’m pretty sure your Kindergarten teachers this fall won’t consider hiney wiping to be one of their duties. And yes, I agree poop is gross, and it’s even grosser when you get some on your thumb, but you don’t have to cry about it. That’s why we have toilet paper. First, use some. Not the entire roll; that will clog the toilet again. Then if you still get poop on your thumb, use some more and wipe it off. Then wash your hands. And then wash them again. And maybe, especially for the times you get poop on your thumb, wash them a third time. And Pee Pee, please, hold your bladder until it’s time to go outside. I KNOW you are doing this for spite. Any dog that can sleep from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. without having to urinate in the middle of the night can surely hold it for an equal amount of time during the day. You may not have noticed that the grass from the back yard does not extend into my kitchen, but if you’d look at the floor, you’d see that while the grass out back is brown and crispy and dying, it’s still brown. My kitchen floor is gray and blue. And then sometimes, yellow. It’s the yellow that I don’t like. Keep it to yourself. Save it for the brown grass. STOP. PEEING. ON. MY. FLOOR.

    That is all. You can go play now.

  • July 18, 2007 - 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Canada Needs Au Pair Program!
    What is exactly an au pair program? Well, “au pair” is a French word meaning “en par” or equal to a family. It is like a homestay program, where a young person from abroad comes into your home and becomes a part of your family. Instead of them paying you, they provide childcare/housework in exchange for room, board and pocket money. (around $100 a week for 20 hours of work)

    Which countries already have such a program in place? To start with, Europe does. This includes countries in Eastern Europe. Also our neighbour to the South, the US has a great one-year program in place. Australia has a working holiday visa or something like that, while the International Au Pair Association has 37 countries listed in their member directory.

    Canada has a live-in caregiver program. In another article, I plan to list the pros and cons of this program and offer my ”2-cents worth”. So, what is the difference between the au pair program and the live-in caregiver program? Here is a list (more could be added)

    · The live-in caregivers covers handicapped care & eldercare, while the au pair program would cover only childcare

    · The live-in caregivers are usually hired for full-time work, while the au pairs are just part-time

    · The live-in caregivers almost always have parents that work full-time, while the au pairs often stay with families and work WITH mom, or while one or two of the parents are still at home

    · Live-in caregivers often want to immigrate to Canada, while the au pairs are just here for a maximum of 12-months and want to see the country

    · Live-in caregivers need education/experience, while au pairs are often young students who are taking a year off in between studies

    · Live-in caregivers need good English skills already, while au pairs come here to learn English

    · Live-in caregivers need a high-school certificate, while au pairs are sometimes still in school

    · Live-in caregivers need to be paid per hour (and take off taxes), while au pairs are paid per week (pocket money)

    · Live-in caregivers are employees, while au pairs are part of the family

    · Live-in caregivers often do not eat meals with the family, while au pairs always would (unless out with friends or traveling)

    · Live-in caregivers can be up to 50 yrs. old, while au pairs are 30 or under

    · Live-in caregivers are domestics, while au pairs are here on a social & cultural exchange

    · Live-in caregivers most often are asked to speak English in the family, while au pairs are often requested by families to help the children in the family be exposed to a native speaker of a certain language (French, German, Dutch, Italian, Polish etc.)

    A live-in caregiver needs to be here at least 12-months with full-time work hours. If they do not work fulltime, they are still expected to be paid fulltime. So for situations like:

    The single mother/father with school age children who just needs before and after school care
    The stay-at-home mom with 4 children under the age of 5
    The part-time working mom who wants to ensure their child gets to hear a native speaker from their home country (like French/German) while she is at work
    The parents who travel occasionally for work/work weekends/nightshifts
    Parents who have a homebased business and just need someone in the house
    All can benefit from an au pair program. I have written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper about this issue back in the fall of 2006. He referred me to the Honourable Diana Finlay. She wrote me back and told me which address to send my au pair program to. So far, I haven’t had a response.

    Then, their was a “shuffle” and the Honourable Monte Solberg took over for Dianne. I wrote to him to, but haven’t heard anything back. In my next post, I will include some lines from an e-mail I received from the Human Resources Office. If anybody has anything to say, please contact me at:

    germannannies@hotmail.com

  • July 19, 2007 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    So You call Yourself an Artist?

    Main Entry: art·ist
    Pronunciation: ‘är-tist
    Function: noun
    1 a obsolete : one skilled or versed in learned arts b archaic : PHYSICIAN c archaic : ARTISAN 1
    2 a : one who professes and practices an imaginative art b : a person skilled in one of the fine arts
    3 : a skilled performer; especially : ARTISTE
    4 : one who is adept at something

    Okay truth be told this is one of my biggest pet peeves. Uh, notice the definition from Websters’ Dictionary………it says skilled. Skilled to me means you have a degree! Or, have taken some college courses eh? A 2 week course maybe?

    Considering that I went to school, got the degree I consider (as many others do too) myself an artist – being the owner, founder, designer and artist of Jamie’s Painting & Design. However, many er I say ‘women or moms’ that are crafters or crafty or not, call themselves artists. I like to decorate, I have been complimented many times on my skills on decorating my home…..yet I do NOT consider myself an interior decorator.

    In my industry, the children’s industry that is, this term “artist” seems to be thrown around quite a bit. It makes me crazy, really it does. So I recommend if you claim to be something – be it, own it, live it, or by all means fake it so we do not know (and we always know) that you are faking it.

    And secondly, own something unique, try and make it your own. Do not just rip off what an other artist/entrepreneur has already done. I swear, this happens time and time again. When starting a business do you want to be known as a fake, a copy cat or a pioneer?

    Okay, I got that off my chest, now my husband will not have to hear me pontificate tonight about it…..I may complain about something else though ;).

  • July 19, 2007 - 5:08 pm | Permalink

    If I had to sound off about anything at this point, it would be about a story that I heard on the radio one day. This guy, (I don’t know who he is) was telling a story about being in a coffee house one day and a woman came and sat behind him with a baby. To make a long story short, the baby began to cry, the mother did nothing about that for over 10 minutes and when the guy politely asked if there was something she could do to quiet her baby, she got angry, called the manager and the guy was kicked out of the store. The way this guy described it, she just sat there the whole time reading a magazine while on-lookers kept peering over to see what was wrong with the baby. I have kids, twins to be exact. I would never have stayed in that cofee house with my baby crying like that. That is sooo inconsiderate to the other patrons. I mean it’s not like she was in a plane where you can’t leave. Most of the people who frequent coffee houses are students and adults who want to have a quiet cup of joe and read. I think it was extremely selfish of her to do that. I think it was ludicrous of the manager to kick him out. Yes, I am sure she deserves to have a cup of cofee like everyone else, but not at the expense of others enjoyment. That is what having kids is about. Sometimes it’s inconvenient, sometimes they interfere with what you want to do but so what? You love them and it’s not forever.

  • July 20, 2007 - 7:48 am | Permalink

    My sound off, my vent . . .

    A Nastygram

    Dear Family,

    I regret to inform you that Mommy is fresh out of sunshine to blow out of her ass. Patience is in short supply, and quantities of “give a damn” are limited. Until this unfortunate situation is resolved, the following changes in daily operations will be implemented.

    Please Note:

    Husband – the answer to the question that you are about to yell at me is probably one of the following:
    a. Look in the bathroom
    b. Check the pantry
    c. In her second dresser drawer
    d. Look for it yourself!

    Child – Geoffrey, the Toys R Us giraffe, envies your collection of toys. Please consider selecting an item from your extensive collection and playing with it. Quietly. In your room.

    Child – Mommy does not play video games.

    Child – Mommy cannot fix your video game. Screeching does not improve Mommy’s grasp of the workings of your video game.

    Child – Mommy will be happy to take you on some sort of “happy joy” excursion, provided that shoes appear on your feet within my first 25 requests.

    Child – no science experiments of any kind will be conducted today!

    Husband and Child – no complaints regarding meal selection and / or preparation will be tolerated.

    Husband – no debate will be entertained as to whether or not you wrote shaving cream on last week’s grocery list. If I didn’t buy it, you didn’t write it down.

    Husband – If your question begins with “would you mind . . .,” today, I probably would.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    Mommy

    My link: http://thezenofmotherhood.blogspot.com/2007/07/nastygram.html

  • July 26, 2007 - 4:42 pm | Permalink

    All this interest …

    … in my First Dentist Visit post has sent me searching the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to see what they have to report about the toothpastes we use in our household: adults – Crest Extra Whitening with Tartar Protection (clean mint), child – Crest Cavity Protection (cool mint gel).

    Here’s where the frustration begins. At first glance, it appears that we are poisoning our bodies with these horrible products – they rank 280 and 339 (out of 486 products) . But the information provided can only be as accurate as the data used. When you drill down another step to see the breakdown of the ingredients in the pastes, you can see that the there is a 74% data gap, meaning “this may be due to the fact that they have not have been studied or assessed completely”. In fact, items that rank much higher on the list (so are presumably “safe”) include ingredients that have never been studied for safety.

    How warped is that?!?

    http://mummymusings.wordpress.com/2007/07/17/all-this-interest/

  • July 26, 2007 - 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Here is my sound-off – something “Close to My Heart and My Daughter’s Heart” helping bring about more awareness of children with heart defects.

    http://joyinthemorning.clubmom.com/joy_in_the_morning/2007/07/close-to-my-hea.html

    Come take a read – and there’s also a contest to enter regarding helping bring awareness on your blog about it as well.

  • July 26, 2007 - 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Who is Playing Online With Your Kids?

    Do you know who your children are playing with? Most of us would say yes. But do you know who they are playing with online?

    According to the Associated Press, officials in North Carolina say MySpace has found more than 29,000 registered sex offenders with profiles on the popular social networking Web site.

    Would you knowingly send your kids out to play, especially unsupervised, with registered sex offenders? Well, if you’re kids are on myspace, that’s exactly what you’re doing.

    Myspace rules limit membership to those aged 14 and older. But there are really no procedures in place to ensure that all of those using the site are actually of-age. It relies on self-reporting of the birthdate during initial registration.

    What does this mean? It means that there are tons of pre-teens on myspace with profiles indicating they are adults. I’ve seen them. I know some of them. Yet there they are.

    Where are the parents of these kids? Do they know what their kids are doing? Do they care? Do they supervise internet use?

    Sure, myspace does bear some responsibility. Fortunately they have deleted the accounts of the 29,000 sex offenders identified. Although I don’t know what prevents those offenders from just opening up a new account under an assumed name. (Just like the pre-teens are doing.)

    They certainly could do more in identifying those kids who are falsifying their ages. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to figure out that the picture of the pre-teen girl in the profile does not correspond to the 30-something age listed.

    But these are our children, and the primary responsibility is ours. We need to know what our kids are doing if we allow them to go online. Put the computer in a prominent place in the house so there is no surfing behind closed doors. Put a parental-controls program on your computer. Block chat rooms and social-networking sites. (Your kids can call their real-life friends on the phone if they want to talk!) But most of all, know what they are doing.

    We all took on major responsibilities when we had children. It is our duty to keep them safe, happy, and healthy. This includes online. To do otherwise is neglecting your children.

  • July 26, 2007 - 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I just rented “Failure to Launch” (2006). I thought it was a good movie (for $3 rental fee) and it did make me laugh out loud. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s about a 35-year-old guy (Matthew McConaughey) whose parents set him up with his dream girl (Sarah Jessica Parker) so he’ll finally move out of their house. Actually, they don’t just set him up — they hire her, for money, to date him and dump him. And she agrees, because she does this… as a job… professionally. Does anyone else see something wrong with this? When has it been a standard practice to manipulate men (usually for money or other such gain), and then end up with the guy as an “aw shucks we actually fell in love!” happy ending?

    Need another example? The movie “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (2003) is another example, not related at all to my site how to get the guy. Strangely enough, though, it also stars Matthew McConaughey. Kate Hudson manipulates him to write an article for her magazine and then — oh my gosh! She actually loves this guy! And — guess what? He loves her too! Maybe because in this movie, McConaughey’s character manipulated her for an ad campaign that would boost his career. Isn’t that just adorable??? (Note the sarcasm, please.)

    I can name more, with similar plot lines: “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1987), which was remade into “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” (2003), “Ten Things I Hate About You” (1999) which was based on William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”, “Picture Perfect” (1997), “She’s All That” (1999) … and both men and women are manipulating the other for some selfish reason. Then the outcome is always “love.”

    I’ll admit I enjoyed every single one of those movies. But that’s because I am good at suspending reality as I watch any film. But is this happy ending realistic? No. A relationship based on a foundation of lies is bound to crumble under the most extreme circumstances, usually what I like to call REAL LIFE.

    If you have an example of a real, honest-to-goodness, happy relationship that was based on some manipulating, trick-playing ploy to move ahead in this world, I’d love to hear it. I dare you to prove me wrong. But I doubt you will.

  • July 26, 2007 - 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this opportunity to sound off.

    Here’s the link:
    http://blog.jugglingfrogs.com/2007/07/top-10-acceptable-answers-to-does-this.html

    Top 10 acceptable answers to “Does this outfit make me look fat?”

    And here’s the text:

    Top 10 acceptable answers to “Does this outfit make me look fat?”

    Why are husbands some people so flummoxed by the perennial spousal inquiry:

    Does this outfit make me look fat?

    This question has been characterized as unanswerable, as the Ultimate Marriage Koan.

    Ridiculous. Ladies are able to ask and answer this all the time, without imploding relationships. We’re not afraid of it, because we know how to communicate within the range of acceptable answers. It’s not hard. Really.

    In the interest of eliminating connubial stress and adding to the peace of the Universe, I will reveal to spouses worldwide what every teenage girl already knows.

    Read further, dear groom, and never sleep on the couch again:

    If the outfit looks even remotely acceptable, the answer is an enthusiastic ‘No.’ You get double credit for adding “Of course not, you look great in everything.” Fifty point bonus for wolf whistles.

    Of course, the hard part comes when the outfit is sub-optimal.

    It is at this point where newlyweds amateurs unsuspecting chumps husbands find themselves held hostage by the deceptive aphorism “Honesty is the best policy.” Nonsense.

    I’m not suggesting you dance with dishonesty. I simply ask you to scout the ballroom before embracing Truth. You need not sacrifice your integrity to please your spouse. This is a false dichotomy. It is possible to both save your marriage and sidestep sin.

    Here is where a poor sap beleaguered husband person of conscience can get tangled in the tentacles of a Manichean dialectic between a brutal appraisal of the outfit and avoiding certain spousal alienation. This is not the time to expound on the inherent evils of polyester knits. This is not the time to share dietary wisdom. This is not the time to suggest joining a health club.

    You need to give her a truthful answer to the question she’s actually asking. She’s asking you, “Are you going to be happy to be seen with me in public?” She’s asking, “Do you love me, even though I’m growing older?” She’s asking, “Are we still the same bride and groom?”

    If you can’t answer those questions in a complimentary manner, then you’ve got bigger problems than being ten minutes late for a dinner party.

    Without further ado, I, a certified wife, hereby share with the global community of clueless husbands you, the top ten acceptable answers to the question:

    Does this outfit make me look fat?

    10. It looks fine to me.

    9. You look so much better in the green dress.

    8. That skirt would make Twiggy look fat. [insert more up-to-date reference as necessary]

    7. I’m the wrong guy to ask. I only see you, the Love of My Life.

    6. Fishing for compliments, honey? You’re beautiful.

    5. I don’t know if it does; I just know I envy it!

    4. If I say ‘yes’ does that mean I get to eat your dessert tonight?

    3. I’m not sure. How do these pants look on me?

    2. Who’s coming tonight? Should I be jealous?

    1. I love you.

    There. Was that so difficult? Now go forth and compliment. I’m off to declutter my closet.

  • July 26, 2007 - 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Being in your late thirties, occassionally one finds the urge to want to stretch out ones wings and feel cool again…

    Following is the story of Icarus Thirtysomething and a night out with her friends…

    A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to see Morrissey (ex singer from the 80’s band The Smiths). I went with my husband’s best friend Jack (HUGE fan), and his ex-hipster-ish friend Sam. All of us thirty somethings with spouses and children who lovingly allowed us to break free for an evening of fun.

    Of course in preparation for my night, I decided to search the attic for my Smiths T-Shirt from my clubbing days (I used to be somewhat of a punk in college)…

    Size MEDIUM? Ummm, ok lets give it a shot…ewwww…yeah that didn’t quite work. Ok, lets try a funky dress…..ok, no I look a tad like John Travolta in drag from Hairspray… Ok, lets go with jeans and a black T-shirt, leave the crocs at home-that will do…not feeling as “hip” as I would like, but I am off to Boston….

    So off we went, after debating bringing my husband’s car, we decided to go with Jack’s minivan since it had an “easypass” which would allow us to get through the tolls faster….feeling less hip by the minute. We pick up Sam, who is dressed ….how do I say this…like he was trying a bit too hard to fit in with the Morrissey crowd, but ok ok it will work…

    The concert was great…interesting crowd. As I peered around the audience I noticed a lot of women in black T-shirts, jeans tapping their feet to the opening band, sipping on German beer nervously as if they would be discovered as suburban moms trying to recapture their youth, their size medium t-shirts tucked safely away in the past.

    During the last song Sam and I were somewhat buzzed as we jumped up on our chairs and started playing air guitar (VERY UN-HIP), Jack also participated. I then did something rather daring considering I was with my husband’s friends. I pulled out my emergency pack of cigarettes that I usually keep in my desk at work. We all chuckled with glee as if we were doing something truly decadent. So Sam had the suggestion that after the concert (it ended around 10 pm) to go to a hip urban restaurant which features a hookah bar. In my very un-hip form, I asked “is that legal?” (after all, Jack is a police officer). “Sure its legal, Kate Hudson went there when she was here a few years ago.” EXCELLENT

    So we went to the hookah bar for more cocktails and hookah (never quite figured out what hookah was). Sam mentioned my air guitar skills and invited Jack and I back to his loft to play Guitar Hero on Playstation…EXCELLENT. After struggling through a couple of rounds, Sam and Jack suggested picking a song in which I knew the basic rhythm of the song…ok ok. The pickins were a little slim but I finally found my song which I successfully got through to get to the next round.

    My song….Strutter by Kiss, I had the album when I was about 7 (my brother belonged to Columbia record club)….Icarus’s wings were now beginning to melt….long with my companions, Jack who was killing himself to keep his eyes open and Sam who was tending to his 6 month old daughter who we woke up while playing Guitar Hero.

    We dragged our tired thirtysomething selves home and I plopped myself into bed wearing my XL Morrissey T-Shirt at 3am.

    At 8am, I decided no amount of sleep would make me feel better after going to bed at 3am. I was looking at 3 days hard hangover time (why do hangovers last 3 days now?). Mike had a good chuckle at my early morning arrival time and XL t-shirt. He also asked me to check email, Jack sent a picture from his camera phone of the “Strutter” performance.

    I look like a Sasquatch

    http://www.notesfromtheminivan.com

  • July 27, 2007 - 12:49 am | Permalink

    From Babylicious:

    http://figur8.net/baby/2007/07/09/the-anti-diaper-movement

    The war of the diapers – cloth versus disposable – is passe. To Diaper or Not to Diaper – that is the new question.

    A couple of weekends ago, SM lent me a book called, “Diaper Free” by Ingrid Bauer. The book is written by an inspiring mother who chose to go against the “norm” and raise her second child diaper free.

    I have heard about this concept before. It is also referred to as “infant potty training” (IPT) or “elimination communication” (EC). Even though it sounded very interesting at the time I heard it, I’m afraid I never quite got around to trying it on Gavin until now.

    Similarly to my parents and my in laws reaction to me when I first wanted to breastfeed, I guess I had the same reaction towards EC. It sounded like a great idea, but I wasn’t too sure about putting it into practice – how do you “pee” a baby when he can’t even hold his head up right? So I decided to postpone starting until Gavin was at least able to sit up so that he could sit on the potty assisted by me.

    What I didn’t realise was that I didn’t necessarily have to hold the baby over a potty. I could also let him pee over a towel while lying down. The idea behind EC is to remove the waste immediately rather than encourage the baby to pee and poop into his diaper. Yes, it is ironic that we are the ones who train babies to pee and poop into their diapers and then by the time they are two to three years old, we have to “untrain” them.

    EC has none of the problems often associated with diapering (whether you use cloth or disposables). It is cost effective. It is environmentally friendly. You don’t have to worry about nappy rash. You don’t have to worry about harsh, drying chemicals in the diaper. It is less work in the long run because you have less diapers to wash and you won’t have to worry about trying to potty train your toddler because he will already be using the bathroom by then.

    The first half of the book is about the concept of “diaper free”, it’s roots, and the physiology of human waste production and excretion. It is interesting to note that an anti-diuretic hormone helps keep baby “drier” at night. I have noticed myself that often Gavin’s diaper is relatively dry after a whole night when I change it at 6am in the morning, yet, between 6am and his morning bath, it is full.

    Even though Gavin is soon turning 6 months – the age after which they say EC becomes much harder to implement -the fact that his diaper can remain dry through most of the night leads me to believe that it may not be too late to start EC with him. I figure that if I could wake up frequently in the middle of the night to feed him breastmilk back before I discovered the ease and covenience of breastfeeding in the lying down position, I can wake up to “pee” him.

  • July 27, 2007 - 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Free Custom Websites

    I don’t usually stick my neck out there and rant about things that bother me as I just don’t want the “attention” that comes along with it. But I have been so frustrated by people who are new to graphic/website design who just give away their services.

    The obvious issue might seem to be that free services takes away from the business of those who don’t do things for free. But the true problem lies in the after-effects. An inexperienced person who doesn’t or can’t spend much money on their website will “hire” a new designer to create the website for them because they will do it for free or next to free. The problems start rolling in after that when the client is unhappy with the service provided and thus needs to hire a ‘real’ experienced designer to fix, or in most cases, re-create their website.

    Countless times I have been hired by a begrudged client who suffered sub-par services from one of those designers who just didn’t know enough about designing to actually do it “professionally”. Usually during the project, I am faced with hesitation, doubt, and mistrust from the client. So my job goes from designing a real functioning website to teaching the client that we’re not all out there using clients to gain experience.

    My advice to beginning graphics/website designers is to join groups of experienced designers for support and to learn how things are done. You could even go to school and get a degree. Also, you should not use other people for experimentation and experience. If you want to learn how to design websites on your own, build your skills working on “dummy” sites. As for business owners who need a website, spend the money on a good designer. You won’t be disappointed. If you aren’t sure who to go with, email the owners of design groups, or join forums that designers hang out at. Those designers are willing to work as a team and not treat designing your website as a new version of ‘Monster Garage’.

    Kris H.
    Kustom By Kris

  • July 27, 2007 - 10:09 pm | Permalink

    My “beef” is with the 100 calorie snack-pack…below please find the humorous, biting commentary. Just posted on my Anonymom blog tonight!

    Ode to the 100-Calorie Snack Pack

    100-calorie snack packs,
    What would a glutton do without?
    We’d likely cram a full-pound bag,
    Making the figure round and stout.

    To stop at a one-portion size,
    We do not think we are able.
    No need to consult nutrition facts
    Or serving size on your label.

    Forget ’bout grapes and carrot sticks,
    With these foods we will not bother.
    Give us your salted greasiness
    Disguised as diet fodder.

    We praise your marketing gurus,
    For whom profits would not suffice.
    So break up one box into ten,
    And charge us twice the price!

    Goldfish, Oreos, Chips-Ahoy,
    Your production of packs won’t quell.
    Why not wrap up deep-fried Legos?
    We’re sure they might even sell.

  • August 27, 2007 - 10:57 pm | Permalink

    My beef – Tattoos!

    This was a blog entry that I posted last week. I got some interesting comments on it too.

  • August 27, 2007 - 10:57 pm | Permalink
  • August 28, 2007 - 12:19 am | Permalink

    Should I Just Work…?

    My husband has insinuated (again) that I need to take on a job. So I submitted my Resume. I tried banks because I have been interested in banking and finance. But the only position that’s part-time is a for a teller. One of the banks I applied to called and said I needed to take the Tellervision test. I did and passed. Now they have scheduled me for an interview. But why am I reluctant…? I look at my kids and feel bad about leaving them with somebody else and for what…? $9 an hour? (half of which goes to paying the daycare). Working full-time is out of the question, for now anyway. I cannot imagine being away from my kids for most of their waking hours. I don’t have anything against moms who do work – full-time. This is personal. I’ve been raised by a mom who was out of the house practically the whole day, 7 days a week.

    I love her dearly and I know that she loves us and that her working was necessary for her and for us. But of course, there is always a side-effect, whether wanted or not. That’s just a fact. My siblings and I clamored for the emotional security that only our mom could provide. That may be an unreasonable demand from an adult, but when you’re a child, your world revolves around her.

    So what am I to do now? I should try some multilevel marketing…Avon? Tupperware? or Just keep on trying to see if I can succeed online….?

  • August 28, 2007 - 12:20 am | Permalink
  • August 28, 2007 - 7:52 am | Permalink

    Here’s my sound off, about people who worry too much about their house being dirty, who complain all the time without doing anything about it.

    http://www.home-ec101.com/?p=419

  • August 28, 2007 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Here’s the link to my sound off on the ICE CREAM TRUCK!

    http://sarahviz.blogspot.com/2007/07/i-scream-you-scream.html

  • August 28, 2007 - 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Writing Military Mom

    Do you get the “Big Picture?”

    I was recently listening to my husband complaining about the laundry that needed to folded. It was a beautiful, sunny day – perfect beach weather. Yes, there were things that needed to be done around the house, but, again, it was a beautiful, sunny day.

    While it stresses me out, too, just thinking of all that needs to be done and fixed around this house, I am constantly aware that it could all end instantly. In the time it takes to snap your finger, you could be on the ground, waiting for the ambulance to arrive, or worse than that – already gone. This sounds a bit ghoulish, but true.

    I should explain.

    When I was 18, my dad suddenly fell ill. By the end of the day, he was diagnosed with renal failure (kidney disease) with out only one working kidney and that working only at 20% capacity. This week marked 23 years after his death when I was only 21. I was the oldest of the children, the youngest only 2 ½. In fact, I am older now than he was when he died.

    I do not need any reminders of this trying two years of my early adulthood. It marks pretty much my every move. When I look at my children inside the house, plopped in front of the television on a beautiful, sunny day, I am reminded that it could all be over sooner rather than later, in the time it takes to snap my finger. I quickly pile the dishes in the sink to be washed after they go to bed or even to school the next day, and search for the sunscreen (or just the car keys to take them to a park or some other outing, however short). When we return, the dishes will still be there, but they won’t mind at all, nor will their brains be scrambled by mindless cartoons. They’ll just be sitting in the sink, dirty and waiting for a wash, along with the laundry at the bottom of the basement stairs or in the washing machine, waiting to be transferred to the dryer.

    None of these things will matter in the long run. There will still be “things” to do to maintain the house, but there won’t always be little children running around my house, waiting for fun time with their Mom and Dad.

    So, what will you do with your children today?

    Send your best ideas to share with other moms and dads while all of our houses wait for us.

  • August 28, 2007 - 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Here is the link asking DO YOU GET THE BIG PICTURE?

    http://writingmilmom.blogspot.com/2007_05_01_archive.html

  • August 28, 2007 - 9:49 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to have someone explain to me how nutritious school lunches can consist of hotdogs, pizza, cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets. This baffles me. Please don’t say lack of money is the reason, because just about every school I’ve ever come across, rich or poor, has served the same type of meal (fast food) for the past…

    Here’s the link to my sound off on Venting About School Lunches http://www.momsbuzz.com/blogs/gloriacampos/6305/Venting+about+School+Lunches.html

  • August 30, 2007 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Saying Insensitive Things to a Pregnant Woman

    Here’s some advice – most pregnant women, if not ALL pregnant women, do not like to be told they are large any more than their non-pregnant counterparts. In fact, if you cannot imagine saying something to a non-pregnant woman, it’s probably best to not say it to pregnant woman.

    Maybe I’m overly sensitive. I had a weight problem in high school. In college, I discovered better eating habits and I learned that exercise was definitely my friend. So, with controlled eating and jogging 5-7 days per week, I can keep myself in a size 8. BIG EXCEPTION – when I’m pregnant. I AM NOT A SKINNY PREGNANT WOMAN. I’m jealous of those women who are, wish I could be, but I’m learning to accept this fact about my body. I gained 50 pounds during my first pregnancy, and it took me about eight months to get back into all my clothes. I gained about 30 pounds during my second pregnancy, and it took me four months to get back into all my clothes.

    I will not discuss my weight while I’m pregnant. I’m trying to enjoy this pregnancy, since it is absolutely my last. But it’s hard when some insensitive #%&wipes say things like, “Wow. Are you sure you’re not further along?” Or, “You’re huge.” Or, “You’re about ready, aren’t you?” Or, “Did you get this big in your previous pregnancies?”

    My husband says, “You’re pregnant. Don’t take it personally.” My friend says, “People think you won’t take it wrong because you’re pregnant.” So here’s my question: If I were to walk up to a woman who is 50, and say, “Wow. You’re really getting wrinkles,” would that be acceptable because she’s 50? I mean, after all, you’re supposed to get wrinkles when you’re 50, right? Isn’t this the same logic?

    I have a sharp tongue, but pride myself in being able to control it a little better the last few years, due to maturity and a few other factors. However, I’m really considering letting loose. Really I am. Maybe in response to the “Wow, you’re huge” comments, I should say, “Man alive, you’re ugly.”

    Here’s the link to my blog:
    http://www.newmomoldmom.wordpress.com

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