Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dad Diaper Bags


on DadGear 


There are a surprising number of Daddy products appearing in the baby industry and I have to say, the diaper bags for men are really nice. (My mom will be so sad to hear that yet another passing idea of hers has become a booming market a few years after she thinks of it.)

I like the basic look of this one on ebags.

And I think this backpack is perfect for the athletic papa.



If you want to drop some major bills, this diaper bag from StorkSak is amazing and looks almost like a briefcase (and supposedly Brad Pitt carries it)


I like that as fathers are becoming more involved, they are getting equipped to do so. Hopefully in coming years we'll see things for men start to creep into baby registries.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Old Wive's Tales: Gender Prediction

There are a lot of Old Wive's Tales I've heard about figuring out gender - the all seem particularly crazy to me (and most have been disproved by science and common sense), but honestly think they are really entertaining.


I pulled together a number of them from a number of sites - if I missed any that you know of, let me know...

* How do you carry the child? Carrying high is girl, carrying low is boy
(the nurse in me knows this is actually due to uterine muscle tone, but again, its fun to see)

* What is the fetal heart beat range? High (above 140 bpm) is girl, low is boy
(another one that science has debunked, but every single expectant mom will perk their ears to)

*What do you crave? Sweet foods - ice creams and the like is girl, Salty/Sour foods - pickles, chips, etc is boy

*What are your eating habits? Sick and Nauseated is girl, eating more is boy

*What does one cup of your pee look like when mixed with one tablespoon of Drano? (that's right, you heard me. this one sounds crazy to me too. and I wonder how "old" of a wive's tale it can be, but here goes) Green is girl, blue is boy

*What is the mother's age at conception and what is the year at conception? - this one is according to the Mayans so we'll know pretty soon whether or not to trust them - If the answer to both age and year are even or odd its girl, if the answer to age and year are opposite its boy

*What part of the loaf of bread do you crave? The middle is girl, the heals (aka the 'butt') is boy

*How is your complexion? Breakouts are linked to girl ("they steal their mother's beauty") and clear skin is boy

*How is your demeanor? Crabby is girl, Pleasant is boy

*How have you gained weight? Pregnant 'all over' is girl, All belly is boy

*What are your hands like? soft hands are girl, chapped or dry hands are boy

*What did an older sibling say first? Mom or Mama is girl, Dad or Dadda is boy

*Which breast is bigger during pregnancy? (yep thats a thing) Right side is girl, left side is boy

*How are you getting about? Clumsy is boy, Graceful is girl

*Has the father put on weight during pregnancy? Yes is girl, no is boy

*Ask a pregnant person to show you their hands - Palms up is girl, Palms down is boy

*Have her pick up a house key - She grasps the long narrow part its a girl, She picks the round end its a boy

and my personal favorite (because how will you discuss and determine this):
*Who was more aggressive at the time of conception? Husband means its a girl, Wife means its a boy


Sometimes these can do more harm than good (note: don't tell a hormonal pregnant woman she looks like she's carrying a girl - she will most definitely become 'crabby') but most of them are harmless and rarely true.

We grew up with my mom doing the pencil test (also performed with a string and a wedding band) and maybe its just because I was raised on the notion of that particular wive's tale, I do think that one must be true. (please don't tell me otherwise)

baby clothes

This weekend I went to a wonderful baby shower for my cousin and next weekend I have another baby shower for my best friend (I don't have the internal wiring to love showers, but I love these women so it helps a great deal).



This bookending of all things newborn has gotten me thinking a lot about them and I'm going to throw out a few posts on the subject this week.

warning: If you hate babies don't visit this site again until next monday...

I read this article titled, When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink and I thought it was really fascinating. How the blue and pink colors we so strongly adhere to weren't even ascribed until the 40s and how the very specific gender icons (trucks and princess) weren't added till the mid 80s. The author attributes a boom in gender specific clothing to our wealth. We can afford to have blue crib sheets for one child and pink curtains for the next. I also think its because we can find out the sex quite early and accurately, leaving proud aunties with the desire to go buy things.

I found the article to be surprising because I'm not aware of a time before the standard options were this...


and this...

or the unisex this...

(owls and monkeys seem to be the new turtles for this category)

and so its hard to remove myself from the fixed 'boy', 'girl', 'neutral' mentality.

I am making a blanket for a friend that plans on being surprised about the gender and I was torn on what colors to use. I laid out all the color options of yarn in front of Neil and begged his help in choosing. He said, 'I like gray and green.' I paused 'But Neil, is that 'neutral enough?" he shrugged, "I don't know, I just think it's a nice green." I realized how stupid I sounded. Why did I feel the need to incorporate an anemic pale yellow? Why was gender representation (or ambiguous lack thereof) more important than it looking good?

(In the end, I went with the nice gray and green)

I wouldn't call any of this a rant... more of a musing... about culture. Some pinks and blues are very fun and have a great place. I for one, can't wait to buy a little girl this Pitt Cheerleading outfit, and that's about as gender stereotyped as you can get.

However when I go to shop for shower gifts, I find I want to break away from the "I'm a diva" and "Lil Heartbreaker" clothes, so I usually go with the standard white onesie (is that sooo boring?).

Last year I made an effort to branch out and I was surprised to find that American Apparel and H&M  can have really great baby clothes! I also know a lot of people like etsy for the one of a kind blankets and screen print baby tees.

I got this unisex cardigan from American Apparel for a shower, and I wish it came in my size 

I'm curious, do you stick with the girl pink and the boy blue when you shop for baby shower gifts? Do you like the onsies with sayings or not? And have you found any places with unique clothing? 

Friday, January 27, 2012

HAPPY WEEKEND! hope you throw less punches

This is not the usual, chipper weekend post. buckle up...

Between the GOP debates and the recent State of the Union address - there's been a lot of political tinder to fuel internet opinions. I feel rather inundated with FACEBOOK STATUSES WRITTEN IN CAPS LOCK and photos of government officials with funny tag lines added and links to smear campaign ads vaguely claiming someone has been "feeding us more lies" with no supporting facts.

Its not the posts and the content I have a problem with here - its my reaction to them. When the joke falls within my party lines I find myself nodding, smirking "haaa, thats so true. I don't know how anyone could be stupid enough not to see how simple and true this is." And when it crosses my political divide - I read the same helvetica font as angry, mean, bitter helvetica. "really? you think that's funny? how stupid would you have to be to believe that is even remotely true?"

So the real issue is not that I have blue friends and red friends and friends with links to political satire - the real issue is how I clench my jaw and put up walls as soon as I perceive a strong bias in other people. But doesn't that just reveal a unhealthy manifestation of bias in myself?

I say all this about relatively benign facebook messages because this weekend I'm helping with an event that centers around a very jaw clenching, wall building issue - sexual identity (and the kicker, its' being held in one of those places where people really like to argue separate sides without hearing each other - a church).

I feel so hopeful about this event though. The Upper Room has arranged for Janell Williams Paris, a professor at Messiah College, to lecture about aspects of sexual identity - ranging from our cultural view of gender and sex to homosexuality to celibacy. All of this is based off her book "The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex is Too Important to Define Who We Are." Her approach is to begin to remove some of the divisive constructs that have effectively halted conversation and allow for an open dialogue.

***For anyone that isn't able to sign up on eventbrite and come tomorrow - you can hear Janell give a short radio interview here. ***

(note: I can't speak for everyone involved when I say this..) My goal is not to change people's minds/theology/religious construct. My goal, my hope, for saturday afternoon is that people relax their fists and open their ears and hear a well worn topic in a new way. For some people that have strong opinions, sitting in the middle of this powder keg of an issue, this approach could sound compromising and relativistic. I understand that. For some people that have been made to feel unwelcome, been ostracized, been oppressed, this approach could sound benign and insensitive. I understand that.

I sit in a comfortable place in our society as a middle class american with unambiguous genitalia that has a huge heterosexual crush on my husband. Its sad to me that there are labels that are 'normal' and 'abnormal' and more so 'perverse'. I can have the luxury of saying lets put away anger and sit and hear each other. I know my position is a luxury. I understand that too.

Even still - I hope this weekend can be one where the protest banners are laid down and the need to hear outweighs the need to be heard and most importantly we forgo the need to figure out who is right. It might sound like a cop out to a charged issue - but we haven't gotten anywhere with SPEAKING IN ALL CAPS. And isn't it harder to face the thing we disagree with? Isn't it less of a cop out to wrestle with opposing view points the fact that there are people, humans that God loves and created on all sides of the argument? Doesn't it take more chutzpa to throw less punches?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Drinkify

This has become my new favorite website. I stole it from my friend Lauren and until she caves and begins blogging again, I'll continue to steal wonderful things from her... (so there, lovely lady, you've officially been warned)

Now that I've seen it, I don't know how I've lived this long without Drinkify.

You simply type in the music you want to hear then this wonder of a website tells you the perfect drink to imbibe along with your chosen music. AND it plays you a song

I was slightly skeptical at first, but I have yet to be disappointed.

Some are Obvious...
Snoop Dog = 10 oz Gin + 10 oz Wheatgrass Juice + 12 oz Lemon Juice (served laid back, I'm guessing)
BIG PUN = 1 bottle champagne (hot tub- poppin bubbly)

Some are Snarky...
the indy rock group, with hipster queen Zooey Deschanel, SHE AND HIM = 1 PBR (my guess was Franzia but I find their answer equally acceptable)

Mostly they're just fun to see...
OVER THE RHINE = 4 oz old rip van winkle bourbon and 4 oz pineapple juice (yep.)

JAY -Z = 10 oz gin, served on the rocks (on point)

LIONEL RICHIE = 2 oz Damson Gin, served neat (see what happened there, he's 8 oz less gin than Jay and I'm okay with that... it's just, is that enough alcohol to last 'all night long'?)

COLTRANE = 4 oz red wine, served neat (check)

TRIBE CALLED QUEST = 6 oz Gin + 6 oz Rose's Lime Juice + 1 bottle Worcestershire sauce (I would have guessed Vodka and Dr Pepper but I'm quickly learning I don't know like Drinkify knows)

THE BLACK KEYS = 8 oz Canadian Club Whiskey + 8 oz Roses Lime Juice + 10 oz Rum, Fucking Rum (case in point, can't argue with Drinkify)

Question: Is it sad that an alarming number of my beloved bands came up with 1 bottle of red wine - one entire bottle - that's some mournful music!
(wait, before you kindly answer 'no' the "is it sad" question, please consider the fact that I spent the better part of a day playing on this site - at one point I typed in Nickleback and said out loud "please be white wine spritzer, please be white wine spritzer.")

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thoughts on Losing Weight

I've already shared a little bit about some side effects of my current medication. The one I didn't really talk about was how it causes me to lose weight.  Why? because I know as soon as I go to complain about getting skinny - I lose all sympathy from all women, everywhere. (Including my former, occasional dieting self)


I used to be on this medication before so I know the drill well (and it's repeating again this time) and it goes something like this....

*wake up tired, because the sleep/wake regulator of my brain was damaged in the accident and I don't sleep really, at all, ever.
*wake up in pain, because I'm always in pain
*feed myself with what feels like herculean effort - despite the fact that I'm often nauseated (and still tired and in pain)
*continue with this cycle of saying things like "How did it get to be six o'clock? I probably need to eat some more. Or maybe I can wait till Neil gets home so I don't need to make anything."
*lose weight because my medication increases my metabolism

Unfortunately being skinny while on Topamax is not necessarily synonymous with feeling healthy. And I quickly get sensitive to the snide comments from women that tend to go like this.. "wow. I wish I could lose weight like that too." Because my weight comes at a cost and I would trade anyone 40 pounds and their healthy brain any day for them to have just an hour in my shoes. Does that sound bitter? I hope not, I'm trying not to be.

This was especially difficult around the time of my wedding, when I was working very hard to put on at least five pounds so my dress would fit and I would be back into a 'healthy' weight category. Meanwhile, wedding blogs and fellow brides were diet obsessed. I wanted to shake these friends that felt that their beach honeymoon would be better with a better body - when that kind of honeymoon was inconceivable in my condition. (sorry friends, please remember that I'm sleep deprived but I do love you and your nice honeymoons and look fine with those 5 pounds, it's all good)

the article this photo came from:

I also become sensitive because I work hard to make the best choices I can for my body hoping my mind will follow. The vast majority of what I eat is non-processed, healthy food. The vast majority of my days involve some sort of exercise - despite how much more painful that exercise may be. I do put in great deal of effort.

I've seen both sides though - about a year ago I went off Topamax and I slooowly gained over 20 pounds in that year. To be honest, part of it was hard to see numbers creep up and not know when they'd stop, but another part was just fine by me. I was eating really well and training for a half marathon at the time and I was in really good shape. I feel I settled into what was a healthy weight for my height and so gaining weight ended up being a good thing.

Now I'm back on the drug and losing again, oh the ups and downs of weight. If I lost your sympathy in the beginning, maybe I can get a little back with claiming the 'yo-yo' issue?

My pre-accident self would have LOVED to drop some pounds and probably associated a lot of happiness with pant size. My current self feels a little bit of panic at how to find ways to eat enough calories - that are still 'good' calories - and not dip into an underweight BMI like I did last time I was on this medication. (I've been getting lax on the healthy part and eating a lot of cheeses and snacking a lot just to keep up - I had a 'won't hold back' policy this holiday season and I still lost 8 pounds!)

My pre-accident self would have longed for someone to notice when I lost a hard earned dress sized. My current self wants to lash out and cry when anyone comments on my appearance, because looking 'good' and feeling 'good' are not the same for me.

When recently sharing my medication side effects with someone they said "I was gonna say - saw a picture of you from years ago and man, you lost weight! You look really good now!" It took all I had to lash out at this poor, unsuspecting friend and tell her that "my past 'heavier' girl didn't hurt and you aren't allowed to say bad things about her because I want her back."

I have some friends that are losing weight and feeling really good. Its a positive thing. I hesitate to comment though. On one hand I always thought they were absolutely beautiful - plus, I've grown to disdain comments on weight. On the other hand, I feel remiss in not saying anything because I know they're making hard and healthy choices.

In the end, I'm realizing it doesn't matter as much as I used to think it did. I see pictures of me as a kid and remember thinking at that time I was fat in that outfit - but the girl in the photo is not fat, just pretty and disillusioned. There are ups and downs to both sides of the coin and I think that Tina Fey (in her book Bossypants) wraps it all up in a much better way than I ever could....


"Remembrances of Being Very Very Skinny
For a brief time at the turn of the century, I was very skinny. This is what I remember about that period.
• I was cold all the time.
• I had a pair of size-four corduroy short shorts. That I wore. To work. In the middle of Manhattan.
• I loved it when people told me I was getting too thin.
• I once took a bag of sliced red peppers to the beach as a snack.
• I regularly ate health food cookies so disgusting that when I enthusiastically gave one to Rachel Dratch she drew a picture of a rabbit and broke the cookie into a trail of tiny pieces coming out of the rabbit’s butt.
• Men I had met before suddenly paid attention to me . . . and I hated them for it.
• Sometimes I had to sleep with a pillow between my legs because my bony knees clanking together kept me awake.
• I had a lot of time on my hands because I wasn’t constantly eating.
• I ran three miles a day on a treadmill six days a week.
• I felt wonderfully superior to everyone.
• I didn’t have a kid yet.
We should leave people alone about their weight. Being skinny for a while (provided you actually eat food and don’t take pills or smoke to get there) is a perfectly fine pastime. Everyone should try it once, like a super-short haircut or dating a white guy.
Remembrances of Being a Little Bit Fat
For a brief time at the end of that last century I was overweight. This is what I remember about that period.
• My boobs were bigger.
• I once left a restaurant in the middle of dessert to get to Krispy Kreme before it closed.
• Even though I only liked McDonald’s fries, I believed it was more nutritious to make a meal of it and have two cheeseburgers as well.
• If I was really ambitious, I would get a Whopper Jr at Burger King and then walk to McDonald’s to get the fries. The shake could be from anywhere.
• I could not run a mile.
• I wore oversize men’s overalls that I loved.
• Guys who were friends did not want to date me . . . and I hated them for it.
• On at least three occasions, I vomited on Christmas Eve from mixing chocolate, peel-and-eat shrimp, summer sausage and cheese. No alcohol was involved.
• As a size 12, I took pride that I was “real woman”-sized. “Size 12 is the national average,” I would boast, “no matter what magazines try to tell you.”
• Once, while ironing in my underwear, I grazed my protruding belly with the hot iron.
We should leave people alone about their weight. Being chubby for a while (provided you don’t give yourself diabetes) is a natural phase of life and nothing to be ashamed of. Like puberty or slowly turning into a Republican."

Funny Tumblr (part 3)

I've fallen in love with a few tumblrs before (Dave and Ryan - well done) but I have a new favorite these days...

What the F**k is Michael Jordon Wearing?

Oh Michael, its the jackets. and the high tuck. but mostly the jackets.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dear Steve Martin

I'm writing to you because recently for several years now, I have been lacking direction in my life. This letter is the beginning of what I believe to be directional inspiration. (Its also a potential opportunity to restore pride in the hearts of my family, friends, and a high school guidance counselor)

Steven Martin, I'm seeking you because  

You act

You stand up (in the comedic sense)

You write many things (nonfiction, fiction, and screenplays)

You play the banjo

You win grammy's for playing the banjo

You study and collect art

And - okay, I'll say it - We're all thinking it - You're one smooth silver fox


Is there anything you don't do?

I'm sure soon we'll be seeing your Steve Martin line of inventions. (opti-grab not withstanding)

With us both in full agreement of your impressive resume, I hope you'll strongly consider my request to have you become my GURU (the position is currently available on my end). I'm good with constructive criticism and if you'll refer back to my strong intro - I have a lot of flexibility with very little direction.

If you'll let me apprentice under your wise ways, I promise to create very little extra work for you...

1. I'm essentially the same measurements are Martin Short circa 1986



 2. My new business cards can be a simple re-appropriation of your old ones 
        


Take your time with the answer because I really don't have much else going on.

Sincerely,
(if I send off with "one wild and crazy gal" does it help or hurt my chances?)

Monday, January 23, 2012

National Pie Day

Today is National Pie Day and the dork in me is upset that no one thought to make this holiday on March 14th  (as in 3.14, as in pi, as in... oh you get it? just not amused? okay)


I can chalk that date thing up as a missed opportunity because really, how long can one be mad at the Pie Community - especially when they get so many things right.

I'm having a nostalgic, emotional, sleep deprived kind of day and as a result I'm thinking about my Gram. She was the best cook I knew and she made pies weekly (if not more). I can close my eyes and draw out details of her huge, warm kitchen... her skilled hands pinching off perfectly sized rolls from a mound of dough or record breaking ability to peel potatoes with a paring knife. The memories are spotty and always pleasant, but we were a wild bunch of kids and I have been told that she swatted us with a rolling pin more than once. (funny, I blocked that part out)

One of my most beloved wedding presents was the very same well worn rolling pin she used for so many years and a stack of her glass pie dishes. It was a passing of the torch, if you will.  And since I don't have my Gram with me anymore, I feel like channeling her spirit by making a pie.

I'd love to post a picture of a wonderful lattice crust dessert and say that's exactly what my fully functioning adult self accomplished today... but I can't lie. I didn't even cook with a microwave today - I ate cold pasta for dinner.

Instead of connecting with my Grandmother in the kitchen, I felt a closeness to her today while I was at the hospital, sitting by her son (my father). He had a rather intense and pretty risky surgery and aside from a great deal of blood loss - which can be replaced - he came through okay. It was an answer to much prayer and after a long tough road we, as a family, breathed a sigh of relief at the hope that lies ahead.

And I know if Gram were still here she would be at peace. She also would've had her sh*t together (unlike a certain granddaughter) and she probably would have had a cherry cobbler cooling on the counter for when I got home.

Friday, January 20, 2012

HAPPY WEEKEND! hope you get to share

We are going to a nephew's 3rd birthday party and Neil was asked to make his ever famous, slow roasted, super tasty pulled pork.

This is exciting to a vegetarian because while I've never cared much about meat - I've always loved me some sauces!

I couldn't tell you to this day what a chicken nugget tastes like... they were always just a vector for any and all dipping condiments I could get my hands on. To eat them plain? a waste of time. I could never conceive of such a thing.

So I can hardly help but be happy for the special treat we have this saturday - we are breaking out our hidden reserve, top shelf stuff...


Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barbeque Sauce



Last year my mother-in-law bought us a jar as a souvenir from her trip to Louisville (way better than a T-shirt, by the way) and we loved it so much we began rationing the minute we tried it. Then for christmas she surprised us by having some more of it shipped from Kentucky.

Now, after some consideration, we're sharing it with the family for the birthday party - I know, I know, so kind of us, so generous, right? We think so too.

I hope you also have a weekend with some culinary delights and if you choose to keep it to yourself I will not begrudge you one bit.

p.s. Don't worry about the word "bourbon" in the title - there's no alcohol in the sauce. Three year olds are crazy enough as it is, can you imagine how annoying they would be drunk? no thanks.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The New Jim Crow

I love when NPR does author interviews, and recently they talked with Michelle Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness"


I found that parts of the book read like a doctoral thesis (please take that with a grain of salt, seeing as I've never read a doctoral thesis). She is often stating and restating the themes, setting up her outline and then summarizing what was stated. So some of that repetition was lost on me. I do have to say the crux of the book was very interesting and eye opening. I thought her analysis to be fair despite it being clear that she is passionate about the issues.

I could say more but I'm not a journalist for NPR and they do a better job with the whole summary and interview thing (no surprise there). All I'll say is you should read the book if you have any interest in social or racial issues in our culture.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Braving the Cold

I just had a wonderful weekend in the woods, and to my surprise, the most enjoyable parts were spent outdoors.


The wind was blistering and the temperatures dipped to 12 degrees, but we bundled up well and continued to encourage each other... ("I can't feel my toes but this is nice, right?")


And bit by bit we warmed up to our hikes - both physically and mentally. And this might sound lame, but it seemed sort of epic to be out there in the silent woods, with no one else for miles.


Its like that age old question: If a bookworm of a girl excitedly says "This feels like Narnia!" in the middle of the woods, and no one is around to hear it, is she still a nerd?


Then after breathing in fresh air and soaking in sunshine (I know right, sunshine in the winter?!? who knew), the best reward was warming up again with hard earned rest.


A group of my friends once spent a Christmas in Quebec and they marveled at how everyone was outside on Christmas day - playing and walking the streets and, just plain out and about. When they asked about aboot it, the response was along the lines of, "when its cold most of the year, you can't stay indoors that long, you just find ways to adjust."


My cousins who spent time in Norway said the same thing of its inhabitants - whose children have recess ALL YEAR round! Apparently they have a saying there:
  "There's no such thing as bad weather, 
just bad clothing."
Isn't that wonderful?! I think If I were to talk myself into getting out more, I could banish some winter blahs and really enjoy this season in a new way... I think I could adjust to this.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

looking forward

There are a lot of things I'm looking forward to in 2012! too many for one post. so we'll call this the "Entertainment Edition" and here is the (incomplete) list of things I just can't wait to see/hear/read in the coming year...

SMITTEN KITCHEN COOKBOOK
My absolute favorite blog has been Smitten Kitchen, and after what has felt like years, Deb has finally sent off the pages of her cookbook... now we just wait for it to hit the shelves! I made a pact with myself not to buy any new books this year, which makes this news especially hard to swallow. My darling husband offered to film himself reading the book to me as a loophole to having me purchase the book. (yes, I want it that badly)

that changed my life, not for the healthier


SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED, BY ANNE LAMOTT
If I had a favorite living author - it would be Anne. In college we would take turns reading parts of her books to each other on road trips (is that not normal? it seemed normal at the time). At one point I mailed 9 copies of her book "Traveling Mercies" to my closest girl cousins with personalized notes saying something along the lines of "Read this. Or else..." Her books - largely the nonfiction writings - are the ones I return to again and again, and I refer to them like old friends. And this year she'll come out with another nonfiction novel!! This time about the experience of becoming a grandmother. I'm freaking out (is that not normal?)



T.I. "TROUBLE MAN"
I have a deep love for T.I.'s album "Paper Trail" which he wrote while on house arrest. This newest album (release date uncertain but I keep hearing it will be SOON!) was the product of 10 months in the slammer and then time on the home front with family (hello, VH1 reality show) and friends (the collaboration on this record is insane). Not to mention, "Trouble Man" is inspired by a 1972 Marvin Gaye song with the same title. Based on the few leaked songs we got so far, s'gonna be good!

ANDREW BIRD "BREAK IT YOURSELF"
I don't know how one becomes a professional whistler but I have to respect the title when I see it. It's been a while since I've spent time with Mr Bird and I have to admit, I'm really looking forward to this March when it will be happening again.

DR. DRE "DETOX"
It seems like I'm looking forward to this every year, and every year it's release is somehow postponed. But I guess when you're a badass physician like Dre you can do what you like and we will all patiently await your genius. (but seriously, it better come out this year)

I'm not the only frustrated fan - other people are so sick of waiting
they're are making fake album covers


FRIENDS WITH KIDS
Usually I don't like when I see the formulaic repeat of cast members in movie after movie (see Adam Sandler movies, then Ben Stiller movies, then Will Farrell moives, then Seth Rogan movies) but the minute I saw this trailer, I was all about a repeat of as much of the cast of Bridesmaids as possible. yes please!



LES MISERABLE
One of my all time favorite books and musicals is (once again) being made into a movie. Its set to come out in December and it has Huge Jackmon, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway!

LIFE OF PI
Another beloved book that's being made into a movie (also to be released in December). I'm so intrigued by this one. I don't want to give away the story here, but I can't wait to see how director Ang Lee decides to work that plot twist into the films. Don't you think it will be just beautiful and thrilling to see this come to life?

and the piece de resistance....

MOONRISE KINGDOM
I'm a huge Wes Anderson dork. I love everything he touches. I recite obscure lines from Bottle Rockets. I regularly check his IMDB page, just to see what he's up to. And I have big news people - he's up to things!! On May 16th I'll get to wait in line to watch a late showing of this gem called Moonrise Kingdom. And remember that thing I said about disdain for repeat casting - it never applied to him. Bill Murray can do whatever he wants (and in this trailer, he wields a gun. and throws a shoe.) New to the Anderson team - Bruce Willis!! Ed Norton!! There's even a character named "lazy eye". I feel as though it could not be possible for me to be happier than I am right now.


This is just the tip of the iceberg (I didn't even get into Dicaprio playing Gatsby or Kid Cudi's third try at greatness). And I'm always taking suggestions for book club reads, new albums, and movie dates in the coming year!

Monday, January 16, 2012

In honor of a King...

Every Martin Luther King Jr Day, I re-read "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" and every year it feels both comfortably familiar and energetically new. And every year I think- I should branch out and read more things he wrote/said, if I love this so much...

So on this chilly morning that we are to honor a great man, I lingered in bed with a coffee and a wonderful book called "A People's History of the Unisted States" by Howard Zinn. I read the chapter on the civil rights movement and like all things - the more I learn, the more I realize how very little I know.

I was shocked - SHOCKED - to read Zinn's account of how King "became a chief target of the FBI, which tapped his private phone conversations, sent him fake letters, threatened him, blackmailed him, and even suggested once in an anonymous letter that he commit suicide. FBI internal memos discussed finding a black leader to replace King. As a Senate report on the FBI said in 1976, the FBI tried 'to destroy Dr. Martin Luther King.'" (read that again people - The FBI tried to destroy Dr King... and now we have a bank holiday to celebrate him!?!? I really don't know what to make of that.)

So I put aside my tried and true "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" quotes this year and I'm venturing out into something different.... this time its about protesting (which I feel is fitting because Time magazine's 2011 Person of Year was 'The Protestor' )....



"We have known humiliation, we have known abusive language, we have been plunged into the abyss of oppression. And we have decided to raise up only with the weapon of protest. 

It is one of the greatest glories of America that we have the right to protest.

If we are arrested every day, if we are exploited everyday, if we are trampled every day, don't ever let anyone pull you so low as to hate them. 

We must use the weapon of love. 

We must have compassion and understanding for those who hate us. We must realize so many people are taught to hate us that they are not totally responsible for their hate. 

But we stand in life at midnight, we are always on the threshold of a new dawn."
~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


p.s. the quote above is probably not the kind of thing that made him a chief target of the FBI - more likely it was saying things like "... its inevitable that we've got to bring out the question of the tragic mixup in priorities. We are spending all of this money for death and destruction, and not nearly enough money for life and constructive development... when the guns of war become a national obsession, social needs inevitably suffer."  

As I expand in my MKL readings, I still find myself wholeheartedly agreeing with every word he said. (and feeling remorse for how applicable his words remain to this day)

Friday, January 13, 2012

HAPPY WEEKEND! hope you get cozy

We are going camping for the weekend!

And by "camping" I mean we'll be staying with 7 other friends in a fully equipped cabin in the woods.... separate bed rooms, stocked kitchen, games, satellite tv. This is by no means roughing it.

(I'll bring my headlamp anyway - because - do I even have to explain? Its a good look.)


We're setting out with an itinerary of skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding, hiking, and covered bridge tours.

We'll realistically end up under blankets, sipping mulled wine, and playing games by the fire.

In the hopes that you can feel cozy and warm and woodsy as we will - I give you this link to a yule log you tube video which is honestly nothing even close to the real thing.



but kick your feet up (get cozy) and enjoy anyway!

Snack Cake

Its no secret that Hostess (maker of the twinkie, the ho ho, and wonder bread)  has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.

One of the reasons sited was that people 'move away from white bread to more whole grain bread.'

So if we're trending towards healthier choices, why are we - as a nation - heavier than ever before?

This commercial from the late 70s is pretty comical in it's definition of 'healthy'...


But I wonder if we'll feel the same way about Snackwells and the not so natural flavors of Yoplait thirty years from now.

                                        

When it comes to deciding what to eat, it's probably best to stick with things of nature - things one can pronounce (and about 80% of the time I do). But I"m going on a road trip today, which means a gas station stop, which means I'll be tempted to have one of those yellow dye snack cakes for nostalgia sake.

Along with some pizzeria pizza combos?

God help me.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Splurges in a Cup

Confession: I gained something close to The Freshman 15 when I went to College and most of it was before Thanksgiving break!

What's puzzling - I didn't drink alcohol at all. So where did all those empty calories come from? Thanks to the historically data below, you can know exactly how it happened (in pie graph form):


As you can see, the biggest culprit was high calorie coffee drinks (which were covered under my generous meal plan). I was getting up for three hour long, 8 am lectures at a time when Starbucks was promoting something called 'white chocolate mochas'. Whaaat? These are delicious AND they keep you awake?!?!  Little did my 18 year old body know, they contained half my day's caloric intake.

Since then, I've grown a lot (in nutritional knowledge, not waist size). I have a true love for coffee and tea - blessedly low calorie beverages, that I drink daily. But I still allow myself some splurges.

Four times a year I drink hefty, sweet, decadent drinks. One of those times was today so I'll keep sharing (before I crash off this sugar high)...

1.  The White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha - when it feels blistery cold and wintery and I need a pick me up.


2. The McDonalds Shamrock Shake - for that magical, limited time in March when this drink hits select McDonalds and I'm lured in - every year.


3. The Chai Tea Frappachino - for the first day that really feels like spring, when I can walk outside with this drink (without a coat) and feel sunshine and warmth


4. Pumpkin Spice Cappuchino - for the first day that really feels like fall, when I can walk outside with this and I need a sweater and the air is crisp. (I insist upon getting the gas station kind here - the ones from a machine with the powder and the button you release when 3/4 full - it's sooo good)


And now that I only give myself these four fancy drinks a year, I find I look forward them more, enjoy them more, and move on.... I still have a Hoagie consumption issue but that's for another time.

 I'm curious do you have special splurges? certain vices? strange annual ways of coping with them?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Relics

Last week my phone broke and I realized how maladaptive I am when it comes to modern technology....

Not only did I feel a huge sense of relief at not having to talk on the phone (I didn't get it fixed for over four days), I felt a great sense of loss over the fact that they no longer make the 'old' phone that I love so much.

R.I.P  you big, lovable, gray stone

Not to worry folks. A good friend of mine had the same model tucked away in his drawer ( he had recently upgraded) so he passed the perfectly good flip phone along to me. Am I lucky or what?!?!

The Verizon store clerk's reaction to this lateral phone exchange ("ma'am, you've had a new phone credit for over three years, I would be happy to show you our smart phone options.") was eerily similar to the time I paid cash for an item at the Apple store ("(sigh) wait here while I get someone from the back with access to the change drawer.")

People under the age of 65 just don't seem to understand my lack of desire to keep forging ahead into new and increasingly expensive technology. Its almost upsetting enough to write someone a letter about it - but I can't find where I put the postage and I'm tired so I probably just make some tea and take a nap instead.

Feel free to text me if you agree (as long as its under 160 characters).

My Favorite Color







Go Ahead and say goodbye to all cultural references to this color because there's only going to be ONE true Blue from now on...




I know I'm a few days late and totally on a bandwagon here but....

WELCOME TO THE WORLD 
BLUE IVY CARTER!!!

Why am I so excited over a 7 lb little being that I will never meet? Because this tiny nugget will inspire great music such as this....


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

...a little more

Yesterday I posted some articles that flirted with this fine city of Pittsburgh.

Somehow I can't bring myself to be done just yet. I think its because I'm a sports fan and Pittsburgh is currently in a valley. Granted we are a spoiled bunch, so our 'valley' is relative (apologies to Detroit)...

The Steelers' recent overtime loss to Denver in the wild-card round
The Panther's recent (coach-less) bowl game embarrassment
The Penguin's recent string of injuries, while on the cusp of falling below the play off line
And the true love of my life - Pitt Basketball - losing 4 in a row - the longest losing streak in ten years and more than that, people have begun questioning Jamie Dixon - this crushes me

So for all those people that take games and sports to heart - here are a few uplifting things....



Pittsburgh was voted as the 'in' city. And whatever that means, it seems to be a very good thing.

This Steelers hangover article is really good if you're still needing to lick the wounds of a Playoff loss

And when you've read enough articles, you can lean back, relax, and let Wiz take it away...


Pittsburgh Sports Fans - there's always The Pirates next year!