Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Snopes is my friend

"Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them. And we are all told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Well, that's horsepuckey, of course. We are not entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our informed opinions. Without research, without background, without understanding, it's nothing. It's just bibble-babble."
--Harlan Ellison

I love Snopes and FactCheck. They do the research for me so I don't say too many stupid things. (I still say my fair share, and sometimes more.) I really, really wish others (those who shall not be named yet are still related to me) would do the same.

Making us Proud

It actually takes very little to make us proud. K, C, and A are smart, witty, beautiful kids. They're always doing something interesting in their lives. Whether that makes BUMD and I happy or bewildered is another matter entirely.

Last night, we were eating dinner downstairs and watching TV. I know, bad parents - but we're watching things together, so it's a family dinner of sorts. The first two things we watched were short pieces put out by Barack Obama's campaign - the sort of feel-good infomercials that let you know more about the candidate. One of the things featured in both was Michelle Obama saying that she initially thought "Barack Obama" was a weird name. K turned around and said to us, "What's so weird about being named Barack Obama?". This is a kid who's being raised in Northern Virginia. People who live here come from all over the world. Even amongst the US-born folk, there's a large representation of people who have lived across the globe - govvies, foreign service members, military families, to name a few. NoVa is also a metropolitan area and every group lives in a higher concentration then, say, the small town in NJ where I grew up. The kids spend time with people from different cultures daily - that is one of our reasons for raising them here, no matter how bad the traffic sucks.

I've often claimed that the thing that would weird them out the most would be stepping into a classroom filled with only US-born, Caucasian students and staff. None of our kids have ever experienced that. Instead, they've grown to expect diversity in their lives. Being named something as unfamiliar as "Barack Obama" doesn't mean the person is weird; they're simply named something you haven't heard of yet. It's just a name, it doesn't define the person. When K made that comment, we knew she got it. Or maybe she didn't get "it", simply because the question never entered her mind. Being different is normal, not something to be feared. I hope that's the case.

I have a sign on the wall above one of my desks - "Life is 10% how how make it, and 90% how you take it." That really sums up how I should be viewing things, although at times it is difficult to process. Never was that sign more appropriate than last night. I was collecting the upstairs garbage. I reached into C's garbage can and came up with...wet stuff. That smelled like pee. I promptly yelled at him and then yelled for BUMD and explained that since he was a boy and C was a boy, they should have this discussion. C ended up having to clean the trash can and getting grounded from video games and movies for two weeks. BUMD was left trying to remember where he peed at that age. Boys, ewww.

Later on, BUMD pointed out a few very important observations. First, C opened his flip-top trash can and peed in it - so, he can pee standing up. Not a huge accomplishment for most kids, but we've been working on this with him forever. Autism can be weird like that. Next, DH had noticed the day before that C's room smelled strange, but C denied any issues. So, now we know he can lie too. That skill also took forever to develop. He tends to be very blunt and truthful. Not that I want him to lie, but it's nice to know that those processes are working. So, yes, we're proud of those developments. I just wish they'd manifested themselves differently. Some days, you just take what you can get and make the best of it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


C is rapidly developing an obsession with comic books. He devours them, which makes them a good bribe for just about anything. I'm also enjoying one comic in particular - Captain Obvious. It's as snarky as I am and at the same time reminds me to reign myself in sometimes. When someone asks for an opinion, I sometimes forget:

This is important for me to remember, because my general attitude is:

But most people's comprehension level is:

In short, it would behoove me to consider the request, smile, nod, and delete. Some days, that's the best opinion I can offer.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day of Reckoning, Month 1

Soo, it's the 18th. Already. So many days, so few pounds lost - three, to be exact. Not exactly a stellar showing in the weight loss category. Still, there's been some improvements. I have:
  • dramatically reduced the amount of sugar, dairy, and caffeine that I consume.

  • finally got around to getting the baseline mammogram I was supposed to schedule more than a year ago (all clear!).

  • made it to the psychiatrist, who confirmed that I have ADHD (shocking! Not.). We're working a a game plan to help me get my act together. I do so well with everyone else, so poorly with myself. Pfft.

  • finally started getting allergy shots and taking medicine that helps me breath like a regular person. I can't remember the last time I was able to breath in the fall.

  • gotten a flu shot for myself and the kids.

  • avoided completely stress eating through the whole "where's Waldo"-esque adventures with A's kidney.*

These are all fairly positive steps. I'm sure there's a few I left out, but K just came up to talk to me and I completely lost that train of thought.

I think the next step is to regularly exercise. To quote Nike's ad campaign, Just Do It. I suck at just doing it. Somehow, I need to make myself just do it. I guess that'll be the foundation for next month's post.

Score card:
3 lbs down, 57 to go.

* In my defense, I feel that downing an entire Toblerone bar is a proportional response to a doctor doing the ultrasound telling me that she cannot locate my child's left kidney, particularly given that the ultrasound tech who did my prenatal scans found both of them a month before A was born. I understand that kids tend to lose stuff, but a major organ is pushing it. Eventually, we'll either locate it, find out what happened to it, or go broke buying chocolate.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dietary Diversity

There are times that I fancy myself to have a fairly diverse diet. Then I go out shopping and realize I eat a relatively limited diet. Case in point - I went to the Lotte market today to pick up some bento supplies. There are few things there I have tried and many, many I never have and possibly never will. It's more than a bit intimidating to shop there, but so much fun. Not as much fun as the Great Wall Market, though - Lotte seemed to lack the live frogs and turtles in the fresh fish section. I suppose you can't have everything. ;-)

Anyway, my shopping adventure this morning reminded of a meme that I saw on Wrekehavoc's page last month. I haven't even heard of some of the things on the list.

The rules:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at http://www.verygoodtaste.co.uk/ linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borsch
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (does mango lassi count?)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (cognac yes, cigar ewwww)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (unless you count my unintentional inhalation of bugs.)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini (vodka, yes)
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Breath In, Breath Out

Breathing is important. It's also kind of nice, depending on how the air smells (use your imagination). We've been talking a lot about breathing lately, from telling C to take a deep breath and pleasecalmdownNOW to telling K to take a breather from her homework (so much more in fourth grade than there was in third).

BUMD has been taking a lot more breaths lately. A couple of weeks ago, he got the results of his sleep study and now he's finally hooked up to a CPAP machine. It's not nearly as bad as I had imagined. In fact, it's almost restful for me - kinda like a gray noise machine (too much noise to be white). It's apparently a lot easier to sleep through what sounds like a wind storm outside than it is the sound of your beloved spouse waking up multiple times a night. According to the sleep study results, he stopped breathing 50+ times an hour. That's right - the same hour that has 60 minutes. No wonder he always had bags under his eyes.

Of course, this is our house. Everything is fodder for a good laugh. By way of telling the kids about Daddy's new machine, he's taken to putting on the mask and stalking them while chanting "Luke, I am your father." This worked well until last night, when I had to tell him that he really resembled Snuffleupagus. How far we fall.

As a side note, I tried to embed this video, but they have embedding disabled. Bastards.