decade

The traditional flower for the 10th wedding anniversary is the daffodil. Pssst... it's August*. Do you think these will do?

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart!




*As in almost the end of summer, so where the crap am I supposed to find a bundle of these harbingers of spring?


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wordless wednesday


Check out the links to the rest of the participants over at Wordless Wednesday!


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seriously...

Update: As of 10pm on the 26th (just a little over 24 hours since this was originally posted), the number of hits for this particular post has gone from 39 to 65. I remain truly baffled.


Since I posted this last month, I have had 39 hits on the site from Googlers seeking this. Hmmmm, did I just find the ultimate secret to upping traffic without improving my writing? What gives, dinosaur lovers? I get the feeling I'm missing something important here! If you happen to stop by and stick around for longer than the average 4 seconds, PLEASE leave me a clue in the comments.

Wait, wait. Make that 38 hits since someone in Eugene, Oregon got here because S&N came up #5 in his/her search for "child bearing hips hot". I hate to be the one to break it to you, love, but if that's your thing, the middle age spread is going to send you riiiiiiiight over the edge. Rowr!

Oh, and I'm the #9 result when Googling "monologues on insanity". Which sums it all up quite nicely, don't you think?


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wordless wednesday


Check out the links to the rest of the participants over at Wordless Wednesday!


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stuff about me that you never knew you needed to know

Thanks, Lora!

The Rules:
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
Since we're still operating under ITSAATWB 2007 conditions 'round here, I've plenty of time for the business of memeing...
  1. I celebrated my 29th birthday in Tarangire National Park after having summited Mt. Kilimanjaro the day before.
  2. I used to insist that my middle name was pronounced "ear-ane-aye" so that it wouldn't sound so old-lady-crocheting-doilies-ish. 5 points to the person who figures the real spelling out from THAT amalgamation of letters. 5 more points to the person who knew what "amalgamation" meant without having to look it up. Siblings forfeit all rights to points because, seriously, if you guys don't know this stuff? Shame, shame.
  3. Despite the recurrent ingrown toenails, I simply can't bring myself to cut my toenails straight across. And yet? Each time I feel the pain that is an ingrown toenail? I wonder "Why does this keep happening?" Quick! Define insanity again.
  4. Just about quarterly I get the urge to rearrange all the furniture in the house. I usually wind up frustrated that I can't get here from here and put everything back the way it was after about 2 hours of the adjust-ever-so-slightly-to-the-left-just-a- nudge-to-the-right routine. BG usually has enough sense not to raise his eyebrows when I tell him how busy I've been all day. He always has the sense to duck after he asks that question.
  5. I simply cannot let the little volume number on any piece of audio equipment rest on a number that isn't a multiple of 5. Have I mentioned anywhere on this blog that I might have some OCD issues?
  6. Every month I take a little time for a visit from the ghosts of "Things I wish I hadn't done in the past and the people whose lives were quite possibly ruined FOREVER by my thoughtless actions." I lie awake at night trying to come up with an action plan for righting my wrongs, only to discard it because it's just too much like that 8th step and dammit, how do you explain to someone you pissed off in 19-freaking-forever-ago that although you appear to be following the AA program, you really aren't an alcoholic? And wasn't that what high school was all about, anyways? Pissing people off and getting pissed on by other pissers? Let's just say that that week is a long week for all of us.
  7. I waver back and forth between being naive and paranoid.
  8. My wedding ring is comprised of BG's grandmother's replacement engagement ring (her original was stolen) and two sapphires that BG chose all by himself at a jewelry show. Also? He had to get the permission from every surviving member of his grandmother's family before he could choose the ring as his inheritance from her estate.

And that's that. My taggees are: Val, Lenka, Jacq, and 'rah. Lora got Amy already and Curmy is embroiled in a debate on the pastime of meme tagging or I'd tag them as well. Which still leaves me a couple shy. Any takers?


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looking over fences

and landing in my own trashtalk...*

Over at Second Effort, this got my blood boiling this afternoon. To the extent that I left the following comment

Simply disgusting. I can't wrap my mind around how people go to sleep at night thinking that bilking the system is somehow okay. That loopholes are an invitation for criminality. Guess that's part of the reason I could never make it in any sort of corporate setting. I just can't acquire the taste for drinking the blood of the people I'd have to mow down and step over on my way to the top.


And left in a lofty puff of holier-than-thou haste. Not ten minutes later, while checking my email, I was greeted with the opportunity to make my voice heard in a local popularity contest poll to rank various companies and their services in the Philly area. The Monster Minders - an entrepreneurial venture that has given us the ability to go out and play for longer than overnight and not risk coming back to a strategically placed hate-bomb of the feline variety squarely in the middle of our bed (no, no, our cat's are anything but subtle)- have been nominated for Philly's HotList (no, not THAT list. I'm not even sure how you get on THAT list. Wicked beat, though. Back to the story... The Monster Minders were nominated for THIS list.) It's a per-vote contest... the one with the most votes wins. One vote per email account.

Well, heaven knows they've made our lives easier. And I'm all for supporting the little guys (think: David in a city of Goliath-sized dog-walking ventures). So I voted. From each of my 4 email accounts.

That bitter taste in my mouth? That would be the bile of the judgementalist, rising up my esophagus to burn the back of my tongue.

I'll go back to my non-confrontational corner now and resume making sure my own nose is clean before I weigh in on the sins of others.



*A poor attempt to paraphrase the sage advice of my grandmother: "Make sure your own backyard is clean before looking over the fence."


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wordless wednesday


Check out the links to the rest of the participants over at Wordless Wednesday!

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wordless wednesday


Check out the links to the rest of the participants over at Wordless Wednesday!

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it's not easy being green

In the course of my recent LeapBlogging (see #8), I came across this website. And while I don't necessarily have the zeal it would take to convince BG to begin composting our familial feces, I am nothing short of inspired by the Beavan family.

Just out of curiosity, I followed one of Mr. Beavan's links to this site . The disgusting reality is that although we recycle (when we remember to), turn off the lights in unused rooms (most of the time), turn up the thermostat when we leave the house (unless we forget), use public transportation/walk/bike around town (unless it's more convenient to drive), if everyone were to do what I do, we'd need 3.64 more planets for just the human race to survive. No room for cute little bunnies or happy little ladybugs. Put another way, I am guilty of using between 3 and 5 times my share of the planet's resources. How's that for selfish? Quite simply, it's disgusting. We don't have 3.64 planets to satisfy my disposable lifestyle. As the song (incidentally chosen by Mr. Beavan as the No Impact Man theme) says:


And if I think there's something wrong wit it, a wrong that I have had a rather large hand in creating, then it's up to me to do something about it.

Here's a list of what I'm going to do to start making less of an impact:

1. Cut back our garbage.When we first moved to Philadelphia, I was appalled when I realized that the THREE of us could generate as many as six 13 gallon trashcan size bags of garbage each week. Within weeks of that discovery, we were able to cut our weekly refuse down to 4 bags. It's time to get busy cutting back again.
~By the end of this month, my goal is to be taking no more that 3 bags of garbage to the curb per week.
~Instead of using wet-wipes as the cleaning tool of choice, we're going to start using that mountain of rags and washcloths above the washer.
~No more diaper changes just because LG just got up from his nap and I always change his diaper when he gets up from his nap.
~No more sealing each diaper in it's own little bag before tossing it into the can. We'll deal with the odor, spritz a little more Febreeze, and if the odor is still overwhelming, we'll haul the little stink bundles to the garage more often.
~No more bottled water. Half the time I'm dumping some sort of flavor into it or adding lemon, anyways. And we've got enough water bottles from this run or that charity event to supply a classroom of 2nd graders... time to start putting them to work as well.
~No more kitchen sponges. I like my refillable scrubber/soap dispenser better, anyways.
~No more need to answer the question "paper or plastic" at the grocery store. All those totes that I got because teachers are supposed to get totes will take turns making the daily trek to and from the grocery store. We've even got an insulated one, which means we can stop and play at the park on our way home.
~And no more of those cleaning wipes to which I have become addicted. A spritz of my new favorite cleaner (water + a drop of dish soap) and a rag and I'm done.
2. Conserve water. I don't even want to think about how much water we waste in the course of a given day.
~A little elbow grease, the afore mentioned scrubber, and an inch or two of water in the little plastic bin they sent home with us from the hospital when LG was born should nicely take the place of rinsing our dishes under a full stream of *hot* running water before putting them into the dishwasher. And if I need this dish or that dish right away? I will wash it. By hand. The dishwasher only runs when it is full.
~By combining our laundry with LG's (separating it is a habit I fell into when he was an infant and "needed" that fancy-schmancy baby detergent and by washing our sheets and bath towels every other week instead of every week, we can cut our number of laundry loads easily in half.
~Washing everything on the cold/cold cycle and soaking only the items that need to be soaked (no more "stain cycle" on the washer!) not only reduces the amount of energy we use, but it will reduce the amount of time it takes to run a load as well.
~Shorter showers (on those mornings that I manage to squeeze one in!) will give me a little more time to read another chapter in the book that is holding my attention at the moment.
3. Focus on using up the stuff that we have.
~That drawer full of lotions? One by one, they're going into the shower to take the place of a new can of shaving gel. The empty bottles? Straight to recycling, do not pass go, do not spend another $200 on stuff that I will never use.
~And those bottles of shampoo that I tried on a whim and hated? Well, the hair on my arms really doesn't need to be volumized, so from shampoo to body wash those bottles shall be transformed.
4. Become more energy efficient.
~What the crap am I thinking, turning on the lights when the sun is out?!! No more lights between the 7:30's (am - pm), except on the dark, dark stairs and in the inner sanctums (aka bathrooms).
~Adding a drying line above the washer and dryer will allow me to hang dry the cleaning cloths and other items for which wrinkles and drying time is not an issue.
~Change the thermostat settings to 78*in the daytime, 75* at night and pull that fan out of the storage closet where it has been doing nothing but taking up space and collecting dust. A little air movement in whichever room we are in makes more sense than cooling 2000 square feet of unoccupied space. And moving it from room to room doubles as a mini weight lifting session.
It's not the full monty, by any means, but it's a start. I'll take the test again in a month or so and see how I'm doing. First time in my life I'm looking for my score to go down!!!

Thanks, Mr. Beavan. Your "no impact" philosophy has made a huge impact on me!


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steal this post

An important message from WhyMommy at Toddler Planet... read it, steal it, and pass it on.

We hear a lot about breast cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of breast cancer?

I didn’t. I thought that breast cancer was all the same. I figured that if I did my monthly breast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be fine.

Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.

Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.

There is more than one kind of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer out there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram. It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the changes that our breasts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or nursing our little ones. It’s important not to miss this one.

Inflammatory breast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one of their breasts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.

You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer.


P.S. Feel free to steal this post too. I’d be happy for anyone in the blogosphere to take it and put it on their site, no questions asked. Dress it up, dress it down, let it run around the place barefoot. I don’t care. But I want the word to get out. I don’t want another young mom — or old man — or anyone in between — to have to stare at this thing on their chest and wonder, is it mastitis? Is it a rash? Am I overreacting? This cancer moves FAST, and early detection and treatment is critical for survival.

Thank you.


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an open letter to anyone born after 1977

Currently making the email rounds is this little gem. Just had to share!

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning ... uphill BOTH ways ... yadda, yadda, yadda.

I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way I was going to lay a bunch of stuff like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it. But now that, I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a Utopia! I hate to say it but... You kids today,

you don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog. There was no email. We had to actually write somebody a letter, with a pen, then walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox. Believe it or not, we were prepared for it to take a week or more to get there.

There were no MP3's or Napsters. You wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself. Or you could wait around all day to tape (better link to that one) it off the radio and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up!

We didn't have fancy stuff like call waiting. If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal. And we didn't have fancy caller ID boxes either. When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was. It could be your school, HIM, your best friend (translation: "BFF"), that geeky guy that sat next to you in geometry, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know. You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600 with games like "Space Invaders" and "Asteroids" and awful simple graphics. Your guy was a little square, forcing you to use your imagination (or, God forbid, get up off the couch and do something else before you died of boredom). There were no multiple levels or screens, just you bouncing a little block back and forth and back and forth and back and forth on the same screen. Forever. And forget winning. You could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died. Sort of like real LIFE.

When you went to the movie theater there no such thing as stadium seating. All the seats were the same height. If a tall guy or some lady with "big hair" in front of you and you couldn't see, you were just out of luck.

Sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 15 channels and there was no onscreen menu, no remote control, and certainly no DVR. You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on. And channel surfing? Ha. You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel. There was no Cartoon Network either. You could only get cartoons on Saturday morning. Do you hear what I'm saying?

We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons!

Most of us didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up we had to use the stove or go build a frigging fire ... imagine that! If we wanted popcorn we had to use that stupid Jiffy Pop thing and shake it over the stove forever like an idiot.

So now maybe you'll understand the next time you run into one of us and we just walk away, shaking our heads and mumbling under our breath. You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980!

Regards,
The over 30's crowd



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images from (in order of appearance):
http://www.templeemanuelpgh.org/_storage/Photos/4424.preview.JPG
http://www.oaktreeent.com/web_photos/deco/BellSystems_Telephone_Wallmount_Rotary_web.jpg
http://www.vectronicsappleworld.com/collection/articlepics/atari2600/atari4.jpg
http://www.liketotally80s.com/images/big-hair.jpg