Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I Hate Working Out

It doesn't matter how old or mature or wise or whatever I get - it probably doesn't matter how fat or sick I get either, unfortunately - but I am simply never going to be one of those people who loves to exercise.  Even though I totally get it when someone I hear someone say something like "oh, I have to exercise every single day or I feel like crap," I always roll my eyes too, because I'm jealous and bitter than some people crave workouts the same way I crave jellybeans or garlic herb pita chips.

Something Heavy and Soapboxy to Get Things Off On the Left Foot

I was moved to write this a few months ago and reposting it would be a good way start the resurrection of my blog.  The liberal leanings in this piece are very much representative of my general viewpoint on the world, so if that's not your cup of tea - alas, you probably won't enjoy a lot of the posts here (if I do manage to post a lot - here's hoping so!)

February 22, 2012

A few more thoughts on this whole birth control issue (even though, since I'm a woman, many of our elected representatives believe I don't have anything useful to contribute to this discussion):  

I keep reading the statistic that 98% of American women will use contraceptives at some point during their lives. I can only assume this means that the majority of people in this country, even those who consider themselves very religious, are not philosophically opposed to the basic concept of family planning.

So what is the justification for all the current debate about requiring insurance coverage for birth control? If it was entirely about money (as it so often is), employers and insurance companies alike ought be clamoring for the law to be put into effect, as it is much less expensive to pay for contraceptives than it is to cover prenatal care, hospital births and more dependents on insurance policies. Preventing unwanted pregnancies is good for business.

And yet money is still a big part of the issue, because the fall-out from the politicization of these issues always most greatly affects those who have less. Women of means can afford contraceptives whether they are covered by insurance or not. It will be poor women who are most likely to suffer if the objections of a small minority are allowed to prevail in this current situation.

Nor does that political quagmire abortion seem to the root of the latest situation. Although some choose to boil the entire issue of women's reproductive health down to abortion, common sense tells us that the use of contraceptives will prevent unwanted pregnancies, resulting in fewer abortions. That many of the same people who want abortion made illegal also oppose policies that promote access to contraceptives makes no sense unless the actual goal is to punish women for their sexual behavior by taking away any control they might have over their own fertility.

It is a very small number of conservative, mostly male members of Congress, responding to a very small number of religious leaders, who have thrown a wrench into the process of making a basic health service available to the women of America. The objection is that the rights of some religious institutions might be violated if they are required to provide their female employees with insurance coverage for contraceptives. But Freedom of Religion and Separation of Church and State are two sides of the same coin. While Freedom of Religion dictates that religious institutions not be forced to follow laws that are in direct opposition to the tenets of their faith, Separation of Church and State requires that US laws not be shaped by the religious beliefs of any particular group. This makes the compromise decided upon by the Obama Administration to require insurance companies themselves to cover contraceptives for employees of religious institutions not wishing to provide such coverage a good one. That this is not good enough for some legislators and religious leaders begs the question: since when does the right to freedom of religion of a group or institution equal the right to take away the rights of individuals who might not even follow that faith?

Although I am not a religious person, I have the utmost respect for the religious beliefs of others - right up to the point where those beliefs are used as a justification for blocking the rights of those who don't share them. I am frustrated and disheartened that we are having this debate, couched in these terms and conducted mostly by people who don't even have the affected body parts, in 2012. This sort of controversy would never happen over any issue related to the health of men, but the power of women's bodies, to entice and to give life, has been politicized throughout history as something threatening that must be controlled. The current debate is just one in a long line of instances in which the personal rights a large number of the most vulnerable women are affected by the archaic ideology of a handful of powerful men.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

RGKS: My Top Five Stories About My Son Puking

A few days ago I delighted my 10-year-old son by pointing out that the song playing on the radio, "Down Under" by Men At Work, contains a lyric about vomiting ("I come from a land down under/where beer does flow and men chunder").  This got me thinking about the only other song I know of with a line about vomiting, which is "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers - or so I thought.  I had always heard the line as "And when I heave up, well you know I'm gonna be/ I'm gonna be the man who heaves up next to you," but when I looked it up for clarification, it turned out that that actual line is "And when I haver, well you know I'm gonna be/I'm gonna be the man who's havering next to you."  The definition of haver, according to an online dictionary, is to spout nonsense, which is something that is definitely just as likely to happen when one drinks as puking.  In any case, that ruined my idea for making a list of songs that mention vomiting.  I'm sure others besides "Down Under" exist, but I can't think of any, so instead, I'm going to share my top five stories about my son, who is talented in this area, losing his lunch, or breakfast, or dinner.  

5. New Friends
A few years ago, our family was invited to dinner at the home of some friends we'd recently met.  Their house was large, immaculate, and had white carpeting throughout.  We had a very nice evening, with the kids happily watching a movie and the adults enjoying a meal in the dining room without interruption, until after dessert, when my son wandered into the study and deposited the entire contents of his stomach, which included pizza, ice cream and several juice boxes, in the middle of the floor.  After my husband and I cleaned up the bulk of it, our hostess demonstrated the powers of her excellent spot-cleaning machine from Sharper Image, and generally, she and her husband couldn't have been lovelier about it.  Still, the incident pretty much killed the evening for us, and we left with our heads hanging low.  Amazingly, we have been invited back several times.

4. Swimming Lessons
The summer he was three, Will took a one-week session of swimming lessons at a local pool.  He yakked in the pool 3 of the 5 sessions, causing it to be evacuated each times.

3. Blue
One day the year Will was in kindergarten, I arrived at school to work in his classroom to see that the mouth and lips of every child in his class were stained toilet-bowl blue.  Their sheepish teacher, who earlier that week had sent home a notice asking parent to please pack healthier snacks for their students, explained that a little girl in the class had brought cupcakes with bright blue frosting to celebrate her birthday that day.  When school was over, I took Will home and fed him lunch.  Within an hour, he turned a little pale and, before I could get him to the bathroom, sprayed blue chunks all over the family room rug.  He continued to barf blue on and off for the rest of the afternoon.

2. Two in One Day
A few years ago, we stayed overnight in San Francisco, and the next morning, we went to breakfast at a recommended place, Sears Fine Food, near our hotel.  Will enjoyed something in the pancake/waffle family of breakfast foods, perhaps a little too quickly, and when his sister got up to use the restroom, he took advantage of the situation by turning his head and hurling his breakfast on the seat she'd just left vacant.  A harried waitress helped us clean up the smelly mess and was rewarded with a tip equal to the amount of our bill.  We spent a fun day at the Exploratorium and stopped for lunch at a chain restaurant on our drive home.  As we were getting ready to go, Will got that look on his face and my husband was able to get him to the restroom before he spewed, thus making this the day he managed to throw up at every restaurant we took him to.

1. Fake Crying
My daughter is a picky eater, and one night I made a new recipe I thought she would love, so I was surprised when she was resistant.  "Take a bite of that and tell me you don't like it," I dared her.  Well, you can probably guess what happened: the little stinker brought the tiniest morsel to her lips and declared "I don't like it."  I burst into fake, dramatic sobs, which failed to impress my daughter.  My toddler son, on the other hand, failed to grasp that I was only pretending, and burst into real tears.  My husband and I tried to calm him down, but we weren't fast enough, and before we knew what was happening, he became so worked up that he horked all over the dinner table, drowning his dinner plate in its previous contents, only now in liquid form.  Three times in quick succession, in fact, did he heave.  We spent fifteen minutes cleaning up, after which our daughter returned to the table and ate every bite of the recipe I had earlier been so sure she would enjoy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Everyone Has Probably Stopped Reading My Blog

But I'm posting anyway.  In spite of the fact that no one is going to read and I actually have nothing to say.  I really liked blogging and am sorry I let it fall by the wayside.  So I'm going to try to get it started again.  Wish me luck!

It's one of my favorite times of the week - I'm sitting on the couch with coffee, my computer, and the dogs next to me on a Saturday morning.  We have one commitment for the weekend, but it's a fun one (yay, we get to see Jayla today! Ryan is chortling in the kitchen as I write this), we have a new copy of Rock Band 2 to amuse us, the weather is nice.  Ryan and I had a nice evening out last night - dinner and a play, Avenue Q, which was really fun.  I got a new haircut this week that I like.  The freezer is full of Dream Dinners, so my family will eat well for a few weeks.  The puppy's spay incision healed up nicely and she doesn't have to wear those dumb little tee shirts anymore.  We get to see Jayla today!  So yeah, life is good.

Wouldn't you be in a good mood if you knew you got to hang out with this person today?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day!

I don't blog nearly often enough anymore, but today I'm sitting here watching the inauguration of President Barack Obama, and I just want to say something to mark the occasion.  Progress marches on, regardless of efforts to stop it, because this country is free.  I am not always the most patriotic person around, but I acknowledge that this day is here because of the rights granted in our Constitution - freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the amendments to the Bill of Rights that freed the slaves in the south and that granted women the right to vote.  

Gay rights propositions went down this past November, but their day is coming too.  There has never been occasion in this country that we looked back at a time when we denied basic rights to a group of our citizens with anything but shame and regret.  A generation ago, it was still illegal in some states for mixed-race couples to marry, and today we've elected the child of a mixed-raced couple as our new president.  I can't help but notice what a beautiful thing it is to see women and people of color not only among the massive crowd watching this historic event, but involved in the proceedings, mixed in among all the officials, making this day possible.

You can't stop it - progress marches on.  Happy Inauguration Day to all!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Funny Coincidence

This is our dog Buster:

This is our puppy, Posy:

And this is Buster Posey, former Florida State baseball star and 2008 draftee for the San Francisco Giants:

Buster is a pretty common name for dogs, though not for people -- I was happy to see on Buster Posey's Wikipedia entry that it's not his real name (which is Gerald, and I can't blame him for wanting to be rid of that). Posy (or posey), however, is not a common name, for people or dogs, which is part of the reason I chose it. So I find it very entertaining that there's a baseball player named Buster Posey, and he is a player for the team to which I have the most allegiance (I won't go so far as to call myself a fan, since I barely pay any attention most seasons, but I grew up in a Giants family and continue to feel fondly toward them despite being married to a rabid Dodgers fan). Also, like Buster and Posy, Buster Posey is extremely cute. Seriously -- look at that guy.

I have a new favorite baseball player :-)

Monday, October 13, 2008

I pretty much live my life on Facebook now, but I know everyone isn't there, so I wanted to post some pictures and give a few details here too.

First, Ryan and I attended my high school reunion September 27, and it was a lot of fun! I was really nervous, but ended up having a great time.

I'd barely recovered from that when I spontaneously adopted a puppy two days later! Posy is a toy poodle/terrier mix, about 2 1/2 months old, and just the cutest thing ever! House-training is a challenge, and Buster keeps looking at me as if to say "how could you do this to me?", but we are all enjoying her.

Most importantly, this past Saturday, October 11 at 8:05 am, my niece Jayla Jean was born. Her parents are my brother Chad and his wife Angela. I was lucky enough to be there for her arrival, along with my mom, Angela's mom and sister Lora, and of course, Chad. Watching Jayla's birth was absolutely amazing, and of course we are all in love with her, no one so much as her daddy! It's so much fun to see my little brother as a dad :-)

So that's the big news here! Soon we will head down to the valley for Ryan's high school reunion, we are all looking forward to dressing up for Halloween, and of course there is regular life, with school, activities, PTA, and this marathon election season. I'm a mama for Obama! Just say no to McPain!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Everything I Know I Learned On Our Summer Vacation

A trip to Newport Beach can be as nice as a trip to Hawaii if you factor in several things, including but not limited to the fact that being able to drive means you don’t have to pay for airfare and a car rental, makes it possible to travel on your own schedule, and allows you to bring along everything you can cram into your car.

Spray sunscreen in a can is convenient when you’re putting it on, but it sure doesn’t seem worth the money when you use up an entire can of it just trying to get your family of four properly screened before your first morning at the beach.

The combination of a functional set of black swim-shorts with a cute, colorful bikini top means that, while my body is not exactly bikini friendly, it is not strictly bikini unfriendly either.

Arcades are pretty much similarly scummy wherever you go.

Sand can get into the most amazing places.

There’s probably such a thing as being too vigilant about sunscreen, but that level of vigilance is not one I have ever managed to reach.

Everyone in my immediate family sunburns easily.

A single-day ticket to Disneyland has become so prohibitively expensive that it can actually seem to make sense to just buy annual passes for the whole family and plan to come back a few times later in the year.

Credit card companies use perverse non-customer-serving logic, such as to simply decline charges that seem too big rather than giving the customers a hassle-free way to authorize them. This can lead to unpleasantness, especially when one is on vacation, and, frankly, seems counter to the desire of credit card companies as well. Don’t they want you to charge a lot of stuff?

It’s actually possible to go to Disneyland in the middle of August and have it be fun and not so ridiculously crowded that you spend all your time waiting in line. We recommend going on a Wednesday when the economy is crappy and Disney has just raised tickets prices a few weeks earlier.

Somehow, the saccharine schmaltz of Disney doesn’t seem that bad when you are actually inside Disneyland.

If you are walking around, say, a theme park, and it’s so hot and humid that the sweat seems to be pouring off you, a margarita is excellent remedy.

Just as the fact that fries are fattening doesn’t keep you from eating them on a frequent basis, the fact that you rented a condo and brought lots of food so you could eat home-cooked meals on your vacation doesn’t keep you from eating out a lot.

A walk of almost any length is too long the day after you spend fourteen hours walking around Disneyland.

The experience of swimming in the ocean teaches many life lessons. For instance, like life, the ocean can be dangerous, but if you don’t get out there, you’re never going to have any fun. Also, the ocean does things on its own terms. You can try to stand at the edge and not get wet above your knees, but if a wave wants to soak you, you’re going to get soaked. It’s better to learn to float along with it than keep fighting against it. And even when you do, you’re still going to get slammed into the beach by a rogue wave you weren’t ready for every once in a while.

However true that last item may be, having a mother who expects you to appreciate nuggets of wisdom like “The ocean isn’t fair” right after a rogue wave has slammed you into the beach is probably kind of a drag.

Even the best, most relaxing vacation can be tiring.

A little 2 bedroom/1 bath condo just a couple of blocks from the beach in great weather is terrific for a week’s vacation, but toward the end, you’re still pretty much ready to get back to having a dishwasher, a DVD player, reliable wi-fi, separate bedrooms for the kids, multiple bathrooms, your dog, and air conditioning. In other words, home.