Monday, October 27, 2008

Spooky Advice

Here is Ray's no-fail guidelines for having your child win costume contests year after year:

Rule 1:
for girls - don't dress-up as any Disney character
for boys - don't dress-up as any superhero and/or ninja/martial arts thingy

Rule 2:
Don't buy your costume at Costco.

Rule 3:
Dress up as anything that doesn't violate rules 1 or 2.

Those that know me know that I am not a frilly person. I don't decorate my house. I don't have an extensive wardrobe and neither do my children. I don't toll paint, stamp, or scrapbook. Martha Stewart, to me, is the epitome of useless froufrou.

That being said, I love to dress my kids up for Halloween. Often I end up sewing, glueing, painting, and rigging up elaborate productions that my children wear long enough for me to take a picture, then run screaming from. I also like the children's costumes to be related. So when my son wanted to be Batman, my daughter had no choice but to be Robin. Then when my older two kids wanted to be Harry Potter and Hermione, my toddler had the privilege of being Hedwig. One year I sewed a Buzz Lightyear costume that had 48 pieces and cost almost $50 in supplies alone (unfortunately my daughter was old enough to refuse to be Woody).

Of course this was all before I discovered the 3 rules to winning costume contests. I have since been dubbed the queen of useless Halloween costume froufrou.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sonnet of Humidity


As summer fades to the rains of fall
The chuckle of the brook turns to laugh.
The mold gains strength in my shower stall
And beware the abundance of staph.

Clouds billow from my spaghetti pot
Rust creeps upon my brads.
My brow beads with sweat alot,
My hair as soft as Brillo pads.

Moisture fills the heavy air,
Every breath of breeze divine.
Clammy skin sticks to the leather chair.
The laundry just steams on the line.

Who calls this "paradise" is crazy.
Or maybe they have central A/C.

there is no
the end

Friday, October 17, 2008

Grumpy Old Ladies

There are good things about going to a "family" gym (no bare midriffs or thongs, friendly childcare, no getting hit on by creepy guys without jobs) and there are bad things about going to a "family" gym (all light rock all the time, halls full of summer camp kids). And then there are the things that are both good and bad. One of the things that fits into that last category is the grumpy old ladies that go to the water aerobics classes. When I get to the gym they are all floating in the pool; their wrinkled heads, with wide-brimmed hats and wrap-around sunglasses, bobbing around like the start of a really creepy horror flick. By the time I'm finished working out they are in the locker room, in all their unclothed, dimpled glory, sitting, standing, or showering, all the while chattering on about their grandkids and pets, their trips and their trips.

They are friendly and generally happy and I get a kick out their conversation topics that range from who of their friends died and whether their husbands are available to who had what surgery and what internal organ is now missing or replaced with a medical gadget. They always mention how young and fit I am, and how they were exactly the same when they were my age. They love hearing about my children, are flatteringly shocked that I have four, and are sure that mine are the smartest, most athletic, and cutest children ever (second only to their own grandkids, of course).

So what's the downside to this jolly, geriatric company? The visuals make me want to die young.

there is no
the end

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

While the Rich Get Thinner...

Since the world was created, you could choose any time, any country, and be able to separate the wealthy from the poor purely on size. The wealthy are rotund, jolly, and red in the cheeks, looking like they can survive a couple of famines without a frown creasing their thick jowls. The poor are hollow-eyed and weary and look like one good shove or an unfortunate misstep could leave them in a broken heap of skin-covered bones.

Well, that is no longer the case. Not in the US, at least - just the opposite is true.

It's been a while since I've had to really squeeze myself into my budget. But since moving to Hawaii, the price of housing, a decent education, gas, and Froot Loops, has thrown me back into my days as a starving student, except now I have children. Because of this I have discovered how expensive it is to eat in a healthy manner. Tomatoes cost $4/lbs while I can get a case of Top Ramen for $2.

No wonder, then, that we see this bizarro-world phenomenon of the thin rich and the thick poor. Add to that the fact that hardly anyone does any manual labor anymore. We have automatic dishwashers and dryers, tv remotes, drive-through pharmacies, bread machines, leaf blowers, and power steering. Only the wealthy can afford gym memberships, personal trainers, or exercise equipment. (There has got to be some irony in the fact that we invent machines to do our work, then invent other machines to make us do work.)

How confusing to time travellers would our modern day be when they see multi-millionaire movie stars looking frail and sickly while their maids and drivers always have something comfortable to sit on.

Oh, and if anyone has any tips or suggestions on how to feed a family healthy, natural foods on a budget, I'm all...I guess on a blog you wouldn't say "ears". I'm all eyes!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

In Love With A Vampire

New Moon
Breaking Dawn

If you have not heard of these books, you have either been living in a cave or are lucky enough to have little to no teenage contact. This series of seemingly harmless titles has for the past three years sent dreamy eyed teenage girls swarming the bookstores like bloodthirsty vampires would a blood bank.

Teenage drama books come and go with the tide but these are special .. so my teens said, and as I do not consider myself above a good read at any age level, I brought home a copy of each and braced myself for a lot of blood and gore .... Alas ! Wrong I was, instead I was treated to several s-t-e-a-m-y make out sessions. What the??? All of the sudden I felt a little embarrassed, the same way you would feel watching a steamy love scene sitting next to your kids. Is it getting hot in here?

If you haven't read them, don't. I'll sum it up for you. Girl meets vampire. Girl falls in love with vampire. Girl and vampire decide to wait to have sex until marriage (and until she can become a vampire herself) but decide that anything just short of the deed itself is okay.

What's sad is that the whole "my boyfriend's a vampire and saves me from monsters" gives teenage girls an unrealistic view of boys and men who happen to be human beings, not saviors or sex objects, not to mention the fact that the vampire boyfriend has this girl holed up in her house and will not allow her to see her friends. So let's not be surprised when our teenage daughters find some abusive controlling jerk to latch onto.

Sorry, Meyers fans, but these books are full of some pretty frightening stuff that really has nothing to do with the vampires in them and are not much better than a trashy romance novel.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Smile, You're not Dying of Dysentery

It's easy to hop on the bandwagon of pessimism in an election year. It's easy to spot those that have jumped on-board by their blood-shot eyes from watching CNN and their fatalistic nihlism. They're discouraged by the quality of their choices, the system, the negative campaigning, and their idiot fellow voters. The nature of campaigning is partly to blame. Each side of an election has to convince its voters that their lives will be awful, nigh unto destroyed, if the other guy is elected. And this year we have the added doom and gloom of a financial crisis on a large scale.

It's enough to start a Prozac riot, but don't run for your torch and pitchfork just yet. You will see that your 401K is not half empty, but half full.

Believe it or not, the Founding Fathers did know what they were doing when they set up a constitutional republic 200-odd years ago. Here are a few reasons the nation will not crumble to rubble on January 20, 2009 however the election turns out.

Term Limits: Ah, the magic catapult on the top floor. No matter how popular a President, no matter how accomplished, how intelligent, how revered - after 4 or 8 years, the collective people kick him head first out the door and down the steps and look for someone else. No regimes, no dynasties, no long term manipulation of the government.

A Two-Party System: I hear so many people complain that they want more than 2 choices or that they vote for "the lesser of two evils", etc. The most important thing a two-party system does is force the candidates to please the middle majority. Think about it. If there were 5 candidates, they only have to worry about getting the most votes, not a majority, so they can afford to be more extreme and win by only appealing to 20% of the population. Having two moderate choices is better than 5 wackos, really. Still don't believe me? Try reading the platforms of the libertarian or green party candidates on the ballot. Do you really want these guys to have a serious shot at the white house?

A Resilient History: Like dramatic teenagers, we have a tendency to think that our troubles now are the worst ever! Lest we forget - this country was forged in the furnace of war and rebellion. It has seen world war on its shores, civil war, economic depression, presidential assasination and impeachment, and the rise of reality TV. And yet it not only survives, but flourishes.

So even though you may think we are surely at the doorstep of Hades with corrupted leaders, economic greed, a poor education system, racism, poverty, and celebrity activists, this nation really is, in the words of William J. Bennett, "The Last Best Hope". Where else in the world do they have pet food drives and fundraisers to save lobsters?