I live in a zoo…

As in, “happy birthday to you…” That’s right, I look like a monkey and I smell like one too. I’ve been celebrating my birthday all weekend, and I want to say a special thanks to my friend Stephanie-doo-dah, who “enabled” me to shop my booty off at Joann’s today. Thanks, dude! Also, thanks to Melanie, who bought me a coffee and a lowfat egg and cheese sandwich. And thanks to David and Sara, who bought me new music on iTunes (I’m really in love with Amos Lee).

I got my haircut today, and it looks great thanks to Becky’s skillful blow drying. If only we could keep the salon blow-dry style everyday. You know, by magic. Tomorrow I’ll be back to my wavy, frizzy moppiness, but today, I’m pretty awesome.

We just saw The Kingdom, and although it was excellent (funny, sad, action-packed – it had it all), it left me feeling decidedly hopeless. My brother-in-law said, “that’s reality.” This didn’t make me feel any better.

So, since I still have one day of birthday weekend left, I’m going to be an ostrich. I’m not going to read my Christian Science Monitor tomorrow. I’m not going to watch any news. I’m not going to sign any petitions or read any political websites. I’m going to hide in my house and watch Playhouse Disney with my beautiful kid and sew something fun on my new sewing machine and try to use a little bit of the enormous (and growing) fabric stash I’ve been cultivating.

I’ll come back to the real world on Monday.

Until then, let’s be grateful to our service men and women who don’t have the luxury of being an ostrich.

Peace.

Happy Birthday, Steph!

Today is my very good friend Stephanie’s birthday. I am so glad she was born and that I get to be her friend. She is a blessing to me, and I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it.

Thanks for being my friend, dude! Have an awesome birthday!

fire damage

We drove down the freeway today through a couple of the towns that really saw a lot of fire damage. Wow! Awful. It really showed me how hard the firefighters worked to save homes. There were ridges and hills totally burned with a house sitting right in the middle with no fire damage. During the bulk of the fire coverage, I saw quite a few news segments where the firetrucks were sitting in peoples driveways, just waiting for the fire so they could spray it away. I guess it worked.

There were a couple nurseries that had fire damage on all sides, but the orchards of palms and ficus trees were okay. Scary stuff.

Let me just say again how grateful I am that we weren’t affected. There’s still a fire burning about 25 miles from us. It’s mostly contained, but there was a lot of smoke in the air yesterday. It just reminds me not to get complacent. And that I really need to get renters insurance and check out a term life insurance quote sooner than later.

Count your blessings!

The nicest compliment

There is one blog that I love above all others. It’s called Breakdown in the Fastlane, and it’s hysterical, sad, thought-provoking, moving, and everything else that good writing can be. I read lots and lots of blogs, and there are many that I return to (like Deborah’s and Allison’s), but I read Lin’s the most regularly and with relish.

So when she left me this compliment the other day, I felt that I needed to take a little time to really savor it. I know she visits my blog, because she often leaves her little bits of wit for me. But to think she would go so far as to recommend my little blog to someone else. It’s the height of happiness for me.

Thanks for the kind words, Lin!

Babies at Dinner Parties?

angelWe went to a lovely dinner party last night – hosted by good friends. They had just purchased new, beautiful furniture, and they wanted to show it off a little. First let me say that I was crazily jealous of this new furniture. I’ve mentioned my five cats before, and the uselessness of getting new furniture, but still…when I saw their awesome leather couches and beautifully matched yellow chairs, I was sooo jealous.

Our cats would ruin that stuff in one day.

Anyway, I got over it, and sat down. Meanwhile, my cute kid was driving his trucks all over their living room.

There were eight adults total at the dinner party, and exactly one 18-month old. I was nervous about this. Luckily, my kid is really, surprisingly well behaved. I’d love to take credit for this, but sadly, I am positive I’ve had very little to do with his happy-go-lucky personality.

The moral here is that we stayed two hours past his bedtime, and he was a perfect angel the whole time. He even provided a bit of entertainment. And I got to enjoy a nice evening with adults – very interesting, funny, smart adults. I think that was the first gathering I’ve attended since becoming a mom where I didn’t “hide” behind my kid. I mean, I used to be really outgoing – able to strike up a conversation with anyone. But once I had my son, I noticed that people only asked me about him, not about me, and I would just fade into the background. But not last night. I had real conversations with people about all kinds of things – hardly any of them being diapers, milestones, or new teeth!

I may be getting the hang of this “being my own person while raising a person” thing.

Ouch, there’s a plank in my eye.

What a world we live in. Today I went to a fun first birthday party at a beautiful city park. On one side of the park was a farm with horses in the pasture. There was one foal, and I walked over with my son so he could see them. He loved it. We played in the dirt, ate fruit salad and chips and salsa and drank Capri Suns. It was such a nice day.

I’ve had this nagging guilt – or as my sister would say, “a check in my spirit” for the last few days about the judgmental posts I’ve been writing. I mean, I still think clubbing a seal is awful. BUT, I am rational enough to see that some villages of people have subsisted on seals for centuries. Just as Alaskan natives have subsisted on whales. What they do is no different, in my mind, than a bear eating a salmon or a snake eating a mouse.

I don’t mean to demonize people that are trying to feed their families. And I have no right to. I was born into a lower-middle class family with two working parents – I always had food and a roof. I may have always been behind on the fashion train, but who cares? I mean, I cared when I was 13, but that’s pretty normal.

The problem is that it’s so hard to decipher what the real cause to fight is here. Is it the big fishing trawlers that gobble up all the fish? Probably. Is it the Japanese whaling ships that don’t properly account for their catches? Probably. Is it the individual sealer that makes 30% of his annual income by participating in the annual seal hunt? Maybe – but I’m a lot less sure about that one. Do I wish they had better aim and really killed the seals with one strike? Absolutely.

Basically, I have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m just talking. And that can be pretty dangerous.

There are people like this guy who is so strongly against recycling, that he’s willing to call Al Gore a nazi. To me, this makes no sense. To him, it’s perfectly justified. I didn’t even realize there were people against recycling. Stupid me. If there are still people that don’t believe the Holocaust happened, and I’ve met at least one (raving, scary lunatic), and there are people that still doubt global warming, and there are people that still think they might find WMDs in Iraq, then I guess not believing in the benefits of recycling is par for the course.

So how do I fight without judging or belittling others beliefs? Even though I’ve been a Christian for many years – this has always been one of my main problems with my faith. I have friends who are Buddhists, Muslim, Jewish. I don’t think the Jesus I love would forsake them – even if they never “prayed the prayer.”

Jeez, I’m really all over the place on this one.

Basically, I want to live a life that I can be proud of. I want to teach my son to stand up for what he believes in just like my mom and dad taught me. But I don’t want to be another sealer, clubbing people over the head with my rants. It seems okay to share information, like the bake sales to save whales. I think people can participate if they want, right? But only if they know about it.

And who am I to say Alec Baldwin is an ass? I’ve probably said something just as bad to my husband. I’d like to think I’d never say things like that to my son, but he’s so small I can’t imagine it. One day he’ll be a surly teenager, and I may very well lose my temper and say terrible things. I hope not, but who knows? I think I was really just so sad for his daughter. That message must have hurt her so much and I wanted him to feel really awful for doing it. And then when his statements – on his site and on The View – didn’t seem very apologetic (apologetic to his daughter, I don’t really think he owes any one else an apology, except maybe Tina Fey, because I love her), I was even more sad for his daughter.

So anyway, there’s a big plank in my eye, and I don’t like it.

Bake Sales to Save the Whales

Bake Sales to Save the Whales

This is your warning – soapbox moment fast approaching! My mother was really involved in Greenpeace for most of my childhood. She was always fighting a cause, but whales were her passion. There were always pictures of humpbacks and seals on our walls, and whale and dolphin songs on the record player. She wrote “Save the Whales” on every letter she ever wrote. I’m picking up my mother’s “sword”, and I hope you’ll join me. It really doesn’t take much time or effort to help.

Why this weekend?
This weekend, April 28th and 29th, are National Days of Action for whale lovers and Earth lovers. Why? Because in May, the International Whaling Commission will meet on US soil to discuss current whaling practices. We want our government to know that US citizens are against commercial whaling, against the killing of whales for scientific purposes (as is currently done by Japan, who then sells the meat in markets across their country). There is a global moratorium on commercial whaling, and all but three countries abide by it: Japan, Norway and Iceland. Their goal this year is to end the moratorium. The US has to stand up for the whales, or those countries will get their way and there won’t be any whales left.

Take Action
Bake sales to save the whales will be held all over the country. Want to help? Here’s how:

  • Stop by and buy a cookie to support Greenpeace’s efforts to stop commercial whaling. Give a $1, sign a petition, make a friend!
  • Want to do more? Volunteer to help at a bake sale. Just choose the sale most convenient for you and RSVP.
  • Can’t attend a bake sale this weekend? Make a phone call to ask the Bush Administration to do everything in their power to defend the whales:

President Bush, White House: (202) 456-1414
Secretary Rice, State Department: (202) 647-4000
Secretary Gutierrez, Commerce Department: (202) 482-2000

  • Want to do more? Visit the Whale Defender website at www.whales.greenpeace.org/us. Download the whale activist toolkit, and join thousands of folks from around the world who are taking action to defend the whales. You’ll find fact sheets, petitions, sample letters, and other materials to help you make a difference.
  • Want to donate? Become a Greenpeace Supporter at www.greenpeaceusa.org

Lots of ways to help – which one will you choose?

Give Mom a sheep for Mother’s Day…

Oxfam International UnwrappedWhat do you get for all the mothers in your life? I don’t even have a mom anymore, and I spend more money at Mother’s Day than any other holiday – except Christmas, of course. So, what do I get for all these women who buy themselves most things they really want? Well, how about a sheep?

OxFam International is a non-profit “that seeks increased worldwide public understanding that economic and social justice are crucial to sustainable development.” In other words, they work with poor people to improve life. That is of course, extrememly generalized, but you see where I’m going with this. So, for the donation of $45, your recipient will get a nice card in the mail informing them that a sheep has been purchased in their name. Here’s what OxFam America Unwrapped says about the purchase of a sheep:

No need to feel sheepish about this gift! Raising these fleecy critters allows women to create their own income. What’s more, the sheep’s wool is used to make local textiles. When you give this gift, you know it’s helping others, so there’s no need to count sheep — you’re sure to sleep well!

There are gift categories ranging from under $25 (Peace Books for Kids, $18, Irrigate a Farmer’s Land for two months, $20, etc.) to over $500 (Build a Shelter, $1000, Train a CHANGE organizer, $1500).

For my mother-in-law, I have selected Provide Gender Rights Training for Community Activists at $90. Here’s the description:

Provide support for three community members to participate in a training program that will help educate them about gender rights and equality. This program helps women to speak up in their communities and educates men about the importance of women’s roles as leaders, citizens, and breadwinners.

What mother doesn’t support that?

Happy shopping, everyone. It’s not hard to help.

Photos for our Easter cards

Update: I found the source, Snorg Tees. I hope they don’t sue me :) Go buy the shirt from them.

My Butt Hurts! What?

I saw this funny shirt online somewhere and decided to recreate it with my handy Office Depot printable iron-ons and a new white onsie. I got the bunnies from Microsoft’s media gallery and made their conversation boxes in Photoshop. I hope my grandma thinks it’s funny :) Oh yea, and isn’t my son the cutest kid ever?!!

Do you get it? Here’s the real picture…

bunnies

I’d love to give the real artist credit, because this thing cracks me up every time. If anyone knows who it is, please let me know!

sad times

I hate how I am able to compartmentalize the war…even able to forget it’s even happening at times. The last two years are some of the few in my life that I didn’t live either on a military base or very near one. I’m amazed at how I’ve distanced my mind from all that being a military family entails.

Here’s a good reminder:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17773294/site/newsweek/

I would apologize for being a downer, but I’m not sorry. I’m only sorry that I don’t make more of an effort know what’s happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. Once my brother-in-law returned from his second tour, and the last of my good friends came home, and I stopped working as a contractor – planning military blood drives, I kind of checked out.

But the reality is that the rotations go on. The number of wounded and dead continue to grow. The sacrifice amazes me, and humbles me. It’s sad and exhausting to think about. For me, anyway. There so much guilt tied into gathering information – how lucky I am that I was never deployed, that my husband was never deployed. But even now, as other friends prepare to deploy on their third and fourth tours, I’m so grateful to be so lucky. And I feel bad about that. I don’t know what I’m saying here. It’s a little rambly.

Sorry about that. I’ll come back and edit this later.