Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Bomb!

I have created a monster. A clean smelling bath loving monster. L is obsessed with Bath Bombs from LUSH. She discovered these when we went to Lush to get my henna and fav conditioner. The salesgirl showed the kiddos how the bath bombs worked and then L did the same for her class when she was scientist of the week. (hint sodium bicarbonate and powdered citric acid - when they hit the water - bam.... well ok - fizz....)

So the new bathtub is done and we are loving it. (pictures coming soon I promise....) All the better for bath bombs... Wednesday after her brother's Thanksgiving Feast - I took L to LUSH to get some new BOMBS for the new bathtub. For this wonderful occasion she dressed in her Sugar Plum Fairy dance ensemble - complete with three layer tutu... cupcake knee socks... a white turtle neck under the costume and her brown leather riding boots... (Could even I make this up....) the feathers in her hair were the icing on the cake.

We bought the BOMBs and then she used one that evening.. It was purple.

So today, dressed in her angel costume - complete with wings... she is imploring me to let her take a bath and use the flower bomb - becasue in the LUSH magazine (which came the same day as our shopping trip...and it is a newspaper more than a magazine - which she will not put down - she is studying for her PHd in Lush Bath Bombs...) IT said that there is a flower you can keep in the Bomb - after your bath.

What I ask could possibly top that??

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Yes...The Best Seller by Stephanie Meyer and now a movie. Yep this is the Twilight I am talking about. My 19 year old babysitter was gushing about it about a month or so ago and I filed that away in my mind and then I heard about the movie and decided I wanted to check it out. The YA market for books is huge and I am a fan of YA fiction - lord knows I read enough of it as kid. Stacks and stacks of books.

I also will concede that on of my works in progress stars a slightly less than human protagonist. (Not a vampire and that IS all I am saying...)

What Worked for Me

The story is beautifully written. While long - it is alot of dialog and moves at a lightening fast pace. It is well developed and I love that the details develop as I read. I felt like I was right there with Bella as she discovered her new home town.

The romance is sweet and very light and I did not feel like it was out of place. There is a wonderful mystery element to the story. It really was sweet and it totally made me want to keep turning the pages.

I tend to write in 1st person and this book is a prime example why that can be so powerful.

What did not work for me

Overall it was a good read and nothing jumped out and said - Hey this is not working. It is not that deep a book - but then Bella is 17 years and a junior in high school and thinks very much like a young woman. It is authentic. Edward is the deeper of the two and at times I felt like the story was telling too much about him and less about Bella.

L asked why there was picture of an apple on the cover and I get the Biblical reference on the 1st page - but I am not sure it as well illustrated in the story as one might think.


This is a good book for the holidays. Great reading on the plane or train or long car trip. Becasue of the subject matter - vampires and the slightly romantic overtones I would say this book is PG-13 for certain.

You can buy it here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A request...

As all of my readers know I cannot eat wheat, rye, barley, or oats becasue of the gluten. I also cannot eat dairy products or anything with corn in it. As such I hang out on a Celiac's website and another listserv and the topic of food pantries and special food needs has come up.

It got me thinking. What would I do in that situation? I eat mainly fresh fruits & veggies and meat and eggs. Nuts and dried fruits. Rice. What packaged stuff I do buy - I tend to save for when we are on the go and I know I will need a snack. Aside from the rice and eggs, most of the items on my list are on the expensive end of the scale per serving and honestly it takes a good quantity of strawberries and lettuce to fill a girl up.

I am blessed that H makes a good wage and we are financially stable. I cook and bake from scratch and am fairly thrifty when shopping. Processed foods are pricey and fairly nutritionally empty. So all in all while what I am buying is slightly more expensive it is nutritionally dense.

But things could change. What would I do? I am sure I could feed the kiddos. They thankfully have no issues. They could eat the free or reduced lunch at school with no fear of a bad reaction. There are options. But me? I would be in trouble I think. Corn Syrup by my estimation is in about 90% of all packaged food items; from canned veggies to cereal to chips.

I am not alone. There is an astounding number of people with food allergies and Celiac's disease. Many of them are children. Many children with autism are on a gluten free diet.

So this holiday season - even as many of us are tightening our belts as the economy is in a free fall - please consider donating some gluten free items to your local food pantry and include a note - requesting that the food pantry set those items aside for a family with a child or parent with a gluten free diet.

Not sure what to buy consider the following:

Instant rice (but check to make sure it is just rice....)
Canned beans (but check to make sure there is no added thickeners.)
Canned veggies (but check the label)
Rice Chex or Rice Crispies
Canned Fruits or applesauce
Dried beans and peas - but not a soup mix - as most mixes are not gluten free - trust me!
Dried fruit
fortified soy milk (but check some add barley and that is so not ok for those of us being gluten free)

Call ahead - will the food pantry accept 10lb of potatoes and sweet potatoes? Maybe some apples? All produce items with a fairly long shelf life.

Another great thought is to give the food pantry some $10 gift cards to a local grocery. The food pantry can provide those cards to families in need of special dietary items.

The bonus is that any hungry family could benefit from the above list - but those with someone trying to be gluten free has such a limited menu to choose from - this is just one way to help the food pantry help that family. Those of us with food related allergies are not picky and not trying to be difficult - we are just trying to safeguard our health - glute or whatever the allergen is -is toxic to US.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's no Boogie...

I know next to nothing about golf. One year at work I rallied long and hard to be included in the annual golf outing. Not becasue I enjoy golf or wanted to golf per se - but I felt and feel it is wrong to exclude anyone from an all office event. It either is an all office event or it is not.... my colleague got paid to golf on a Wednesday well damn straight I am too....

Back on topic...

PGA golfer J. P. Hayes is a stand up guy. He is a man of principles and integrity. He played in a PGA event with an unapproved ball. He also broke the PGA rule of playing a game with same ball - or brand of ball. He owned up to the violation and it will likely cost him a season's worth of play.

Why do I care and why should you? Because HE DID THE RIGHT THING... He made an error and broke some rules. Not on purpose, not cheating or being underhanded - but an honest mistake. Even still the rules are the rules and he took responsiblity for his actions. He did not point the finger at his caddie or blame someone else. He is CEO of his game and as such is ultimately responsible for his actions. He acted with HONOR. An astonishingly infrequently occurrence.

J.P. I am sorry to say I do not know you. I do not follow golf and had not heard of you before now. But I will say this to you... Thank You! Thank your for demonstrating the type of values and sportsmanship and ethics I am trying to teach my kids. You had alot on the line and YET you did the right thing. You stood up and accepted responsiblity for your actions and in an era where executives who make millions fail to be concerned with any of those things - values and ethics mainly instead choosing to focus mostly on their own personal bottom lines - I say thank you.

I will also say this. I live very near one of the Spring PGA events and you are welcome to come over for a drink and some refreshments - my way of saying thank you. I have handed out some tough criticisms here on Thoughts from the Edge - but when I see someone doing the RIGHT thing - well I think that ought to be honored as well. So the cake is on me!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

random girl...

I attract random. I am drawn to random. Random should be my middle name. Mom had an appointment yesterday at the cancer center and I had a doctors appointment after that becasue I am one sick puppy with a sinus infection.

My plan had been to stop at Whole Foods - the one in another part of town, to grab a snack in between my doctors appointments. But no. That was not going to happen. Oh no.

The Whole Foods was on fire or the fire had just been put out. There were fire people still on the scene.

Ok I am at this Whole Foods or the other one twice weekly. Never once has there been a fire and it did not even occur to me to have a back up plan. I think

All I want for Christmas....

L submitted her list. Hold on for this one....

3 jolly ranchers (the candy)

2 lollipops


Mulan 2

Yep that is it. It is a departure from years past when she asked for books and cookies. The challenge for Santa I think, will be finding the 3 jolly ranchers...

In all seriousness, L is like her momma. She does not covet things. She wants special her focused time and lots of love and cuddles. Which I have no trouble giving her. She lives for the experiences of life. At 6 she seems to know what is truly valuable.

Pack Your Bags

I love to travel. Everyone who knows H and I know that pre kiddos we lived in a 900 sq foot house by design, becasue we were almost never there. We traveled alot, short distances and long ones. We took at least two week long trips a year and honestly that has slowed a bit after kids, although L has been more places than many people I know. Honestly she has logged more miles traveling overseas than she has within the United States. E first long trip was FLA and his second was Germany.

But for the record there is one place I hope to never go. Disney World. It holds absolutely no allure for me. I have never, not once longed to go hold hands with Mickey Mouse or be whisked away by Cinderella.

In all honesty, Cinderella's castle is not all that exciting. I have been to the real castle Neuschwanstein and it is a site to behold, especially when it is surrounded by the mist that is ever present in the Alps. Real people lived there. They birthed babies there and died there and I swear if you listen you can hear the whisper of time. (trust me the real Neuschwanstein is almost never surrounded by such a clear sky as it is in this picture. I have gone three times and all three times it was misty... I have no good photos becasue it is always gray and raining and yet the castle is a site to behold. I literally catch my breath each time.)

A friend was giving me a hard time about this. I had stated that the bastion of contrived capitalism (Disney) holds no allure for me. My friend poked at me and said, "But you will go to NYC?"

The difference for me is NYC is pure capitalism and with the exception of Wall Street - it is honest capitalism. I have no quibble with capitalism. It is the packaged and homogenized contrived capitalism which is Disney that I have intellectual issues with.

NYC has history and a heart beat and a richness to it, that is not cellulose. NYC is the place of imaginations and not a place out of someone's imagination. There is a realness a depth and a pulse that is there. Now I have not actually been to Disney, so perhaps I am quick to judge.

NYC is the complete package, twinkly lights and a darkness. For a world of only twinkly lights is not real. Realness is the dark and the light, the beautiful and the ugly. For the soul - the soul resides somewhere in between bright twinkly lights and a dark underbelly. Life is not the battle of good verses evil, but rather the acceptance of the gray area in between.

The soul speaks to me. For without pain there is no pleasure and without truth there can be no convincing fiction.

A tiger is beautiful in its ability to lazily lop around the jungle and bask in the sunlight and it is awesome in its ability to take down prey in an unrestrained show of power and dominance.

Realness attracts me and holds my attention. It fuels my writers soul and it fills me with energy. While I might spend much of my life lost in my head, the stories there do not have to have a happy ever after - they have a balance and a purpose and are truly powerful.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Greed is THE Problem...

But how successful the settlement will be remains to be seen. The New York law firm Grais & Ellsworth is organizing a coalition of mortgage investors to contest and possibly sue Bank of America over the plan. The plan, the law firm said on its Web site, "will violate the rights of the investors in the securitizations of (Countrywide's) loans."

Greed. Greed. Greed.

I have stated the bail out is not going to work and this is why. Humans are naturally greedy. They want what is "theirs" despite the potential problems associated with that GREED.

While I think everyone should pay what they owe on their mortgages, and they need to be held accountable for their actions and this includes signing on the dotted line for a mortgage, there is some value in working with them to get the mortgages paid and keep them in their houses.

Having a million people default on their mortgages is WAY bad all around. It is bad for local communities (hello the down side of property tax being the financing method for state and local government and school distracts.)

It is bad for real estate professionals - who pay big time taxes for each sale they are paid on.

It is bad for communities because if people lose their homes a good number of them will enter the ranks of the homeless.

I could go on and on.

I admit the bailing out of these people, some of whom did not qualify for a traditional mortgage is egregious, but the alternative is unpalatable also.

For the folks who are now going to get reduced payments out of their CMOs - the people you should sue is not the banks trying to work out a payment arrangement, which sure cuts into the return of your investment, but it creates cash flow nonetheless. The people you should SUE is the jackass who sold it to you and the dishonest guy who packaged the bad debt right along with the good debt!

These mortgage pools - are a nothing more than packages of crap and I still do not see anyone getting carted off to jail because they committed fraud and let's all be honest - it is fraudulent to sell pools of mortgages in which the top line items are clean A rated paper and the rest of it is not even worthy of being toilet paper. They who bundled it, organized it, sold it, rated it and so forth need to spend some time in a dark hole, with the prospectuses they printed for the CRAP as their only source of toilet paper and then I might feel vindicated. I might be motivated to say that their punishment was sufficient. MIGHT!

As always the rats on Wall Street, those who played fast and loose with the rules are laughing all the way to their bank in the Caymans and that my friends - is the real shame of it all. We pay so they can continue to play.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wheat Free Heaven...

Today we were out looking at shower doors, for the bathroom. We are in the home stretch of the remodel. We happened to be near the Raisin Rack and decided to check it out. I used to shop their older location when I worked in that neck of the woods. It was small and crapped back then, but I was willing to check out the new location.

All I can say is I was in heaven. So many things to choose from. While WFs will carry one type of a certain product, or one or two flavors, the Raisin Rack had multiples of multiples. Which was exciting. I still have to read carefully, maintaining an eagle eye for cornstarch - but it was a pleasure to have so many choices. Some items did not look all that great, while others looked yummy.

I found some hot cereal, which I miss. I was a huge fan of cream of wheat and oatmeal and cream of rice is so-so. I also found some flat breads and some tortilla wrap like things for sandwiches or burritos. Needless to say that was exciting.

I doubt I will make it a regular trip, but I might. It is sorta close to Costco and since most of the items I purchased were frozen, I could stock up - I now have ample freezer space. I will wait to decide until I have tasted a number of my choices and see if it will actually be worth the drive.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Where's the Boat?

That is what E wanted to know after we stood in line for an hour! They charged in this morning at 5:30 am - so I got us dressed and fed and off to the polls. At 6:27 am we were at least 25 deep! We waited an hour!

I am sure many people would have rather my kiddos stayed home - but it is their country too and they should be part of the process. Beside the schools are closed here - so L would have been coming with me anyway. E has preschool today but I was afraid the lines would only get worse as the day goes on.

L was chanting in the car over to the polls - "Smart people vote for Obama!" He is her choice. She voted yesterday at school. I told her while I was voting for Obama - and I do ardently believe he has the best ideas for America - that the most important thing is that people are voting. Not voting ought to be illegal. Today is the only day MY opinion actually matters. Today it COUNTS.

So I voted for Obama, I voted against the casino and I voted for th school issues - not becasue I have changed my opinion about HOW the school board is managing my tax dollars (but then I can vote them out next round and mark my words I am paying attention.)- but becasue the bond issue will be used to fix a problem that vexes me. Anyone can get into the school where L attends. The security is non-existent and there is a man running around my community taking photos of the kiddos - that is a real problem and while I think paying the superintendents housing costs is a bad idea and I was pretty clear on my feelings about the school's NEW MATH - I take my Baby's safety very SERIOUSLY.

So all I can do now is hope that enough people feel the same as I do.

So go vote or in E's world - I might just be motivated to push you off the BOAT. No dead weight! Once every four years - the country asks you to make your voice heard... NO EXCUSES!

Monday, November 3, 2008

How is this different...

I will admit I knew very little about the Middle East until 9/11 and even then I knew only enough to get the geography and so forth. That is until I met JM, who is a dear friend and a very well known anthropologist/archaeologist who specializes in pre-Biblical civilizations of the middle east.

Once I met her I made it my business to read more, pay more attention to the news and to learn what I could about countries like Syria and Yemen, if only so I knew something about places she goes to regularly.

She is about to go to Syria - although this news makes it seem unlikely. When we spoke this weekend she was waiting on her VISA to come through, that seems increasingly doubtful now.

I have very mixed feelings about our response to the "crisis" in the middle east. I think 9/11 was a terrible tragedy and those responsible should be prosecuted in the international court or at the US level.

I do however have issues with the War in Iraq and I certainly have issues with cross boarder raids into other nations, like Syria.

The terrorists who struck on 9/11 feel and believe and I think if you listen to their rhetoric, they passionately state they are engaged in a holy war. They feel their religion and ideology is on the line. I happen to disagree and I think millions of other people disagree - but they truly feel convicted that it is true.

How is our entering another sovereign nation any different. Even if we are following the "bad guys" - please explain to me how it is different. We broke any number of international laws and for what? The terrorists on 9/11 broke those same laws and well then some - but the premises was the same. Each act shows a blatant disregard for international law and sovereignty.

The War in Iraq is wrong and needs to end. The raid into Syria is/was wrong and it needs to end. We should apologize for not honoring their sovereignty.

We need to bring our troops home and focus on what we can control, mainly our borders and who gets into our country and making sure we are well educated and competitive labor force. We are wasting countless resources by trying to police the world and frankly we are not doing that great of a job at that either. The loses in "Goodwill" column are immeasurable by my estimation.

Power and respect come in many forms and I would humbly submit - for at least the last 8 years we have been slowly diminishing both.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


L read me Go Dog Go today. The entire thing - solo - with very little help from me. Wow! It was exciting and she was so proud of herself. She is growing in leaps and bounds and learning so much.

She is writing her own stories and asking great questions about the books we read together, like what happen next or why did the author end the story there.

She gets what I am trying to do as a career and see is seeing the power that language, reading and writing hold.

BEHOLD the POWER of WORDs.....


While I have a talent for the written word, I am not very crafty, nor can I draw very well, and I thinking I should just not sing... But I have a great appreciation for all of the above. My dad sent me these pictures. He got them from a buddy - so I have no background info, but I gather the gentleman in the picture draws 3D pictures using sidewalk chalk.

I struggle with flowers and hearts using sidewalk chalk. These are true masterpieces.

This one is for JS...

This one really very cool....

This is struck me as special...


So I have long resisted the Warehouse store. I have a number of issues with Walmart. I will give them that they have managed to run a retail like college text book case study, but I have a number of issues with their labor practices and well I am just not sure I want to allocate my retail dollars their direction. Hence I have also not been seduced by Sam's club.

We do have a Costco in town. Not close to me, but not far either. J has one near her and loves it. Other friends have had nothing but good stuff to say about it. Oprah is one of their biggest fans.

I have decided that I need to be buying certain things in larger quantities than say 6. L packs her lunch everyday for school. We do not have time to come home on Monday and Tuesdays for an at the table snack. Often the snack is eaten in the car. E still needs to snack on the go sometimes. I can blow thru a package of 6 Z-Bars or 6 cracker snack packs in no time flat.

I used to resist buying the crackers in small portion controlled packs, but with me not eating most of what the kiddos are eating and H gone so much, things go stale and where is the savings in that?

While I do most of my shopping at Whole Foods (given I have to be able trust what is in it....) I still go to the other grocery stores a fair amount to get this and that. Some weeks I will have been to 3 stores and WF twice. This is nuts.

So now that we have a much bigger refrigerator and one in basement and significantly larger pantry, I felt it was time to perhaps think about buying in bulk. My mother is also closer and is interested in either sharing some of the larger items and she was down with splitting the cost of a membership.

So we took a field trip to Costco, bought the membership and went to town. I was impressed. Still 70% of the food is off my list, but I did find some of my favorite snack items in bulk and at a super price. Yippee. I doubt I will shop there for my produce but I got rice milk cheap, crackers and granola bars for the kids. Stuff H likes to take when he travels and all at a really good price.

Everyone was super friendly and helpful. They load and unload your card for you. I did not take the time to look at the clothing and center of the store stuff, but I will, next time I go solo.

L was SO excited. She randomly this week asked if I could get her Go Dog Go for her birthday next year. Lo and Behold, they had a huge table of Dr. Suess books in a three pack and Go Dog Go was one of them. We got that also.

It may be a once a month or every 6 weeks stop, becasue I did stock up this time! I have reached the point in my like where I want to go one or two places and shop and then go home. No more endless chasing my tail and seeking the cheapest price. If I spend over 4 hours a week running here and there - I have eaten up any sayings in my time and the cost of gas.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Soap of the Earth

S introduced me to LUSH a few years ago. Yummy honey soap and KARMA powder. I love the stuff and used it oh so sparingly. But now I do not have to... they opened a location in the Macy's very near to me.


I have been coloring my hair with the Henna from there. The Henna Fluff Eaze is awesome. As it the Rehab shampoo and American Creme conditioner.

I love the fact that the products are natural and almost all of them vegan. I smell good, my hair feels and looks good and I feel good knowing that I am supporting a business, which is making an effort to be green and kind to animals.

If this has sounded like an infomercial - well so be it... I have been giving alot of people a well deserved hard time of late on the blog - so I decided to switch gears and give some folks some much deserved props!

Rock on LUSH!

Keep It Simple - they are 6 and I am busy...

Remember the adage - K.I.S.S - Keep It Simple Stupid. Well someone in the school distract forgot what the hell it meant. They are on their 3rd new math curricula in less than 5 years.

I fail to see how hard it is to teach kids math. I am NOT a teacher, but I am good at math, I have always been decent at math - until like Calc 2 and the numbers suddenly aren't real and frankly I am only into MATH that involves things I can count. I hated Geometry because my brain just does not work that way. I can do percentages and simple calculations in my head and I get what numbers mean, when presented in fancy charts and graphs.

Well the geniuses in the central office of our school distract have blown a ton of money on yet another useless math program. This one involves US at home spending a ton of time trying to sign onto a website - which is poorly designed and just plain crappy. It does not show the kids which letter they clicked on to answer the questions (yeah does not darken the circle - did these people not learn anything from the years of taking tests using a scan tron answer sheet?) It does not record their work and on the work sheets and practice "pages" you cannot type the numbers but rather you have to draw them free hand with the mouse! WTF? Did I mention it does not work with any number of browsers.....

It took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to A) try to get us signed on using any number of browsers. B) try to find the homework, C) try to figure out how you do the worksheets and D) to draft an email to the teacher telling her that this program IS crap and L will not be doing her homework on the computer. I learned MATH with pencil and paper and L will too! I can sharpen pencils - this piece of shit the School Distract paid big bucks to adopt - well one of them can come over here and waste 1 hour and 45 minutes trying to get it to work or they can write me a check for $55 - roughly what I charge my clients when I write for them. Because I am done wasting my time and L's frankly. We lost a ton of nice weather and daylight fighting with that stupid website.

The kicker - there is a help desk - open M-F 8 am to 4 pm - the same hours she is school. Right - hardly helps those of us trying to use the crappy site. Oh wait - they knew it was crap and set the hours accordingly.

The kicker - I downloaded the Amazon Video on Demand player and a movie in my first try and we watched the movie tonight. So I have to say - that the problem lies with the crappy math curricula and website and not my technical prowess.