Friday, July 11, 2008

Cool Site of the Week: News of the Weird

Weird stuff happens to me all the time. I swear. My dating life alone would make fodder for a NY Times best seller (hmmmmmm....). So when I'm feeling really down about that, I turn to News of the Weird. It helps me feel like I'm not quite as weird, misguided or just plain stupid as some of these folks.

Its the online equivalent of watching Jerry Springer or going to the Iowa State Fair. You realize at once that no matter how annoying or pathetic your life is, these people are waaaay worse.

Some of the more socially acceptable stories I send around to my work teams as a little "funny of the week" pick-me-up. The rest I save for friends and family!!

So go check it out and de-weird yourself! There's new material each Sunday so you never run out of self-assuring motivation!

News of the Weird

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Teaching. That is what being a parent really comes down to. Teaching about life, love, right, wrong, good, bad … you get the idea. But right now, at 13 months I’m focusing on some more earthy goals – words. Since Cora has been about 9 months old she’s had about five words in her repertoire: Hi, Mama, Dada, Gog Gog (dog), and Uh Oh.

Once she moved on to focusing her time on learning to walk, almost all of those were pushed aside by her brain. Now that she’s a little sprinter, the electricity to the speech section has been turned back on. Taking my cue, I’ve been working with her over the past month on learning new words.

Ever since she was born, we have made sure we use the kind of language in dealing with Cora that we want her to pick up someday. So when she wanted out of her exersaucer, we would ask “up, please?”. When she would do something she was not supposed to, she would hear “no, ma’am.” My child will have manners if it kills me.

But after months of little return, I’d decided to focus my sights a little lower. We’ve been focusing on words like “milk”, “more”, “sippy”, “doo-doo” and “love you”. I’ve also been trying to get her to use or at least acknowledge a few gestures, like a head nod, a kiss or a hug. Over the past months we’ve gotten a lot of those down. She can now high five, low five, hug on command, blow kisses, or give a good “real” kiss (complete with the “swack” sound). But for some reason words are just escaping our grasp.

Until this weekend that is. I was sitting on the couch with Cora and noticed she was intently studying my face as if there was something new she had never seen before. Suddenly, just like a little baby ninja, she reached up and grabbed my nose – a thumb up one nostril, all the fingers around the rest – and squeezed for all she was worth.

Remembering my pediatrician’s advice, I said a sharp and loud “OW!” This serves two purposes – one, it startles the child into ceasing whatever painful behavior they were engaging in, and two it allows them to understand that when they do that, it gets an unpleasant response. Unless you are my child. My child just paused, looked at me – head cocked to one side, nose still firmly in hand – and matter-of-factly said “ow”.

Great. I work for months on “please”, “thank you”, “you’re welcome”, or even just “more” – and after one brief interlude I get “ow”. So yesterday morning as she toddled around the house, she was greeting everything (couch, chairs, tables, dog, cat, etc) with either “Hi!” or “Ow”. And yesterday afternoon while in my arms, she sweetly put her head on my shoulder and whispered “ow”. And at dinner in her high chair she poked her rosemary chicken with her finger and said “Ow!”. *sigh* How can you explain to a 13 month old that the chicken is not hot, and is not hurting her, and thus is not “ow”. You don’t. And how to do explain to mom’s ego that she will not get to wholly control her daughter’s language skills? You don’t. Ow.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Tao of Kristi

I am a complex individual. I get that. I live in Iowa but like to conduct myself like I live in Manhattan. I am a mom but refuse to turn my life over to being ONLY that. I am an attorney but refuse to bend to the stereotype of one. But today I think I unwittingly illustrated the dichotomy that is me quite well.

It all started this morning when my friend, Becky, emailed and asked if I would like to accompany her along to our local health food store (Campbell’s) over our lunch hour. She had started a new diet this week and needed all kinds of grasses, grains and drops to be able to fully participate. Bless her little heart she was diving in head first and really committing - that's just so cute.

Charmed by her na├»ve vigor (and just wanting to get outside in the 80-degree weather) I heartily agreed. On the way we agreed that we would just hit a drive-through on the way home so she could grab a side salad and I could get…whatever. I’m not picky. I can find something almost anywhere.

When we pulled into the parking lot of the strip mall housing Campbell’s I realized it was right next door to an Arby’s. Yay! Hubby hates Arby’s so I almost never get to eat there. As we got out of the car I was content in the knowledge that after this little detour I would have curly fries awaiting me.

We went into the store and I followed Becky around giving her helpful little tips (sometimes its good having a health food hippie for a sister!). While Becky was looking at the stevia packets, my eye fell on a small box by the various packaged “cleanses”. The front said “15-day Weight Loss Cleanse and Flush” and the top flap simply said “Flatter Abdomen”. Ok, you have my full attention. I grabbed the small box and first checked the price – one thing I’ve learned is that being healthy is EXPENSIVE! It was only $11.00. Ok that’s not too bad comparatively.

I began reading the side of the box which was telling me that slow digestion, lack of fiber, and “poor assimilation” of food leads to bloating and low energy. Yes, yes, go on. It claimed that in 15 days it would cleanse my digestive tract (um.. could be icky), reduce bloating and help flatten the appearance of my abdomen. You had me at Flatter Abdomen. I was in. And so was Becky.

Since I was now being “healthy” I decided to look around the store for some healthy snacks. After weighing taste vs carbs I decided on a small spendy pack of organic, whole wheat pretzel bites filled with peanut butter. I felt so important and enlightened – being willing to spend so much – an investment really – on my health. I was going to be a granola-eating twig in no time.

We rang up and headed back to the car. Without hesitation (or any sense of irony) we went straight to the Arby’s drive thru where I ordered a #17 combo…. A french dip sandwich, curly fries, a side of cheddar (for the fries of course), and a diet coke (you can never be too health conscious I always say).

As we were walking back into work I noticed a man walking past us who looked at my Arby’s bag – looked at my Campbell’s bag – and then looked at me. He seemed perplexed. At that point I realized that perhaps those two bags did not often run in the same circles. Most likely they had never been seen in the same place at the same time before. They were the bag equivalent of Michael and LaToya Jackson.

I thought about that for about 2 minutes – but then I reached my office, sat the Campbell’s bag over by my purse, laid the Arby’s bag delicately on my desk and began to arrange my carb buffet in front of me. Who can think about the ironies of the universe when there is melty cheddar cheese product in front of you just waiting to be eaten?