Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Breastfeeding Vs. Breast Cancer

In a cage match between breastfeeding and breast cancer, you know who wins?  I bet you've never been told.  I bet you've never read it any where.  In this month of breast cancer awareness where even KFC gets in on it, despite the questionable healthfulness of their double down chicken sandwich, and plasters pink ribbons everywhere, I bet you've not been told about this life saving information.

I won't put a pink ribbon on my site here, but I will tell you this:  Breastfeeding Significantly Reduces the Risk of Breast Cancer for Both the Nursing Mom and the Female Baby Later in Life.

Yeah, that's right.  You heard me.  Breastfeed, and your chance of getting breast cancer (and a few other cancers) goes way down.  Do it for a longer period of time and the protective effect is even greater.  Your female infant will have a reduced risk of breast cancer when she is older.


Please try to breastfeed your children for their health and your own.  If you have any kind of difficulties (and you might--we don't grow up seeing a lot of breastfeeding, so you may not know how to do it properly) go get help that is readily available.  La Leche League International has been helping women breastfeed comfortably for decades.  Or:  For decades, La Leche League International has been helping women breastfeed comfortably.  I'm a big proponent for extended breastfeeding, but I would even draw the line at decades...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Solid Gold Dancers with Adam Ant!!

Oh my God, this is classic!  Why did I not see the wit of this when I was an angsty  teenager?  Why did I not see the fun of the kitsch?  It is only now that I can appreciate stuff like this.  I couldn't back then when I was lamenting the destruction of the Brazilian rainforest and all of my peers (most of my peers) were gung ho about Reagan and his policies.

Look at what I missed!!

Enjoy you Goody Two Shoes you.  Have a fun weekend!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"...that's in the first amendment?"

Christine O'Donnell asked her Democratic opponent where in the Constitution the separation of church and state is outlined.

He answered that the 1st amendment guarantees it.

She said, "The First Amendment does?" O'Donnell asked. "Let me just clarify: You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?"

Uh.  Yeah.  It's always been there and is one of the defining elements of our freedoms here in the United States.  We get to believe what and how we want without any kind of government interference.  Just a reminder:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Monday, October 18, 2010

But, What if I WANT to Buy it?!

We sometimes get things new, like swimsuits from Target online for my daughter, because hers from the summer wore out and she'll need it if we go out of town to a motel with a pool. It happens. And, the underwear and socks that I recently bought my kids. We are far from perfect around here, but that's OK (right, Stuart?). In any case, we mostly don't buy it.

What if we want to buy it? What if YOU want to buy it? What if it speaks to you--that perfect shirt or piece of jewelry or book or i-pod/phone/pad thingy? What if you feel you can not live without it? Could you pause and review it? Maybe ask yourself a couple of questions:

Do I have to have this thing, if I already have a similar version of it, or one that's still good, or it's just too expensive, or I know I'll use it a couple of times, and then NOT need it? Do I really NEED it?

My kids NEED underwear and socks. I think it's OK to get those new, so I passed the Yes-I-Really-Do-Need-It-Quit-Badgering-Me! test when I asked myself these questions. If you need it, you need it. Really.

But, what if it's not need but want. You know you don't need it, you just want it. Yes, you already have several pairs like it, but this pair of black shoes has a buckle on the side of it, rather than the front. See? So, it's different. And, it is that very slight difference that is making you want it, not need it. What then?

I would still counsel you to think it through and wait it out and pause and breathe. What will you get if you purchase those kicky new shoes? Will it feed a deep need inside your hole-filled soul? Will it make you feel pretty ala Maria in West Side Story (although, it wasn't shoes that was doing that for her. It was her being lovestruck with Tony...) Besides which, do you think Tony even noticed Maria's shoes? Come on.

But you WANT them, still!!

Fine. Get them. Or, get it. Go ahead. DO IT!

But, next time, you could try to muster some will and resist the urge and forgo your very temporal, frivolous, hedonistic, self-indulgent whim and NOT get it/them. Maybe you would feel empowered by that. Maybe you would feel strong and in charge of yourself and more centered. Maybe it would be worth it to say no to yourself once and see how that feels and know that you can survive it and that you don't feel deprived. YOU ARE STRONGER THAN THE URGE TO GET A NEW PAIR OF SHOES THAT YOU DON'T NEED!!


Yes, but they're cute/most recent technology/an upgrade, you counter.

Yeah. I know. Hence the dilemma.

Beautiful hand forged gold earrings from Sundance catalog that I don't NEED, but WANT, but haven't gotten yet...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Sky

My husband had a wonderful class in college called The Sky which explored naked eye observations of the sky and its machinations. Guess who now knows what a waxing gibbous moon is--yes, that's right, my kids! My husband has been relaying all sorts of sky information to the kids with very clear explanations and drawings on our fabulous giant dry erase board that my husband snagged from work when they were throwing it out.

Actually, we've both been showing the kids all sorts of things now that the board is hanging on the kitchen wall. The kids are also drawing various things up there and it has dramatically changed how we homeschool around here. Who knew such a simple thing could have such a huge effect? And yet, sometimes the right tools make a difference in whatever you're doing. It's there and everyone in this house is now drawn to it.

Last night, my son was looking at the sky with my husband through binoculars and they both saw all sorts of features on the moon. To the east was Jupiter, and then east of that was Uranus. My son is 12... Yes, there are certain jokes that seem to always come up with regard to that particular planet, but we didn't care. He was seeing our universe and understanding it a little bit more.

Today, I saw a story on Huffington Post about a dad and his son who sent a weather balloon into space with an insulated, protective foam wrap around a video recorder and made a film of the balloon ascending 20 miles up into the sky. Inside the foam was an i-phone which acted as a GPS so that they could then retrieve it once the balloon popped and the parachute allowed it to come safely back to earth.

Amazing and fun!

When's the last time you looked up at the sky with wonder and curiosity and interest? You should look up. It's awesome up there! And, if you're 12, it can inspire some hilarity. If you know what I mean...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Life out of Balance

Here is a video that converges two things I like: The Strokes and images from Koyaanisqatsi, which was just the coolest movie when it came out in the early 80's. It is fascinating to see now. Have you seen it? Koyaanisqatsi means Life out of Balance in the Hopi language.

In the movie you see through speeded up images of the beauty of nature: clouds, shadows etc. and the scurrying around of busy people, driving cars, walking down the street, entering and exiting trains. It is humbling to see how much we resemble ants.

The original music was composed by Philip Glass. Here's some of his work.

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Enfeebling the Brain?

A child who has been boxed up six hours in school might spend the next four hours in study, but it is impossible to develop the child’s intellect in this way. The laws of nature are inexorable. By dint of great and painful labor, the child may succeed in repeating a lot of words, like a parrot, but, with the power of its brain all exhausted, it is out of the question for it to really master and comprehend its lessons. The effect of the system is to enfeeble the intellect even more than the body. We never see a little girl staggering home under a load of books, or knitting her brow over them at eight o’clock in the evening, without wondering that our citizens do not arm themselves at once with carving knives, pokers, clubs, paving stones or any weapons at hand, and chase out the managers of our common schools, as they would wild beasts that were devouring their children.

Scientific American magazine, October 1860

Kefir Dreamsicle!

You know what is the best, most delicious kefir drink? I do! I like you guys, so I will share it with you now.

Pour a half glass of plain kefir (use a 12 oz. glass or larger), add a half glass of orange juice, a half teaspoon of vanilla, a tablespoon of raw honey and stir it all up right in the drinking glass. It will take a little longer to stir than you think it should because of the stickiness of the honey, but keep at it until it's thoroughly mixed.

Then. Well, then you're about to have what amounts to a liquid dreamsicle--it is amazingly good. And, you're going to be getting those good probiotics into you.

You don't have to have junk to feel like you're having a treat. Junk has it's place--we eat junk occasionally--but, it's so much better when we can have treats that are both delicious and good for us.

Try it!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Gone Daddy Gone

You know what is severely underutilized in the whole rock/pop/ska world? Yes, that's right--xylophone.

So, here's some for you from The Violent Femmes--Gone Daddy Gone.

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bad to the Bone or Another Day of Running Errands

We had to go get the car's emissions tested yesterday. Illinois law mandates it every so often for all cars, although it would probably be more efficient and effective if the testing was saved for older cars alone. But, we went.

My daughter assured me that she was fine dressed in her 1880s prairie dress which she uses to pretend she is Mary or Laura or an unknown pioneer girl out on the prairie trying to make her way breaking up sod and battling grasshoppers. She was going to be fine in her red calico with white overdress and didn't need to change before hand. Besides, we could all stay in the car so it wouldn't matter any way!

Yeah, except when we got there we saw that everyone had to get out of their cars and go to a little room while the car was tested. Uh oh... I reassured my daughter that she could still get away with going around town in dress up clothes, depending on the clothes, and it would be OK.
My son meanwhile was cracking up and thought the imminent embarrassment of his sister was hilarious. My daughter actually laughed too and took it in stride.

Turns out we didn't have to get out of the car. Instead, the creepy worker guy let me get out and sit in back while he sat in the driver's seat and conducted the test. He went on to insult the quality of our car and then said weird rambling things that we all couldn't quite make out.

I asked the kids what they thought of him as we left and they told me he was creepy. My daughter described him as having milky blue eyes (descriptive!). My son asked what was wrong with him which led to a lengthy discussion about creepiness, instincts and feelings about people, social awkwardness vs. malicious intent, not being afraid to hurt feelings or offend anyone to keep yourself safe, having the right to not get in an elevator or cross the street or stay with a crowd of people if someone makes you feel creeped out. I told my kids to trust their feelings and instincts.

We talked about why someone might be socially awkward. Why someone might not like people. And then my son fished out my husband's aviator sunglasses from the compartment in the dashboard and put them on.

My son as he looked in the mirror in the sun visor said, "Hey! I look really cool in these! I look like a BUG!! These are so cool."

Some time later after more self-admiring and tilting his head this way and that, he said, "I look like a bug--AND THAT'S AWESOME!!"

A teen sitting in the passenger seat of an oncoming car caught sight of my son and dropped his mouth open and stared as his head pivoted to get more of a view. My son thought this was hilarious and so did my daughter and I and we all laughed and laughed.

Who says running errands can't be fun?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Huckleberry Finn

I am reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to the kids. I just started it last night, complete with dead-on accents and full emoting. The kids thought the whole Tom Sawyer gang requirements were hysterical: no telling the secrets of the club upon the penalty of family being killed. If no family, as is the case with Huck, a proxy will do, namely Miss Watson. Also, they will hold captives and ransom them, which to their confused minds means clubbing them to death. The women captives they figure will all fall in love with them. The gang admits that the cave will become mighty crowded what with men waiting to die by ransom, and women swooning in love with them.

It all takes place in the early 1800's and Huck refers to the slaves as n******. It was difficult to even say the word, and Huck says it repeatedly. My kids had never heard the n word (they haven't heard a whole lot of words). I explained that it was a word to dehumanize and vilify the slaves (and people of color since then) and my daughter said, "Oh, like 'mudblood'." Yes, exactly--like mudblood.

I realize that there are critical views of Twain and the language he used. I know that this is a banned book in many places, because of it. But, I feel that Twain pointed out the extreme hypocrisy of the lifestyle of that time. I want my kids to learn about that. I want them to recognize it now, when they see it. I think it's important to learn. I also think Twain is a wonderful writer and I love his wit and sensitivity. I love how he understands kids and their imaginations and how their thinking is generalized and absolute. He has sympathy for them. I like my kids to know that too.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...