Friday, November 28, 2008

Another fantastic giveaway!

I keep coming across so many wonderful giveaways as the holidays approach, and this morning I have a very impressive one to share. Some of you may already be readers of Avitable - if not, I hope you'll enjoy his blog. Warning: he's not for the faint of heart. He's not P.C. But I generally think he's hilarious. I went to college with Avitable and (don't tell him - it'll go to his head) think very highly of him. Anywho...

Avitable is giving away "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Chosen Collection" to one lucky entrant. I'm hesitant to share this with you, because I want it. But I'm nice, so I'm sharing the info. Plus publicizing the giveaway on my blog gets me another entry to win. ;) Good luck!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hubs and Brie

Hubs loves to bake brie in various ways and spread it on yummy crackers. Always delicious! The kids love it, my relatives are suitably impressed by his culinary prowess, and it's quite simple. You can make baked brie with a round or cylindrical piece of brie. Here are his two similar-yet-different recipes:

Using a round wheel of brie - cut the skin stuff off the top. Place the brie in an oven-safe dish, and sprinkle the top with brown sugar and sliced almonds. Bake in oven at 400 degrees until runny and hot. Scoop hot cheese out of middle and spread on to crackers of your choice.

Using a cylindrical log-shaped brie - scrape skin stuff off. Take a flat pie crust and sprinkle brown sugar on it, and maybe drizzle some honey. Wrap it around the brie log and top with some more brown sugar and slices of almonds (yeah, we like almonds around here). Bake until pie crust is nicely browned. Slice and serve.

We took the latter to my grandmother's house today as an appetizer before the enormous Thanksgiving feast. Two and Big Girl monged significant quantities, as did all of my relatives, and they all thought it was super-fancy. But it's really, really easy. It makes a good, quick thing to serve at holiday parties - we've served it for New Year's Eve before as well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Have you heard Alice Russell sing?

I heard this great story on NPR today about British neo-soul singer Alice Russell, and I can't wait to pick up a CD. She has just released "Pot of Gold," her first US album. You can hear several clips of her in the NPR story - and if you're as taken by her voice as I am, you may want to buy the album too.


This shirt would be perfect for him - too bad he would need a larger size. ;)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Announcements! Announcements! ANNOUCEMENTS!

We sold our cow,
We sold our cow,
We have no use,
For your bull now.

No, seriously - I have a fancy new e-mail address for my blog now! If you would like to contact me directly, write to driftwood.collector(at) (creative, isn't it?). I'd love to hear from you! And comments are, of course, always very welcome. Lots of comments. Love the comments!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cute Stuff Alert: Sale at Four Peas Online!

FourPeasOnline has a great sale going on through November 28th on school size backpacks and messenger bags. Two has one of their cute toddler size backpacks for preschool - it's extremely well made, durable, and very cute!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Politics and Big Business

GoodGuide offers an interesting look at how companies "lean" in terms of their political contributions. Check it out! Spotted this one through a tweet from MissElle who asked, "Who did YOU inadvertently support in the last election?" I was surprised and a little disappointed to find some of my favorite haunts lean red.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thank you Michelle!

One of my online friends shared this - isn't it fabulous?!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More fun giveaways!

Sign up for a fun giveaway over at Frugal Upstate - a Vulcan National Blaster Value Pack! That's an automated Nerf gun, and my inner child thinks it sounds like lots of fun!

Also, visit Mom's Favorite Stuff and check out their DVD giveaway: they have five sets of DVDs, and each set includes three holiday movies from ABC Family.

I'm thinking I should get in on the giveaway action - but what to giveaway? I'll think on that for a bit.

A favorite indulgence

Clinique's Deep Comfort Body Butter is one of my favorite indulgences. During winter, I frequently suffer from tight, dry, itchy skin as the cold weather outside and heaters inside aggravate my eczema, and nothing makes my skin feel better than this body butter. I use it regularly and generously, so I'm less likely to feel the irresistible compulsion to scratch - and it preempts the itch without making my skin feel slimy or greasy. Fabulous stuff. It's getting cold, and the itch is back, so I need to stock up asap!

Do you have adequate insurance coverage?

Dear Santa,

Big Girl wants a pony for Christmas. A REAL pony. Unfortunately, I don't think that she will get a real pony, but I did find a cute toy horse today. I bought the horse and coordinating doll, and for now they're stashed in the back of the van. After she goes to sleep tonight, I'll move them to a better hiding place. I think I'm going to have a lot of fun playing the role of Santa this year.

You may think this is strange, but I like getting Big Girl dolls that have brown hair, like her, and beyond that dolls that are varied in their appearance (instead of a gang of blond Barbies). Not that I'm exclusive about the brown hair, by any means, but given a choice between several Disney princess dolls, I picked Belle because she has lovely rich brown hair like my Big Girl. Actually, I don't think my preference for Belle over Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty is just about the hair. In Beauty and the Beast, she shows a love for reading, intelligence, common sense, and kindness, and I feel like she's less of a helpless heroine than some of the other Disney princesses. So I guess I bring a preference born of my tendency to analyze character development and attributes, like a good English major, to bear in my selection of toys for my kids. Not in a fully conscious way, of course. I don't stand in the middle of Walmart and engage in a close reading of the toys' implications or anything. I do check out the toys to see where they're made (try to avoid China), and how well they're made, and what tiny parts they have.

Amazing giveaways!

I cannot believe some of the amazing giveaways going on now on some of the blogs I read! Check out the blogs and enter to win fabulous stuff:

At My Wooden Spoon, A Cowboy's Wife is giving away winner's choice of a Stand Mixer, Immersion Blender, or Food Processor (WOW) as part of her publicity campaign for her entry in the Velveeta Casserole Challenge.

Colleen is giving away a scrapbook surprise pack - I love (the idea of) scrapbooking and have several (incomplete, contents packed in a big footlocker for that unknown day when I have time/space/energy) scrapbooks for my kids.

Blissfully Domestic's big Epson Artisan 800 giveaway ends at midnight tonight (Sunday), with the winner to be announced on Monday morning.

PlusSizeMommy's first-ever giveaway is for a cupcake maker and ends on November 29. I just found her blog today (yes, I'm always late to the party) and I'm really enjoying it!

That Hubs - bad influence!

He started a conversation with me early this morning, while I was still in a semi-comatose state, asking if he should go out and get some breakfast for all of us to eat before church. I mumbled in approval. He returned a short time later with a box of Bojangles Cinnamon Sweet Biscuits. These deliciously sinful concoctions are based on a rich, buttery biscuit, which is then smothered in butter, cinnamon, and sweet icing. They are, as Two says, "mmmmm... nummy!" This pronouncement is typically accompanied by the clapping of buttery, sticky fingers and a big sticky smile. Big Girl was also articulate on the subject of breakfast: "Mmmm! Tanks, Daddy!"

So much for my healthy daily breakfast of Special K. It was a very sweet start to the day. Since I was already off the wagon, I tossed a couple of spoonfuls of cocoa mix in my coffee mug for a hot mocha treat.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I am apparently rather susceptible to influence.

After watching that puppy cam, I felt the strong desire to get a puppy. I got all sentimental about my golden retriever's puppy days-gone-by. And then, today, I took Big Girl to a birthday party for one of her classmates, and there were several cute little babies there. And I got a bit sentimental realizing that neither Big Girl nor Two is little and babyish anymore. And I miss that. And I kind of want to have another baby, in a "that would totally throw my life into chaos and not be a sensible move right now" way.

I guess I should avoid infomercials and the home shopping channels right now.

Big Girl had a fantastic time at the party, by the way. I watched closely and it seemed that she played and got along well with several of her classmates, including the birthday girl (who's an absolutely delightful girl), and certain classmates who have said and/or done cruel things to her in the past didn't interact with my girl. That was good. My inner "mama bear" was crouching and ready to pounce if needed while I was busy mingling and chatting with other mothers.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dubya Winking

This is an odd picture. It kind of amuses me, and then again it's just kind of weird. It's the picture of the day on Anderson Cooper's show, AC 360, on CNN - they have a daily contest called Beat 360 where they solicit captions for amusing or interesting pictures. Apparently Dubya was preparing to speak before the UN yesterday when this photo was taken. He kind of looks like he's trying not to sneeze to me.

Delightfully fun reading

I picked up a copy of Dead Until Dark several weeks ago, but I haven't had the chance to read it until recently. I finished it this evening and really enjoyed it: fun, fast-paced, and not too formulaic. I may even pick up the second book in the series, Living Dead in Dallas, tomorrow - Hubs will grumble about me reading and "shutting out the whole family" but since I don't buy into his whining on that topic, I'll just keep reading anyway. ;) I like the combination of naivete and experience in the main character, Sookie Stackhouse, and I think there are currently eight titles in the series, with a ninth due for publication next year. For those of you lucky enough to have HBO, these are the novels on which the show True Blood is based. I'm very interested to see the television series, but I'll wait for it to come to DVD.

Shiba Inu Puppy Cam

Hubs made the foolish mistake of sharing this fantastic puppy cam with me last night. I just love watching these adorable dogs!

Live video chat by Ustream

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Big Girl update

I've really been stressed out by the "mean girl" issues in Big Girl's classroom, but fortunately I haven't heard anything troubling from her in the last few days. After my conversations with her teacher and the director of the program, it seems that things are getting better for my sweet girl. Instead of telling me that no one wanted to play with her on the playground, she now names one or two girls who played with her, and she seems happy. And this weekend, she's going to a birthday party for one of her classmates; she's very excited about this and has been talking about it all week. I'm maintaining a watchful, cautious outlook, but maybe this storm has passed. In my completely unbiased opinion, Big Girl is fabulous, so I think everyone should love her and want to be her friend. ;)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Robeez Season of Giving campaign

This morning I was delighted to learn about Season of Giving, a holiday charitable campaign from Robeez (they make adorable soft-soled leather shoes that both of my kids wore as they learned to walk). Robeez is making product donations to K.I.D.S., Kids In Distressed Situations, an organization that distributes new merchandise (books, clothing, etc.) to children in a variety of situations. This charitable group gives to kids affected by national disasters, political unrest, domestic abuse, homelessness, and other factors (read more here).

Robeez is pledging to give $5 worth of merchandise to K.I.D.S. for each holiday e-card sent through their site. The e-card is very cute, and it's quick and easy to send it to friends and family. You can also register for an optional weekly drawing for a cute shoes and socks gift set when you send your card. Robeez has set the goal of donating $250,000 worth of merchandise this holiday season. In addition to the $5 for each e-card, they will also donate $25 for each blog post about their campaign. Even if you're not in the market for some cute little shoes, this is a great campaign - check it out!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A match made in "Space. The Final Frontier."

Hubs and I took the kids over to my parents' house to spend the afternoon. As we were drive back, I noticed that yet another new business had opened in a strip mall along our route. This particular location has housed numerous businesses, none of which have lasted long, and the latest is a tattoo parlor. I pointed it out to Hubs, who jokingly suggested that we stop and get matching tattoos. And then, our inner nerds kicked into overdrive:

Hubs: I know what the coolest tattoo would be.
Me: What's that?
Hubs: A communicator. Right here, on my chest.
Me: Oooh, good idea.
Hubs: Then when we go swimming and I get thirsty, I can just hit the communicator and say, "Wife! Beer me!"
Me: Uh huh. And you think that'll really work?
Hubs: Yeah! That would be the best tattoo ever! But I guess we couldn't get matching ones.
Me: Oh really?
Hubs: Yeah, you've got boobs. I wouldn't want you to expose your boob in the tattoo parlor to get that.

Note that, at no point in this conversation, was it necessary for us to clarify that we were referring to Star Trek. We both just knew.

In related nerd news, we spotted a collector's set of Star Trek Pez dispensers for sale at Kroger. This would make a fine Christmas gift for any Star Trek-loving, Pez-dispenser-collecting nerds in your life. I hope Hubs will refrain from purchasing this, as we already have far too many Pez dispensers in our home. It's one of those cooler-in-the-store-than-my-home things.

Spectacled Bears and the Amazon, and more!

This morning the kids and I watched an episode of Go, Diego, Go! that focused on spectacled bears, and the kids thought the bears were pretty neat. So I found this BBC video on youtube that includes footage of some real spectacled bears. Two stood next to me watching it with great interest. Then he ran off and started harassing Big Girl, but his intellectual curiousity was great while it lasted...

Other sites with information on spectacled bears:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Need pictures? Shutterfly deal

I just learned about a deal from Shutterfly: use code SHIP25 to get free shipping on orders of $25 or more, and code HOLIDAY to get $10 off orders of $50 or more. This is great if you're thinking of ordering holiday cards, photobooks, or other personalized items as Christmas gifts. These offers are good through Wednesday, November 12.

Giada De Laurentiis's Chocolate-Hazelnut Tart

I found this delicious recipe, on the Food Network site, for Giada De Laurentiis's Chocolate-Hazelnut Tart. Hubs is going to get the ingredients I need to try this recipe today. It sounds like an easy recipe to try while I'm in recovery mode. If we like it, I'll make it for Thanksgiving dinner at my grandmother's house!


* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 3 eggs, beaten
* 1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped, and toasted hazelnuts
* 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup)
* 1 cup corn syrup
* 2 tablespoons butter, melted
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 store bought frozen pie crust, defrosted


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and the flour. Add the eggs, hazelnuts, chocolate chips, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir well. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Bake for 1 hour.

Cool the tart for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Doesn't it sound yummy? I think it would be great topped with some whipped cream or even vanilla ice cream. I've developed a love of the combination of chocolate and hazelnuts, due in large part to my beloved Nutella.

Chuck alert - watch for the actor playing Barry Rommel on Monday night!

My college classmate Zach Hanks will be on Chuck on Monday night, playing "Barry Rommel." Check him out! I'm a big Chuck fan, so you know I won't miss it!

One of my favorite things

Hey, I may lack the clout and viewing audience of Oprah, but I have favorite things too. And one of them is on sale! Crabtree & Evelyn is holding Customer Appreciation Days with 20% off everything, both online and in store, through November 11. They make yummy lotions, soaps, body washes, aromatherapy, candles, and other nice stuff. You can also get free shipping on online orders over $55 using the code FREE55 - and it's only $4.95 for any order, which is fairly reasonable. This could be a great way to get some stocking stuffers, holiday gifts, and treats for yourself.

Some of my favorites are the Gardeners line of products, which are designed to provide serious moisturizing and comfort to hands that have seen hard work. These products also work beautifully on my perpetual winter dry skin, and my mom, who does a great deal of yard work, confirms that they do, indeed, work well for gardeners' hands. Check out the hand therapy cream and hand recovery cream.

Crabtree & Evelyn offers a variety of lines in different scents to appeal to any taste. I'm not a big fan of heavy scent, which tends to aggravate my allergies and asthma, so the Sweet Almond Oil line is perfect for me. I also like La Source, the line of home spa treatments - these make me feel very indulgent. :)

If you want to treat a man in your life, check out the Naturals Solutions for Men - it has a great light scent. If I could get Hubs to shave off his beard, I would get this for him in a heartbeat. Since he won't, I prefer to give him some of the soaps, like the Sienna luxury soap and Naturals Mango Butter & Cranberry Botanical Body Bar. Is it bad that some of these soaps sound good enough to eat?

My mom is a big fan of their scented drawer liners - the paper is pretty and it gives a lovely scent to your dresser drawers. They also have sachets and scented hangers.

Now that I've (perhaps) incited you to rampant consumerism, I'll add that you can get an additional 10% off your order through membership in Crabtree & Evelyn's Prestige Club. This is the second tier of their Preferred Customer Program, open to those who've spent more than $250 as a preferred customer. You can build up over months or even years, so if you plan to buy anything, go ahead and sign up. So far I'm just a preferred customer, but I think I'll reach the higher tier soon. I'm a little more restrained in my C&E shopping since we moved. Our last home was five minutes from a mall with a lovely Crabtree & Evelyn store staffed by a very friendly sales lady... But someday, when I win the lottery*, I'll be able to indulge my appetite for yummy Crabtree & Evelyn product more often!

*This is a running joke between Hubs and me. If we really win the lottery, watch out - we've amassed quite a list of indulgences. If we really bought everything we have mentioned over the years, we'd blow through that money crazy-fast.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Christmas shopping on my mind...

I've finished my list and purchased most of the items I'll be buying for Christmas this year. I have a lot of things to *make* however - so once I'm more mobile, I'll get to work on that. If you aren't obsessed with shopping obscenely early, however, and still plan to buy gifts, I would like to direct you to two of my favorite sites: has an online store featuring all of the fantastic fair trade goods that you can find at Ten Thousand Villages sales and festivals, plus more. I love finding treasure from Ten Thousand Villages. I've given jewelry, home decor, pillows, and Christmas decorations as gifts, and purchased for myself, from their sales in years past. This year I'm organizing a sale at our church, so I'll be waiting to shop there, but if you don't have plans to attend a sale or if you want to get a discount off the already-very-reasonable prices they have on handmade items, check out the website. Today and tomorrow only (Saturday, November 8), you can get twenty percent off your entire purchase using the code BAGSALE at checkout. Check out the beautiful natural wreaths, the gorgeous jewelry, the lovely nativity sets, and so much more. And be socially responsible and support fair trade and all that, too. ;)

My second recommendation, for those looking to find gifts on a limited budget, is the Overstocks section of Lands' End. I love browsing through this part of the site, and they have so many wonderful items available at great prices. Lands' End has great customer service, quality products, and considerable variety, even in overstocks. I picked up several button-down shirts for Hubs and a top for myself, as well as oodles of gifts for family and friends. Check out the Packable Tote, a good deal at $14.99 and available in several great color combinations, and the king size set of flannel sheets in Ruby, for only $19.99. Shhh! Those are gifts for some of my relatives.

I think I've been pretty productive so far during my convalescence - it's early November, and I'm already halfway finished! I still have several tricky people on my shopping list, however, including the two kids who already have everything, Big Girl and Two.

Hubs is a good guy

Hubs told me last night that he would be taking off time from work to take care of me. Three days - I'm blown away by his thoughtfulness and generosity. Seriously. This is - dare I say it - a bit out of character for him. I don't think he took off this much time after the birth of our first child (but then he was paid hourly, not salaried, so that kind of explains it).

The kids are staying with my parents tonight, and we dropped them off early this morning so my parents could take them to school and we could head over to the office for my surgery. The surgery went pretty well. I can't say that I feel good now, but I am focused on feeling better eventually. The medication is keeping me fairly comfortable so far.

Hubs has been incredibly sweet and thoughtful. He got me a yummy Starbucks concoction after we left the doctor's office (they have an ambulatory surgical center at the office) and picked up tasty foods at the grocery store while the pharmacist filled my prescription. I just wolfed down a chicken pot pie - I couldn't eat after 10 last night, and I was really hungry.

I don't want to make him sound like a bum, but I really can't remember the last time he took care of me like this. It's wonderful. He's a thoughtful guy most of the time, but he's being particularly good today. When I'm back on my feet, I'll have to do something nice to reinforce this kind of behavior. ;)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Big Boy News!

Two had his first real barber shop haircut today. Previously I've cut his hair at home with clippers, but today my dad and I took him to see A.J. He's been my dad's barber for years - at least my entire life and then some. The barber shop is... unique. Lots of taxidermy. Some of the heads also sport trucker hats with punny sayings on them. A big display case full of vintage model cars.

Two was hesitant at first, but with his grandfather holding his hand and A.J. telling him it would be okay, he decided to relax after a few minutes. The display case with the cars in it also had a tractor inside, and that was, of course, most interesting to Two. A good distraction.

Now my boy has a real little boy haircut. He looks super-cute, and not so much like his mom cuts his hair for him at home. It's a true haircut, not just an allover short buzz job. He doesn't look as much like a baby with his new 'do, although he still has the cute chubby baby cheeks. I hope he keeps those for a long time. I'm in no hurry for my baby boy to grow up.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

So glad...

that the preschoolers got it wrong.

I can't fully express my delight, my optimism, my excitement about the election of Barack Obama as the next President of the United States. I've felt pessimistic and cynical about politics for years, but tonight I feel as though there really are others out there, in this country, in sufficient numbers, who agree with me about the important issues and who see the potential and promise of Barack Obama. God Bless Him.

p.s. McCain's being really classy in his concession speech. WTG old white-haired dude. He has the capacity to handle himself with dignity and honor when he doesn't let partisanship run rampant.

A Political Funny

My mom sent me this gem from the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Kid Vote

The kids in Big Girl's pre-k class had their own election today. Their teacher distributed paper ballots with pictures of the two candidates and had each student place a sticker next to his or her candidate of choice. The children were told to make their own choices, and keep it secret if they wished, and then the teacher counted each child's ballot and tallied the votes. She put stickers on a single page to give them a visual sense of the outcome. I was thrilled to learn that they would be doing this, but not so crazy about the results:

I shouldn't be that surprised, given what I know of the political leanings of her classmates' parents. Fortunately this class is not at all representative of our nation as a whole.

(to the tune of Rawhide, naturally) Voting, voting, voting...

The kids and I went to the Masonic lodge behind a certain nearby elementary school to vote before I took them to school. I kind of sentimentally wanted them to be there to see the voting first hand. The whole process, from joining the line until I returned to my car, took about an hour. It was a bit chilly, standing outside in line, but the kids and I had coats and the sun came up higher and warmed us up after a bit.

An older woman in front of me surprised me just after we joined the line. A young man standing between the woman and me in line was wearing short sleeves, no coat. This young man was wearing a stained button-down workshirt and looked like he probably works in some sort of manual labor-type job. He was also Hispanic and spoke heavily accented English - that matters in this context because of this town and the dynamics of class/race/ethnicity here.

The woman was dressed for work in an office setting, in a tailored dark purple wool blazer and black pants. She had nicely coiffed hair, perfect makeup, and generally looked rather affluent and professional. And she turned to the young man and made a remark about the chilly weather. When he agreed with her assessment, she told him she had a coat he could wear, and that she would be glad to get it from her car for him. He demurred, but she offered again, more than once. She wasn't annoying about it. She just didn't want the guy to get cold. He seemed surprised initially by her offer, but thanked her for her generosity and declined.

I wish that this exchange hadn't surprised me, but given some of the interactions (or lack therof) that I've seen between people here, I was also a bit surprised by her generosity. There are a lot of immigrants in this town, drawn by jobs in the carpet industry, and I've seen and heard some ugly rhetoric toward people who have come here from other countries - Mexico and elsewhere - in search of jobs. I've heard comments about people who don't speak "good" English (and given the diction and syntax of some locals, they're being hilariously, un-self-consciously ironic). I guess these tensions crop up in many places, but I was delighted to see my pessimistic expectations upended today as we waited to vote.

In general, everyone in line seemed very patient about waiting. There was even an undercurrent of camaraderie. And Big Girl showed me that she's really been paying attention during Dora the Explorer. A mother and her young son were in line behind us, and I was amusing the kids by asking them to identify letters and numbers on the plates of cars parked in the lot. The young boy pointed to a number on the plate of a nearby car and asked his mom, in Spanish, "what letter is this?" She corrected him, saying (again in Spanish), "what number is this?" Big Girl piped up with the correct answer at the same time as the boy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Seriously, for a minute -

I'm scheduled to have surgery for my sinus woes on Friday, and the date of doom is rapidly approaching. I've tried not to think about it too much, because I'm kind of a wimp. And when I don't feel good, I'm rather worthless and whiny. I know that this surgery and the subsequent recovery will bring with it a good bit of the worthless whining wimpitude. Wimpiness isn't attractive on most people, including me.

Fortunately Hubs helps to distract me by talking about how much housework I could do "ahead of time" - because that's a direct relationship, isn't it? Can't have surgery with a dirty house, now, can I? He also reminds me regularly that he won't be around to help me at certain times, so I'll need to figure out workarounds for changing diapers and other tasks which would ordinarily require a bit of lifting. No lifting more than 15 pounds during my recovery - so Two will have to bring his little step stool around the house and get himself to any heights. I have a vague sense that I may regret encouraging a do-it-yourself climbing practice later on.

The main idea that keeps sticking in my brain, when I move past the hesitancy, is how fortunate I am, to have health insurance to reduce the cost of my surgery, to have access to a friendly doctor who will perform the procedure, to have parents to care for me and my children later in the day. The kids will even have a sleepover at their grandparents' house the first night post-op, so I can rest and recover in a quieter environment at home. I keep coming back to the unbelievable expense involved in this surgery. I would never have it if I didn't have insurance. I feel guilty knowing that we'll be paying for this procedure in monthly installments for some time to come. And yet I dream of feeling much better than I have in months, of relief from sinus pressure and misery, of freedom from knowing every cold will become an infection. This isn't a major life-or-death procedure. It's largely a quality of life concern, and one that many people likely cannot consider due to problems with cost and access.

My qualms about the current status of our medical system are considerable. I am a former child of privilege, now a woman of privilege, in comparison to so many. If I get sick, I go to the doctor, and I'm outraged to think that some people have to decide between medical care and food, or medicine and basic living expenses. I know this is often a problem for elderly individuals on fixed incomes, and yet the problem is so much more widespread. I catch glimpses of it from women who write on parenting boards and blogs I follow. I don't know what to do about the unbelievable impediments to proper medical care faced by so many people in this supposedly-privileged country. I'm not an expert. But my worries about being a whiner and dealing with housework before surgery pale in comparison. I hope whoever we elect tomorrow (you know my choice) comes up with some viable solutions and implements them, asap.

And now for something completely different...

I came across this cat while searching for the one in that last post - and I have to post this one, too. It's just delightful.
more animals

Speaking of cats - I am delighted to report that Two has toned down his grandfather-encouraged shrieking at cats. Big Girl's getting better as well. Both of them generally remember to use inside voices and walk softly around my mom's cats, and everyone is happier. :) I think Two may even develop into a bit of an animal whisperer like my mom. She just has a way with animals, such that they're drawn to her and feel calmed by her, and it's amazing. Of all the genetic inheritances he could get from my family - and it's apparent already that he got the dry skin, allergies, and jowls - this would be one of the best.

Boo, NBC! Booooo!

No Chuck tonight, as Natalie points out in response to my previous post. I have to wait for next week. And how does that make me feel?

more animals

Big TV night for me!

This fall I've become a more ardent fan of Chuck. I liked it last year, but now? I think it's even better. So don't call me between 8 and 9. (That means you, dad. You always call when I'm in the middle of doing something else.) I'll put the kids to bed before then, and feed the dogs in advance too. I'll be watching television.

My robe

My robe, or rather the sash for my robe, is under constant attack. Two keeps attempting to steal it so he can play with it. He calls it his "rescue rope" and, I believe, plans to use it to rescue animals like his television hero Diego. Many of these animals apparently need to be rescued from his sister's room and taken to his room.

I love for him to play animal rescuer - it's a favorite game that he and Big Girl often play together - but I can't get him to choose an alternate rescue rope. He keeps coming back to the robe, which I would like to wear closed so I stay warm.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Video on Voting Rights: Making It Count

New post over at Blissfully Domestic

My latest post at Blissfully Domestic is Spies I Love: Television's "Chuck" is both classic spy and spoof - check it out!

Nicely done!

Ben Affleck did a great Keith Olbermann on SNL...

SNL is getting better. I thought it was dead, but the presidential election seems to have given it a breath of fresh air.

Another reason to vote

You know, as if having a say in the future of the country isn't enough for you: