Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fatties Need To Get A Room

So, I've seen a lot of things published. I work for a publishing house, after all. Some of it makes you wonder the sanity/intelligence/soberness (is that a word?) of the author. BUT you have to remember that regardless of how crazy the thought, it usually must first be approved by an editor. Usually multiple editors.


Now, I've sure you have felt offended by what someone has written. Just the other day, there was a CNN article about the trouble with the Headstart program. What made me furious was that people assumed that 1) preschool teachers were basically glorified babysitters and 2) it's up to the parent to teach their kids. By no means does that mean that I think parents should step back and stop being involved in their child's life. My point is that preschool is about more than just learning the ABCs and 123s. It's about socialization and getting them ready for a grade school schedule that doesn't revolve around their needs. Obviously you can tell I'm passionate about this topic.


No doubt there's a certain degree of pride a writer takes in knowing that what they have to say will chap the hide of some people. Most editors (good editors) will try to curb their writers to make it so they get a rise without offending their entire readership.


And then you have Marie Claire. Yes, the Marie Claire. As in, the Marie Claire who sponsors Project Runway. The Marie Claire with a huge subscriber list filled with women. I've honestly never had the pleasure of reading an issue in the last few months (I have time to read?), and after this I will most likely not being picking up a copy any time soon. 


So, why do you think, they would let their writer publish this: Should Fatties Get A Room? (Even On TV)? It's written by Maura Kelly. 


Here's an little look at it (in case the editors take it down):


"The other day, my editor asked me, "Do you really think people feel uncomfortable when they see overweight people making out on television?"



Because I can be kind of clueless — I'm not much of a TV person — I had no idea what she was talking about, so she steered me to this CNN article, about the CBS sitcomMike & Molly. As CNN explains, "the show centers around a couple who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous group [and] has drawn complaints for its abundance of fat jokes [as well as] cries from some viewers who aren't comfortable watching intimacy between two plus-sized actors."
My initial response was: Hmm, being overweight is one thing — those people are downright obese!And while I think our country's obsession with physical perfection is unhealthy, I also think it's at least equally crazy, albeit in the other direction, to be implicitly promoting obesity! Yes, anorexia is sick, but at least some slim models are simply naturally skinny. No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy. And obesity is costing our country far more in terms of all the related health problems we are paying for, by way of our insurance, than any other health problem, even cancer.
So anyway, yes, I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair."
Ticked off yet?


Is your blood boiling? Are you just ready to pound someone? 


Of course, Maura quickly backtracked her piece:


"I would really like to apologize for the insensitive things I've said in this post. Believe it or not, I never wanted anyone to feel bullied or ashamed after reading this, and I sorely regret that it upset people so much. A lot of what I said was unnecessary; it wasn't productive, either.



I know a lot of people truly struggle to lose weight— for medical and psychological reasons—and that many people have an incredibly difficult time getting to a healthy size. I feel for those people and I'm truly sorry I added to the unhappiness and pain they feel with my post.
 


I would like to reiterate that I think it's great to have people of all shapes and healthy sizes represented in magazines (as, it bears mentioning here, they are in Marie Claire) and on TV shows--and that in my post, I was talking about a TV show that features people who are not simply a little overweight, but appear to be morbidly obese. (Morbid obesity is defined as 100% more than their ideal weight.)  And for whatever it's worth, I feel just as uncomfortable when I see an anorexic person as I do when I see someone who is morbidly obese, because I assume people suffering from eating disorders on either end of the spectrum are doing damage to their bodies, and that they are unhappy. But perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to judge based on superficial observations.


To that point (and on a more personal level), a few commenters and one of my friends mentioned that my extreme reaction might have grown out of my own body issues, my history as an anorexic, and my life-long obsession with being thin. As I mentioned in the ongoing dialogue we’ve been carrying on in the comments section, I think that's an accurate insight.
People have accused me of being a bully in my post; I never intended to be that--it's actually the very last thing I want to be, as a writer or a person. But I know that I came off that way, and I really cannot apologize enough to the people whom I upset."

 Here's my thing:


1) Why is it okay for a "thin" couple to make out, but not an obese couple? 


2) Further more, why does she let it bother her? I hate seeing teenagers make out (despite the fact that I'm less than a decade away from my high school graduation, that sounds strange. And yes, I do seem to channel my mother. However, I just hate seeing 14 year olds make out), but that doesn't mean that I think that they should be locked in their rooms until they are adults! 


3) Either stand firm on your opinion or don't publish it at all. Maura couldn't possibly think that this wouldn't offend a vast majority of her readers. To think that it wouldn't is just naive.


But you know what offends me the most? That an editor for a major magazine with a majority of female readership (with most likely a high-percentage of overweight to obese readers) would allow this to go through. I don't care what CNN article may have spurred it. The reality is that a magazine stood behind the opinion of one size-ist woman who can't even stand behind her own opinions.

Of course, then again, how much can you really trust a magazine that offers such delights as:
- 10 Tips for Avoiding a holiday dating disaster
- A year of living flirtatiously

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Love My Son

This morning, being a Sunday, I came down stairs after getting dressed and rummaged through the pantry for breakfast ideas.

Nothing.

I moved to the fridge and freezer, thinking out loud, "What should I eat for breakfast this morning?"


Jack was listening. 

And he had a solution!


He happily replied to me: You should have ice cream, Mommy! And then we both can eat ice cream for breakfast!


Needless to say, I opted for some cereal. However, I'm thankful that my son is always ready to jump in and help!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Strawberry Cake Giveaway

I'll make this simple, since we can't upload any photos right now:

Go here: http://bit.ly/ad7gWJ to enter the best giveaway ever. It's sponsored by Strawberry Cake, who ... by the way ... just rocks.

What do you get?

You get...

...The Steamy Kitchen cook book (for a crazy cookbook lover like me, it's hard to miss)

AND

...Red Letter Art! (I wrote about it here too!)

You don't want to miss out!

So shoo! Go enter! I'm gonna go get myself to clean the kitchen while I watch L&O:LA (Is that not just confusing as all get-out?)

Side note: I"m allergic to strawberries, so any time I get to mention Strawberry Cake in a post, I get excited. It's like I'm cheating or something.

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Bubbles Galore

Zoey loves bubbles.

As in, loves to be around, play with and produce bubbles. So today, while waiting for my dear husband to get home, we started the bubble machine.

 She loved it.
She spied the bubbles and came rushing over...

There's nothing like a bubble machine! 

I couldn't tell if she was trying to catch them, touch them or chase them. 

Aha! Of course - touching is so much fun! 

Gotta love this kid! 


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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Patch, Take 1

This year we have been so blessed. Great weather, great family and great toddlers have meant that we have been able to go to a variety of pumpkin patches THREE times this year, with a possible fourth this coming weekend.

WOW.

This is...part 1, taken in very early October. As-in, the week after opening weekend early.

(And if you wanted to remember, here is last year's trip to this same patch)

So this is....Pumpkin Patch, The First

Really, it was your standard Kansas day. Not a cloud in the sky, sunny and slightly warm.

The kids enjoyed looking at the pumpkins by the entrance... 

 Look at the joy in her face! 

And check out the distraction in his.  

 
Those eyes...they just can't stop lookin' at the kids playing! 

So what is Jack looking at? 

And Zoey? 

Well, these is a really neat water pump system they have set up to send rubber ducks across maybe a 15 foot stretch. Unfortunately, the kid on the other end decided it would be cool to use 2 pumps at once, thus making it impossible for both kids to use it at the same time. Bummer, man.  

But wait!  

What is this?  

It's the train!  

Little orange Caboose...chug, chug, chug.... 

It's a pretty neat set-up! 

 As you can tell, Zoey (and Jack!) loved it! 

At the pumpkin patch, Jack picked out his pumpkin  

And let me take a picture. 

Zoey, on the other hand, wasn't so easy. She looked and look and then...

Distraction. In the form of dirt. 

She at least found one? Eventually. 

To conclude the day, we slid down some great slides...

And let ready for naptime! (All of us)

Here are details if you're interested:

KC Pumpkin Patch
29755 W. 191st Street Gardner, KS 66030
Admission: $8/person (under age 1 always free)

My thoughts? We've been going to this patch for the last three years, and it's great. However, spending $8 for a toddler does make me question going again each year. This year I actually won a family pass, but had I not won it, I doubt we would have gone. 

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Christmas Gift Countdown - 66 days

I'm back to the kiddos now. Maybe it's because my kids are happily playing together, but I thought this would be a perfect time to focus back to the kids.

Maybe tomorrow I'll do something more adult? We'll see.

Anyway, here's today gift idea:

Gift: Quercetti Geoville
Where to buy: Online only (sorry) 
Price: Around $20-$30


We actually have a set, given to us by our dear Aunt Bluejeans. It is, by far, one of the most loved toys in the house. It encourages creativity (yeah!) and can be used at a variety of growing stages. When my son was 4 and his sister 2, they played with it differently than they do now. Now it turns into a customizable doll house! 


Plus the best part? It's really indestructible, unless you take the stiff board into the bath (ZOEY...cough...). Although it's an on-line order, I highly recommend getting it for the kids in your life.  

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Christmas Gift Countdown - 67 days

Okay, so it's another food-related gift idea. I promise this will be the end of the food-related ideas for a few weeks.

If you know some one who likes clam chowder though, listen up:

Gift: Clam Chowder From Splash Cafe
Place to buy: Online, unless you live near Pismo Beach, California
Price: $11 for a quart (+ shipping)

Seriously -- this clam chowder is the bomb diggidy. It's amazingly good. My mom fell in love with it when we visited Cali for my cousin's wedding in 2004. Needless to say, my younger sister gets her a few quarts at least once a year.

So take it from people who live a long, long way from the beach...this clam chowder is AWESOME! And the bread bowls? Put it together with the chowder and you're made.



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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Fun

We've had a busy month.

As in, it's been super busy since mid-August. Between consignment sales, birthdays, an arts & crafts fair, pumpkin patch visits, the trip to the farm, ballet practice, pre-school...phew. I'm exhausted just thinking about all of it right now!

Anyway, it's been packed and jammed-full of plenty of stuff. So, to celebrate a calm day, we had a picnic at the park.

I'll spare you photos of the food consumption, though I'm sure it would be delightfully entertaining. After devouring our sandwiches, we fed bread to nearby ducks and geese.

And boy were there ducks!

They happily ate our bread.

They happily quaked and honked their way through their feast.

Ooooo. Pretty duck! ;-)

 And then Trav decided to shake the crumbs out of the bag. The ducks were especially not fond of his decision.

The geese? Well, they didn't freak out so much.

But wait - where are they going?

 Why, go run off some lunch and energy!!

Zoey pretty much stayed on the swings.

Jack, on the other hand, was all over the place!

See? He was great and climbing...

...and sliding...

...and figuring out how to make everything work to fit his needs.

When he wanted a turn at the swings, Zoey helped push him.

After all, that's what she sees Trav do to her all the time! 

However, I do believe this face says it all - NAP TIME! 



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Christmas Gift Countdown - 68 days

Okay folks, this one is for your chocolate-obsessed person. Even further, the chocolate TOFFEE obsessed person.

Gift: Almond Butter Crunch from Lake Champlain Chocolates (Or any chocolates from them, really)
Place to buy: Online, unless you live anywhere near Vermont
Price: $42.00 for 1 pound (plus shipping, which is cheaper in the winter thanks to no melting worries)

I'll be honest here - I hated toffee until we went to the Lake Champlain chocolates on whim while on our honeymoon. While I don't remember much about the other chocolates, I will never forget the fantastic flavor of these babies. In fact, I think we bought a pound or so of chocolate and received two pieces of any chocolate for free. I chose this baby while my new husband selected something with peanut butter in it. I actually forgot I even had it until we arrived home. I took one bite, and I was sold.

So unless they've changed their wonderful recipe, it's worth buying for the toffee-lover in your life!

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It's Good to be a Cat



Comfy couch? Check.
Plenty of sun? Check.
Peace and quiet? Check.

Ah, the life of a cat!

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Watch For Slowing-Moving Farm Equipment


This is corn
That grows on our farm
That has been in my family for generations
That harvested the corn
That may end up in your gas tank
Or that will be used to feed the livestock 
That may end up on your table

Poetic enough?

Anyway, we made our semi-annual trek to the farm for harvest. The skies were blue, the breeze was strong and the corn ready!

To harvest, we hopped into a grain truck and a combine:


For those of you who don't know, the grain truck is on the right and the combine on the left.

My kids may not be old enough to drive a car yet, but they can sure help drive a combine!!

These babies are huge. When you meet one on a road, you go as far over as you can.


But, they do a great job! Without it, harvest would be much, much different!  


We spent a little time in the corn on one of our fields. 

It's tough walking for little legs! 

Isn't it gorgeous though? Blue skies...yellow stalks...70 degree weather...perfect.

Jack is growing though!  Each year he seems just a bit taller when placed next to the stalks!

Note this corn. You're going to see it in various states of disrepair. When we emptied out her car seat, about 30 of these kernels flew out too.

 Jack loves his corn too. Too bad this corn isn't made for human consumption.

 Now, this was the trip last year. It was about 30 degrees. Snowy. Yuck.

And this year!  Much better weather!

Hi Zoey!

This was our visitor for the day - Snow White. S/he would have made a GREAT friend for Walter, if she weren't meant to live in the country. I could never do that to a cat!

My crazy boy.

Corn is just the best place to play!

Hi Jack!

Jack and Kaki had a blast playing hide-and-go seek!

Snow White played too!


Note the corn cob in her hand.

Now for the group shots...

I'm shocked I managed to get so many. Both kiddos were beyond exhausted by this point.

See if you can pick out Zoey...

In the end, it was a great year for a farm visit and great trip in general. We'll try to go back next May to help with planting, but harvest is by far everyone's favorite time of year. It's a great way to teach the kids that what you plant as a little seed does indeed grow up quickly!


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