Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Your Kids Eat What?

Why all the fuss about getting kids to eat better?  Salad bars in school are the "big new thing" like there is this sudden answer to all of our health issues and it is putting salad next to the low fat chocolate milk and pizza.  Why are adults incredulous that some kids eat lots of interesting and nourishing foods?  There is an easy answer.  Kids eat what the people around them eat.  They see that face you make when you take a bite of fries or broccoli and register which one they are "supposed" to like or not.  When we assume that kids will only eat "kid food", then that is what they do.  When we assume that kids will eat "real food" then that is what they do.  Expect the best of everything from your children.  So really, just take care of yourself, enjoy it, and let them see you doing so.  The rest will follow!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I had a babysitter scheduled for a few hours this afternoon.  My scheduled appointment with a client was cancelled at the last minute since she was in labor (the nerve, right?!), so I ended up having three hours to myself. 

I snuggled the kids, made a list of all of the errands and work I needed to do, gathered my things together, and headed out. Library, drug store, consignment shop, hardware store... After a few stops, feeling pretty good about how much I was accomplishing, I settled in at my local coffee shop to knock out some work.  This was the kind of stuff that either gets donw when kids are out or sleeping, requiring concentration and focus.  Perfect to do at my little table in an empty cafe. 

As I pulled things out of my backpack, I realized there was a problem.  I had no computer.  The evaluation manual I had brought to help me pull together a report was for the wrong age - preschoolers rather than infants.  And the only writing implement I had was a mini golf pencil. 

At first, I was annoyed, and then I had to assume the Universe was telling me something.  "Slow down" she said.  "Relax".   So I did. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Spa Junkie

I am a spa treatment junkie.  I can easily spend hours at the Red Door, and every cruise I have taken has been peppered with almost daily spa visits.  I love that I struggle to find a "new" treatment to do on the ship.  Alas, I am not made of cash, so spa trips are usually few and far between, which leaves me always craving more. 

But all my spa experience has been very American.  Big fuzzy robes, waiting areas with fat sparkly fashion magazines, no talking between patrons, everyone is well covered most of the time, and treatments are scheduled with someone leading you around from spot to spot.  And each "station" is super expensive to boot.

How have I missed the Korean bathhouse experience?  How could it have taken me so long to discover and dive in to this idea?  I spent way less than $100, and had a solid 5 hours at the spa last night.  Holy cow - this whole thing was not only superbly relaxing and rejuvenating, but a bit cathartic as well.

So the naked factor is probably the biggest difference between American spas and gyms and this Korean spa.  I'm used to locker rooms and changing areas where most people are being fairly discreet about changing.  Not that they are always covered, but no one is really prancing around sans clothes.  When you walk into the bathhouse locker room, it is odd to see anyone with any coverage whatsoever.  OK, so it's a locker room.  Whatever.  But the pool and saunas and scrub areas are nude as well.  That took a bit of getting used to.   

As strange as this was for me, it was also really comforting to see so many real women's bodies in one space.  To see this mass nakedness highlights the absurdity of what the media leads us to expect about what we should look like in a whole different and more compelling way.  To see moms, daughters and friends, of all shapes, colors and sizes, sitting and talking while in the pool jets, or doing a scrub, or hanging out in the sauna was refreshing. 

And oh! the many things to do to get you totally chill!  The pool has like 10 stations with jets to different muscle groups, and the water pressure is hard - like so hard that you have to hold on to a bar so you don't get flung across the pool.  There are hot tubs, cold tubs, saunas, and a scrub area.  You can do your own scrub but since I have no clue of what I am doing, I signed up for a 30 minute scrub.  It was relaxing and scary, painful and revealing, surprising and glorious all at the same time.  I thought my skin might bleed, but I left with my whole body softer than it has been in many moons.  I actually can't stop feeling it. 

Once out of the pool, I got on my spa-issued orange jumpsuit (a little strange) and checked out the rest of the place.  I laid in hot hot hot rooms that probably detoxified every pore in my body from the last 20 years of crap that they had been dealt.  To finish it all off, a few minutes in the cold room - really quite icy cold although it was only in the 50's in there - to "seal in the benefits".   There is a restaurant, fitness center, nail salon, and a few other spots that I missed on this visit. 

Will I go back?  Oh yeah.  I am hugely calm today with a healthier body image than a few short hours ago.  All for a little cash and time.  Yes, this is my big new thing. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Over the past few months, we've had a lot of discussion and decision making about school. We explored the idea of sending Peanut to public school this fall for kindergarten, and went through all of the orientation and tours, met with some of the staff, and generally obsessed about it for weeks. After much soul searching we came to a decision. Honey and I were sitting on the couch one night watching a movie, and I just said "I just can't do it." and he said "I know." and that was that. We were homeschoolers.

Although we had decided the plan for this year, I still had this nagging in the back of my head. What if she misses out on something I can't provide? What if I'm just being selfish? What if she is left out of neighborhood events? What if, what if, what if.... Now that the school year has begun though, I can safely say that I am completely cool with the decision.

Peanut just started at a farm/Montessori school two mornings a week. So she is in a group of about 10 kids, including her little brother, and I pick her up right after lunch. At the end of the morning, she comes home really needing to have some time alone. She is a little growly for 5 minutes or so and that's when I know she has to go be alone and regroup. She plays with her babies, organizes them and makes beds and houses for them. I hear her in there talking to them, and know that if she were in full day kindergarten with 25 kids in her class, her need for alone time at the end of the day would be astronomical. She would probably also be so overwhelmed with "stuff" by the time she got home that I'd be one of those moms complaining about her 5 year old who just became a teenager.

Yes, I'm over the moon that I have time with my little girl and she is not gone from me every day at school. There is no doubt that I am blessed to have that. But she needs this right now. She is not ready to jump right into a full day of sitting at a desk, listening to a teacher, and dealing with a behavior management program for her very large class. Nor should she be. She is five, and should be playing outside and with her dolls and be learning and curious about everything. I don't want anyone telling her that she can't talk in class. I want her to be exuberant and free. I'm so glad we've made this choice for our family this year. I know we are going to have a really good time. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


What the heck is up with all of this texting while driving still?  I thought we were all agreed that it is really super stupid and unsafe.  Am I misinformed?  I'm driving the other day and stop at a light.  As I look to my right, a car is rolling towards the car in front of them as the driver is looking down at her phone and texting away.  She continued to roll and text, and then I notice the kids.  Two in the back seat in car seats, one of whom is clearly screaming.  WTF?  I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt and assume that was the nanny, and she was texting the parent to say that little Johnny was super ill and they were on the way to the doctor or something.  But sadly, I think that may have been someone answering a completely non-urgent text and ignoring a screaming kid while putting all of them in peril. 

When I learned to drive, we just drove the car.  There were no cell phones or car phones - OK, maybe there were those huge old school corded car phones, but teenagers certainly did not use them.  Our parents were concerned about how loud our music was, or how many kids were riding with us, as that could be a distraction.  Who knew that at some point we would be driving a virtual office?  And really, why is that necessary?  Are you so freaking important that you have to be inconstant contact with everyone?  Those texts and emails that you are surreptitiously looking at in the car are from the president?  Really?  Come on.  It's someone saying "LOL" or "C u in a few", or something equally as not necessary to see at that very second. 

I've seen at least one couple at the last few restaurants I have been to where they are both on their phones for the entire meal.  Not even looking at each other as they speak (and the speaking is limited too).  I almost scared the pants off of some teenager when I walked by him in the dark as he was going to the bus stop and I was walking the dog.  It was 6am and he was already engrossed in his phone.  By the time he realized I was there, I was literally 3 feet from him.  Imagine if I had any bad intentions.  Seriously.  People, this love affair with technology is making you vulnerable in so many ways, and is destroying relationships to boot.  Just put the thing down, look up, and pay attention.  To the task at hand. To the moment.  To your date.  To the stars in the clear dark early morning sky.  To anything but that damned screen.