Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Civil War book

My Father-in-law has written a book on the Civil War using football terminology. Check out his web page: http://civilwar.drlaw2007.com

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Charlie is 23-mos-old today! He is still a man of few words but he says about 20. His latest are Hiss (what a snake says), Cock-a-doodle-doo, Bubbles, and his girlfriend's name, Emmie.

He's started to want to do everything himself. We've given him little "chores" to give him the opportunity to do more on his own. He puts his clothes or PJ's in the hamper, put his shoes on the shoe rack, put his bowl in the sink when he is finished eating (he thought of this one on his own), and wash his hands after every meal. The hand washing is a treat in his eyes, lol! He also likes to help me with the compost. He carries the empty kitchen scraps jar from the compost bin to the kitchen and places it under the sink. It's a huge pretzel jar so it is funny to see him struggle up our little hill hugging it. When I've offered to help, he whines because he wants to do it by himself.

He's definitely an outdoor guy. Now that the weather is warmer he wants to be outside all day. He brings me his shoes and my shoes every morning. Quite the hint! He's into rolling his trucks down the driveway, pushing his lawnmower, coloring with chalk, and, to my dismay, throwing rocks. At least he usually throws them in the alley filled with trees and underbrush.

He is still a good eater. Yesterday he fell in love with a new tasty treat, turkey sausage dipped in grape jelly. His idea, not mine! Fruit is a guaranteed winner. I think he would eat fruit all day if I let him. I still don't know where he puts it all because he's only 26lbs!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


When I first learned I was to be a parent, like many others, I was excited and nervous. To prepare myself, I absorbed books and videos on babies. I read about breastfeeding, nap schedules, colic, first aid and developmental milestones. I even went as far as to take courses offered by my hospital on baby care, breastfeeding, infant CPR, and labor and delivery. I had it covered, if I do say so myself. If I didn't know the answer then it could be found on my bookshelf or at the other end of a phone line.

I have come to realize recently that I had a narrow scope in my parenting education. Rightfully, I was concerned about my own abilities as a parent. I failed to consider the other aspects of parenthood: interacting with other parents and their children. In many cases it is a non-issue. However, I have stumbled across several outliers along the parenting distribution. One example that comes to mind is the Overly Competitive Mom (OCM).

The OCMs of the world are nuts. Yes, it is that simple. Just recently on a play date an OCM threatened her child with going home if he did not show off his latest word acquisition, or perform on command. According to her, this tactic is fine because she threatens him like this all the time. That did not seem to make sense to me but maybe that was because I was in shock. I was not prepared for her forceful parenting style nor for her need to feel superior through her child's accomplishments. I worried how this dialogue effected her son as well as my own. Will he think I may be this demanding? Will he think this is normal? How can I avoid this person... forever?

Perhaps I need to revisit the library. Hopefully, there will be a book or DVD entitled "How to Deal with Other Parents Who are Nuts" or "Keep the Crazies at Bay: Avoiding OCMs." In the meantime, I'm not answering my phone.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Several weeks ago I made an appoinment with an allergist because of itchy hives. I'd been taking an antihistamine everyday for about six months. Eventually I figured that it was silly to have to take a pill everyday and I ought to look into this.

After my follow-up appointment this week, it seems that I have the best case scenario of all the possible diagnoses: Dermatographia. The treatment? Take an antihistamine everyday. Hmmm, sounds strangly familiar. While it's nice to know I don't have Lupis or a thyroid problem, the thought of taking an antihistamine everyday indefinitely is annoying. On the plus side, at least now I know I'm not allergic to anyparticular foods and that I won't suffer anaphylactic shock (again).

Dermatographia: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/Dermatographia/DS00755

Monday, February 2, 2009


I would like to see more men wear hats. No, not stocking caps for cold weather or basball caps, though these have their place, sometimes that place is in the trash. I would like men to wear hats that look like they paused a moment, pondered, and selected a particular hat for a reason other than covering bed head or to support their favorite sports teams.

Why don't men wear real hats anymore? Some say that the decline of the hat fashion began when President John F. Kennedy went to his inauguration hatless. However, maybe it has more to do with laziness. I do not think many men want to be bothered with the extra step of selecting a hat to match their clothes, coat, or style. Oh, and then there is the added step of removing the hat indoors, a step baseball caps do not seem to need anymore. Believe it or not, there is actually laziness beyond the baseball cap. Consider the frayed brim baseball cap (the ones you actually buy pre-frayed, perhaps a cousin to the pre-ripped jeans). Some men can not be bothered to put forth the dedication involved in wearing a baseball cap so much that the brim frays. Which is surprising since they tend to get a lot of wear indoors and out.

Hats used to define a man's status. What happened to the Fedora? That is a fine hat with some style. What does the Fedora say about a man's status compared the the frayed baseball cap, store frayed or otherwise? I am not going to say it, you can judge for yourself. However, I am going to urge men to wear Fedoras. Toss laziness aside and bring real hats back in style!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Review: This is Your Brain on Joy by Dr. Earl Henslin

The book is a hybrid of self-help book and scientific paper. It is refreshing to read about hard science’s role in a field typically described as a soft science. The author explains with the use of SPECT scans (brain imagining scans) each major section of the brain and its chief responsibilities concerning moods and emotions. His goal was to make the brain easy to understand for the average person. However, at times the ‘dumbing down” is more confusing because the author assigns more than one name to various brain sections, the scientific and the folksy term. It would have been less distracting if he had chosen one and just stuck with it.

Indeed, the author takes on a difficult task in covering all of the treatment options, medical and holistic, that are available today. For example, common prescription drugs, supplements, music, cinema therapy, physical exercises, and aromatherapy are all covered. In addition, the author provides famous quotations, Bible passages, and case histories to motivate and sooth those with the discussed problems. The treatments are in easy to navigate tables and categories.

Despite the positive components of the book, I have two main criticisms. Firstly, the author should regard supplements with the same caution as he does prescription medicines. Herbal medicines and supplements could have interactions with other medications, not just anti-depressants. Secondly, the author’s attempts at humor in various sections of the book are at best distracting. In some cases, they are obnoxious and ungrounded. For instance, more than once PMS is called Pre-Monster Syndrome and at one point is likened to bipolar disorder.

This is Your Brain on Joy

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

As the new year approached I encountered more people than I would have liked who did not make resolutions for the new year. Their reasons differed slightly but mostly could placed into a category I will call what's-the-point? Some people do not make resolutions because they admit they never keep them or because they can not think of any "good" ones. In a few cases people proclaimed that they did not bother because they did not want to change a thing about themselves. But enough about these new year's resolutions scrooges, I want to focus on what is great about new year's resolutions.

It doesn't matter if you keep your resolution all the way until December 31st or whether is gets the quality stamp of approval from everyone you meet. It can be lofty or simple, personal or communal, unique or common. Mostly, it can be a time to put your best foot forward. Making a resolution is a good way to be introspective, organize your goals, and motivate yourself to be a little better in some way or a little closer to the person you would like to be. In doing so, you simultaneously acknowledge humility and hope. That hope is what is, dare I say, beautiful about a new year's resolution. However, in failing to embrace the process of resolution making, you recognize their opposites: arrogance and defeat, an odd couple to say the least. There is hardly anything worth being arrogant about regarding giving up and calling it quits. It certainly does not sound like a good way to approach life regardless of the date.

Kudos to those who have set their standards for themselves a little higher this year and have not given up on themselves or ther world! And, to those who have yet to create a resolution, set cynicism aside and permit yourself to be optimistic for once; make a resolution ...even if it is the same as last year's.