Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Meow Mix

Julian loves cats.

This will come as no surprise to anyone who has watched Julian interact with Simon (or seen the photos.) Julian seems to believe that the best way to show his great affection for his cat is to literally smother him with love. It is funny, but also disturbing as I can't imagine Simon is enjoying the experience of having a 24 pound toddler lying on top of him.


This love extends beyond Simon. I have watched him chase Sophie around my parents' house, hoping to grab her and hug her, but she is much more cautious (or maybe that shoud read smarter) than Simon and has eluded his grasp (and thus, I have no photos of Julian smothering Sophie with his love.)

Julian has also shown an interest in Kristen's cats, cats he sees in windows, and the occasional stray cat we pass on the street.

But while I knew Julian adored the cats he sees, the corporeal cats he encounters in daily life, I had no idea that this love extended to the abstract, that the mere idea of cats should set his heart aflutter. Until now.

The other day, while Julian slept, I was posting on a message board (the two hours during the day during which he sleeps are my time to post to my blog and get some writing done, so of course, I spend most of it procrastinating by reading email and goffing around on the internet.) Julian woke up as I was on the last sentence, so I went and collected him, then I brought him back to the computer, where he sat on my lap as I hit "post." I checked to see if my post actually posted. Now my avatar on this particular site is a close up of the Hello Kitty sweater I knit a few years ago. Julian kept pointing to the picture and saying "meow." (Julian is at that stage when he makes the sound an animal makes to signify the animal. "Woof woof" is what he says when he sees a dog and "MEOW" is what he says when he sees, or even thinks, about a cat.) It took me a few minutes, but then I asked Julian if he wanted to see more cats. He said yes. So I went to catster and checked out some cats. Oh. My. I had no idea my child loved cats this much. He practically jumped out of my arms to tackle the computer screen and he kept repeating the mantra "meow, meow, meow." Then I decided, for the sake of my computer, that we should, perhaps, log off of catster and find a less electronic means of viewing cats. Luckily, we own an 11"x 17" coffee table book on cats which has full page glossy photos of cats. Julian was in heaven.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Save Nazanin!

Save Nazanin

Please take some time to read about the case of the 18-year old Iranian girl, Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi, who has been sentenced to death by hanging.

Nazanin`s "crime" was killing a man who ambushed and tried to rape her. If Nazanin had let the man rape her, she could, in the worst case, have been arrested for extra-marital sex, which carries a maximum penalty of 100 lashes.

Time is running out!

Nazanin's case will be reviewed by the Iranian Supreme Court this week.

If the death sentence is upheld, the execution may be carried out soon after which means that there may only be one or two weeks left to save Nazanin.

Please go to the website and find out what you can do to help Nazanin. She shouldn't even be in prison, much less facing death.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Get Down On It!

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I say people - what? What you gonna do?
You've gotta get on the groove
If you want your body to move, tell me, baby.

How you gonna do it if you really don't want to dance,
By standing on the wall? Get your back up off the wall.


I could spend my whole day watching this and trying to learn this routine. It makes me think of Kool and the Gang, which of course, makes me think of the night (a day or two before Theresa's wedding) when we were at a bar, sitting by the firepit, and Jeff stood up and started dancing on the edge of said firepit to this song.

The best part was the next day, when Jeff said, "Hey, Alison, what is the name of that song?"

Confused, I asked, "Which song?"

"Aw, you know," and he started to sing the chorus, "Get down on it, get down on it."

"Um, Jeff, I think the name of the song is Get Down On It."

Younger brothers, they drive you nuts while growing up, but they make up for it through interactions such as this.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Glittermaker...

For the five year old girl in all of us.



While I knew such websites as glittermaker and bannermaker existed, I never visited any of them. I can see how they might be very addictive. It would be so easy to get sucked in and, before I knew it, my whole blog would be covered in banners.



This newfound fascination with the banner makers and glittermakers and blinkie makers is due to a discussion on one of the message boards on which I participate. The discussion (which was locked) centered around what one thinks of blinkies and banners in signatures. While I love playing with graphics and tend to prefer images to text, I find all that graphic clutter to be annoying when I encounter it on a message board. I am even sortof irritated by it looking at what I posted in this post. It doesn't really say anything about me, except that I like purple and pink and glitter. What amazed me was how irate some of the blinkie lovers got that anyone would judge them negatively based on blinkies. As their whole argument for blinkies was that they wanted to tell the world something about themselves and (usually) their parenting philosophy, I would expect they would know that some people would make negative as well as positive judgments. I guess what ticked them off is the fact that someone might judge them based on the blinkies alone.

The way I see blinkies, avatars, blog templates, etc. is that they function as a form of clothing for us here in cyberspace. How we dress tells everyone something about us. Of course, people look upon our clothing make judgments, ones we can expect and ones we can't, based on their own preferences and experiences.

Another question surrounding this topic is one of what we want to reflect of ourselves through our cyberselves. I want my cyber identity to match my real life identity as closely as possible. I imagine that this is the case for most people (though I think there is a certain amount of gilding which occurs, consciously putting our best foot forward so we appear somewhat smarter, more talented, prettier, thinner, etc. Only posting flattering pictures of ourselves, for example, or using spellcheck.) But am I really an accurate judge of myself? Is anyone?

Years ago, when I took acting classes, I would befriend the people in the class who I felt were the most talented and most interesting (the two often going hand in hand.) I would avoid those I found to be boring and talentless. And I noticed that the people who I discounted tended to band together, just as the people I sought out seemed to attach themselves to me. But I was always a little hesitent to call myself a good actor, because it seemed arrogant and what if I were terribly wrong (I'll admit, my lack of success as an actor leads me to question my abilities on an hourly basis). Once, I was having a drink after class with a classmate and made a comment about hoping I was a good actress and she said to me, "Alison, you know you are up there." And I thanked her and told her I thought she rocked as well. But then we started talking about the people in class who we considered hopeless (yes, actors are terrible people) and I said, "But they think they are the talented ones and that we are the bad actors." And it is true. We tend to find people like ourselves, and then judge people in relation to ourselves and our friends, generally placing ourselves close to the top of the pile. So we are the good actors and they are the bad ones and vice versa. Though perhaps we are using different criteria when choosing associates. I mean, we never sat around saying we were the most attractive or the best dressed, and while a certain baseline level of presentability was important, that didn't factor too much in my desire to befriend another. So maybe the "bad" actors were sitting around saying "we are so much hotter than they are."

Of course, I think I have a pretty excellent wardrobe and I am way cute. But, as I said, who am I to judge? How accurate is the reflection I see in the mirror? How much of the reflection do I actually see and how much of my internal vision am I superimposing over the image?


You know I can't look like this every day. But in my mind, I tell myself I do.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Did I Mention I Totally Rock?

This is one of those days when I feel like Supermom. I know, it is a shock that I, Ms. Will-I-ever-get-the-hang-of-parenthood, would ever classify any day of my life as one wherein I perform in a capacity which I would consider worthy of a comic book.

Here's how it went down.

I woke up to the sounds of Julian crying, calling for me, demanding to nurse and an awareness that Fred was not in the bed next to me. It was still dark outside.

"What time is it?" I call out, still in the fog of deep sleep.

"Quarter after four," replies Fred.

Hell.

Perhaps I should offer some background. Julian has been teething for the past few weeks. He cut a tooth yesterday and, when you look at his gums, you see a lot of white peeking just beneath the surface. He must be in quite a bit of pain. He has been waking up in the night and seems to be waking up earlier every morning. Yesterday he was up at 5:15. If this keeps up, he'll push his wake up time to within an hour of his bedtime.

The teething has also resulted in Julian biting me when he nurses, which has subsequently led to me being terrified of letting the little vampire anywhere near my unclothed chest. But, because I know nothing about weaning loving mother that I am, I have attempted to maintain his early morning nursing sessions throughout this difficult period. Which means I am hyper vigilant when he is suckling, a shift from when I could fall sleep during a feeding.

So 4:15 a.m. is just way too early.

Julian came into bed. He nursed and dosed until Fred got up at 5:30, at which point he decided he wanted to be up too. So Fred convinced him to lie back down in his crib with some books. Which Julian was more than happy to do while Fred was puttering around and getting ready for work. But the moment Fred left for work, Julian decided it was time to be entertained by his other parent and began to call me.

I was lying in bed and this is the inner monologue which was running through my head:

What time is it? 6:15. Too early. He'll probably start to wind down at 8:30 and need a morning nap. But we have school today. Well, I guess we could skip school today. Oh, no, we can't, because we are in charge of snack today. (pause) SNACK?!?!

So I was up and out of bed, trying to figure out what I had in my freezer and fridge which could feed ten toddlers and satisfy the unofficial requirements of organic/healthy/not junky foods that are expected of me as a progressive urban mother. Luckily, I went to Stanley's yesterday and had an unopened bag of baby carrots, as well as a few kiwi fruits, and some cheese. My freezer yielded a bag of Trader Joe's frozen avocados. And, what do you know, I had two overripe bananas. So, at 6:30 this morning, I busted out the Joy of Cooking and baked banana bread. And, what do you know, I managed to use organic ingredients.

How cool is that?

This weekend, I plan to try making these

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Telling Y'all About HPV

There is a sign up at the gym encouraging me to TELL SOMEONE that HPV causes cervical cancer. So I am telling all of you (though I expect you to know this already.)

Did you know that cervical cancer is caused by certain types of a common virus?
It’s called human papillomavirus (HPV), and millions of people already have it. You could have HPV and not even know it. For most women, HPV clears on its own.
But for some, cervical cancer can develop. Ask your doctor about the importance of Pap tests.

I could question Merck's motivations (especially in the wake of the Vioxx). However, this is really important information. Worldwide, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer of women. Regular pap screenings are responsible for United States' low rate of cervical cancer.

So now you've been told. HPV causes cancer and if you were ever sexually active (or your partner was) you may have been exposed. Get your yearly Pap smear.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Love Songs

We saw Love Song at Steppenwolf last night. It was a wonderful, funny, and surprisingly sweet bit of magical realism which had a running time of only one hour and fifty minutes so we were home in time to watch The Daily Show. I could go on and on about the nature of the real and the unreal, whether any relationship actually takes place in the outside world or if most of it is a fantasy inside our heads, and how much this matters if the illusion makes us happy. But I would be retreading ground already covered by the play itself and, really, why don't you just go see it?

What I found somewhat amusing was a section of the program entitled Sing Along wherein the director and cast were asked to talk about their favorite love songs. I was surprised by how 60% of the responses fell in the category of opera, show tunes, or easy listening. For the most part, I was overwhelmed with a sense that I would have had a totally different response from the ones the actors listed in the program. On one hand I wanted to poke fun at some of the cheesy answers (the mere fact that the artist called himself Gilbert O'Sullivan is cheesetastic enough to cringe at the idea of ever listing one of his songs as my favorite anything) and suggest that either the person in question really has no taste or they were just giving a response which they thought might appeal to an older audience base (don't want to offend the people with lots of money by talking about the Rock & Roll.) On the other hand, I think there is something inherently uncool about certain love songs, precisely because the song is talking about vulnerability and caring about something and taking a risk and feeling happy, all very uncool topics for this post-modern, post-punk era in which we live. And one of the wonderful things about music is how it affects each and every one of us differently, so a song that which on person considers painfully romantic another will just consider painful.

So in the spirit of opening myself up to ridicule, here is a short and incomplete list of some my favorite love songs. I have decided to only concentrate on either obscure artists or on lesser known songs (because I could spend the whole day typing and linking to lyrics pages...oh, and I only created links for the artists who are somewhat obscure--you do not need me telling you who U2 is, do you?)

Roddy Frame
/Aztec Camera
We Could Send Letters
Down The Dip
Crazy
The Sea Is Wide
Rainy Greys and Blues (a portion of which I sang to Jenny when I gave an impromptu speech at her and Tom's rehearsal dinner.)
Your Smile Has Stopped The Hands of Time

An April March
The Roddy Frame Experience

The Lightning Seeds
Pure

The Church
To Be In Your Eyes

U2
I Will Follow
A Sort of Homecoming
If God Will Send His Angels

David Bowie
Word on a Wing

The Cure
High

The Beatles
Tell Me What You See

Bob Dylan
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go


That is all for now. I look forward to hearing what other people have to add (hint hint hint...)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Total Geek

As if I needed a test to tell me this.

i am a total geek

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Pulp Fiction

I stumbled upon this website, which reimagines the titles for romance novels, through Nerve.com's Scanner. The thing is, I might actually consider reading a romance novel with a title like this.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Gloves and Germs

"A lady never takes off her gloves to shake hands, no matter where or when."- Emily Post

I have a box full of vintage gloves in my closet. Some I inherited from my grandmother, some I purchased on my own. I really like them, though I must admit I am never sure I am wearing them properly. There are so many rules regarding glove length relative to sleeve length, fabric, and while I know the Memorial Day-Labor Day rule regarding white, I am never quite sure if that rule applies to gloves as well as shoes. So, like most people, I only wear the gloves when I dress up.

There was a time when it was considered abnormal for one to touch another person's bare hand. Now, it would be considered strange and abnormal if one were to wear gloves when greeting another person.

Why did the wearing of gloves fall out of favor, fashion wise? It would be easy to suggest that the wearing of all accessories (and the suggestion of respectability that such accessories conveyed) became anachronistic in the last half of the twentieth century. Accessories such as gloves and hats became utilitarian, necessary to protect oneself from the cold, and completely lost their social significance. I have no explanation for why this happened to hats (except, perhaps, to suggest that the idea of covering one's head as a sign of respect ceased to have meaning in an increasingly secular society.)

However, I do wonder if the discovery of penicillin and the development of antibiotics were, in part, responsible for the decline of the glove. Think about it, for the first time in history, many of the germs which humans pass to one another could be defeated with something other than one's own immune system. This ability to kill bacteria meant we no longer had to remain vigilant and proactive, we didn't have to worry about getting sick and we could risk touching another person's bare hand with our own, many diseases which could be spread by casual contact could at last be overcome.

Or so we thought.

We now live in an age where many bacterial diseases are antibiotic resistant and the biggest public health threats (AIDS, Influeza) are spread by viruses.

So, it may be time for societal norms to shift once more and we should all dust off our copies of Emily Post. Perhaps I will finally figure out how best to wear the opera length kid leather gloves.

Another quiz

You Are 52% Girly

You're a little girly, a little boyish, and probably a whole lot indie.
You have your own unique style, and it pretty much defies gender lines.

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

My Halloween costume

I'll wear the vintage lingerie, Fred can be a sleazy photographer, and Julian can be the Cheetah.


You are Bettie Page



Girl next door with a wild streak
You're a famous beauty - with unique look
And the people like you are cultish about it

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I Heart Stephen Colbert

Click here and here to watch his speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner (do the site pass and watch it when you have 20 minutes and don't drink anything while watching unless you want a completely drenched keyboard from all your spit takes.) Absolute brilliance.