thesilversiren: (Default)

The title is what I was thinking as I was scrolling through Google News and skimming headlines. I saw a lot of regular news stories, and then saw a headline that made me stop and gape at the screen for a good minute before I clicked. “Foster children would be allowed to get clothes only from second hand stores.”

No, it wasn’t the weird phrasing (hint, it’s clearer to say “would only be allowed to get clothes”), it was the mere thought. I clicked through to find that Michigan state senator was proposing that in order to help save money in their foster care system that foster kids would only be allowed to shop from second hand stores.

“I never had anything new,” Caswell said. “I got all the hand-me-downs. And my dad, he did a lot of shopping at the Salvation Army, and his comment was — and quite frankly it’s true — once you’re out of the store and you walk down the street, nobody knows where you bought your clothes.”

Well, that’s great for him. In fact, I did the bulk of my clothes shopping in high school from thrift stores. Where I grew up, we had some great thrift stores that were filled with barely worn clothes from the fairly affluent side of town – so I used to get brand new pairs of Bongo jeans for a fraction of the original cost.

However, that was my choice.

I understand what he was trying to accomplish, but the argument of “I turned out fine” isn’t a great argument to make. Instead of simply saving money, he’s also telling every child in the foster care system (who are usually there because of their parents, and not anything that they’ve done) that they aren’t worth new clothes or shoes. The reality is that in this day and age, while second hand stores are cheap, Wal-Mart doesn’t cost more and doesn’t have tell a child they’re worth less than children who aren’t in the foster care system.

I’m so glad he turned out just fine. Frankly, I’m sure most kids would be fine if we spent a little less on their clothing. But he wasn’t a foster kid, so he can’t speak to the stigma that these kids already feel- which is truly the travesty here. There’s a difference between a choice being made by parents/guardians and the state essentially banning foster kids from anything other than a second hand store, which is what he wants to do to save a buck here and there. Horrible.

As a parent, of course I’m going to teach my kids that they don’t need top of the line trainers to be cool. (Er, sneakers. Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot on BBC these days) However, the most important lesson I want to pass along is that it doesn’t matter who raises a kid, or how much money their parents have – every kid is the same at heart, and they should treat everyone with respect.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

Holy Cow!

Apr. 19th, 2011 05:33 pm
thesilversiren: (Default)

Over the weekend, a Catholic Church in the San Gabriel Valley was gutted, and completely destroyed by a fire that was later determined to be arson. It’s along the route we drive daily.

Yesterday, I drove past it and realized TheBoy wasn’t going to get to see what it looked like. The odds were just too high that it’d be knocked down or fall down before he could see it. There were a lot of people in the parking lot, looking at the remains.

Today, I pulled over to take a picture with my phone. But somehow the camera just couldn’t capture the depth of the destruction. As I took it in, so that I could describe it, I realized that they’d expanded the area that they’d roped off. I also saw a cameraman, but couldn’t find a news van, so I tried to get a closer look at the other person there to see if they had a microphone or something that might give me an answer (they didn’t). But next to them was someone from the FBI, blocking the driveway.

Not knowing much about arson investigations, it seemed like it must have been more serious than just simple arson… “Holy cow,” I said.

“Where’s the cow? Mommy, I don’t see a cow. Tell me where the cow is?” (Imagine that extremely loud and extremely fast, and you’ve got an approximation of how the Oldest Kidlet said that)

Thankfully the Oldest Kidlet didn’t ask me why the cow was holy. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have just been laughing hard – I would have been laughing so hard that I wouldn’t have been able to drive.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

Phishing is a very specific sort of spam that doesn’t try to scam you by promising you money from Nigerian royalty, or discount prescriiption drugs (typo intentional). It tries to appear like an official email from a trusted site, and tries to get you to click to their site and fill in the login information they need to access your accounts.

The reason I’m mentioning this now is that e-mail marketing company Epsilon was hacked, exposing the mailing lists they handle for many major companies- including banks, credit cards. Security Week has an up to date list right here. Thankfully, all that was exposed were customer names and email addresses – so they won’t be able to get access to your accounts with those companies. But it does mean that whoever hacked Epsilon has everything that they need to make sophisticated phishing attempts- since most company emails include your name to let you know that it’s indeed them sending the email.

So what can you do? If you ever get an email saying that your account with a company has been compromised, take a look at the email. Does it look like other emails you’ve gotten in the past from that company? Take a look at the email address that it was sent from, and if you can, compare it to an email that you know was legitimate. Are they the same email address? If you see any typos in the screen name… do not click on any links in the email. If you’re concerned that your account with a company was compromised, go to the website directly and login.

If you do get a phished email, don’t delete it right away. Go to the appropriate company, and search the site. Usually there’s an email address where you can report phishing attempts- since the companies are just as concerned as you about keeping your information secure. Forward the email to the address, and delete it.

Just remember, if there is anything off about an email- the colors look a little different, or there are typos… be careful. All it takes is a little sleuthing, and a little common sense, and you can keep the rest of your personal information safe and secure.

And remember, you should probably change your passwords at least once every 3 months- and make sure that they’re a mix of letters and numbers so that it’s harder to guess.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

I’ve been meaning to write this post since I saw the movie last Saturday.

First, I should say that I liked the movie. It wasn’t perfect, but honestly… I never bought that this was supposed to be a movie about female empowerment.

That said, though, shame on Zac Snyder for thinking that this was female empowerment. I don’t doubt that the actresses felt empowered, having gone through a rigorous boot camp to learn how to wield all their weapons believably (and they do- they were more believable than most male casts in war movies), but that doesn’t mean that the movie itself is empowering. He claims that because the film is about the girls fighting back to escape, it’s empowerment. Which doesn’t automatically make it about empowerment, it makes it an escape movie.

For those unfamiliar with the movie, it’s about a girl who we only know as Babydoll who is locked up in a mental hospital, accused of killing her sister (and sent to the hospital by her stepfather, the real villain). She finds that she has five days to escape before she’ll be lobotomized, and travels to several fantasy levels to do so. Four girls from the mental hospital accompany her, so that they too can escape. (If you’re unfamiliar though, you probably want to stop reading about the movie, because I will be spoiling events)

It takes place in three separate tiers. There’s the mental hospital, which is grimy and practically in black and white. The next is a brothel, and the last is a fantasy level in which the girls are soldiers, literally fighting for their survival.

I do understand the existence of the brothel. Because we all understand what goes on in a brother, it easily allows the movie to explain that the girls are being abused in the mental hospital without having to show it. They simply mention that they girls are supposed to do what Blue says, and the mind fills in the rest. It’s even understandable to think that Babydoll would imagine this brothel scenario in order to make the day to day life at the mental hospital seem more tolerable. Since the movie spends the bulk of its time in the brothel, the girls all spend the bulk of their time in bustiers, fishnets and heels, with long false eyelashes.

The deeper level is the fantasy level, which play out like short video game like missions that the girls have to take part in to get the items they need to escape. And they carry them out in skimpy outfits. Kicking ass, but in skimpy outfits. Keep in mind, all these levels seem to be the creation of Babydoll’s mind. She could have easily given them actual clothes or uniforms (which actually would have been a bit empowering), but instead it continues to play out like a teen boy’s notion of empowerment.

Despite the dialogue that promises the girls escape and freedom and gives them the illusion of power, it’s all lip service. The girls band together, but the film still treats them all like objects not characters. The only girl we know anything about in the movie at all is Babydoll. The rest all exist solely to serve the plot and aren’t very well fleshed out. While Sweetpea and Rocket are sisters, and there are vague things referred to about how they came to be in their predicament, it still isn’t very much. Amber and Blondie? We barely learned their names before figuring out that they were the movie’s sacrificial lambs. Want me to think that this movie isn’t just fanservice wrapped in a few words of encouragement? Let me know who the girls are.

Snyder has said that the movie is empowering because the girls are using their sexuality to escape the hell they’re in. Right. If he’d wanted to make it empowering? He would have spent a little more time in the mental hospital, where the girls weren’t made up to perfection or running around in heels. He would have let us actually see the girls use their wits and minds (and even their bodies) to triumph, instead of giving us the never seen Babydoll dance of hypnotism. And he would have actually given us real names to know the girls by, rather than nicknames that seemed to have been given to them by Blue.

So to anyone who wants to write a movie about empowerment? Write a story about the characters, not the things they do. Empowerment comes from us seeing the growth in someone, so that they can rewrite the rules and succeed. Not from us being told that they’re powerful and can do it.

_______

I have an ongoing love affair with movies that feel incomplete, or fall apart the moment you really start to think about them. Sucker Punch fell into that category for me. Definitely not in my “girl power” category. I still want to own Blondie’s goggles.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

Last night, Charlie Sheen was booed offstage during the first night of his “Torpedo of Truth Tour.” I’ve made a conscious effort not to talk about him here, but now seems like a good time as any – since there’s a moral to the tale.

LiveNation thought they could capitalize on Charlie Sheen’s madness. They set up a few dates, when it was successful, they expanded the tour. But what was going to be on the tour? Nobody really knew. Tellingly, Charlie Sheen said that he planned on riffing when he was on stage. Never a good idea.

He started his show with a lot of movie clips (I hope he paid for those!) and eventually started talking. He didn’t even make sense to himself, and after being heckled and booed, walked offstage never to return.

So is that winning? For writers everywhere, yes.

LiveNation had hoped to cash in, that this would be another wild success like Conan O’Brien’s Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television tour- where tickets sold out for every show. The difference? Conan is a writer. He has a whole team of writers, all of whom are familiar with the notion of putting on a show. Nobody just wings it on stage. Even comedians that seem to simply play off the crowd are working from prepared jokes that they’re putting together based on the audience. But they’re prepared. Even improv groups, who are the very definition of “winging it” – rehearse. While they never know exactly what they’ll be doing, they’re usually playing improv games which are familiar to them.

It was no surprise to me that Charlie Sheen crashed and burned on that stage- he did the same thing on his first livestream video. Carrying an entire stream by yourself is much more difficult than what he was succeeding at doing, throwing out crazy quips in response to radio interviews. Perhaps this will teach him that Chuck Lorre and the writer’s room at Two and a Half Men have a much bigger role in making the show a success than he thought they did. Okay, in a perfect world it would. But hey, at least it should show the rest of the world that writers really are valuable.

So there you have it, LiveNation. Maybe you shouldn’t build shows around someone who’s completely unfamiliar with the stage. Or try to capitalize on someone’s downward spiral. Because really… that’s just going to backfire on you.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

This week, graphic video surfaced of GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons hunting and killing an elephant in Zimbabwe, the second year that he’s gone on a hunt to do so. He claims that he does this to help the poor farmers in the area, where elephants trample crops. Not surprisingly, a lot of people are mad. From PETA and HSUS (the expected voices against anything involving animals, though they’re correct in anger at this one) as well as Change.org. (Here are two stories from PC Magazine and Wired on the fallout)

So what’s the big deal? The African Elephant is a vulnerable species. While not endangered, they are in trouble. Not only that, it’s his attitude. He truly believes that his yearly game hunt is changing the lives of these poor farmers, and indeed has said he plans on doing it again. He’s defended his behavior and says that he doesn’t understand the outrage- it isn’t like he killed one from a zoo.

Well, here’s the big deal. If he was really interested in making a difference- to help the farmers who’ve tried all sorts of methods from fires to drums, and as he believes that the methods that PETA and Change.org have mentioned won’t work (beehives and chili spiked fencing)… he could put money into trying to find something that will. Because ultimately, all he’s doing is sparing a field from one elephant. Unless they’re also moving elephants to wildlife preserves or somewhere that is protected… he isn’t actually doing anything other than giving the village people some elephant meat once a year. As much as we like to humanize animals, I’m not sure an elephant is capable of realizing that Bob Parsons will be back each year unless they leave these fields alone.

I don’t use GoDaddy, more because I had an issue when my domain was with them and wasn’t happy with their customer service. So, I can’t take my service away from them. But you can. Look, I don’t like HSUS or PETA. They tend to glom onto outrageously stupid ideas (like mandatory spay/neuter bills) and pour most of their money into political lobbying, rather than helping animals. (Note: I am for the Humane Society… the individual chapters, which aren’t affiliated with the HSUS. Money you donate to the HSUS does not go to your local shelter. It goes for political lobbying) So when I’m actually agreeing with them, you know it’s outrageous.

Of course, Bob Parsons wants you to know that it’s all okay. “I have two dogs, and I love ‘em to pieces.”

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

I wanted to write a long post about how the comics industry fails women as an audience. But then I realized that I don’t have a lot of the scans I’d saved over the years anymore. (Yes, this is the short version)

The big part of why a lot of girls (and for this, I do mean girls 8-17) don’t get into reading comic books is because most of the series are marketed towards men. Batman and Superman are cool, but Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Batgirl and Lois Lane are relatable.

Kate Beaton illustrates the impossible pose often seen in comics

But look at any comic book cover, and if there’s a woman on it, she’s likely to be scantily clad, contorted in a way to show off all her assets (see the image at right for an example). I’m not saying that female superheroes can’t be sexy- but at the same time, upskirt shots of Supergirl and exposed cleavage down to a belly button probably aren’t going to make teenage girls comfortable with even buying the issue. And forget convincing a mom that it’s okay.

Then once a girl/woman has started reading a mainstream comic series, it’s sort of easy to fall out of love with them. Either the female characters start to do all the cliche “girl” things (like being more concerned about their appearance than what they’re there for- which I seem to recall happening in a Supergirl book not all that long ago) or they’re engaging, entertaining… and get killed off/tortured/raped simply to further a male character’s plot. Yes, that happens. It’s been dubbed Women in Refrigerators syndrome after the ’94 Green Lantern story in which Kyle Rayner returned home to find his girlfriend dead and yes, stuffed in a refrigerator. (Admittedly, in an RPG game of mine, I pulled one stunt which was WiR-esque and I’ve regretted it for years. I really wish I hadn’t been talked into it.)

Yes, a lot of women and girls read manga. They tend to read a lot of indie comics as well. And why? Not necessarily because some of them are love and romance- it’s because the characters presented in them, male and female, are usually well written and seem like real people. You don’t have to worry about whether or not Character A is suddenly going to seem as though they’ve been lobotomized and drool over a boy, when it’s unlike anything they’ve done before.

Dean Trippe posted a pitch he’d put together for a YA illustrated novel for DC, titled Lois Lane: Girl Reporter. Knowing his writing, it would have been clever, smart, and great. On Twitter, someone complimented him on his work and said they hoped it would help others do female characters justice. He said, “i’ll tell you my secret to writing female heroes as well as the dudes: i just use female pronouns. :P ” If you have a few minutes, take a look at what DC wasn’t interested in. And then be a little sadder because LL:GR doesn’t exist beyond that pitch.

But the fact that DC wasn’t interested in it? Shows me that they really aren’t interested in having girls (again, actual girls this time) start reading comics. So please, comics community at large- stop writing women as plucky heroines or mere love interests. Just write them as characters that happen to be women. Give them things to do, people to save, and yes… it’s okay to let them get hurt, but don’t make it just to solve a problem you had with someone else’s storyline. But don’t treat them like the mandatory T&A for a cover.

Oh, and learn the difference between skimpy and sexy. Women don’t have to be dressed like strippers to be sexy. Wonder Woman’s original outfit? Sexy. Witchblade? Skanky, and uncomfortable. Poor Sara Pezzani must have gone broke from losing her clothes all the time.

So what do you think, internet? Am I totally off base in thinking that this is what’s keeping girls and women from being a bigger demo in comics?

(Also, Kate Beaton’s website may be found here: Hark, a vagrant. Her hilarious drawing was posted to Twitter, which is a must-follow if you remotely are a fan of her art)

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

This morning a former colleague of mine posted on Facebook that he was happy he has girls instead of boys (he has two girls, roughly the same age as my boys), because he wouldn’t have to learn about dinosaurs. Ignoring the obvious gender role issue… it annoyed me a bit because, well, I was a girly girl… but I sure loved science!

My sister and I complained if we hadn’t been to a museum in awhile, and it generally didn’t matter what kind of museum. It could be an art museum, a children’s museum, a natural history museum or my favorite- the science museums. The highlight of our trips to San Diego wasn’t trips to Sea World, it was trips to Balboa Park to the museums!

I loved learning. Whether it was dinosaurs, marine animals, extinct mammals… I wanted to learn about them all. I threw myself headfirst into learning about the space program. Once my parents got a computer, I was on it all the time. Not just for typing up my school papers, but I taught myself how to use DOS and even learned how to program in BASIC. My sister was the same way too, though admittedly, I spent more time on space stuff and she spent more time learning about faerie lore. But we collaborated on a simple text based program that had a user walking down a hall and discovering various things in the rooms.

Talking to my mom about the dinosaur post, she said that being my parent was difficult. More often than not, I made them feel stupid- simply because I wanted to know something that neither of them knew much about. I realize now that the encyclopedia set in my room was less about helping me with my school work, and more about giving me a place to try to answer some of my own questions. She pointed out that there were lots of trips to the library or to museums to try to answer questions. When I was old enough, I do remember being turned loose on the microfiche at our library (oh how I love microfiche).

All this was done without the internet. While I have a son who asks just as many questions, I’ve been lucky that they’ve been about subjects I knew about or something that was googleable. I can have answers that are accurate enough to share within minutes.

But I am immensely grateful to both of them for giving my sister and I the opportunities to learn so many subjects, or that they taught us how to get information ourselves.

I will say though, that even with all my knowledge about dinosaurs, it has broken my heart to learn that the names I’d committed to memory have been rendered obsolete by new scientific findings. I am kidding. It’s proof that science is an amazing and ever evolving thing, where we learn more and more about subjects as time go by. Even if it means I have to get used to say pterosaur rather than pteradactyl. So thanks, Mom and Dad. You went through a lot to make sure that we got our answers, and kept us supplied with plenty of books. I really do appreciate all the work!

I am pleased to say that on the gender roles issue of that Facebook status, there were plenty of women who spoke up and said that they forced their parents to learn all sorts of non-girly information. Which is always wonderful to see- that I wasn’t the only scientifically minded girl out there.

ETA*: Always great to see people pop around for a discussion. Last month I posted about gender roles, and some of the damaging things we as a society do.

* ETA = Edited to Add

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

This post has been updated- if you already read this, please scroll to the bottom to see the new information.

I was going to write a post about how awesome social media is, and how lame the regular media has been. But I’ll sum it up as this- without Facebook, it’d be really hard to keep in contact with my sister who’s in Tokyo. She’s been able to give friends and family updates without being tied to her phone. (And the day after the quake, she was able to get information on when her train was running from a friend) Meanwhile, most every news station here, network and cable has been having way too much fun trying to scare everyone. I’m really tired of it. Information would be nice, as well as relevant figures. If you say that Tokyo reported 10 times the normal level of radiation in the air, a frame of reference for how much radiation that actually is would be nice. But no… scaring people generates interest.

But now that I summed up my point in one lovely little paragraph, let’s move on to something that’s important as well. Not stealing people’s images.

In 2006, artist Jess Fink had the unfortunate experience of having one of her designs for Threadless ripped off by Todd Goldman and his company “David and Goliath.” She just discovered that Goldman is using the SAME image again.

Not only that, but an etsy user ripped off the same design and when confronted about it again and again has shown absolutely no remorse. In fact she’s just laughed it off.

Let me put this plainly, both cases are out and out theft. There are a lot of regular people who think that if they trace a design or recreate another person’s pattern (for sewing, crotcheting, knitting) that it makes it their own. It isn’t. Just because you’ve reproduced it only makes it your reproduction- it doesn’t make it your intellectual property. In fact, reselling it as your own just makes you a thief.

Art is hard. Coming up with your own ideas and finding your own voice in whatever medium you work in… it isn’t easy. If it was easy, everyone would do it and it wouldn’t be special in the least.

My mom’s on a decorating board and reads responses from women who see modern art done by a non-famous artist… who promptly recreate it for their own homes because they find the cost of an art print too much. They don’t see what they’re doing as wrong, but it is. Even if it’s just to save a buck. (And yes, it is different from doing an art study. Art studies are reproductions of famous artists’ work by an artist so that they can get a feel for the artist’s techniques.)

So yes, theft is bad. And I know it’s wrong to wish for someone’s misery- but I can’t wait until “glitterbiscuits” (the etsy thief) finds out the hard way that there are actual consequences for stealing something.

It looks like Regretsy has decided to help glitterbiscuits learn a lesson. Take a gander at their post on the theft, including some new information on her bitchiness. They’re calling for their readers to flag her shop so that etsy will ban her- so if you have an etsy log in, please take second to report her… and make sure you mention why. Thanks!

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

One of the advantages to living in an active fault zone is that you find yourself with quake experts living in the background.

Whenever there’s a wake, the lovely people from CalTech come out and shine. They explain the science and keep people calm.

The Little Kidlet and I are watching a press conference with them, which I tweeted. I’m going to delete a lot of those tweets to share some of the information that they shared. These aren’t exact quotes, but hopefully this will be helpful information to all of you.

Kate from CalTech popped in to remind everyone that while it seems like there have been a lot of large quakes, that the only quakes in recent time that didn’t fall within an expected range have been this 8.9 quake in Japan and the 8.8 in Chile. While there are quakes in the 7.0 range, and those that cause damage- they do happen frequently, and are not necessarily indicative of anything out the norm, seismically.

Another gentleman popped in to talk about the GPS stations set up in Japan, and the actual landshifts. Any time that there’s a quake, the earth does literally move. While all the data is still coming in, they did see one station report a shift of approximately 8 feet to the east. Which sounds like a lot, but there was a greater shift from the Indonesia/Sumatra quake/tsunami event.

Suspender Guy (aka Thomas Heaton, director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory) then took over to talk about our fault lines and the fault lines in Japan. The reason their fault was able to produce a quake of this magnitude is because of how deep it is (and it’s off the coast). Here in Southern California, our fault lines are fairly shallow and directly under us. Which sounds frightening- but it means that if there’s a larger quake, the damage is mostly confined to the epicenter. An example of that sort of damage is the Christchurch quake in New Zealand, where the shallow fault was directly under the city.

They also discussed the tsunami waves here on the US Coast. The hardest hit area has been Crescent City, which had a surge of 6 feet, which destroyed their docks and many of the ships. Here in our area, there hasn’t been much seen, but because of how we are along the coast… that was expected.

I know that earthquakes and tsunamis are scary. But thanks to people like those at Caltech, they do take the time to explain what’s going on without sensationalizing it. Sadly, a lot of the coverage of this earthquake has been extremely sensational… geared towards scaring people into staying tuned, as opposed to making sure that they’re offering useful information.

Update: Caltech is reminding people that we aren’t necessarily out of the woods with tsunami danger- while there hasn’t been much “action” that could change, so please. Stay out of the water.

Update 12:22 Pacific Approximately an hour ago, a 6.6 earthquake struck Nagano. So far thats really all I’ve been able to find (I just got back from picking up the Oldest Kidlet at school). Since it was inland, there is no immediate risk of tsunami, and no reports yet of damage.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

Earlier this week I freaked out friends and family by talking about life changes vaguely in the same post as me being depressed over the loss of Jerad. I mentioned I wasn’t quite ready to talk about some of these changes, but I am ready to talk about one of them now.

I know I’ve mentioned that we’ve been gearing up for the Oldest Kidlet to go to kindergarten. We’d signed up for a tour of his school (the private Church based school that his dad and uncles went to), and were gearing up for their aggressive kindergarten program… when they gave us the registration form with the monthly tuition. Even anticipating the extended hours and a higher cost… it was more than we thought. And the family discount was less than we thought.

So we had to sit down and figure out if it was even possible…. and realized that it wasn’t. So the Oldest Kidlet will be going to the public school right around the corner. While the school won’t be as academically challenging, I know that any friends he makes will at least be in the neighborhood. Which excites me.

The Little Kidlet has been enrolled at the preschool- we’re having him at the same school, mostly because they’ve seen him all year long and already know a bit about him. So I won’t be springing his allergies on them. Or the fact that he’s really really quiet. The director of the preschool has already assured me that if he suddenly starts talking that they’ll put him in the academic program vs the language one.

Of course, this means that my little boys are growing up. And as the preschool director pointed out, I’m actually going to have some time to myself. Scary…

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

There are so many things I wish I could talk about. We’ve had some big changes in our life, and I’m still waiting for some time to pass before I can talk about them. (Before anyone leaps to conclusions, no, I’m not pregnant)

However, in the rest of my life I am struggling to find words. I sit down to write blog posts about mundane things, and suddenly the words disappear as though one of my kids is stealthily hitting the delete button.

Don’t even get me started on my creative writing. I haven’t been able to get much of anything written, though I’ve tried.

Everywhere I’ve turned in the last week, there’s been Jerad. Or at least enough reminders of him that it’s jarred me from my routine. Between the Discovery launch and even Charlie Sheen’s bizarre string of interviews- there have been so many things that I would have wanted to talk to him about or things that I knew he would have been geeking out along with me. For some reason I thought that the dead were supposed to be the ones with unresolved business, not the people they left behind.

It’s almost laughable. I’m crippled by his memory, and he was my biggest champion when it came to my creative work.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

Date Night

Feb. 25th, 2011 05:04 pm
thesilversiren: (Default)

As I’ve said, I am fortunate to live with my in-laws. First, we get along. I’m not making this up simply because they can read this blog. It’s the truth. They welcomed me into their arms when I was their son’s first girlfriend and have never been anything but wonderful.

Anyhow, the advantage of living with my in-laws is that if schedules line up… I have a babysitter available. My mother in law offered to watch the kids on Sunday night, and we jumped at the chance. We decided that we wanted dinner, and I felt like having burgers.

We decided to give Five Guys Burgers a try. It’s relatively new in SoCal, and not exactly somewhere we can take the Little Kidlet (since they serve peanuts in open containers). I’d heard that sometimes the wait can be long, depending on when you get there (since it’s the same way at In-n-Out), but we apparently timed it well. We didn’t have to fight for a table, and our food was ready quickly.

They give it to you in a big greasy paper bag. I’d like to thank my friends who told us split an order of fries- the smaller size was plenty for the two of us. Don’t let the cup they put the fries in fool you, they tend to add plenty extra. We each got the Tiny (single patty) cheeseburgers- okay, I got a bacon cheeseburger, and dug in.

I’m not sure if it was the hype, or what, but it just didn’t live up to what I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great burger, and certainly a million times better than what you can get at McDonalds or Burger King. But I didn’t feel like the beef itself was as flavorful as either In-n-Out or Fatburger (which are my two favorite fast food burgers). We’ll definitely go back- we had a great experience… but boy, this was a prime example of how hype can backfire.

Neat notes- they had a board which mentioned where their potatoes came from, which certainly was a nice reminder that the fries (like In-N-Out) are cut fresh.

Since getting burgers barely took up any time, we were trying to figure out what to do with the rest of our night. On the way to Five Guys, we’d passed a miniature golf course and I suggested we play- even though it was probably 55 degrees out. Which we did! And just like that, it went from a night out to a date night.

Back when TheBoy and I had first dated, he’d taken me a miniature golf course. I was unbelievably competitive, and while it was a fun date- I still remember with sadness that I lost. This time, it was probably what that first date should have been. We were simply enjoying the experience.

We were behind a large group of people- 6, to be exact. While this shouldn’t have been too bad, none of them seemed to be remotely good at playing miniature golf. I admit, I’m not so shabby at it. There was a miniature golf course in the town I grew up in, and usually any reward you’d get at school would be a free round of golf. And since I was usually on the honor roll and had perfect attendance, I got a lot of them. Also, other than the roller rink (which I knew the owners of), there really wasn’t much to do in town.

We had plenty of time to chat, hold hands, and do all the things that you don’t get to do after kids come into your lives. Don’t get me wrong, our dinner dates are wonderful- and we talk about everything on them. But this had that magic feeling that those early dates did, coupled with the comfort that you get from knowing someone so well. We had inside jokes to make this time, and there was nothing to prove.

The night ended with hot chocolate. Not a bad way to cap off the night, is it?

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

This week, I saw two things that made me wonder how we’re raising our kids these days… and why we haven’t come further. First was an old advice column from 2002 on Dr. Phil’s website.

In the column, a woman asked for advice about her 5 year old boy who had two older sisters and preferred to play with “girl toys” and wanted to wear girl clothes. The page is making the rounds of LGBT blogs, who are rightly concerned by Dr. Phil’s attitude. While he says that it could just be a phase, and clearly isn’t an indicator that her son is gay (which by the way, the mother never seemed to have mentioned). But he tells her to push the child towards boy clothes and boy toys, to direct him from anything that might confuse him.

Again, this is from 2002. It isn’t a new post, but it’s still on his blog. If he had changed his stance, then he should have removed the post, or clarified something on it. But he didn’t.

So what was the second thing? A friend of mine was lamenting that her son was being hassled about taking ballet. You know, since that’s for girls.

Can I just say once and for all, ballet is not just for girls. If it was, you wouldn’t have a Prince to attempt to save Odette in Swan Lake, a Nutcracker Prince or a Rat King. There would be no epic pas de deux filled with lifts.

My sister was a ballet dancer, and while there were rarely any boys in her classes when she was a girl, as she got older and moved up into more advanced classes… there were men. And obviously, the company she danced with was filled with them too. And you know what? Most of them were straight.

My friend’s son reminds me of a boy who lived across the street from us in high school. He was the sweetest little boy, whose greatest love was dancing. The summer my sister and I babysat him and his little sister, was a summer filled with two things- Barney and dance parties. You could put on any CD and he’d dance, dance, dance. But he loved to watch my sister dance, and tried his best to follow along. So he started to take ballet, and actually starred as Peter in a ballet of Peter and the Wolf. His dad had an issue with it.

Just so I can have it somewhere, here’s what I say to anyone when they try to say that ballet is just for girls. Ballet isn’t just for girls. It takes a great amount of strength and skill to dance the way that male dancers do- which is why a lot of professional athletes take ballet for agility (admittedly, a lot of pros turn to pilates and yoga these days). Just look at Gene Kelly, who was well versed in all sorts of dancing, but brought in ballet to many of his films. He danced with grace, but with an athleticism and masculinity that set him apart from other dancers. (No knock to Fred Astaire who seemed to glide effortlessly, but Gene Kelly made sure you knew it took a bit of effort- and it was worth every bit of it) Then look at Patrick Swayze. He grew up at his mother’s dance studio and played a lot of tough guys in Hollywood. Including a tough guy who danced in Dirty Dancing. (Exhibit A: Donald O’Connor and Gene Kelly “Moses“. Exhibit B: Donald O’Connor “Make Em Laugh” Ballet Exhibit A & B: Mikael Baryshnikov “Don Quixote” and a snippet from “White Nights“)

I get frustrated when people try to enforce gender roles. It’s deemed (mostly) acceptable if a girl is a tomboy, but weird for boys to want to do girl things. Let’s look at TheBoy and I. Yes, I am exceptionally girly. I cook, bake, sew, love make-up, jewelry and high heels. I also prefer my hair on the shorter side, really dig menswear (I even rocked a tie in the 6th grade), prefer action movies to chick flicks (though I do enjoy them), have played RPGs (the kind with dice and occasionally dungeons), love scifi, played video games (if I had more time, I still would)… oh, and I can use power tools. TheBoy? Grew up watching chick flicks and does enjoy watching them. He loves going to see plays and musicals, cooks and bakes as well, cleans… and honestly doesn’t know the difference between needle nose pliers and regular pliers.

Everywhere you seem to go on the internet, people complain about Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, who is a tomboy. She wears her hair short, dresses like a boy… and you know what? It could just be because she has two older brothers. It certainly has nothing to do with how she’s being raised, since her sister Zahara is a girly girl. And yet, you see people go on and on about how Angelina Jolie is raising her to be a lesbian… when she’s 5. (Lets not even get into the fact that you can’t make someone gay. You’re just born that way)

But that sort of attitude is everywhere. A blogger wrote about her preschooler being sneered at by mothers when he dressed as Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween. Last summer, my cousin bought my boys a cold bake oven (which we couldn’t actually use the mixes, since the Little Kidlet is allergic) that was Disney Princesses oven. Purple and pink. And you know what? To those two, it didn’t matter that it was purple and pink and had all the princesses… it was just an oven. They played with it for weeks, making us little treats out of Duplos.

I hope that everyone here remembers Katie, the first grader who was bullied because she liked Star Wars and was a girl. She was told that Star Wars was for boys, and for a few weeks, legions of geek girls were out there to tell her that sci-fi wasn’t just a boy thing. When I was writing a comment on Katie’s mother’s blog about it, my oldest sat next to me and asked what I was reading. I told him the whole story. He looked at me, with the strangest look on his face. “That wasn’t nice. Don’t they know that Star Wars is cool and for everyone?” I admit, he knows I love Star Wars. So at least I know I’m teaching him that girls can like whatever they want to like.

There really aren’t many things that are girl things and boy things, at least as far as toys and past times are concerned. Can’t we just be good parents, and support our kids in what they do? So what if your son wants to learn how to bake? He might become a famous pastry chef. What if he wants to dance? Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov had to get their start somewhere. Your daughter want to be a pilot or an astronaut? Amelia Earhart and Sally Ride paved the way for other women in the skies and space.

I believe that my role as a parent is to support my child, no matter what. I’m there to keep them safe, healthy and happy. If they want to learn to use a skateboard, I’m there with the helmet, safety equipment and bandaids. If either of them want to learn how to dance, I will find them a dance studio and take them to and from class. Because that’s what you do. You support them and love them. And you teach them that there’s no shame in being themselves.

So let’s ditch the gender roles. Maybe if we do, when our kids grow up there won’t be blatant sexism and discrimination (or at least they’ll be aware of it and better prepared to deal with it than we are). That might be a bit much to hope for, but really- if we aren’t changing the way our kids see the world, how is it ever going to change?

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

Yesterday was the Super Bowl, the highlight of American sporting events and home to the edgiest commercials that ad agencies can put together. Right?

Meh.

I admit, I’m not a big football fan. But I am a big fan of great advertising (I am in love with The Man Your Man Could Smell Like) as well as the halftime show. Following Janet Jackson’s nipple issue, the halftime shows were scaled back. I, for one, didn’t mind Paul McCartney- since I can’t afford tickets to his concerts. But really, the halftime shows have been dull, especially the Black Eyed Peas. Which isn’t a surprise- they’re an act that’s better experienced via the radio or in a club, not live. And certainly not in a giant stadium.

The Super Bowl didn’t get off to a good start. Christina Aguilera blew the National Anthem. Which was surprising since it’s not like it’s the first time she’s sung it at a major sporting event- I seem to recall her singing at the NBA finals. She not only screwed up the lyrics (which is somewhat forgivable for me, if you factor in nerves), but committed the cardinal sin of a bad rendition.

To future anthem singers, just sing the damn song. I know, everyone wants to do for it what Whitney Houston did. But let’s be honest, she really just sang the song and she sang the hell out of it. Christina threw in every trick she could, and sounded horrible doing it.

For those who say that it’s ridiculous of me to criticize her when I wasn’t the one up there… Here’s a quick and dirty recording of me singing the national anthem. You get a bonus dose of the Little Kidlet yelling in the background, and I haven’t warmed up- but even that is better than Christina was. Not only that, I’ve sung the national anthem at assemblies, our city’s DARE assembly (which was filled to the brim with kids)… so yes, I have sung it publicly before.

National Anthem

As far as the ads go, it was pretty hit and miss. There were a few great spots (the Eminem Detroit one was good), but not all of them were surprises. The Volkswagen Vader spot had already hit the internet. For me, the bright spot was actually a Fox promo- the “House” send up of the Mean Joe Green Coca-Cola ad.

Then there was the Tibet Groupon spot. In which, it started with a serious bit about the plight of Tibet, and launched into a pitch for a Groupon coupon for a Himalayan meal. Not surprisingly, people were upset. I was going to link to a tweet Timothy Hutton had posted last night, but it seems that he deleted it. Basically he said that the Brits were right, and Americans have no sense of irony.

I will say this, I saw the other two spots, and thought they were fine. But I did feel that the Tibet spot went too far. Make fun of Saving Whales or Deforestation. They’re both subjects that people have mocked- and while yes, it’s sad that whales die… it’s not like Tibet, where people have given up their lives to try to get freedom.

To quote Jeph Jacques, it would be like having a Groupon ad that went something like this. “Thousands of people died at the WTC on 9/11, but thanks to Groupon we got really cheap hotel rooms at ground zero!” Think he’s exaggerating? Not really. Just because it didn’t happen on our soil, doesn’t make what’s gone on in Tibet any less serious.

While Groupon has maintained that they did offer links to related charities on their website… it was still in bad taste.

So there you have it. The game was sorta boring, the halftime show wasn’t very memorable and neither were the ads. Except for Groupon.

But the real highlight? I thawed some steak, pan seared it and finished it in the oven… and served it with some beer battered onion rings.

A little labor intensive, but well worth it.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

Jamie Oliver is passionate about teaching children to eat better. He revolutionized school food in the UK and his reality show “Food Revolution” had a very well received first season here in the US.

The first season had Jamie Oliver trying to change the minds of Huntington, West Virginia about how they see food. Huntington had come up in a CDC study as one of the unhealthiest cities in America. The show was naturally filled with conflict, as the citizens preferred fried and processed foods over Oliver’s healthy alternatives.

For his second season, Oliver decided to go to a larger city and work there. Los Angeles. After beginning to film at one school, LAUSD halted all filming and revoked his permits to film at another school because they were concerned about how the reality series would make them look.

Because of course, publicly stating that you’re afraid of looking bad won’t make you look bad.

He was outright denied access to regular LAUSD school and had been shooting at campuses that are operated by MLA Partner schools (which are under contract with LAUSD).

I’m sorry LAUSD. I know that reality shows thrive on conflict, but surely you could see that letting Food Revolution shoot at your schools would be a bonus? Jamie Oliver has been able to provide quality food at the same cost as processed meals, so there shouldn’t have been budgetary concerns. Even if individuals looked bad, it would have been easy enough to spin it in a positive direction- simply by saying that change is difficult, but you’re pleased with the results.

Ultimately, the losers in all this are the children. By publicly stating that you’re worried about how you’ll look, you’ve just told everyone that it’s okay to avoid trying something new (no matter how good for you it is) simply because it might change how others think of you. Which is exactly the message that everyone wants to send to kids, right?

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

I was going to post at length about the Affordable Care Act, but I’ll just sum it up with this:

Don’t repeal it. Republicans say it’s because it isn’t Constitutional, but really- they’re trying to protect insurance company and pharmaceutical profits, because insurance companies and pharmaceuticals make huge donations to campaigns. Largely so that their interests are protected.

If someone says that it’s anti-American to say that a company shouldn’t be able to turn a profit, nobody’s saying that they can’t make a profit. The US is the only country in the first world tier of countries that doesn’t limit the profits that a private insurance company can make. Not all Europeans countries have nationalized health care, and those that don’t treat health care the way that we treat homeowner’s insurance and car insurance- as something that you’re required to carry for your own financial protection.

What isn’t very nice is that every day, average Americans are forced to make decisions about their health based on whether or not they can afford it. Treatable illnesses go unchecked and become something more serious.

Two anecdotes. My father found himself without insurance and COBRA premiums were just too high. So he looked into private insurance for our family. We filled out the paperwork, and they told us that three of us had preexisting conditions and our rates would go up for coverage. These preexisting conditions? My mom and I get migraines. I had a back injury but had completed rehab for it. My sister had ADD. To solve this problem, my dad put me on my school’s bare bones insurance (which essentially just covered visits at their school clinic). To this day, I am grateful that while I was on this insurance that the later back injuries I had occurred at my job, which had an in-house rehab center. If they hadn’t provided that to me free of charge, I know I would have been in big trouble.

Then, Jerad. He had been unemployed and without insurance for years. He was going to school full time and started to get sick regularly. A cold here and there, and a stomach bug with side pains that would keep him down for a weekend. He didn’t have the money to go to a doctor. There were many times that I offered to take him to my doctor and pay for his appointment, but he turned me down. I actually heard him says (many times) that “if I’m still in pain” or “vomiting blood” in X days, then he’d go. Of course, he felt better by then.

He suffered from pancreatitis on and off for the last year- at least that’s what I’m certain of now. He went to a doctor who wanted to run a panel of tests just to confirm it was a stomach bug. Jerad said no (since he couldn’t afford it) and felt better shortly after the trip. That panel probably would have shown he had pancreatitis. Basic medical coverage would have saved his life.

Can’t we send the message that individuals are more important than corporations? That our legislature values the words of the people, not just the companies that will contribute to their campaigns?

Update: On a similar note to Jerad’s story, here’s the story about the death of writer Melissa Hall. Don’t tell me that it’s just the poor who are without insurance. There are self-employed individuals who otherwise make a good living, but can’t get insurance because of the cost to insure someone with a “pre-existing condition.”

/soapbox

I promise, a less ranty post tomorrow. On what? My birthday weekend, of course!

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

As a five year old, if you asked me what I wanted to be- it was three things. An artist, an actress and an astronaut. I was already picking out constellations (my favorite was, and still is, Orion).

January 28, 1986 was an exciting day. Not only was it my 6th birthday, but it marked the first time that a civilian was going into space. I admit, I don’t exactly remember how we learned. I know that some people were watching the launch, but I believe that we were listening. Even at the age of 6, it touched me in a deeply personal way. Not just because it was my birthday- but because I had wanted with all my being to go into space.

The disaster didn’t change my mind at all. Not even after watching the Punky Brewster’s very special episode about the it (Accidents Happen, Part 1 and Part 2). I actually learned more. I started to learn about the other disaster that set back our space program, and hoped that they would continue to send people into space.

A few years later, I went to Disneyland. Not for the usual trip, but because the spouses of the Challenger crew were going to be at an event for the Young Astronauts program. Leonard Nimoy was going to speak! It was my first experience with a private event at Disneyland. We got there early in the morning, and they were setting up chairs. Because of the event itself, they had chain link fence (not ropes) around Town Square.

My mom and I sat outside the fence, watching as they set up. Waiting as people arrived. And we were noticed. By a man who was part of the Young Astronauts program. My mom talked to him, I talked to him- he was surprised that a 6 year old wouldn’t have taken a space shuttle exploding on their birthday as a sign that the space program wasn’t right for them. But mostly he was touched by how passionate I was.

After the event, I got to meet the spouses. As a kid, I was touched that they took their time to meet me, and talk to me. I’m not sure what they made of me, but I took away something valuable. June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger’s commander Dick Scobee, had been speaking about what sort of man her husband was. She had said that he read everything, and learned about everything. His belief was that if you know a little about a lot that you will always have something in common, something to talk about, no matter who you’re meeting.

Those words shaped my entire life.

Eventually, reality set in and I had to evaluate my goals. I had to face the reality that I wasn’t going to be very tall- I’d barely hit 5’0″ when I graduated, and was literally a 95 lb weakling. I knew that unless I was a brilliant scientist, my way into the space program would be through the Air Force- and I was never going to be of a strong enough build to go into space. So I focused on my other passions.

The space program still holds a special place in my heart. I schedule my life around launches and landings, which is why I was able to watch the Columbia disintegrate on reentry. A few of my employers knew that I’d be unavailable for 15 minutes with any launch. I still hold my breath with every launch, waiting until they’re out of the atmosphere and deemed safe.

It’s easy to look at accidents like the Challenger disaster as a sign that we shouldn’t be in space. But look how far we’ve come. It was only 1903 that the Wright Brothers took their famous flight. I’m sure that they didn’t think that 60 years later we would have rockets launching into space. There will always be setbacks in space exploration, but that’s a risk that the brave men and women who work in the field know that they’re undertaking.

25 years on, I am grateful for how the Challenger shaped my life. Had the flight been successful, I’m not sure that I would have ever heard about Dick Scobee’s life or cared that he was passionate about meeting with people, and really getting to know everyone. That anecdote is one of the things that truly has shaped my life, and will undoubtedly shape the life of my children as well.

For all those out there, did the Challenger affect your life or the life of someone you know? I’d love to hear from others who were inspired, or had their lives changed.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

I have a 3 year old son with major allergies. At roughly 2 months, he had severe eczema and when it didn’t start to clear up, we went through a series of doctors and at 6 months he was diagnosed with severe allergies to: soy, dairy, peanuts, wheat and eggs.

While society has become better about food allergies- many restaurants list allergens, food labels are more clear than ever and schools in general are more understanding. But every so often, I see public comments that remind me how little people really understand about food allergies- especially severe ones.

Last month, Chicago Tribune’s “Ask Amy” column shared this letter and response:

Dear Amy: Recently I threw a baby shower luncheon for my sister-in-law. One guest called to tell me that she is a vegetarian, and another guest called to “inform me” that she is on a strict gluten-free diet. I didn’t mind their giving me this information, but what upset me was their “you need to accommodate me” attitude. I didn’t know either lady, and neither offered to bring a dish that would suit her needs. It took a lot of extra work for me to make the dishes to satisfy their diets.

My mother-in-law told me that I should have stuck to my original menu and let the “special” guests worry about their own needs. What do you think is proper?

— Hostess Who Gave the Mostest

Dear Hostess: Sometimes you just can’t win. If guests with special diets can’t consume the offerings at a meal, hosts feel frustrated and wish they had been informed ahead of time.

If people contact you before an event informing you of their special dietary needs, it is kind of you to extend your generosity by trying to provide whatever food they can eat.

You could easily cover both the vegetarian and the gluten-free diet by providing a vegetable and a fruit salad.

I agree with you that preparing for special diets stretches your hospitality; you might have prompted these women to adjust their attitudes and also assist you by asking, “Could you give me some suggestions about specific dishes you can eat?”

If a suggestion is beyond your ability to provide, you should be honest and say so.

While this is fairly sound advice, there’s a problem. My mother’s a vegetarian, and quite often she’s shown up to family parties to discover that the only thing she can eat is the plain green salad when there’s quite the spread elsewhere. Or maybe a crudite platter. When we were planning my wedding, it was shocking how many places felt satisfied to serve a vegetarian guest a sad plate of vegetables as their entree. And while she does eat seafood, quite often people will prepare them with bacon and sort of expect her to pick around the bacon.

The easiest solution for a hostess is to say that they’re not familiar with cooking that sort of cuisine, and ask if it would be possible for them to bring their own entree. And say, “I understand it’s asking a bit of you, but I’m just not familiar with it and don’t want you to wind up only being able to have the side salad.” For most people, the honesty would be appreciated.

Honestly, I offer to bring food for my son when we’re invited somewhere (and even when we dine out at a restaurant I’m not familiar with). It’s ridiculous for me to assume that someone could easily accommodate his needs. But that’s me.

Then there’s dining out. Consider these two tweets posted by Chef Rick Bayless (@rick_bayless).

While I find myself constantly frustrated by attitudes of chefs against alternative diets (quite often allergens are hidden in foods, and it’s not unusual to find meat items hidden in dishes that seem vegetarian), I have to say that I’m proud of Rick Bayless for his attitude. He was extremely right in being honest with the guest in saying that because they use peanuts in many dishes that the entire kitchen was likely contaminated.

The guest on the other hand… I can’t think of a single person with a severe food allergy who would take this attitude. Or to insist that a restaurant have epi-pens on hand. I have to assume that this was someone who was hoping to shake him down for some money, and not just your average person with allergies.

My son’s allergic to soy. I wouldn’t dream of taking him to an Asian restaurant, or expect that somehow they would be able to make their dishes without soy (granted, he’s allergic to many other foods, but I’m trying to simplify my point). When I pick a restaurant to eat at with my mom, I usually see if they have a menu posted on their website and ask her if there’s anything that looks good to her. And after the Thanksgiving 2007 debacle (where she was brought a minestrone soup that was made in beef stock), I usually call to make sure that what appears to be a vegetarian dish is actually vegetarian.

…Now I’m getting sidetracked. This was going to be about etiquette. I propose that those of us with allergies/special diets (or who care for those with them) follow a few simple rules.

1. When invited to a party with a meal, call well in advance to make sure that the host/hostess is aware of your food limitations. If you have several, it might be difficult for the host to accommodate you. Be prepared to offer to bring a dish or two that you can enjoy.

2. When dining out, be prepared to ask questions about the dishes. So it might be wise to avoid cuisines that feature a lot of your allergens, and wise to contact the restaurant well in advance with questions. And be prepared for chefs to not understand food allergies/special diets.

3. Be patient. While you’ve learned all about your diet/allergies… it’s not always common knowledge. Many people seem to confuse allergies with a dislike of the food, and don’t understand that there are serious reactions. And most people believe that gluten-free means you can’t eat anything at all.

Any thoughts? Things you would want to add to the list – or things you disagree with? I know I don’t speak much about the Little Kidlet’s allergies, but it’s a big part of our life… and something that I’d like to hear about from you.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

To those who fear change,

Why do new things scare you so? Do you lack the spirit of an adventurer? Or are you simply afraid that a life that doesn’t change means bad things won’t happen to you?

Not all changes in life are bad. Change brings wonderful things like marriage and children. Change brings the new seasons- changing a dark cold winter into a gentle spring. Or the hot summer to a mild fall. Change gives us the chance to wipe the slate clean and start anew- whether it’s learning something new, losing weight, or simply making a new friend.

Can’t we agree that change is what life is about?

I’m glad you agree. Now can we all stop bitching about the new profile on Facebook? Kthxbai!!

Whitney

Read the rest of this entry » )

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

Profile

thesilversiren: (Default)
thesilversiren

July 2011

S M T W T F S
      1 2
3456789
10111213 1415 16
17181920212223
24252627282930
31      

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 19th, 2017 11:38 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios