Friday, July 23

You are what you eat

John Robbins had a great post on HuffPost this morning, and I had to share it with you all. I don't know who he is, but he makes some great points about factory farming in America.

As some of you may know, I have a newfound fear of regular food found in America. Whenever possible, I make my own food (instead of buying processed), and buy the ingredients from a farmer's market (LOVE my downtown Boise market!) or from the organic section at the grocery store. (Yes, I'm aware that "organic" doesn't necessarily mean healthy, but it's better than eating all the chemicals sprayed on foods these days.) I also try my darndest to buy grass-fed beef and organic, free-range chickens. The reason? All the antibiotics they feed these animals to counteract the deplorable conditions they are forced to live in and die in. Have you seen Food, Inc?

This is the part of the post that really makes my skin crawl:
"According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, only about 30 percent of the antibiotics used in the U.S. are administered to people to treat diseases. The other 70 percent, the vast majority, are administered to U.S. livestock, primarily to compensate for the unnatural and unhealthy conditions of factory farming."

The overuse of antibiotics has led to resistant bacteria, which actually kills "between 70,000 and 100,000 Americans" each year, according to Mr. Robbins. These poor souls might have been saved with readily available antibiotics before the new resistant strains had been created.

It just doesn't seem like the prudent thing to do to myself or my kids, constantly ingesting toxic chemicals and antibiotics we don't even need. It's not just bad for the animals and the land, it's truly bad for our bodies and our health! I sure wish more people felt this way. We could have ourselves a food revolution!

As for now, I will continue to shop the local farmer's markets and (gasp!) the local health food stores (where, before cancer, I thought only hippies and weirdos shopped.) It's too bad I had to get a devastating disease to make me realize how unhealthy I truly was.

Monday, July 19

Just call me Marshmallow

I have a problem. I'm sure I'm not alone, but it still seems so wrong. But, my friends, to you I will bare my soul.

I have a 9 year old son. He's a great kid, super smart (of course!), and super cute. But sometimes, like any 9 year old boy, he does things he shouldn't do. Mostly this involves talking back to his parents. Yes, he does other naughty things, but the talking back really grates on my nerves! And it usually earns him a chance to be grounded-- ie: no friends, no video games, no computer games, etc. My son decided to earn this opportunity this last weekend, just for shits and giggles.

The problem with the timing of this punishment is that I was in charge of a large portion of volunteers for a Criterium bike race happening in our neighborhood the next day. That means that I was at the race all day, plus my husband was threatened with his own punishment if he didn't take a shift to volunteer during the race. It was alot of work!

Why is this a problem with grounding my son, you ask? Because normally he would be restricted to our house. We brought him to the race (because he's not quite ready to stay at home alone) and, since it was 100 degrees, bought an icey treat. (His sister got one, too.) Some punishment!

And today, Monday, Mommy had to put a floral arrangement together and deliver it. Which means the kiddos were obligated to go with me. Add on top of that we woke up and had no milk. (I think some milk goblin drank the last of it while we all slept.) So breakfast was nearly non-existent. We tend to eat cereal and I have to have my coffee in the morning, WITH milk. Since my son has been good, doing his chores and acting all innocent and sweet (and I REALLY needed my morning latte!), I took them to Starbucks and got a drink and donut.

I'm so awful!! What kind of punishment is it that you get treats and special stuff? I don't think I'm cut out for grounding my kids. I have a terrible short-term memory. (Thank you, chemo!) Plus I just don't do well once the kids start acting all sweet. I tend to have endless talks with them about feelings and how they have a choice on how they react to situations. You know, all mushy mushy. What I really need to start doing is being "the hammer" like my father. I had a healthy fear of him as a kid, and actually still do when he gets upset. Not that he ever did anything he shouldn't have, but he was a military man, and had a bit of a temper. As do I, which may explain why I punish first, then feel bad and ease up after the kids bat their eyes at me.

God, I hope my kids turn out to be good people! I hope I'm not raising a couple of manipulative creatures, able to turn any situation to their advantage. That would work great, if I wanted them to grow up to be Wall Street brokers. I'd rather they become doctors, or join the Peace Corps. Although one would be much cheaper for me than the other.

Wednesday, July 14

My mistake

Me: (Looking lovingly at my beautiful daughter in my arms) "Sometimes I can't believe your Dad and I made something so beautiful."

LiLi: (Giving me a quizzical look from my lap) "YOU didn't make me, Mommy! I was just born!"

God, how I love 6 year olds!

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 8

We're baaaack!

Yep, back to reality around here. I'm not sure I ever wanted to leave the beauty of the Florida Keys. I mean, would you want to leave this?

I didn't think so!

As far as we could tell, there was no sign up any oil or tar on the beaches or ocean surrounding Southern Florida. Who knows if that'll last, but for now things are as gorgeous as they've always been. So, if you're jonesin' for a trip down South, get your behind in gear and get down there! The locals are in desperate need for the tourists to come hang out for a while, and you'll be given all the hospitality they can muster.

After a ton of relaxing and hanging out, coming home was very disorienting. We went from all the chaos of end-of-school doings, to absolutely nothing, to "what on Earth are we going to do with the rest of the summer?" Oh, and don't forget the ever-popular "I'm bored, and there's nothing to do and no one to play with." (Love that one!)

It's been an adjustment for us all. And after spending 2 glorious weeks in the tropics, and all that togetherness, my husband and I are jonesin' for some Hawaii time. This, I realize, is both sad and horrible. I mean, we got to spend 2 weeks enjoying the warmth and beauty of South Florida. We may never get to visit again. There was ocean, beaches, and warm breezes caressing our skin. (As well as some amazingly quick no-see-ums that ate us alive one night going from the car to the hotel!) But there's one thing about the Florida Keys that we weren't aware of before we visited-- it is most definitely a boat culture. Not alot of soft, warm, sandy beaches to be had there. Tons of seashells! Especially on Sanibel Island, where there's so many shells, there IS no sand! (If you ever go visit there, you MUST go to Pinocchio's and have the Sanibel Crunch ice cream! Delish!)

See, I love Hawaii. It's laid back, mellow, gorgeous, and if all I want to do is read a book and lay on the beach, no one thinks that's weird. I suppose no one in Florida thought that was weird, either, but the vibe just isn't the same. I drug my husband to Maui for our honeymoon, much to his shagrin. He wanted to fish in Alaska. For our HONEYMOON!! Anyhoo, ever since that trip, he's a complete convert. We plan nearly every vacation around the ocean and beach, and have been lucky enough to visit Hawaii and most of it's islands already. This coming January, we'll be taking our kids with us to the Big Island. Lots to do, and yet, we can just hang out at the beach and I'd consider that a successful vacation. I feel a bit guilty extending our holiday vacation after the kids are supposed to be back in school, but not guilty enough to change our plans. :-0

This is by no means an ad for vacations in Florida or Hawaii. (Although, if I did get compensated for doing such a thing, that'd be great!) This is, however, a gentle nudge to get you to think about where you'd like to visit. Is it the beauty of the coast? Or maybe the vastness of the open range? Whatever you dream about, take the time to make a plan. Don't wait until the kids are gone, or you've got more money saved up, or you're retired and have time. I've seen more people than I can count say those exact things, and as soon as they finally decide they're ready to hit the road, something dreadful happens and the best laid plans are toast.

After any illness, most people re-evaluate what's important to them. My husband and I decided we really wanted to travel-- alot! Since my diagnosis, we've been to Disneyland 4 times, Disneyworld once, Hawaii, Florida, and Paris. (My husband's been to Costa Rica and the Caribbean without me, but that's a longer story for another post.) We've visited family, and saw Jimmy Buffett live on Waikiki. Our savings account may be less than we'd like it, but we have so many stories and experiences that we don't mind so much. Life is for living, and hopefully we'll be able to live life out loud!