Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Midweek Night's Movie Review

The other night, Josie woke up in the middle of the night. She was happy, but awake. I tried several things to get her to sleep; nursing, walking her around the house, singing, rubbing her back, telling her stories, etc. Nothing worked. She obviously wanted to go to sleep and she would almost fall asleep and then suddenly open her eyes and we would be back to square one. As you all know, we don't own a TV and although the boys watch movies on a portable DVD player or a computer, Josie is usually not interested (unless it is to turn it off so she can see them protest and chase her around). Finally, after trying everything else, I thought maybe a movie would help her get to sleep or at least it was worth a try. Parker's favorite movie at Josie's age and until he was over four years old was A Midsummer Night's Dream. In fact, Parker's love of the movie and the play is one of several reasons we named his younger brother, Demetrius (Dema). Our copy of the DVD has long since been scratched and worn out, but I thought I might be able to play it through Netflix. I didn't find the 1999 version available via Netflix's play now option, but I did find the 1968 version. It did the trick. Josie was mesmerized for longer than I've ever seen her watch a screen and then she peacefully fell asleep, appropriately. This version of A Midsummer Night's Dream is really quite interesting. It is more true to the play and it is almost like watching neighbor kids act it out. It was fun to see a very young Judi Dench as the fairy queen, Titania, all undressed except for some green body paint. It is definitely had a '60s feel to it which might be part of the charm. No special effects, just Shakespeare's silly comedy which I've always thought was a great introduction for young kids to his plays. I can't wait for Josie to watch the 1999 version. With her love of bicycles (no it is not true to the play, but much of the dialogue is kept in tact), it is sure to be a hit. Anyway, if you are a Dream fan and haven't seen the 1968 version, I do recommend checking it out from your local movie store or you can find it on Netflix.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Brought to You By...

Today's post is brought to you by Citra-Dish. I have several posts started, but I can't find the cord for to download pictures from my camera and my iPhone is falling apart so I am trying not to use it since "they" (Apple) say repairing the phone will cost as much as buying a new one (grrr!) and I would like my phone to last at least until I know if my husband is getting laid off with this latest round of Yahoo! job cuts. So, I will interrupt my normal posts about...whatever it is I usually talk about and bring you a commercial.

I love Natural Choices products. I love them and have used them for years. Before I became a parent I used Natural Choices products. I sell them in my business. Most cleaning can be done with simple things like white vinegar and baking soda, but for those tougher jobs or when I'm feeling lazy I use Natural Choices. Except for my automatic dishwasher. I still use Natural Choices for hand washing, but I have tried EVERYTHING (read all the "natural" products...I am not a Cascade kind of girl *shudder*) out there and they all have left me underwhelmed. I do not like to pre-wash my dishes people. It seems silly to wash them by hand before putting them in the dishwasher and wasteful. I do rinse them as I put them in the sink, but just a quick rinse with cold water. That is all I should have to do. With Citra-Dish this is all I do and my dishes come out great. Well, we ran out of Citra-Dish and Rob offered to run out and get some (in the rain, on his bike, of course), but I found an old bottle of another natural brand which will not be named and said we would finally use this old bottle up instead.

Mistake, big mistake. Frustration. Re-washing dishes. Pre-washing and re-washing dishes. Should have just bought the Citra-Dish. Now I'm not saying this is the best product for you. I know everyone is different. All machines are different. I also should say that this bottle has been opened in the back of the butler's pantry for who knows how long and I know this effects how well a product performs. It still sucks. I want my Citra-Dish.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Obligatory Earth Day Post

Earth Day sort of bugs me on a certain level because it is sort of like Women's History Month or Black History Month, etc. If we treated women, people of color, or the Earth well all the time we wouldn't need the special days to remember them. I guess I'm a glass half full person when it comes to this, but Earth Day reminds me how terribly we treat the Earth the rest of the year. It also makes people think about recycling or changing their light bulbs, but these are really drops in the bucket. I'm not saying would shouldn't recycle or use more efficient bulbs. Of course, one of the best things you can do for the planet is eat a plant based diet and if it takes Earth Day to get you on that path, then I'm happy. I just hope we don't forget about the Earth the rest of the year.

On a optimistic note, there is a group locally which is working on a world-wide movement called Transition Champaign County. The concept is in its infancy here in our town, but I like some of what I'm seeing and hearing. It is about, as I understand it, creating now the communities we would like to see for a sustainable future. It is about acting now and not waiting for government to get on board. We already have some great groups locally and TCC will hopefully be able to use some of these existing groups and all the knowledge which is already here and build on this to create a better community. I am cautiously optimistic about the potential. For those of you not in my area, you should check and see if you have a local group or start your own.

Happy Earth Day and here's hoping we start treating the Earth in such a way that we won't need Earth Days in the future.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Time Keeps on Slippin', Slippin', Slippin'...

Such a cliche, but time is really flying by and I have no idea where it all went. Unfortunately, it hasn't been working on a revolution, although I have been feeding my babies. I wish I was doing more to feed babies who don't have enough to eat or giving shoes to children with no shoes on their feet. From time to time with my friends we discuss how to "make a difference" while being good parents. I spout the "being a good parent does make a difference" line which I do believe, I really do, but I also know I could be doing more to help others. It is a tough balance. I come from a family of people who give and give. Almost to a fault, at a fault at many times. I somehow came away with much less of this trait which makes me the person in the family who takes care of myself the most which is positive in some sense, even if it does mean I'm selfish. I've mentioned before some of the amazing things my mother did in our community, but really there is no way I could ever do credit to the tireless commitment to helping others. She was also a great mother (although, me being selfish, would have preferred her home more and out feeding the babies and shoeing the children less), but at times I felt her volunteer work got in the way of her relationship with my father and definitely she did not take the time to take care of herself. At all. She died at 57, too early. Perhaps she would have died in her 50's even if she had been kind to herself. She could have been an accident, who knows, but even if her time on the Earth would have been exactly the same amount, the quality would have been better if she had just given some of the love to herself instead of giving it all away.

Balance. My constant struggle is to put my life in balance. I didn't have this modeled to me as a child. My family of origin is very unbalanced, bless their hearts. They are passionate and stubborn...two traits I did get in spades. They are also adorably insane and they take care of anyone and everyone except themselves. This goes back as far as my grandparents on both sides and maybe farther, but that is the extent of the family I know. They are "give the shirt off their backs" type of people when that shirt is the only thing that might save themselves. I've had too much therapy through the years to see this as all good.

As I was writing this blog post today (these days I rarely get time at the computer to just sit and write so any post may take from a few hours to a few days), I saw this post on Livin' Veg and it seemed like perfect timing for what is buzzing around in my mind. The Animal Activist's Handbook may have to be added to my list of books to get off my butt and read this Spring. I've met the authors while we still lived in the DC area. To catch my attention even more, if I'm not mistaken, our friends Shari and Phil's son is on the front in one of their great t-shirts loving on a sweet chicken from I'm guessing Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary (where I used to spend as much time as possible volunteering while we lived in Maryland). I have contemporary role models in Shari and Phil how one can be a great parent, successful business owner, and a great activist all at one time. I just still can't seem to swing it.