Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Word about Obsessions

Now I would not say I'm obsessive compulsive. I would say that I have anal tendencies maybe - but compulsive? I'm not that extreme. But there are some things that have to be done a certain way for me.

The paper towels and toilet paper. The have to be replaced in a timely fashion and they have to come over the top. If you intend to post a comment telling me that under the bottom is the correct way, don't waste your time. You will never convince me of this.

Squeezing the toothpaste from the bottom. You have no idea how many times I have wanted to buy Beloved and I separate tubes of toothpaste. It just has to be done that way because it's neater.

monk Pictures, Images and Photos

Unloading the dishwasher. You start with the plates, move to the cups and glasses and finish with the silverware. Don't hand me two sippy cups and then a plate! That just doesn't make sense! And please take the time to stack the silverware before you put it in the drawer. I can't stand a jumbled silverware tray.

As much as I hate doing it, I would rather fold my own laundry thank you. T shirts have to be smoothed. Towels get folded into squares and piles are sorted as you fold into their proper organizational categories.

I'm not obsessive. I just know what works for me and I prefer to do it that way. Ok. So maybe I was closer with the "anal" idea but I don't like the sound of that word. I'm "particular." That's better!

What are you "particular" about?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Add Grease to the Slippery Slope While You're at it!

If you have read The Bowl for any amount of time at all you know that I am completely against wasting time and money that can go to better causes. Well, now I'm torn. Here's your news story but of course as always I'll give you the skinny too.

Officials in Britain have removed apostrophes from their street signs. No more possessives will be part of the street name - even if the name of the street was possessive when it was named. Why? Because apparently councils all over England have been dedicating untold hours to debating whether they should keep the apostrophe or just let it go. The made a decision and eliminated the debate so that they good dedicate time to more important things.

I should be happy about this but I'm not. What about proper grammar? What about education? The most disturbing part of this story for me was the quote:
"Apostrophes denote possessions that are no longer accurate, and are not needed," he {Councilor Martin Mullaney} said. "More importantly, they confuse people. If I want to go to a restaurant, I don't want to have an A-level (high school diploma) in English to find it."

I'm sorry? They aren't teaching apostrophes until high school in England? And why shouldn't EVERYONE strive for an A-level degree? Have education standards collapsed all over the globe?

I know I don't always use perfect grammar and punctuation here on my blog but I think I could still pass a high school English class. I think I still manage to put together coherent and content heavy pieces. For an elected official in what I hope is an influential position to blow off English grammar, is atrocious to me.

What next? We get rid of commas? (Not that I would mind. I always screw those up!) Are we going to drop the apostrophe in contractions too? Will we just start spelling everything phonetically?

Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill but you decide. I'd love to hear your take on it!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Journey on a Winding Road: Destroying the Stereotype

I think I shared when I first started this journey that even admitting I had a problem was a huge deal for me. I've been asking myself why? Why is it so hard to admit that you are sick? And yes! Depression is an illness. The Center for Disease Control has a department dedicated to mental illnesses and within that department significant resources dedicated to the study and treatment of depression.

If the CDC recognizes it, then it really is a illness.

I found one report in particular that really meant a lot to me. It's mostly statistics but if you can wade through it you will see some very startling facts.

Less than 50% of people who have SEVERE depression actually consult a health professional.
It's actually only 39%. People who have lesser degrees seek assistance even less. I am a perfect example. The whole point of The Journey is to see if I can find any other way to deal with my own depression.

Why don't people seek help more often? Why haven't you? I know that there are several sleeper readers who struggle with this issue because I have received e-mails from them. They won't leave their comment here on the post because it's out in the open then. It's a form of admitting that there is a problem. Why is it such a big deal to admit that there is a legitimate illness? Why has it taken ME so long to admit it?

Because of the stigma attached. Here's the stigma I had attached. If I tell my husband that I am struggling with depression, he is going to question my ability to be a good mother. He will fear that I will go Susan Smith on him and harm the children. If I tell my family that I have a problem with depression, they will insist that I start seeing a professional counselor or at the very least my pastor to discuss all my issues and past. If I tell my friends that I am battling for my mental life, they will shower me with pity or they will judge me for being weak.

People don't seek help because in many cases they simply can't afford it. Even if they can get to a doctor to be evaluated, which is questionable through current insurance anyway, they won't be able to afford to fill any medications they need for treatment anyway.

Some people are like me. They don't believe that they are really sick. I can't tell you how many times I said, "It's hormones." Or the millions of times I blamed it on my children's failure to listen. Or on the weather. I kid you not! I would blame a week of rainy days for my foul mood. I'm sure all of those things had a contributing effect but they weren't the real cause.

So for all of your preaching Sarah, does this mean that you are going to get help? Honestly? Probably not. I am part of that group that just won't go. I'm still hung up in my stigmas. I am still relying on my own journaling and exercise and diet to help me control my mood. Will it work? Who knows. Will I eventually seek help? Maybe.

It's all a Journey on a Winding Road.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Lizard, Boy Parts, and a Bike.

I can't even keep a straight face as I type this. Ready?

Uhh, Sarah? That's not funny? It is if you go read the article. Oh crap! I can't wait for you to get back so I'll tell you the story. This lizard comes to the zoo at the age of 70. He's grumpy and cranky and fights with everybody.

Then they find out that he has a cancerous tumor in his boy parts. They remove it. He gets busy. His name? Henry. Her name? Mildred. And now they are the proud parents of 11.

Am I laughing at grumpy boy parts?


Am I picturing a lizard in a yellow shirt and bike helmet?

You bet!

No wait! There's more.
(And the picture is actually a komodo dragon but I couln't find a picture of Henry. Sorry. I'm just as disappointed as you are.)

This was the #3 story in the Science section on Yahoo news. Number 3. That would be front page of the Science section if this was a printed newspaper. Amazing. There is nothing else going on in the world of science? No new breakthroughs or medical advances? No bizzare finger measuring to do today?

I'll have to settle for Henry, the reptilian Lance Armstrong.

Wordless Wednesday: The Little Chef!

Super Bowl Sunday is fast approaching so I thought I would look back and see what the Little Chef and I were up to. You have to LOVE some homemade mozzarella sticks! Yum!
And before anyone accuses me of being an unfit mother, he did the coating and I did the frying.
Don't worry. We have the Steelers apron ready for this year!
For more Wordless Wednesday (I don't do that very well do I?) check out Mom Dot.
Other things to check out while you're there?
Label Daddy's sponsorship for BlogHer - It could be you!
Dottie Awards '09!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Bailout for WHAT?!

You can thank my sister for this one. I didn't believe her until I spent 15 minutes Googling my little heart out and picking my chin up off the floor.
Larry Flynt has tossed his hat into the ring for a $5 million bailout for the adult entertainment industry.

That's what I said too! No, I am not kidding. I found it on at least 3 sources (MSNBC among them!) and they are not all from "the religious right."

There are multiple takes on this.

Mr. Flynt and his friends are poking fun at Congress and it's incredible carelessness with the first round of bailout money.
Who could blame them after a Merril Lynch CEO spent $1million on remodeling his office? I'd make fun of a $5,000 parchment (that's paper, right?) trash can (that you throw paper in) too.

There are real people involved in the adult entertainment industry who need to keep their jobs (ick!).
Although I'm really thinking that there might be other career choices out there for them. Surely they have some other marketable skills - I hope!

People are starting to find their common sense and choose between trash and treasures.
For our nation's sake I hope it's the third option. I hope that people aren't throwing money away on smut during such troubling economic times. But even more than that, I hope that somewhere in all this mess people have started to evaluate their lives and start moving to some code of morality that is better than it was.

What bothers me though is the impending lawsuit that happens when this nonsense is rejected by Congress - and let's pray that they DO have the sense to reject it. You know that there is some "let me make a name for myself" lawyer just waiting to take a class action lawsuit against the government for discriminating against adult entertainers.

When did the universe spin off it's axis or have I just been too involved in my children to notice?

Monday, January 26, 2009

TV: The Death of Society?

Unless you have been living under a rock since November, you know that the digital conversion is going to happen in "Less than 30 days!!!!!!!" It's all over the news, commercials, the web, newspapers and I think it's the last message they will broadcast before the conversion.

"Your TV is now dead and you will never know what is going on in the outside world ever again!! Mwuuah! Hah! Hah!"

If the bajillion commercials (I counted!) haven't been enough, now it's hitting the news like it's going to be the Apocalypse. Oh no! 6 million people aren't going to be able to use their TV. This is a national crisis.

No. No it's not. Libraries have free internet. Newspaper stands are outside just about every grocery store. Radio stations will still be broadcasting. Heaven forbid that the TV doesn't work - it's the end of the world!

I know I mentioned it when Sunny passed me my Honest Scrap award the other day but it's worth repeating. I HATE television. And I have a ton of reasons but I'm going to give you my top picks.

A). The shows are trash. Find me one show in current prime time that does not involve, sex, cheating, murder, or death. There really is no family programming anymore. If I'm wrong please let me know because I have yet to come across it.

B). It is a complete mind suck. Since the programming is lousy, there is no stimulation to what you are watching. But I'll come back to that later.

C). It divides family more than it brings them together. When was the last time you or your beloved shushed the children or shooed them out of the room because you wanted to hear what was going on on the TV? I did it myself just the other day because I wanted to hear the commentary on the Inaugural Parade. Are you serious? A parade? And I shushed and shooed my children?

Now let's go back to the mind suck point. Not only is the programming bad enough to kill brain cells by the droves but we've allowed the medium to take on a new life. We give our children digital videos games and we justify it with "but their educational!" We set babies up with videos that feature classical music "because it's stimulating."

My kids played with playdough for 3 hours the other day. They never looked at a television; they never asked about the television. Let me pull a measuring cup out of the cabinet and they are pushing chairs into the kitchen to help me cook.

When was the last time you hosted or participated in a game night with your neighbors and friends? We had our two neighbor fellows over for dinner the other night and as soon as the plates were cleared they were watching movies. No conversation. No debate. Just staring at the movies. And the movies weren't even that good!!

I'm as guilty as the next person. I still watch the mind suck garbage - although I will cut myself some slack and say that Dirty Jobs and Myth Busters rock! But there again, I'm pretending that I am learning something.

We wonder why our test scores are plummeting in our country and why we as a nation are so far behind on math and science. We wonder about the state of our society with violence and frivolous lawsuits. But what are we feeding ourselves?

My mom once said, "You live in such a plastic world there in suburbia." And she's right. We e-mail or text one another. We socialize via social networks in a virtual world rather than throwing dinner parties in a real world. The following question was posed during Poll Day last week on Mom Dot: "The world would be a better place if..." Nineteen percent of the vote went to "there was less internet and more face to face."

Now I recognize the irony that I am sharing my opinion via the internet. But if you stopped reading my blog right now so that you could spend more time with friends and family in a real way without media intervention (aka UNO, Monopoly, Pictionary, playdough, reading), I would be honored.

The world isn't ending with the digital conversion. Maybe, just maybe if enough televisions die, the world will actually get better.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Awards Season!

Yay! My pal Sunny B (aka The X Mom) sent me a pretty cool award today. You've probably seen it - the "Honest Scrap" award? And of course I'm honored. I'm not very good at the tagging thing butI am pretty good at saying Thank you!

So here are the rules:

Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. (Well that would be my blogroll over there <--- but Sunny already stole several of those.)

Show the 7 winners' names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with "Honest Scrap".

Well, there is no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.

List at least ten honest things about yourself.

So 10 things? Hmmm...Let's see.
1. I don't like to eat. Only if I'm hungry and even then it can be a struggle.
2. If I don't have my workout in the morning I get really cranky and moody in the afternoon.
3. I don't recycle. I try to reuse but the bin concept is just too much for me.
4. I have been on the computer today instead of folding laundry and mopping the floor like I'm supposed to.
5. I didn't shower yesterday (and possibly the day before). Good news! I squeezed a speed shower in this morning after my yoga.
6. I hate TV. Despise it. Would love to be able to throw the TV through the plate glass window if it wouldn't end my marriage.
7. My taste in music stinks. I listen to Frank and Dean and random other artists modern and past but nothing that anyone else would want to listen to.
8. I hate social situations. I always feel like I have to measure up to other people's standards without knowing what those standards are.
9. My self doubt has talked me out of taking on projects that could lead me closer to my dreams.
10. The smell of brussel sprouts turns my stomach. Not dramatic but if you saw the various shades of green I turn you would at least be fascinated!

Journey on a Winding Road: You Gotta Have Faith.

And now that you all have George Michael going in your heads I'll just ramble for a minute. You're welcome.

I am an imperfect Christian. I'm not a preachy Christian. I learned long ago from my father that a quiet live faith leads to just as many witnessing and sharing opportunities as the largest pulpit. So I try to simply live my faith and honor God through my actions, sharing my faith when a door opens.

But what does this have to do with the journey? I learned that I have to use my faith. I don't think it matters what you believe in or what your faith base is. Believe in the teachings of Buddah, the Koran. Be an agnostic or an atheist. It doesn't matter really. But you have to have faith in something. Even if it's just yourself.

Without faith there is no point. In my reflections I think I can kind of see where my journey started. When I was first out of college, I abandoned my faith entirely. I was living a life that was not in line with my faith and I didn't want to give up my life. So I gave up my faith. It was just easier. But was it really?

I wasn't believing in anything. I was just being. I didn't have confidence in my career choice. I didn't have faith in my relationship surviving. I even went so far as to cut myself off from my family because that was just a reminder of what I had abandoned. It was not a happy life. It was a sad and dark life.

Then Beloved and Mo came along and suddenly I HAD to have faith. In me. In my ability to be a mom and a wife. I had to start to believe in my marriage. Slowly that grew. I started to believe that I could be a good friend, a reliable employee, a good daughter again. After three years of growing that faith in self I decided it was time to go back to my Christian faith.

Was it painful? Sure. It was very hard to go back into a church and ask for forgiveness and accept love again. But when I finally let my faith come back, I was relieved. Is my life perfect? No. Do I still have dark days? Sure. But when I pray, meditate and let the Still Small Voice speak, the dark days are bearable.

I guess my point is that depression feeds on hopelessness. When you don't believe that you can come out on the other side, the depression has won. When you can't bring yourself to believe that there are better things out there, it's another point for the big D. I chose God and Christianity for my faith. Others may chose other teachings and some may just chose to believe in themselves.

I think as long as you believe and have faith, you are on your way.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Should you Ever Come to Visit...

Here are the rules.

*If it's empty, throw it away or fill it back up.

*If it's dirty, put it in the dishwasher, washing machine, diaper pail or bathtub.

*If you can't stand due to physical disability, I will serve you. Otherwise, get off your bum and get it yourself.

*I only wipe 2 behinds other than my own (and one of those I wish I didn't have to deal with). You're on your own there.

*If you have something to say to me, say it. Don't mumble, grumble, whine, or raise your voice in anyway. That just turns my ears off.

*Wipe your feet.

*Cover your cough.
*Use a tissue.

*Keep the TV low.

*Call before you come. Don't ring the doorbell when you get here. And don't throw the ball. Those last two just make the dog crazy and you'll never come back.

Other than that, I think we'll be ok.

Think I should forward this to my hubby?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Say What?!

Here's the deal people. When you use Google to search and your page pops up and you click on that link there's a report generated. If that person (site, whatever) is looking for ways to drive their traffic they use that information to modify what they publish to grab more viewers. At least that's what you're supposed to do. Not me bucky! I use that happy information to....(all together now...) Say What?!

Here are this week's searches that brought folks to The Bowl. My commentary is in black.

im in toilet with mom - I am so glad you have that close relationship with your mom! Good for you!

the toilet bowl mrs giggles - I prefer Ms. Giggles in the professional arena.

hair growing toilet in bowl - Then I would advise that you get out your toilet brush because either you need to clean or it needs a good grooming. Either way you'll be ahead of the game.

toliet bowl blogspoy - I'm still searching Webster for a "blogspoy." You'd think my Greek would come in handy about now.

history of toilet bowl - My sister is the history major so I'll have her get back to you on that.

toilet bowl history - Is this the worst 7th grade history report or what?

do you have to leave already - Yes, Pookie, I do. But don't worry I'll be back tomorrow!

how to measure "ring to index" finger ratio - Check with those Cambridge boys at PNAS; I hear they have it down!

I must say that compared to some of the other searches I've seen pop up on people mine is pretty tame. Especially considering the name of the blog. But then again I don't every really talk about the actual bowl do I? Good times. Good times.

Journey on a Winding Road: Is it Self Inflicted?

This particular post has been rattling around in my brain for a very long while but today seems to be the day to let it out.

I did not leave the couch until noon today. That's right, sports fans. I curled up under two blankets with the dog and I dozed while my children watched cartoons. Bad Mommy!

The beds upstairs aren't made yet. The beds are always made by 9 am. Bad Mommy!

There are three loads of laundry that need to be folded and put away and there are probably three more that need to be washed. Bad Mommy!

There are still dishes from last night's dinner that haven't been washed. Bad Mommy!

The playroom is a total nightmare that is beginning to draw FEMA's attention and I haven't done a thing about it except say, "You guys promised Daddy that you would clean it up today so get to it." Oh yeah! I'm a real motivational speaker. Bad Mommy!

But there's where the problem is. Who is saying "Bad Mommy!"? Is it my mom? She's 600 miles away and has no clue what my house looks like right now. Is it my mother in law? She has never set foot in my house and you can bet your kiester if she ever did it wouldn't look like this! Is it my friends? My friends are working mothers who I talk to on the phone or they are online bloggy land and CM friends who again don't see my house.

So who is saying it? I am. That's the problem. No one expects me to be Super Mom. Except me. No one in my circle would judge me for taking a day off. Except me. So often I take my pride from what I got accomplished today. I did nine loads of laundry last Thursday, made cookies, shampooed the carpets, dusted all the furniture, cook a supreme dinner, scrubbed both bathrooms and had my children fed, bathed and polished before their father came home at 8 o'clock.

But let me have a day like today and I am done in. I get all blue because my house is cluttered (who cares?), and because I feel like I haven't done anything all day. But let me go back and tell you what I did while I was on the couch this morning.

I snuggled and played toe tag with Tucker. I played with Munch and her stuffed toys and made them talk to her. I played hide and seek with both of them - I was a really tough find! And I protected the dog from countless skull fracturing pounces.

I stopped being busy and I took four precious hours to be Mom. So when those blues at not "accomplishing" anything all day start to creep I need to remember that no one is asking me to do all that stuff. I am putting that on myself.

I think MckMama had a really great post last week (or maybe the week before) about Mom Guilt that all of us on this journey would do well to read and consider. We have to keep reminding ourselves that it's not about Quantity. It's about Quality!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Final Countdown to CPSIA

What? You don't know what CPSIA is? Yeah well I didn't either so I'll help you out and share with you. CPSIA =Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. That sounds great doesn't it? Yay!! After that big lead scare last year it's about time something was done! Woo Hoo and Yippee!

Wrong. This is probably some of the most poorly written legislation ever. Here's what our friends at the Consumer Products Safety Commission have done. After the lead scare they got all tough and decided that the solution was to make sure that all products that were intended for use by children 12 and under be thoroughly tested for safe lead levels. Still a great idea, right? Sure until you see how they did it.

It's not enough for the ribbon manufacturers to test their product before they sell it. Now the people who buy that ribbon have to test it again when they put it into any product. They aren't changing the ribbon in anyway but they still have to test it before they can put it on the market.

Now if I buy a dress that has the manufacturer's ribbon on it not only am I paying more for the original manufacturer's testing (which he passed on to the seamstress) but now I'm going to pay for the seamstress's testing too. Guess what happened to my $12 dress from Target? It just jumped to $20.

Now let's look at cottage industry in America. There are home businesses that make art for the nursery, custom tees and onesies, bedding, hairbows and hairbow holders. Want to guess what the new law does to them? They too have to test their product for lead. And if it's a custom shop they can't just test one item out of a batch because they are making them to order. They have to test every individual piece. How long do you suppose they are going to be able to keep it up when they have to foot a $300 test for each item they produce?

So in a time when Americans are already out of work and money is already tight, not only are we going to shut down the American entrepreneur, but we are going to make that same entrepreneur pay more for all of their goods.

Now what started this whole thing? Oh yeah! It came from cheaply made imported goods. Hmmm. So instead of putting the testing on the folks who are importing goods and reselling them, we are going to put it on the manufacturers.

How about this instead. Let's bring some manufacturing jobs home. Convert those eyesores known as empty retail space that Mr. WalMart built and then abandoned for a bigger space right across the street into factories and sewing factories. Put American citizens back to work. And have a safe product created right here in a country that we need to take some pride in again.

Let's see Americans at work - positive; safe product for our children - positive; recycling buildings into something useful - positive; increase in American pride - positive. Anyone see a downside to this?

The CPSIA goes into effect on February 10th. Now the are three things we have going for us. First, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is underfunded and really has no chance of strictly enforcing this law but that doesn't mean people shouldn't follow the law anyway. Second, you can probably rack up some really great deals on Mom-made if you stalk Etsy in the next few weeks because it's going to be a real "Going Out of Business" sale. And finally, consignment shops and "resellers" don't have to test their products for lead content - they just have to make an effort to avoid things that are questionable. So you can still buy that antique wrought iron crib with the white lead paint that you were eyeing for the nursery - it came from a consignment shop.

We all know just how political I am but I promise that I've already sent my letters and e-mails to my state representatives. For the sake of American made could I ask you to do the same? This thing needs to be repealed, reassessed and completely rewritten.

Now Trisha over at MomDot has put a video together too so if you didn't understand my version of events maybe you'll get hers. Study this. Whether you are a home business or not it IS going to impact you. You are a consumer and if they can't pass the cost on through the actual items they are required to test (children's products), they will pass it on in everything else they make (Dad's t-shirts).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Slippery When Wet!

**So Karen was able to get that outer wall straightened out. Sooooo? Whatta ya think? She rocks right? I know!! I've been hearing a lot of banging over at The Zoo too so you might want to stay tuned. I wonder if she's going to make me set up a "monkee" exhibit while she's over there....**

So if you are popping by right now that means you have probably already noticed that The Bowl is undergoing a remodel. Well, there is obviously a little tweaking to be done and my FABULOSO designer Karen is on top of it. But she DOES have a life outside The Bowl (lucky girl!) so while she is managing her life, you'll all just have to be patient and watch your step. In the meantime you could pop over to her sites and share with her what a wonderful and fabulous person she is! I know I *Heart* her! Haul booty! (Her bathroom is probably cleaner than mine!)

Karen the Magnificent's home! (Wanna win some great stuff? She has a great Romance party coming up on Thursday!) (Her design site where you can be as gorgeous as me!!) (Her awesome line of children's tees and totes!)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mom in Chief

So I was cleaning the kids' bathroom this morning (you know what comes next, right?) and started thinking (you saw that one coming!). I remembered the 60 Minutes interview with Barak and Michelle Obama shortly after the election and it stood out to me that she claimed the "Mom in Chief" title.

Now when thoughts like this occur to me in the bathroom I immediately start to "brain blog" phrasing things out and "reading" in my head. How cool would it be if Michelle Obama - our First Lady and someone who I think is pretty darn down to earth and painfully intelligent (Harvard and Princeton grad) - would start a blog about being a mom in today's economy, environment, and in the White House?

Think about it. Just because her house is bigger doesn't mean she isn't impacted by the same things we are. In the same interview she noted that the girls weren't going to be off the hook on doing their chores and being responsible for their things. Even if they DO have a full staff at their disposal.

She is going to be impacted by the same laws we are. She is going to have to deal with behavior issues and school issues. She's going to have to teach the same lessons we are. I know that other first ladies have faced all of this but now that I'm a mom it's different for me. Now I notice. And now that I'm a blogger I get to see more perspectives in parenting than I have before now.

So all in favor of the Mom in Chief blog, please raise your hand! I'd read it (and I probably comment too - but with a lot of spell check)!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - More Hope

In keeping with my blue theme and with my theme of hope on this very cold morning, I thought I would share a few more hopeful pictures!

On the right side of the yard.

And right off of the deck. If bluebirds really bring happiness, this is going to be a GREAT day!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Seriously! Who studies this stuff?!

But more importantly....WHY?!?! (I'm excerpting this article because of space and obnoxious writing style. You can read the whole thing for yourself here.)

Finger length may predict financial success

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer Randolph E. Schmid, Ap Science Writer – Mon Jan 12, 9:30 pm ET

WASHINGTON – The length of a man's ring finger may predict his success as a financial trader. Researchers at the University of Cambridge in England report that men with longer ring fingers, compared to their index fingers, tended to be more successful in the frantic high-frequency trading in the London financial district.

Indeed, the impact of biology on success was about equal to years of experience at the job, the team led by physiologist John M. Coates reports in Monday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The same ring-to-index finger ratio has previously been associated with success in competitive sports such as soccer and basketball, the researchers noted.
The length ratio between those two fingers is determined during the development of the fetus and the relatively longer ring finger indicates greater exposure to the male hormone androgen, the researchers noted.

In a separate study last year, Coates and colleagues reported that the hormone that drives male aggression and sexual interest also seemed able to boost short term success at finance.

They studied male financial traders in London, taking saliva samples in the morning and evening. They found that those with higher levels of testosterone in the morning were more likely to make an unusually big profit that day. Testosterone, best known as the male sex hormone, affects aggression, confidence and risk-taking.

In the new study, the researchers measured the right hands of 44 male stock traders who were engaged in a type of trade that involved rapid decision-making and quick physical reactions.

Over 20 months those with longer ring fingers compared to their index fingers made 11 times more money than those with the shortest ring fingers. Over the same time the most experienced traders made about 9 times more than the least experienced ones.

Looking only at experienced traders, the long-ring-finger folks earned 5 times more than those with short ring fingers.
On the Net:

Please tell me that you saw that^! You saw the web address right? Is anyone else mildly amused by this? What blows me away is that someone got PAID to measure fingers and collect spit for this study. Because when one is searching for a career the first thing on their resume is "My ring finger is exceptionally long!"

For the love of Pete Cambridge! Cure cancer! Find more effective treatments for AIDS and cholera! Use your money to get clean water to Africa. Who gives a rip about the finger lengths of Brit traders?

For all of our technological advances we sure are a stupid bunch aren't we?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Welcome to Awards Season!

Are you as thrilled as I am? It's time to be catty and snub Ryan and be all snotty and uppity and mock other people's designers and hair and poor color choices. It's so exciting!!

And that's just over at the Dotties! That's right you red carpet stalkers! It's Dottie time! And while I stayed the cream filling in the Oreo last year when I was nominated for Class bitterness remains (at least not much).

So IF you know of a really great blog (which of course you do!) that you think deserves the recognition of the Dottie pop over to MomDot and get to nominating! I promise I won't pull a Bjork if I win anything but I can't promise anything if I'm not even nominated.

Leave a Message Already!!

**The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. (No clue who said it but they are pretty much right!)**

There has been a phone number calling me on the hour every hour for the last two days. And you say, "Well, why don't you answer it?" Because I don't know anyone from the Miami area of Florida. But I have another question.

Why won't these people leave a message? I DO have voice mail. It is NOT full. I check it regularly and if you are someone I know or someone I need to call back, I call you back. But guess what?

If you don't leave a message, I STILL have no idea who you are and therefore will continue to ignore your call. So we can keep playing this game of me ignoring you and you wasting your time but know this, if your insanity wakes my children up from a much needed nap, I WILL be calling the phone company and blocking your number just for harassment.

Leave the message already! You obviously WANT to talk to me or you wouldn't call every hour. How do you know I'm not in a hospital somewhere with an executive assistant returning my calls? How is Wonder Kid supposed to know she's supposed to call you back if you don't leave a message?

Please! When you call someone, if they don't answer the phone unless they are family or a BFF whose number you know and dial in your sleep.....LEAVE A MESSAGE ALREADY!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Journey on a Winding Road: You Have to Find your Place.

Debbie over at Mommie Mayhem wrote a post Thursday about a bit she saw on Oprah. When you had children did you stop being "you" and "just" become Mom?

Of course it got my brain going. Is that what happened to me? Did I "lose"myself? Is that where this craziness came from? Back through the archives I went searching to see where and if I stopped being me.

When Mo was born I was Appointment Coordinator/Mom. Nope that wasn't it. I still had a professional life. When Tuck was born I was Assistant Director/Mom and got promoted to Director/Mom so that couldn't have been it. You can't score a promotion if you aren't focused on more than just one aspect of your life. Then Munch came.

I was working as the director of a child care center and was putting in 14 hour days. I had 104 children in my care and 16 staff (where I should have had 21). I was forever pregnant and completely under water with paperwork and staffing issues. In the 10 hours I wasn't at the office, five were spent sleeping and the other five were divided between cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children aka being Mom. I went to bed one night and woke up in the wee small hours the next morning in labor. I went to the hospital, had a baby and didn't go back to work.
At first the full stop was wonderful. I was able to stay home with the wee leprechauns and be a really great mom. I was able to play, and read, and snuggle. Then I started into the housekeeping stuff. I decluttered, deep cleaned, organized and caught up. I felt like a super hero. But then it all became routine.

Every morning, I get up, make the beds, start the laundry, tidy the kitchen, vacuum the livingroom. I pack lunches and change diapers. I shuffle people from place to place. I make menus and go grocery shopping.

Did I lose who I was? No. I just became a different person. I don't resent being a mom. I think I would like to squeeze out a little more time for me but who wouldn't? But maybe there's the rub. I didn't lose me but me became so focused on my children that even when I had some time, I didn't know how to spend it. I would go to Barnes & Noble and just wander without ever picking up a book.

So I started to find new hobbies. I got back to sewing and knitting. I returned to my love of cooking and started concocting new recipes and tweaking old ones. I started not one but two blogs. I started a group on Cafe Mom called What's my Motivation?! where we try to help and encourage one another to be more whole person focused and work on personal goals. I started working out again.

Maybe none of those things will ever change the world but they all have changed me. They have given me other places in this big wide world. I'm not JUST Mom in the house doing the mom things. I know when I haven't done those things in a while. I start to spiral. I start to get down at the smallest whim. I turn moody and grumpy.

Again, none of this is a diagnosis or a treatment. It's just my way of controlling and coping. Some people will say that it is distraction and maybe one day I will learn that it is. Maybe there is a bigger underlying issue that I need to deal with but I would have no idea what that issue is. For now I'm content knowing that just by serving a purpose for my friends in the Motivators, or for my readers here in Bloggy Land or for myself when I pound the pavement every morning, I am making myself "better."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Journey on a Winding Road: A Week's Revelations

It hasn't been a full week since I started to really assess what is going on in my head and try to sort and cope with the findings. But even in the four days that have passed I have come to a couple of realizations.

The first: Of course Saturday was crazy and I felt out of control and had emotions raging all over the spectrum. It was countdown to the monthly visit. Sorry TMI I know but how can I forget about that one very impacting factor? I really have to talk to my doc about a different Pill or something that stabilizes the hormones a little. I think that might have been the REAL curse of Eden - the wobbly hormones. And have you noticed how stresses no matter how large or small just throw those even further and more extremely out of whack? Sometimes it's not even for the worse either. Sometimes if I'm stressed about accomplishing something and my focus is on that one thing I feel more stable than if I was just drifting along like a goose on the river.

The second: A little fitness goes a VERY long way. Last summer I connected with yoga and pilates and started to do some walking first thing in the morning. Before all the children were awake. Before the washer started running and Mount Washmore started to move from one pile to another. I would take that 45 minutes and I would DO something. There are so many benefits to this I'm not sure where I want to start.

It was something for me and when I was doing it, it was impossible to divide myself to do anything else. What can you do for your child while you are holding a warrior pose? Nothing.

It was something that was quiet and centering. Unless you are doing weight training or extreme cardio there isn't a lot of sound to exercise. Maybe your feet tapping on the pavement. Maybe the sigh of your breath as you glide through your vinyasa. But there isn't noise.

And your mind clears. Things just seem to sort through into their little compartments like coins through a sorter. The chores drop into the To Do folder; the worries fall into the prayer (or meditation) folder; the memories fall into the smile folder. The garbage manages to just fall out.

When you finish there is a sudden rush of energy - those of you who remember biology can tell me what that funny brain chemical is but I can't remember it. But there's just the energy and the feeling of wellness. Combine that with the fact that you may be losing weight or toning up or just sweating out toxins and you suddenly feel just a little better about yourself.

I would never conclude that fitness is the cure for depression but if it can boost the effectiveness of medications or if it can alleviate the tension around you for even a little while, it helps in my book. Just in case you were looking for added motivation for your fitness goal of '09, now you have it. Find that routine or workout that gives you the jump and stick with it. It certainly isn't going to hurt (unless you count muscle soreness)!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Scenes from some serene blue water as seen at the Georgia Aquarium. I think it might be one of my favorite places in Atlanta.

A school of rays over the walk through to the Ocean Voyager exhibit.

Jelly fish - the lighting effects on these tanks and the jellies are incredible!

One of the Beluga Whales. There is now a webcam to watch them in person but I will warn you it can put you into a bit of a trance.

The calm of the Belugas

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Now THIS Is Sincerely Frightening!

Police: Angry Ohio boy, 4, shoots baby sitter

Tue Jan 6, 12:22 am ET
JACKSON, Ohio – Police say an angry 4-year-old Ohio boy grabbed a gun from a closet and shot his baby sitter.

Eighteen-year-old Nathan Beavers was hospitalized Sunday with minor wounds to his arm and side after the shotgun attack. Police say another teen was also injured.

Witnesses told police the child was angry because Beavers accidentally stepped on his foot.

Beavers was watching the child at a mobile home in Jackson with several other teenagers and several other children.

Jackson County Sheriff John Shashteen says authorities are investigating. The child has not been charged.

There was a shotgun in an unsecured closet. This child has such a temper that a shotgun is the answer to someone stepping on his foot. I am assuming that the shotgun was loaded because I can't imagine a 4 year old having the strength to open and load a shotgun. The child knew how to operate it.

This is just incredible to me. I'm not sure if it's a medical malfunction in the child's brain, lousy parenting, carelessness, irresponsibility or just the whole smash all tossed in a blender and put on frappe!

I grew up with guns in the home. My father was responsible enough to keep them unloaded and when it was affordable for our family buy a gun safe and lock them up. We were taught that we did not touch the guns under any circumstance and when we were old enough we were allowed to learn how to handle them if we wanted to.

We were also taught how to express ourselves so that when someone stepped on our foot an apology was sufficient to make things right. We learned to distinguish between accidents and intentional harm and we knew how to deal with both in a healthy manner. But then again we grew up without a TV so we weren't bombarded by guns blazing and the sounds of violence and chaos punctuated with cursing.

Someday the world will turn right side up again, won't it?

Monday, January 5, 2009

I Think I'm the Worst "Girl" on the Planet!

I was scanning through my reader just now and saw several references that made me wonder about my girl-itude.

I am 31. That's right! I crossed the threshold without much ado and really couldn't have cared less (once I got used to the idea that I spent the second half of my 20's preggers). So as I watch some of the women bloggers around me protesting turning 30 and buying anti aging creams and microderm abrasion kits I wonder if I missed something.

Then there's the whole makeup and nail polish thing. I just don't do it. Never really have! I was burnt by stage makeup during the dress rehersal for our senior class play and ever since really just figured the Good Lord made me this way. He must have thought it was allright. Nail polish is a complete waste on me. My nails are the splitting and flaking kind so no sooner to I start to try to grow them out then one goes to pieces and the whole cause is lost. And I certainly can't see the point of buying fake nails only to replace them a few weeks later. Good for you those who can and do. It's just not my bag.

On to hair. I get mine cut and styled every 3 years. Period. I always ask for a cut that can grow out and I'm always up front with the stylist that unless they plan to be in the same chair in 3 years they will probably won't see me ever again. Color. The closest I ever came to going pro color was my college roommate. We got pretty efficient after about the 6th try.

And that's just appearance! I loathe shopping. I avoid the phone when possible. And I have only dated (counting them up now) 8 guys in my life (unless you count the mini crushes in junior high where I "went with" a guy for a day - that MAY bump me to 12). I am married to #8 and quite honestly should anything ever happen to him I highly doubt that I would ever reenter the dating scene or remarry. I have 0 interest in celebrities, their hair or their babies. REality shows annoy me - forget that! TV in general tends to annoy me. And my books have to be thriller or classics - ok so maybe that qualifies me a little.

I'm just saying. If the above are standards of gilriness - I just failed with flaming colors!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Journey on a Winding Road: Could there be a Better Day?

This has been absolutely one of the worst days in a long while. I barely slept last night despite going to bed at 10:30. I woke up with strange dreams; I couldn't get comfortable in my own bed; my brain was running like a freight train. I woke up more exhausted than when I went to bed.

The children have been fighting all day. And not just "He's picking on me!" fighting. They have been pulling hair, attempting to scratch faces, squealing, screaming and generally in one another's faces to the point that I'm not sure which child is which.

The noise has been beyond unbearable. The cacophany of squeals and screeches has smashed into the glaring yaps and barks of the two dogs trying to chase squirrels off the deck from inside the house. The TV's clamor has only compounded the already pounding ruckus and chaos.

And my ears seem to be the only ones registering any sound. "Please clean up your playroom, " was met with jumping up and down and screaming and wailing and gnashing of teeth. I had to leave the room to control my temper and apparently did a really pitiful job of it because my hairbrush snapped in half in my hands.

I would cry but I can't. I would yell but that would just be more noise. I would take a nap but what's the point? My body seems completely unfamiliar with all versions of rest.


And that is what a bad day looks like to me. On a good day I would have told you that the children were making me crazy with their picking at one another. The dogs never would have registered and I would have used words like "whining," "temper fit," "giggles," and "shrill laughter."

On a good day I would still have a hairbrush. On a good day I would throw in the towel, pop some popcorn and let us all just veg out for the afternoon.

But today isn't a good day. Today I am on a low. Today I am facing the fact that I am one of millions of Americans with undiagnosed depression who has not sought professional help and who probably won't because of the stigma that I see attached to it.

Perception is reality so this is my perception and therefore my reality in regards to depression. People who are suffering from depression are on medications that they cannot function without. Women who are suffering from depression are one missed snack away from becoming unfit mothers who can't distinguish hallucinations from reality. Admitting depression means I need to be on a couch somewhere discussing my childhood with a perfect stranger in an attempt to regulate my medication.

Is any of this true? Absolutely not! Women can be good mothers and still cope with depression. People who are on medications for depression are just like people who being treated for any other ailment - they are doing it to feel better. Depression does not equal therapy although some people can benefit from it and resolve some of the causes of thier depression through the treatment.

This is where I am beginning my journey. But because I have a serious aversion to going to the doctor; because I would rather shove bamboo under my finger nails than even attempt taking an asprin; because I inherited incredible stubbornness from my grandfather, I am going to take every step and "natural" path I can before I look to a doctor and pharmaceuticals. Call it foolish. Call it making things harder. But it's my journey.

I hope to share successes and failures. I'll be researching and studying and sharing my journey but don't worry. The Bowl won't be dedicated to me and my situation. Depression is a PART of my life but not every day is a bad day.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Because I'm not a Big Fat Liar.

It's the New Year. Everyone is reflecting on the year that has past and planning for the year to come. I wish I could say that I was living on the edge and doing nothing of the sort but that would make me a Big Fat Liar.

All over the place people are sharing their reflections and their plans and resolutions. And I wish I could say that I'm going to give you a break on all of that. But again - Big Fat Liar. I would prefer to start the new year with a better reputation than that so I will take the high road.

The Year in Review. I was an at home mom for the whole year. I started a motivational/accountability group over at Cafe Mom and developed a really strong core of friends who take me for what I am in all of my nonsense. It was at their encouragement that I started a blog. Which led to another blog (that would be this one). Yes the Bowl is the red headed step child and before anyone gets offended, I'm a red head too! Get over it. Blogging led to becoming a part of the MomDot community which in turn led to another group of friends.

Sunrise? Sunset?

I started knitting and sewing again. I became close with a neighbor only to have her life completely change and suddenly she was gone. I met my in laws for the first time (don't even ask) and watched my sister in law get married with my children's assistance. Beloved got a promotion, and we survived all the long hours and training only to have the economy tank and endure the crush of a demotion.

I watched history be made through the political process and I welcomed my brother in law home from Iraq. I cruised through the holidays with minimal stress and even managed to pull off another homemade holiday that meant more to my family than any time I could have spent in the mall (which I managed to avoid for the entire holiday season!).

And here I am. Sitting at the jumping off point of a new year. I would love to tell you what is in store. In a continued effort to avoid the Big Fat Liar label, I won't even try. I did not make any resolutions. I am not making any plans. There is something about going into the new year with an empty basket that is strangely exciting.

Every year is a journey. This year I plan to open my personal journey up a little more and let folks get to know the me that tries to live outside the walls of the Zoo.

So Happy New Year. May your goals be realistic. May your motivation be steady. And may you be surrounded by people who love you even when you fall down.