Entries from September 2011 ↓

Pilgrim’s Winning Taste Recipe Contest

I don’t usually post about cooking and recipes on this blog. But, I have to say that yes, cooking has been passed down from generation to generation in my Mormon family. The women in my family cook primarily, but the men cook too. My nine-yearold daughter Ainsley can cook and Zack can cook a little too. My husband works for Pilgrim’s, a Fortune 500 chicken company, and he’s the most loyal chicken eater I’ve ever met. Every. Day. the man eats chicken. I can’t tolerate chicken every freaking day. I have to eat a little fish or beef or tomato basil soup or salad. Anything but chicken every now and then. But, I thought I’d post this cool recipe contest anyway, even though, as his spouse I can’t enter it. There’s some pretty cool prizes. Feel free to repost the contest on your own blogs.

Pilgrim’s, one of the largest chicken producers in the country, would like to invite you to submit an original chicken recipe to our 22nd annual Winning Taste Recipe Contest. We have some fantastic prizes, including an all-inclusive 4-day spa package to Lake Austin Spa, which includes a cooking school “The Culinary Experience,” a KitchenAid Mixer, a Wusthof Knife Set, and a KitchenAid Blender. You can find the details of the contest and enter it here: Winning Taste Recipe Contest. Please Like Pilgrim’s on Facebook and share the page with your friends and ask them to enter the contest too.

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A 21st Century Look At A 20th Century Abortion Law

21 Weeks

I’ve been Pro-Choice since I read Orson Scott Card’s classic Ender’s Game, in which, the government limited the number of children parents could have, based on some sic-fi reason of intelligent selection, only parents who had especially bright children could get a waiver to have a third child who might save the world. I figured if the government could make birth choices — well, then they could control birth choices. China controls birth choices. The United States controls birth choices. I don’t like the idea of that at all. I think parents should make birth choices. Since mothers carry the responsibility of birth, and the primary responsibility of raising said children if dads choose to skip out, then mothers should be allowed to make the choices around the carrying of the child.

So, I’ve been Pro-Choice. I’ve been a supporter of Roe v. Wade. Roe v. Wade holds that the termination of pregnancy is lawful until the viability of the fetus or if the mother’s health is in danger. 

Changing Viability

With current science, the viability of the fetus is changing every day. Meaning, younger and younger babies are living outside of the mother’s womb. More babies are being saved with medical intervention. Michelle Duggar’s 19th baby, Josie, at 25 weeks, weighed only 1 lb. 0.6 oz., and she lived. Not only has she lived, but she’s thriving after the first year of a lot of medical intervention. Premature babies that never would have lived in 1973, when Roe v. Wade became law are living full, meaningful lives.

My perspective has changed from when I read that book as a freshman in college, as a 16-year-old kid. I, now have these little kids, five and nine. They aren’t just “cells,” as I have heard some pro-choice abortion activist try to minimize them as. They are people. It bothers me. They aren’t hypothetical anymore.

A 20th Century Debate in a 21st Century Reality

The debate should be different than it was in 1973. Yet, somehow it’s not. I find this incredibly frustrating.

In 1973, there were hardly any birth control choices that were reliable. Condoms sucked. The birth control pill was like 75% effective. There was no Nuva Ring, no Depo Provera shot, no Norplant, no Ortho Ethra patch.

In 1973, having a baby out of wedlock probably did ruin your life or at least drastically change it. Your parents might kick you out of the house or disown you. They sent you off to relatives to avoid the shame you would bring to the family. You would get kicked out of high school, you might be forced into a terrible marriage. You would likely not go to college. You would likely be doomed to poverty. Certainly there was a terrible social stigma.

Today, I’m in my late 30s and have known lots of girls who have gotten pregnant out of wedlock and it’s been long enough that I’ve seen it play out. Here’s the thing — it hasn’t ruined their lives. . . . I know it’s crazy, right?

In fact, some of these women are the best mothers I know. Some of them married the baby-daddies and have solid marriages and went on to have other children and have careers. Some have been kick-ass single moms. Some had abortions and went on to have other children out of wedlock and went on to be great single moms. Some gave their babies up for adoption and went on to have families. Some had their babies, were single-moms for a time and then married and had more children and normal lives.

Having a child did not ruin their lives. Didn’t ruin one single life. Not their’s, not their baby’s. Isn’t that funny? It turned out to be a total fiction, meant to scare us into not having sex, I guess.

This year two women close to me chose to go through unplanned pregnancies, one very young and one in her 30′s. Several relatives of mine also went through the same experience. It was beautiful to watch how warmly those babies were received into this world. It was wonderful to watch how the mothers were warmly embraced and supported during their pregnancies and after. It was an honor to participate in. Was their road harder? Harder than my own road of witnessing 9/11 in my last month of pregnancy and experiencing devastating postpartum depression with my first planned pregnancy? Maybe. Maybe not. Is their future less bright because of their unmarried status? Maybe. Maybe Not. When I look at their future I have no problem seeing a very bright future in front of any of them. I don’t see a scarring social stigma of unmarried, unplanned pregnancy attached to them anymore. In fact, what I see is motivation, they have been motivated to stop playing childish games and get a move on in their futures, enroll in schools and seek out their futures with ambition and energy that they had not exhibited before.

Need I mention that the President of the United States is the son of a single mother, the product of an unplanned pregnancy? Probably not. Though I do think it’s relevant to the conversation at hand.

The Morning After Pill

But, the real turning point for me has been the invention of the Morning After Pill. With the invention of the Morning After Pill, I simply don’t see the need for most abortions anymore. The Morning After Pill prevents the egg from dropping so no pregnancy can occur. You can use it five days after sex and no pregnancy will occur.

Which means if rape, a date rape, a bad decision, the condom breaks, a drunken episode you wish hadn’t happened, something you don’t quite remember occurs or  you get slipped a roofie, you can take this medication and though grief may be had, babies will not.

See, for me, this should make everyone happy. It’s a brilliant and necessary compromise. This should be legal and available for everyone regardless of age and without parental consent. It should be over-the-counter without a prescription, right next to the condoms on the shelf in Walmart.

The Pro-Lifers have a point. It’s Life. Life is essential. Life is beautiful and lovely and worth protecting. So are women’s choices. So are women’s rights. So are women’s bodies. Sore women’s dignities.

But, the reality is that girls and women will make bad choices sometimes. The reality is that men and boys will violate girls and women sometimes.

There has to be something available for women and girls in these cases. But, that something doesn’t need to extend into the lives of babies. If something happens, women and girls should know . . . they can do something quickly and efficiently.

We can educated them about what needs to be done, so they are ready and they can quickly go to any store and get the Morning After Pill. We should educate about it, like we educate about the use of condoms. Let’s just be done with this 30-year-old unsavory, hostile and embarrassing battle that has run its course and has gotten very, very stale.

Before you think I’m speaking from my Ivory Tower, in my younger years, I assure you there were plenty of times when I woke up and my first thought was, “Oh my God, I made a terrible mistake!” But, I assure you, it was my very first thought. And after a date rape, I did take the Morning After Pill, and it wasn’t pleasant, but it was better than the alternatives.

Hope & Reality 

Will the Morning After Pill resolve every single instance in which every single woman might want to seek an abortion? Of course, I am not that naive. But, I don’t want to keep having an outdated 1973 conversation about abortion given 21st Century medical advances and a lack of social stigma about untraditional pregnancy timelines and circumstances; my tolerance for legal 2nd trimester abortions is gone because I consider them “viable” as defined by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade; I no longer believe many of the hypothetical fictions and “justifications” often touted by Pro-Choice advocates are acceptable reasons for getting an abortion; I think we can do a hell of a lot better job educating about birth control methods and providing access to them; we should be making better use of and educating about the Morning After Pill; and I think we should be romanticizing the hell out of adoption as a beautiful option.

Comments Note: You are welcome to leave a comment on this post. However, due to the history of hostility on both sides of this debate I request that comments left follow this form, Agree/And (agree with something in the post, then make your statement as an AND statement rather than a BUT statement). For instance, “I agree that science and medicine has changed the viability of a fetus, and I also feel that the Morning After Pill won’t resolve the issue of mid-life pregnancies in the case of women who . . . “

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I love Ainsley, I mean Zack, I mean Ainsley, I mean Zack Best . . .

Time Magazine has an article, Playing Favorites: Why Mom Likes You (Or One of Your Siblings) Best, which proves what everyone who has a sibling and a parent has known since Cain and Able – that there is a favorite child. They have even gone as far as finding evolutionary evidence as to why — species survival — of course. It must be noted that the article also states that parents also inherently know that the old line, “We love you all equally,” is still the hard and fast rule that should be maintained because it makes all siblings feel better. Even though all siblings know exactly which child is the “Golden Child.”

Since I am the obvious “Golden Child,” as the article states this is “usually the oldest child,” (aside from those pesky 20 Black Sheep years that took up my teens and 20s), and because I am also a non-conformist child, I’ll just go ahead and break the common wisdom and tell you who my favorite child is. . .

My favorite child is Ainsley. I mean I have a whole blog about her and all, so it’s completely obvious. I like her best because she is exactly like me. She’s spunky and smart as a whip and socially bright and witty and funny. Just like me. She knows her mind, is unfraid to speak her opinion. She gets excellent grades, she’s the smartest kid in her class and she’s teacher’s pet. What is not to love? I mean, really? As the article says, it’s often the pretty children who parents love the most and I suppose this is true. I often stare at Ainsley and think, “Wow, she’s so stunningly beautiful.” And it probably does make me love her even more.

But, who am I kidding? I love Zackary the most. He’s my baby and since he was born I’ve been madly, crazy in love with him. He smells like a puppy and at five he still fits perfectly curled up in the curve of my body as he snuggles up next to me when we’re spooning. He still sleeps with me every night until his dad kicks him out of the bed. He’s there not because he’s scared, but because I know it’s only going to last a second before he’s 16 and he won’t want to sleep with me curled in the fetal position, like he wants to crawl back into my womb, smelling like a puppy, his breath smelling like cantaloupe. Ainsley always wants to sleep by me too, but I never let her, she’s too big, I say.

Zack is so coordinated too, he can handle any kind of ball like a pro. He’s super social and everyone wants to be his friend. All the girls want to be his girlfriend – just like me. But, I know I’m his true love. When he was barely three he hopped right on a two-wheeler bike and just took off, he’s amazing on a bike. He rides better than any kid on the block, popping wheelies and taking ramps and curbs with no fear whatsoever. I love to watch him. Did I mention that he’s stunningly beautiful? He’s blond-haired, blue-eyed, golden-tanned gorgeous and sweet as ever.

Ah, but Ainsley, I love her the best because she writes me love letters. She’s got my gift of language. She talks to me. She tells me her secrets, she loves words like I do. At night we lay in my bed reading for hours, we talk about stories and the structure of language. This year we both got published in books. How exciting and awesome is that? We write things. . . we edit things. She produces plays for the neighbor kids, she teaches a school up in her room. She lets me do her hair, we talk about being girls. We talk about feelings and what we’re going to be when we grow up. We share our hopes and dreams with each other. Not like the men we live with who don’t seem to have many feelings, hopes or dreams – or if they do, they are disinclined to share them. I love to watch her plan and organize and make goals and achieve them. She’s such a high achiever. I cannot wait to see how high she can go.

Ah, but Zack, he’s so sweet and yummy and I worry so little about him because he’s a boy. He’s tough and he can take care of himself and there are so many fewer things to be worried about . . . I don’t worry about eating disorders or date rape or mean girls or abusive boyfriends or bullies or kidnappers or sex offenders. Maybe I should worry about these things but I don’t, because he’s a boy and also because he’s the kind of easy boy that he is. Social and tough and beautiful and confident. The fact that I don’t worry about these things make him so freaking easy to love. I love him with ease. It’s so simple and fun. We argue so much less than Ainsley and I. Also I don’t have any baggage. Because I don’t bring a Mother/Son relationship history with me. Only a big fat Mother/Daughter relationship with me, and poor Ainsley is the one who carries the burden of that. Zack is entirely free of it. And so damn easy to love.

Ah, see. I won the Baby Lottery. I get to have a Favorite Daughter. I get to have a Favorite Son. A Golden Daughter. A Golden Son.They both get to be the Favorites. And no one has to be the Black Sheep.

Lucky Us.

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4th Grade Puberty Whirlwind

“Half the 4th Grade girls have boobs and wear bras,” Ainsley reported.

“Really? Like, for real?” I asked, stunned because no one had boobs until like the 7th Grade when I was in school. “Like they really need bras?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, give me five!” I said, holding my hand out.

“Why would I give you five?” she asked

“It’s better not to be the first one to get boobs in the 4th Grade, believe me,” I informed her.

“Well, I don’t want to be the only girl without boobs,” she said.

“You’re not. You said half the class. That means half the class doesn’t have boobs.” I said.

“They are having a Bra Club. You have to have boobs to be in the club,” she reported.

“Well. Go get ready for soccer,” I said.

A few days later, as I was getting ready for bed she came into the bathroom.

“Mom? When can I shave my legs?” she asked.

“When you’re 12,” I said, because this was when I had been allowed to shave my legs and so obviously, this is the right and appropriate answer.

“All the kids make fun of my hairy legs!” she exclaimed.

“Who does?” I asked, wondering if she just uses this line because I tend to fall for it a lot.

“Sarah and the kids at soccer and when I wear shorts at school,” she claimed.

“Ainsley, shaving your legs is a real pain in the butt. Once you start your hair grows back in all stubbly and scratchy and black, it doesn’t grow back in all soft and downy like your hair is now. I’m not kidding, it’s a massive pain in the butt and you have to shave like everyday. That’s why I don’t think you should do it yet,” I explained reasonably.

“I don’t care. I don’t want all the kids making fun of me. Look at this hair! It’s embarrassing!” she yelled, showing me her admittedly hairy legs.

I looked down and rubbed her hairy legs and wondered how the hair would grow back in if we just used Nair rather than shaving them for a few years. Would they grow back in stubbly and black then?

“Go to bed Ainsley. It’s late,” I told her.

“Fine! I’ll just have everyone make fun of me and go to school embarrassed and play soccer in shorts embarrassed! You don’t care!” she yelled and slammed the door to her room.

I sighed and went to her room. I really am a sucker for the teasing and embarrassed thing,I thought as I opened her door and said into the dark, “Maybe we’ll try Nair this weekend and see what happens.”

“What’s Nair?” she asked.

“It’s this cream that dissolves hair. I don’t know how it will grow back in. But, we can try it and see,” I said.

“Okay. Thank you,” she said.

“Good night. I love you,” I said.

I shut the door. Is there really any reason that 10-year-olds were required to have hairy legs if it embarrasses them, I wondered. Is there some rule that says it has to be 12? I wonder when other parents let their kids shave their legs? 4th Grade sure isn’t what it used to be, it got a hell of a lot more complicated. 

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Dear Oprah, There’s a Limit to my Magical DVR Powers

Dear Oprah,

I was super-excited to open this month’s O Magazine and see that your retirement lasted only one summer and you will now be offering Oprah’s Lifeclass daily on your OWN Network starting October 10th. I have missed you and have hoped that you would come out of retirement, so yippee!

I’m also oddly curious to check out Rosie’s new daily show — what won’t be fun about watching the self-described-crazy, divorced-lesbian, mother-of-four, menopausal, showtune-loving, liberal, self-deprecating comedian? I can’t think of anything.

Now, Oprah, you’ve been telling me for 25 years that I can “do anything! And though my husband finds this endlessly frustrating as I blindly pursue my dreams based on this dubious advice, I continue to cling to it. However, I think I may have come face to face with something I may actually not be able to pull off.

It has to do with my limited DVR Magical Powers.

See, you have scheduled The Rosie Show at 6 pm Central and 7 pm Eastern and Oprah’s Lifeclass at 7 pm Central and 8 pm Eastern . . .

. . . during NFL Season when my husband is in two Fantasy Football Leagues.

. . .  during my children’s fall soccer season, when we’ll be walking in the door from practice and trying to get dinner and family time and I have to wrestle the Littles into bed at a reasonable hour.

. . . during the Fall Season Lineup, Primetime Network Television, and Previous Long-Standing Commitments to Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice and The Office and other such pleasures.

. . . during an Election Year when Presidential Debates will be scheduled during these hours.

Now Oprah, I know you don’t watch much television. So let me explain to you how the DVR works. The DVR allows you to record shows when you are unable to watch television live. This has advantages like allowing you to fast forward through commercials and push pause while you go pee.

But, it has it’s limits. For instance, you can only record two television programs at once. So, if I am recording Oprah every night at 7 pm and a Presidential Debate is scheduled and my husband wants to watch Monday night football, what we have is a serious familial scheduling conflict. The other limit to the DVR is that you can’t say, “Okay, record Oprah every night, except on Thursdays, when Grey’s Anatomy is more important to me,”  or “Record Oprah, every night except on Mondays when my husband is not going to miss Monday Night Football,” it’s an either-or proposition.

For 25 years you had an established Sacred Hour of 4 o’clock. Everyone in the entire house knew that to mess with the recorded Oprah show meant their own demise.

I’m doubting my ability to establish that during the Primetime Fall Season. Seriously.

My only saving grace will be if you decide to rerun episodes of your Lifeclass daily in the middle of the night when the house is sleeping or the middle of the day when the house is at school and work. Only then will I be able to commander the DVR, when no one else is vying for time. Please, decide to do this Oprah.

Otherwise, how will I ever learn to live my life properly?

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