Archive for June, 2006

Just When You Think You’re All Alone in This World………..

It’s always refreshing to find someone who understands where you’re coming from and what you are going through. In a world that seems full of focused and frolicky, shiney locked mothers who fit perfectly in their world of soccer games and Creative Memory parties, I was glad to come across this lady - Lindsay Ferrier - in our local weekly paper the Nashville Scene, which I am also an occasional arts writer for. I can’t relate to living in the suburbs, I actually do live in a pretty interesting downtown neighborhood with other artists, musicians and writers around.  But, I can sympathize greatly with that need for finding one’s place and community - especially since, and almost exclusively since, becoming a mother. For once, I can read about someone who’s take on motherhood and family life is so familiar.

Suburban Turmoil
My Not-So-Hip ZIP

by Lindsay Ferrier

WANTED: Suburban gal pal for stay-at-home-mom adrift in Bellevue and fearing for her sanity. Applicants must love David Sedaris, The Pixies and Charlie Kaufman movies. Persons with Lisa Rinna haircuts or tracksuits with pants that whoosh when they walk need not apply. Job requirements include but are not limited to weekly martini nights (no children, please), occasionally culminating in a prank call to the neighborhood association president. Interested parties please respond to this column.

A long time ago when I was a single working girl, I dreamed of one day buying an old house in an artsy Nashville neighborhood. I could just see myself serving up to-die-for mojitos to the neighbors as they jammed on homemade instruments atop my homey front porch. Mornings would find me at a locally owned coffeehouse, catching up on local gossip over a steaming mug of joe.

Five years later, I’m holed up in a Bellevue brick-front house, a stay-at-home mom to a toddler and two teen stepdaughters. I drive an extra-large SUV. I clip coupons. My coffee comes from the Starbucks drive-thru. What. The hell. Happened.

Basically, I fell in love and made some sacrifices, one of which apparently involved forking over my cool card. I seriously doubt I’m the only suburban mom with the occasional yearning for a nice drink-fueled dance fest at Mercy Lounge. But I wouldn’t call myself the most popular member of the PTA, either. I’m still trying to figure out exactly where I fit in.

Posted in Daily Living | 1 Comment »

Tee hee

Something that made me smile:

Two months ago, we reported on the Web video phenomenon of Mentos and Diet Coke. The mint candies combine with the soda to create an explosive geyser.

But a new video on the Internet transforms that rudimentary concept into a highly choreographed routine, complete with funky soundtrack.

Two men in Maine, Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz, took 101 bottles of Diet Coke and crafted a mesmerizing, two-minute Mentos and Diet Coke performance that they call “a spectacular, mint-powered version of the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas.”

mento-fountain.png

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Down to Earth Diet Tips

Jeremy Zawodny recently lost 50lbs and he posted several helpful articles on how to lose weight. Here’s a sampling from his Diet Tips: How To Eat Less post:

  1. Eat less. More often. Rather than eating large meals, chop up your eating into smaller portions throughout the day. I found myself eating 3 meals most days and having a snack around 3pm as well as another in the evening. That was enough to keep me from feeling hungry while still eating less in total.
  2. Don’t eat right before going to bed. I’ve read this numerous times and don’t get why it works, but it does. I set a limit of 3 hours. So I planned to go to bed at midnight, I wouldn’t eat past 9pm.
  3. Brush your teeth early. For whatever reason, I won’t eat when my teeth still feel clean. By brushing them several hours before bed, it was easier to accomplish #2.
  4. Kick the sugar habit. If you drink sugared soft drinks (I used to be a Mt. Dew and Coke fan), replace them either with their diet counterparts or water. This can make a very, very big difference.
  5. Eat vegetables before the main course. Whenever possible, I’d make sure to have an ample serving of a vegetable (you get very few calories for the amount you eat) before eating the denser main course–often a meat or fish. You’ll need less of the dense stuff to be happy.
  6. Update your spreadsheet daily. Keeping a running count will help you ration out the rest of your daily calorie allowance, which we’ll talk about tomorrow.
  7. Get used to leftovers. When you eat out, expect to take some of your meal home. If you eat standard restaurant portions, you’ll almost certainly overeat.
  8. Shop with calories in mind. When you’re at the grocery store, spends some extra time reading the labels and nutritional information. You’ll probably end up changing your shopping habits along the way. You’d be surprised by the how widely the calorie counts in various granola bars varies, for example.
  9. Slow down! When you eat fast, you end up ingesting more food before you body has a chance to figure out that it’s satisfied (not full).
  10. Drink more water during the day. This is fairly generic advice, but definitely seems to help.
  11. Trick yourself with gum. Sometimes we eat out of habit or because it just feels good to get some flavor in your mouth and chew for a while. Find yourself some sugar-free chewing gum and use it when the urge strikes.
  12. Reduce the amount of breads, chips, crackers, and salty snacks you eat. A lot of starchy and/or salty food make you want to eat and drink even more. This comes straight out of Atkins diet culture.

Here’s a list of all of his articles:

Posted in Health, Weight Management | 2 Comments »

New Study Suggests That Divorced Dads Can Help Keep Their Kids From Smoking

Ball State study finds that divorced dads can stop children from smoking New Study Suggests That Divorced Dads Can Help Keep Their Children From SmokingThe Centers for Disease Control estimates that about 1 million teens — about 1 in 5 — become smokers every year but a Ball State professor has found that in the case of broken homes, nonresidential fathers can play a major role in stemming this unhealthy habit.

menning_chadwick.gif
Chad Menning

Sociology professor Chad Menning found divorced or separated nonresidential fathers can significantly reduce their adolescent children’s chances of smoking by being a strong role model and spending more time with them.

The study found that when teens are with their fathers five times a month, including overnight stays, they experience a 30-percent reduction in the probability of starting to smoke regularly. When teens spend little or no time with their nonresident fathers, the chances of their smoking increases by 40 percent.

The study also found when nonresident fathers fail to provide support and develop a solid relationship with their sons and daughters, teens turn to their friends for advice and guidance. Teens with friends who smoked were more likely to start smoking regularly.

Menning has spent the last several years studying the impact of divorce on American families. In 2004, he found that adolescents learn to manipulate their parents following a divorce or separation, gaining more control of their situation in a two-household family.

Below is contact information for Dr. Menning and background on the study.

Background

A new Ball State University study finds that divorced or separated fathers can significantly reduce their adolescent children’s chances of smoking by being a strong role model and spending more time with them.

The findings are from a study examining the long-term impact of relationships between nonresident separated or divorced fathers and their offspring, which involved 1,932 participants from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

“Smoking is less likely if nonresident fathers spend ‘quality’ time with their children,” said Chad Menning, a sociology professor who conducted the study. “These fathers are more likely to influence their children about lifestyle habits.”

The study found that when teens are with their fathers five times a month, including overnight stays, they experience a 30-percent reduction in the probability of starting to smoke regularly. When teens spend little or no time with their nonresident fathers, the chances increase by 40 percent.

The quality of those visits also has a major impact, Menning said.

“However, we found it isn’t so much the number of times a teen spends with his or her dad, but the quality of the relationship,” he said. “This means a father must play a parental role, working on homework with their sons and daughters, or taking them to plays, museums or events. If a child feels close to his or her father, the parental influence increases tremendously when it comes to smoking.”

The study also found when nonresident fathers fail to provide support and develop a solid relationship with their sons and daughters, teens turn to their friends for advice and guidance. Teens with friends who smoked were more likely to start smoking regularly.

“This study strongly supports the notion that nonresident fathers must be involved with their children on a regular basis,” Menning said. “We’ve addressed the financial support through the courts and legislation, but divorced fathers who are involved can play a major role in helping adolescents grow into healthy adults.”

Contact Menning at clmenning@bsu.edu or (765) 285-4690.

Posted in Parenting, Alcohol and Other Drugs, Divorce and Separation | 1 Comment »

How To Tell The Little Ones

My kids were close to our friend Will, who died this past weekend.  He was young and interesting - he made art that my son found fascinating.  My son and Will both shared a renaissance sort of mind - the kind where you think about art, beauty and science simulteanously.  It is fair to say that my son looked up to him a great deal.  So, my husband and I weren’t sure how to deal with this.  How do we tell a six year old that someone who is not old or sick has died?  We both, initially, thought that we shouldn’t tell him at all.  Of course, he could tell something was wrong with the both of us - we have been walking around either in a zombie like state or sobbing our eyes out for the last three days.  And, aside from him noticing our emotions, it wouldn’t be fair for him to be left in the dark and thinking that he would see this wonderful man agian one day (when we would go to art openings, my son would seek Will out).  So what to do:

Your child’s capacity to understand death - and your approach to discussing it - will vary according to your child’s age. Each child is unique, but here are some rough guidelines to keep in mind.

Until kids are about 5 or 6 years old, their view of the world is very literal. So it’s a good idea to explain the death in terms that are basic and concrete. If the person was ill or elderly, for example, you might explain that the person’s body wasn’t working anymore and the doctors couldn’t fix it. If the person dies suddenly, like in an accident, you might explain what happened - that because of this very sad event, the person’s body stopped working. You may have to explain that “dying” or “dead” means that the body stopped working.

Kids this young often have a hard time understanding that all people and living things eventually die, and that once a person dies, it’s final and that person isn’t coming back. So even after you’ve gone through this explanation, your child may continue to ask where the person is or when the person is returning. As frustrating as this may be for you, continue to calmly reiterate, in concrete terms, that the person has died and can’t come back, and that your child won’t be seeing him or her again.

This article has offered us alot of insight as to how my son might be interpreting all of this.

Posted in Communication, Grief and Loss | 3 Comments »

Parenting Style Linked To Fat Kids

The Diet Blog brought my attention to a new study published in Pediatrics that suggests parenting style influences weight gain children.

The parenting styles that were measured were Authoritarian, Permissive, Authoritative and Neglectful. The results and conclusion were very interesting.

Results

A total of 872 children, 11.1% overweight and 82.8% white, were included in the analysis. Children of authoritarian mothers (n = 298) had an increased risk of being overweight, compared with children of authoritative mothers (n = 179). Children of permissive (n = 132) and neglectful (n = 263) mothers were twice as likely to be overweight, compared with children of authoritative mothers. Of the covariates, only income/needs ratio was significant and did not alter the relationship between parenting style and overweight risk.

Conclusions

Among the 4 parenting styles, authoritarian parenting was associated with the highest risk of overweight among young children. Understanding the mechanisms through which parenting styles are associated with overweight risk may lead to the development of more-comprehensive and better-targeted interventions.

Based on their research, an Authoritative parenting style (balanced approach) is associated with a lower percentage of overweight children, while an Authoritarian parenting style (overly strict) is associated with the highest incidents of overweight children. It shows once more that a balanced approach to parenting, instead of a strict and emotionally crippling style, helps make children healthier.

Posted in Parenting, Weight Management | No Comments »

A Movie Prentending to Be Good

To distract ourselves from our morose past few days, my husband went out and rented The Squid and the Whale.  Hrumph.  Disappointment all around.  It was a good story, but not a very good movie.  My husband asked this morning “so, was that movie pretending to be a good film?”.  The answer is yes.  Basically, what we collectively decided was that it took successful styles and innovative ideas from other good movies and tried to run with it.  Left you feeling kind of cheated and like you had had it much better somewhere else with some other movie - and chances are, you have.

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When You Least Expect It….

We received some utterly distressing news Saturday night.  One of our closest Nashville friends, Will Clendening, was killed in a motorcycle accident.  Since it is all I can think about, I figure today’s blog should be about the positive aspect (if there is one) of this tragic incident.  Through the entire weekend, I have been privy to a group of people (mostly Nashville’s artist community) pulling together to be there for one another.  Typically, we are a slightly introverted and emotionally reserved bunch of people - only displaying our emotions and deepests reflections through our artwork.  But, then, we have never all had a uniting experience such as this before.  For the first time, because we all love Will so much, we can find comfort in opening up that most fragile part of ourselves to one another. We are part of something greater - and that is all I can glean from this, for now.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

The Art of DOM

Most of the people who read this entry will have no idea what I’m about to say. With that preface, I present to you the HTML DOM visualization of FamilyResource.com. HTML is the language Web pages are written in and the DOM is the document object model. In this case the DOM for HTML consists of objects like tables, anchors and images. Now that I’ve completely lost you, enjoy the art — I mean, the HTML DOM visualization of this website’s home page.

What do the colors mean?

fr-dom.png

You can create your own HTML DOM visualization at the Websites as Graphs Web page.

Posted in Lifestyles, Arts and Crafts | No Comments »

Keeping Burglars At Bay While Vacationing

Coming back from a holiday to a home that’s been broken into can ruin the entire trip. Morgan Murphy from Southern Living recently offered these tips for securing your home before you go on vacation.

  • Make sure all your doors and windows are locked and that the alarm system is armed.
  • Suspend newspaper and mail delivery, or have someone pick it up for you.
  • Don’t post your name on the mailbox — it makes it easier for a thief to find your home number and call to see if you’re home.
  • Give your local police department the dates that you’ll be gone. Many police departments will step up patrols by your house.
  • Don’t change your answering machine message to say, “I’m out of town.” Instead, say “I can’t get to the phone right now; I’m feeding the dog, Fang.”
  • Leave the curtains, blinds and cars as you normally do when you’re home.
  • Leave a radio on; most break-ins occur during daylight hours.
  • Don’t put a house key under the mat or in one of those fake rocks; give it to a trusted neighbor instead.

Read the full story: Foil burglars when you’re on vacation

Posted in Lifestyles, Vacation and Travel | No Comments »

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