Monday, February 25, 2008

Star Wars, according to a 3 year old.

This is funny, especially for those who have kids, like Star Wars, or both.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Science Fair Thee Well

It's that time again. 

My son's science fair project is about the effect acid has on lead contamination. Pretty heady stuff, but at least relevant.

First, he had to find a legitimate lead testing kit that would work, which he did - The Lead Inspector  was given a thumbs up by Consumer Reports.  However, since it comes from Canada, it's taking a long time to get here, and I'm starting to sweat.

The next hurdle will be locating some ceramics or vinyl products that actually have lead in them - vintage ceramics and lead crystal fit the bill, but locating toxic toys is harder than you may think. We'll be hitting dollar and thrift stores this week.

I try not to think of all the other things he has to do, or I'll go nuts, and it'll rub off on him, poor thing. What, with baseball, basketball, (2 leagues), trombone, a speech he has to write, homework, and this project looming, it's a lot to juggle. 

He shall overcome.

Friday, February 15, 2008

All Things Kool - when you're eleven

My son has embarked on his own blog, ever so righteously named, 'All Things Kool'.

It's the what's kool (Strongbad email) and what's not kool (a Mazda RX7) to a rather opinionated preteen.

Check it out, why doncha, so he stops bugging me!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Gluten Free O' Rama

My dad has celliac disease. This sounds pretty horrible, but in all honesty, it's kind of like a food allergy with a scary name, although it's considered an autoimmune disorder. He's allergic to gluten, which means that wheat, oats, barley and anything containing those things are off limits. Wheat flour and wheat starch hide in most processed foods - pudding, fried chicken, gravy, soups, vitamins - so label reading is a regular pasttime for our family. Even tiny amounts can damage his intestine.

When he was first diagnosed, it was difficult for him to give up what he really loved, which was bread. Cakes, cookies, buns, dumplings, pasta - all history. Beer - no more. Plus, there were virtually no foods that you could buy off the shelf that were 'gluten free', so mom had to learn new recipes, almost overnight. She cooked everything from scratch to ensure my dad wouldn't accidentally eat something he shouldn't. Even when he was in the hospital, the staff didn't know what gluten-free meant, so we would have to bring him food from home so his stay wasn't complicated by a bought of montezuma's revenge.

Things have changed over the years. Go into any Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and even Vons, and there are entire sections dedicated to gluten-free foodstuffs. Bread, cake mixes, waffles, cookies, pastas, cereals, cream soups - all wheat and gluten free. The variety is thrilling, especially for mom.

This has made her life a heck of a lot easier. And dad gets most of his old favorites back.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Not All That Tuesday

Election Day almost didn't happen, for me. I forgot about it, until I was driving my son to basketball practice at 7:00 pm. An immediate U-turn, mad scramble to find the ballot, and moments later, I was waiting in line at a grammar school that is about ten blocks away from our home.

Now, ten blocks isn't that far, but the original polling place was up the street from us, just about a 2 minute walk away. This would have made it easy for me to go earlier in the day with my niece and nephew in tow. The day before, a postcard arrived with the polling change. It just happened to catch my eye - and given it was merely a cheaply printed post card, I'm surprised I noticed it at all. My husband said that the old place had taped a small piece of paper to the stoop instructing confused voters where to go.

The new place was located at a grade school cafeteria. In actuality, it was a small room, inconveniently located at the furthest point from the street only parking - you have to wonder how you maintain security at a school when you have strange adults wandering in and out all day. Anyway, according to a small red hand printed sign, I was to follow the red signs, which I couldn't find in the dark. There were, however, white signs pointing the way.

Just my luck, everyone in line ahead of me had a problem. One person claimed she knew her polling place was at a school in Torrance, but she didn't know which one. Another couple had absentee ballots, but didn't send them in, so they were grilled to ensure they weren't voting twice. Another man was at the wrong polling place in the wrong city. Although there were 6 volunteers, they were, for the most part, retirees whose eyesight and hearing ain't what it use to be.

I gave my son the 'why me' look.

I also gave him the 'don't say anything' nudge with my elbow.

He really didn't mind because he knew he'd miss having to sweat out '17's' at practice.

The actual voting went smoothly, and Nick grabbed the 'I Voted' sticker as we rushed out the door past the 10 people still waiting in line.

We only missed 15 minutes of practice.