Wednesday, December 16, 2009

totally random tuesday thoughts

Apologies up front: this is a long post.

But I had to drive to Riverside County today, which took me two hours there and two hours back. The first half of the drive up, I reveled in the silence. The second hour, I listened to NPR. The entire two hours back, I listened to various talk radio programs because gosh, there's a lot happening in the world.

Did you guys know that we elected a new President?!

I should probably read the paper. But that might cut in to my shower time and cleanliness trumps knowledge. So yes, I may be totally ignorant ... but I smell nice. And now that I've got a lot on my mind, I feel compelled to unload it here.


Gas prices in San Diego County are approximately 20 cents higher per gallon than Riverside County. I work in the oil industry and I have absolutely no idea why that is, but it really stinks.

Especially since I live in San Diego County and filled up before I drove north. And then forgot to fill up before I drove back home. So at no point did I benefit from a reduced sales price, except to see the gas station sign and process the gas station sign and realize after I was out of the area that I didn't capitalize on the gas station savings. Neither coming nor going.


Approximately 1,500 Marines deployed to Afghanistan today from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The families were all hoping that the deployment would come after Christmas but when they're called up, they're called up.

I listened with a lump in my throat as mothers and fathers said good bye to their young sons, many of whom were being deployed for the first time. Everyone was confident that the soldiers would return home safely because they've received excellent training to prepare them for their missions.

First, It is my prayer that each and every one of those boys young men (and women!) do indeed make it home safely. And soon.

Second, I thank from the very bottom of my heart, each and every one of the soldiers (and their families) that are committed to serving our country. Whether you believe in the mission or not is irrelevant. These people have been called and for that, I am humbled and honored and extremely grateful for their servitude, sacrifice and bravery.

Do you know someone in the military?

Please thank them for me.


Eight hundred thousand (800,000) H1N1 vaccinations were recalled today because the potency is not strong enough. The vaccinations were intended for children between the ages of six months and three years of age.

My pediatrician was out of the vaccination when we took the children in for their recent appointment and I keep forgetting to reschedule and then I wonder if I should.

Have you had your child vaccinated yet?

Why or why not?


Tiger. Tiger. Tiger.

What the heck?

I know that you have a lot of smart people giving you advice, so I'm sure you don't need it from me. But I'll give it anyway.

First, If you wanted to live a bachelor life - you had that option. But once you married a woman and made a commitment to her that you would be a devoted husband and father to the two innocent children that you brought in to the world, everything changed. Of course you probably realize all of this by now. (I damn well hope!)

Second, Excellent move on taking an extended leave from golf. While I thought for several days that the reason your wife had smashed out both windows on your SUV was because she was desperately trying to save your life (as opposed to TAKE IT), once the truth emerged about why you were fleeing the scene - the very first thought to cross my mind was that you needed to take an indefinite leave of absence and focus solely on your family.

Third, I don't know if you've really focused on your family as much as you've hidden from the tabloids on your yacht? While I understand and respect that you want your privacy, you are a huge public image and the train that is your life has derailed and burst in to flames, under the microscope that is the World Eye. It's time to come out from hiding and show your face. Even if it is scratched and still not fully healed. Fortunately for you, by the very nature of humanity, we love to forgive. Not necessarily forget, but definitely forgive. Especially if we can see that you are genuinely dedicated to making something right from a terrible wrong.

Fourth and most importantly, If you haven't done it already, you need to throw yourself at your wife's feet and BEG for her forgiveness. Apologize as if your very life and soul depend upon it, because they kinda do. And then, going forth, you need to be the absolute best husband and father that you can be. If you don't know how, there are books and classes and therapists and churches that are there specifically to help you succeed. Ultimately, you need to turn the same level of attention to your family that you have turned to your golf game and then some. This is not the time to bogey or play the game par. This is the time to birdie and eagle on the marital front.

Tiger, I'm hopeful everyone will give you a mulligan. It won't be easy. I suspect it might be a lot like shooting a hole in one, consistently. But seeing as you're the best golfer in the world, I have faith. Now Just Do It.

What say ye, in the public court of opinion?

Can Tiger recover?

Will his wife forgive him?

Would you forgive him?


In California, free mammograms and cervical cancer screenings are currently available to low income and uninsured women through a federally and state funded program called "Every Woman Counts." But as of January 2010, the only women that will qualify for free mammograms through this federally and state funded program must be 50 years old.

According to the story, African American and Hispanic women who will not be eligible for free mammograms, because of these changes, will be at a much higher risk of dying from breast cancer since it will not be detected in time for early intervention.

Have you heard about the federal task force that met - discussed - and ultimately recommended that women can postpone having a routine mammogram until age 50? While it was once recommended that those screenings for women begin in their 40s and continue every year, they've now pushed back the minimum age to 50, and reduced the recommended screening to once every two years.

And then there was something about breast self-exams do no good and women shouldn't be taught to do them. Perhaps women should just ignore any lumps and bumps that feel suspicious?

See, I just did the 3-Day walk and was shocked that the vast majority of the breast cancer survivors I saw were younger than me. Many of these women have absolutely no family history of the disease. Much like the beautiful 39-year old wife of a man that I work with, who passed this past October. Nor do I recall there being a family history with my dear friend Julie who died because of breast cancer when she was in her 30's.

The goal to survival is early detection. And while the average age of a person diagnosed with breast cancer is 55 to 65 years of age, there are far too many occurrences with women who are significantly younger.

So I'm thinking of writing to one of our Congressmen. And Governor. And maybe running for political office because what the heck is going on with this world?!

What are your thoughts on the matter?


Our date night on Sunday was awesome.

Although it went something like this: The babysitter arrived at 5:00 PM on the dot, because my husband gave her the wrong time in which to arrive. Charlie was out with the children at our community center tree lighting ceremony. I was home cleaning the house because we had someone coming over (!!) and I couldn't stand the thought that our sinks were dirty.

Charlie and the children arrived home at 5:20 PM. Once they were back, my husband rushed in to take a shower and the children showed the babysitter every single toy and clothing item that they own, hence demolishing the space I had just painstakingly cleaned. The two large pizzas that I ordered an hour earlier arrive.

Ten minutes later, Charlie is done and I run in to get dressed. Five minutes later I emerge and we make our somewhat discreet exit, so as to not set off The Henry.

We arrive at the neighborhood Christmas party two minutes later and I take what will be my place at the kitchen counter for the next two hours. My feet move no more than 16 inches as I talk to one person after the next. Three small cups of wine are consumed and yet none of the delicious looking appetizers. Because all of the food was at a table over five feet away. Refer to second sentence within this paragraph.

We lost all track of time as we were talking with one of our neighbor's who is a Marine and had been shot in the abdomen while in Iraq. We leave the party at 7:40 and RUN home because our babysitter's mother was due to pick her up at 7:30. (She is parked at the curb and looks at us oddly as we RUN up to the house.) We arrive home - the kids are great and begin crying because they don't want us back yet. We pay the sitter $30.00 for the night, which works out to approximately $10 per hour that she was with us ... or approximately $15.00 per hour for the time that she was alone with the children.

I could write a whole blog post about why I think it is a travesty that babysitters expect as much money as they do these days. OF COURSE, I believe that my children's safety is of paramount importance, but come on. Can you really tell me that if I pay a sitter $25.00 an hour that my children are going to be any more safe than if I pay someone who is fully capable of escorting them out of the house in the event of a fire - or calling 911 in the event of an emergency - for $5.00 an hour?

Sure, I want sitters to come back. Sure, I want to pay them fairly. But $5.00 per hour per child?! This is babysitting. Not Montessori.

When *I* was a teenager, I picked two children up from school three days a week and drove them home. While the children did their homework, which I supervised, I cleaned the kitchen and got their dinner ready. For all of my efforts, I was paid $20.00 a week. And you know, sure it would have been nice to make a whole lot more money, but I was 17 and how much money did I really need? Most of all, I felt good knowing that I was helping a single mother who would have been in a real pinch if not for me providing "bargain" babysitting services.

Did you know that the divorce rate is 50% and the average couple spends 37 minutes a week talking? Wouldn't it be nice if more parents took time for themselves and went out on a date every so often? Wouldn't it be great if people could AFFORD to go out on date nights, even if that meant taking two hours to sit in the car in the driveway and chat? It just seems that with the current state of the economy, it's absolutely ludicrous that there are people asking - and receiving - $20.00 or more per hour to BABYSIT.

The next time that we hire a sitter, I'm going to offer no more than $12.00 an hour if the children are awake and $5.00 per hour if they are sleeping, with a minimum of $20.00 for the event. If they like it great. If they don't, I won't go out.

Because not only am I cheap - I am perfectly content to stay at home.


One day last week, someone with the tag name of "keepinchinup" left a comment on my blog about how down they are feeling. As it happens, their comment caught not only my eye - but also my mom's eye.

Mom sent me an e-mail the next day asking for keepinchinup's e-mail address because mom wanted to reach out to them. When I told my mother that there was no contact information for this person but I would be willing to write a post to them, Mom wanted me to pass along the following:
I have this feeling that I would like to reach out to that person and try to lift them up. They are telling us something and I hate to ignore it. I have been in their position and it is not fun. There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel and I would love to encourage them to go for a walk and breath and take a yoga class and go help someone that is worse off then they are. I want them to know that I care.
So, keepinchinup - if you are reading this - I want you to know that both my mom and I are thinking of you. Whoever you are. Wherever you are.


You are in our thoughts and we truly hope that you are able to find some of the magic this Christmas.


  1. Jen, one of my dearest friends is a military wife. If you don't get the opportunity to thank a soldier, thank a military family. Because it's the wives/husbands/mothers/fathers/children back home that are really doing just as much (if not more!) sacrificing than the soldier. Keeping a fort down, raising children, running business as usual, while fearing that your loved might not return, is a massive burden to carry. My friend and her family, while their soldier was in Iraq, are my true heroes. I can tell you very honestly, I do NOT have the moxy to do what she did. (And will continue to do, as they're looking at yet another deployment soon.)

    Just wanted to add that, as so many folks forget the military families left behind...

  2. We have 2 sitters we normally call.

    One is a college student - she gets $12 per hour to watch the kids.

    The other is an official full-time nanny we borrow - she gets $15 (that is her rate, not the rate we offered). She is 29.

    Of course, we live in Northern Virginia and babysitters are HARD to come by AND expensive. I have heard of sitters up to $20 per hour, but haven't met any yet.

    It is tough to find someone to watch them that they also like to be with.

  3. Have I mentioned lately how much I love reading your blog?! ;-)

    I read the paper but only because it makes the commute to work on London Transport that little bit more bearable as I get to catch up on world events. Just some thoughts on some of your topics:

    TIGER: I did forgive a lying cheating husband and gave him another chance "for the sake of my child" He then proceeded to treat me like crap and assume I was going to take it because I was invested in staying together as a family. Sadly I couldn't be the martyr that I am sure many people expected me to be and I figured that the one thing I didn't want was for my son to grow up thinking it was OK for men to treat women the way my husband treated me. (One of J's first words was "baka" which is "idiot/stupid" in Japanese.) I left and while it hasn't been easy, I am confident that I did the right thing. That said, my ex-husband isn't Tiger Woods. I don't know if she will end up forgiving him but the reality is that he has ruined their marriage for good because he will never be the man she thought she married, even if he focuses on his family and succeeds in keeping it in his pants. I suspect the world may have a hard time forgiving him and he has lost out on a lot already with all the sponsors who have pulled their support. Serves him right though, I have NO tolerance for men and women who cheat on their partners as I don't understand why you need to sign up for a relationship if you don't want to be with that one person.

    H1N1: I haven't had Joey vaccinated yet. The UK government are still wrangling with the health service over how best to provide the vaccine and who should get it first (now all the high risk people have been done) and I think by the time they do that, most people would have had it already. I will probably get it if they bring in a programme to vaccinate all children under 5 though, which is what is being proposed. It is a tough one though because it is such an unknown entity.

    Babysitting: As a single mother I am lucky that I have my parents on hand to look after my son regularly when I need to get out. However at one point I was having a hard time with my Mum and just couldn't afford to pay for a babysitter (they charge £10 + an hour here in the UK) I am keeping my eye out for a suitable teenager though as I think they would be a bit cheaper as like you say, it isn't as if they need the money!! It is INSANE how expensive babysitting is though.

    Right, time to get off my soapbox. Glad you had a fabulous date night though.. it is good to get out from time to time..

  4. Jen...

    Several responses (because you were right it was long, but it was worth it):
    1. Perhaps the gas tax rate is different in the two counties? All I know is that when we travel through NJ, it is cheaper there for gas PLUS state law mandates that an attendant pump the gas for you.

    2. Vaccines... I did get my 5yo vaccinated. Why? (1) I have a 12 week old at home, dh is a police sgt, I teach, and she goes to kindergarten. That is a lot of sources for germs to come into the house. (2) The vaccine is made the same way as the seasonal flu - incubated in an egg. So the process isn't a concern to me. (3) I believe in the power of vaccines and herd immunity. I am interested in epidemiology and read lots of books and articles on diseases (transmission, how vaccines work for all, etc).
    That said, I wouldn't have gotten the vaccine myself if it had been available before I had the baby. I wouldn't want to add to the stress of the last few weeks of pregnancy with extra germs and antibodies going to town. As it was, within 24 hours of getting the seasonal flu shot, I was sick as a dog and within 48 hours, I was in labor. Are the two related? Dunno, but wouldn't want to risk it.

    I am glad that date night went well (if expensive once you add in the cost of the pizza). When I was babysitting more than 20 years ago, I charged $1.25/hour for the first kid, an extra $.25 if a child was in diapers, and an extra $.25 for each child after the first. My regular gig earned me a whopping $1.75/hour.


  5. Love the photo of the "four" Musketeers! So glad you only paid $30 for your babysitter. Congrats on NOT caving!


  6. Thank you for your kind words about our Service Men and Women. My son leaves on May 24 for Marine boot camp in San Diego. Last week, a little glitch came up in his enlistment and for several days we were unsure as to whether he'd be able to enlist. His first words upon hearing this news: "Well, who's going to serve in my place. I want this; does somebody else want it as bad as I do?" Those words made me realize he is indeed passionate about serving.

    About the sitter: I agree that their pay needs to be reasonable. I think it was nice that you paid your sitter for the time she arrived, even if it was early. She and her mother made that effort to get her there early so it's nice that she is being compensated...believe me, when teenagers have money, moms are a whole lot happier.

    I enjoyed your "random" post

  7. Hi, I just wanted to make a comment about your date night. It sounds like you all have a great marriage but I want to point out that your husband made this date night. I think now that he is the stay at home parent he needs a little more understanding that he may want an evening out to talk to adults without having to keep one eye out for the children. I know my husband loves to just stay home too (and I do a lot too) but sometimes I just need to get out and have some adult conversation without kids around. He gets that at work...although it isn't fun conversations but he just wants to hybernate. Plus it almost ruins my time if my husband is complaining for a long time about how much the babysitter cost. He forgets I've been around children for days at a time and I need some adult conversation.
    Please don't take this wrong but I just wanted to start you thinking that he might need a few nights out with you and with other couples a little more than he used to. :-)

  8. I haven't given my son the flu shot nor have we given him H1N1. I made the appt. but then cancelled. My husband has a client who is a Dr. and he told us not to do it. My son goes for his 4 year wellness visit tomorrow and I know that I am going to get the lecture on how the flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine stop disease. I'm still not giving it to him. I just don't think that we should give them any more shots or treatments then necessary.

    As for the mammograms. NPR had a segment on one evening on All Things Considered. Two doctors, one for the changes and one for keeping it the same. Apparently, if you have Dr's orders, your insurance may pay. I don't know with those needing free services if that will happen. The dr. discussing why the changes were good stated that breast cancer does the most damage when it first begins in the breast and by the time you find the lump, that damage is done. He also said that most women find their lumps not the mammogram slides. He was in favor of using the time and money to help bring doctors together to collaborate on why the cancer begins in the first place and try to stop it before it starts. I'm torn on what should be done. My MIL, Grandmother and sister all found their lumps through self exams.

    Tiger. I do hope that he and Elin can come through this and weather the storm. I can't believe how bad he cheated. I really think he felt invincible and was dealt a terrible blow. He does need to ask for forgiveness and he needs to work harder at saving this marriage than he has ever worked on his golf game.

    I enjoy reading your posts. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  9. Beautiful post. Topic V really set me off when I first heard about it few weeks ago. What a great mom you have to reach out to a stranger that way!

  10. Phew! That WAS a long post!
    Let's see...
    Topic III
    Yep, vaccinated the one who could safely be vaxed, the other two are scheduled to have it done in the allergy clinic in January. I just read an article that while the cases of H1N1 are falling, the deaths from it are climbing, especially among the 18mo old set. Darn straight I'm gonna vax.

    Topic IV
    I used to think there would be no working it out if my husband cheated but now that we have a family and have been together a while I think it would take a LOT but it could be worked out. Tiger can be forgiven if he makes the change NOW.

    Topic V
    Ridiculous, a travesty. But no government agency is enforcing these recommendations (the SG isn't adopting them) so hopefully we will keep checking and keep checking and keep checking!

    Topic VI
    $30 is completely reasonable.

  11. I know I'm old (51), but I made 50 cents/hour when I first started babysitting (I think when I "retired" it had doubled to a dollar an hour, but still).

    I also washed dishes, fed kids, etc. When I had my own kids, they were already in their pajamas and all the sitter had to do was watch TV with them and maybe read them a book before putting them in bed. One time I got them McDonald's for dinner, and when we got home the sitter hadn't even bothered to throw away the empty bags!

  12. Monkey Momma: You're totally right. The families holding everything together at home are amazing. I'm not sure I have the moxie either, but then again - you do what you have do.

    Midori: If I was Tiger's wife, I would have a TOUGH time forgiving him. While cheating is cheating and cheating is bad - the MAGNITUDE of the cheating that he did, with two babies at home, is absolutely DESPICABLE. I'm sure it would take some serious amends and a lot of time for me to grant him forgiveness (and I would NEVER forget), but I'm not saying it's impossible. The heck with his career - this is about salvaging his FAMILY which is eternally more important than any career. He's got his work cut out for him and I wish him and his wife the very best.

    Carolyn, Matt, Dean and Caden: Duly noted about Charlie needing time away now that he is home with the kids full-time. But the truth is, when I was out on maternity leave and *I* was home with the kids full time, I was perfectly content to stay in rather than go out for a date. Charlie gets plenty of opportunities during the day (since I'm working from home) to jet out and run errands or have some time for himself. And we have several hours of "quiet" time when the kids are in bed asleep. Frankly, I'm just a lot more comfortable when I'm home than out.

    Regarding the mammograms and the age of 40 topic: Based on the rising incidences of breast cancer and the penetration of YOUNGER people who are being diagnosed, more attention needs to be drawn to this cause, not less. My fear is that if the advisory council suggests that mammograms aren't necessary until 50 and then every two years thereafter, a lot of people are going to assume that breast health isn't as critically important as it IS.

  13. I like this random thought post! Maybe you should do one once a week - it certainly gives the rest of us a lot to comment on.

    1) I always get my gas at Costco. And when driving to my in-laws (2.5 hours away), we always gas up beforehand, because getting gas in their tiny little town and the surrounding locale is always more expensive.

    2) I shall pass along your thanks to my brother (Captain in the Army, 2 tours in Iraq) and my brother-in-law (Captain in the Army, one tour in Iraq). There is nothing harder than to know that someone you love is far away at Christmas, or other big occasions - my brother missed the birth of his first child during his second tour.

    3) Since I am six months pregnant, my OB was able to give me the H1N1 shot. I had my kids vaccinated for regular flu, but I wasn't able to get them the H1N1... and then they both came down with it - at least, that's what my doctor thinks. Fortunately, they took it well and are just fine now. But after that, I'm probably not going to bother with getting them vaccinated.

    4) Tiger, if you want "Privacy" (which I believe is the name of his yacht) and to not drag yourself and your family into the public eye, then, um, DON'T INVITE OTHER WOMEN INTO YOUR PRIVATE LIFE. I think that he will professionally recover - I'm not sure that his family will.

    5) My OB was diagnosed with Stage 0 breast cancer last year because she was setting a good example for all of her patients by getting a mammogram. I believe that she is 47 years old. If I want to watch her absolutely explode, I'm sure all I'll have to do is ask her about these new "guidelines." She is fully recovered now, having had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, and managed to avoid chemo with the early detection and surgery.

    6) I forgot to say in my earlier comment that I always cut the rate in half if the kids are asleep. And I am upfront about that. If the kids are not conscious, then I am not subsidizing your TV watching or computer usage.

    7) Your mom is so sweet. My best to "keepinchinup" as well.

  14. I like what you said..if they take it great if they don't you'll stay home...because if you can't afford a babysitter then why get one?

  15. I am young-ish (23) and having just finished my babysitting years, I think that what you paid her was reasonable... You have 4 kids. 4! I babysat for four kids for approximately $5/hour when I was 16-17. I felt like I was being ripped off, one, because it was below minimum wage, and two, because it was 4 kids. I know you are somewhat used to the chaos, but suddenly having that many mouths asking questions, that many eyes crying, that many hands grabbing things, that many kids asking for piggy back rides... I did it because I felt the family couldn't afford to pay more. I still feel like I was being taken advantage of because of my age. Bottom line, if you are capable of paying a reasonable amount, pay it... Otherwise your babysitter will refuse to get over it and look for any chance to vent, apparently :)

    With that said, Merry Christmas! I love your blog and have been reading it for at least a year now and still look forward to checking it daily :)

  16. -Thank you. My little brother is in Afghanistan serving his first tour. Its harder than I can explain having him there for the holidays, or just having him thee in general.

    -Tiger is a creep. I can't hardly stand to look at him anymore. And no, I would never forgive him. Whats the count up to now? 13 last time I checked.

    -My kids got vaccinated until they were 6 months old, and then after reaction after reaction from one of my twins, I stopped.

  17. H1Ni: Austin and I got vaccinated yesterday, when he had his normal well check appt. I didn't plan on it, but it was free.

    Tiger: I would totally pretend I forgave him, then I would stay with him for 2 more years, get my 30 million and kick his sorry ass to the road.

    Babysitter: Good for you! That sounds perfect!

  18. Topic I: I pay over $7.00 a gallon for gas. And we have to warm our cars up for about 20 minutes before we can go anywhere...
    Topic II: I'm an ex-navy wife. Sigh...
    Topic III: My kids are "not on the list" for H1N1 shots, so therefore they don't get them...not sick enough throughout the year I guess.
    Topic IV: NO.
    Topic V: AK Natives get free cancer screenings for whatever they want. They only need to make the appointment. So, because I'm native, and I'm 32, I can get breast cancer screenings if I want to. They are only required after age 40. Or age 30 wtih a family history.
    Topic VI: FINALLY, an update. Move to Alaska and go out for free all the time. Although you'll probably just spend all your babysitting money on winter clothes!

    Love the picture... Keep your Chin my blog during the middle/end of October if you want to see some weird disease ravish my once fully active body. :)


  19. On the Vaccination topic:

    We are delaying/selectively vaxing our daughter. She will, eventually, receive most vaccinations.

    She's 27 months old and will not receive either the regular flu shot or the H1N1 shot this flu season, baring some horrid drastic uptic in the mortality rate. I'm not really concerned about the process behind the flu shot, as noted above, it is the same process as the seasonal flu shot. For her to be vaccinated, she'd need 4 doses of the shot btw the two types. There have been no studies on the possible side effects of giving that many doses, that close together - or on the possible side effects of all the other crap that is in the vaccine being administered 4 times that close together.


  20. I believe in second chances and I definitely believe in forgiveness. I have a hard time, however, believing that Tiger Woods can change his behavior. If he had ONE mistress with whom he'd cheated I'd think he was able to change; but the number of women with whom he cheated on his wife; and the length of time during which it happened, makes me think this man will not be monogamous.

  21. Even if the kids are asleep don't you think you should at least pay minimum wage? I know that when I was in high school many of my friends did not get allowances of any sort, and used their babysitting money to buy their school lunches, pay for their school parking passes, gas and other expenses that came up. Also, we were all CPR and First Aid certified and those classes were paid for out of our own babysitting money.The idea that teenagers "don't need the money" is a little harsh. Not all families can afford to buy their children things they would like to, and if teenagers can earn extra money for some of those small things it means a great deal. Wouldn't you want your children to be paid at least minimum wage if they were watching someone else's kids? I used to babysit in order to pay my car insurance so I could drive to college. Without that money I couldn't have attended full time.
    Just something to think about.

  22. I Know in our family, ML found her own lump after she had had a Mammogram---so I think education is primary.
    Tiger has not only deceived his wife, but he has marked his children for life that he is not a loyal man. If he wanted to run around, he should have told her and been honest and she would have let him go.
    Lets hear it for all the service people that are defending out country and their families.

  23. I enjoy your Blog and appreciate your endless energy.... Sounds like you had a lot of inspirational brain time on the drive -which is always good for big fat posts! But probably the first comment that comes to mind is that I think your date night was WAY TOO short!

  24. Topic #1: Gas in Greenville, SC as of this morning... $2.34.
    Topic #2: Ditto!! Ya'll are awesome! Thank you!!
    Topic #3: Did it.
    Topic #4: Tiger. POOH!!!!!
    Topic #5: RUN!! There's an opening in SC. Last I heard our governor was on a yacht w/some famous golfer heading to Argentina!!
    Topic #6: If you lived in SC - you wouldn't have to pay for a babysitter. There's plenty of free ones here.
    Topic #7: Love, love, love the picture!! Marg. (from SC)

  25. Topic 1 - we live in the SF bay area gas here seems to be higher than anyplace other than Hawaii and funny the Chevron refinery is right here in our area.

    Topic 2 - I can't even leave a comment on that one because it would violate offensive standards. But I do hope and pray that EVERYONE serving in these F&#King wars returns home save and sound and that our country does right by them. Many of them will have horrible medical and mental health issues. If they volunteer to protect us, the very LEAST we can do is take care of them and their families.

    Topic 4 - Tiger let his fame and ego take possession of his brain. I remember telling Larry if he ever cheated on me I was out of here. My first husband cheated and there is little more painful than having you trust betrayed. No I would not be able to find the grace in my heart to forgive Tiger.

    Topic 5 - As a breast cancer survivor this one sends me over the edge to the extent that I cannot even discuss it in a rational manner. Let's just leave it at that.

    And a final note that is a perfectly angelic picture.

  26. Is Charlie going to be on the SuperNanny on Friday?

  27. Michele - He won't be on until January 15. I think...

  28. Jen, the previews said that a family from CA with 2 year old triplets were going to be on Friday.

  29. Enjoyed hearing all your thoughts, and I love the sweet comment from your mom at the end!

    I did have my son vaccinated for the flu & swine flu this year - both vaccines were pediatric, preservative-free, and therefore did not contain the two ingredients I was concerned with: squalene, and thimerosal. Some swine flu vaccines for 4-5 yr-olds do contain thimerosal this year, though, and I would have to think long & hard before letting my son have one of those. Thimerosal is not approved by the FDA, except in this once instance, they are making an exception for this year's swine flu shot - and I'm not sure that risk is worth it.

    That mammogram thing is crazy, because you're right - MANY of the breast cancer survivors or people I know who have died of breast cancer were under 40, and I can't imagine recommending to women to ignore their health in this area!

    I also thought the stat was interesting about couples only talking for 37 minutes a week - we only have one child (and a baby girl due any day now), but we put our son down at 7:30 & that gives us 2 or 3 hours together at night. I attempt to get the chores done during the day so that I can spend that time with him - and it doesn't cost us a cent as far as a sitter. :)

  30. I agree with the sentiments of several other commenters... I think $25 an hour is absolutely outrageous, and I posted my thoughts on that before. But at the same time, $5 is unfair. Especially for four children, regardless of whether or not they are in bed. $5 is well below ($3 below!) minimum wage in California (I had to look that up by the way) and also well below the federal minimum wage.

    I do realize that babysitters are often considered overpaid in this day in age, but a lot of people will tell you that the reason for that is because families do not want to lose their truly good teenage (or older) babysitters to other jobs.

    Honestly if you were to offer me $5 an hour to care for your children I would kindly turn you down and tell you that it wouldn't be worth my time or gas money, and my guess would be that most teens would do the same. And it's not because they're greedy or rude, it's because it's the truth. Why babysit for that little when any job out there is guaranteed to pay you more than that?

    $5 an hour was plenty when I was a teen... it was also minimum wage. It's simply not anymore.

    If you want to offer $10 an hour when the children are awake and $8 when they're in bed... then I would think that would be more like it.

  31. Rachel: What I write and what I would probably do are two different things. On Sunday night - I had it in my mind that we'd pay our sitter $25.00 for the entire night but when we got home, it was my decision to give her $30.00.

    When Charlie and I have gone out a couple times before (I was wrong to say we've never left the kids) we've asked our neighbor to come over and sit with the children. While she tells us that she wants to do it for free, we've always given her at least $20.00. And we've never left the kids with her when they were awake. For her it's a great situation to make a little extra money - for us it's a great situation because we know the kids are safely in bed we can have a few hours out.

    I'd feel comfortable paying a sitter $12.00 an hour when the kids are awake - $8.00 an hour when they are asleep. Or, keep it easy and pay them $10.00 an hour.

    ALTHOUGH, if the kids are already in bed when the sitter arrives and they're just sitting in the house when we run out for a few hours, I think $20.00 for an evening is perfectly acceptable. Especially if the sitter is someone from the neighborhood who just walks over to our house and volunteers to do it for free, in the first place.

  32. I just wanted to share that I really don't understand the decision to pay a sitter less if your kids are sleeping. Surely , you expect them to meet your kids' needs if they should wake up. No matter what, they are still responsible for your kids while you are gone.

    Maybe if my kids were older, I would feel differently? Mine are 2 & 4.

  33. Glad to hear you're also a 3day - Sister! I walked a few years ago and it was one of the most important emotional journeys I made. I was dealing with grief over losing a parent to cancer(renal), trying to make sense of my mom loosing her 4th sister to cancer (breast, ovarian, leukemia, & lung), and celebrating my Mom for being a 1 year survivor and MIL for 20+yrs BC survivor! Whewwww! Needless to say I was questioning my own life span and have been very proactive in my own health w/ Mamo. at 32 and every year after. My new Doc wanted me to see a genetic Counselor and since my Mom does not have the bc gene, that whole nasty side of my family tree is scratched out for me! I have met and know several women in their 30's who were diag. as stage 4! It's incomprehendible not to get ALL women the screening they need to save their lives!

    I could comment on the other news flashes, but breast cancer is close to my heart and Tiger Woods is not! :)