30 April, 2008

Random acts of kindness

Yesterday was from hell. really. just. straight out of the inferno. I chaperoned a class of third graders on a 9 hour odyssey that included nerve-wracking journeys on crowded trains. Just to make it extra-special, the teacher put me in charge of the hyenas and I came *this close* to tanning their hides.

Because the field trip lasted longer than originally planned, I called my neighbor frantically and asked if he could please let out D the wonderdog. Which was doubly embarrassing because I'd left my house in a complete disaster. I mean, above and beyond my normal benchmark of messy.

I got home, and not only had he walked the dog, he'd vacuumed the whole house as well! I'm cringing and yet grateful all at the same time...

M is out of town again this week and the kids have the next couple of days off, so I've suddenly decided to pack it all in and drive out to see my parents-in-law in Holland. I'm hoping that a little bit of TLC might reel me back in from the fraying ends of my tether...

28 April, 2008

Making a name for myself in the 'hood

Its got dreads, a revealing neon bikini and a great, big doobie hanging out of its mouth. When you flip a switch it plays a harrowing rendition of "Row, row, row your boat" and gyrates its slender hips suggestively.

Our neighbor bought it for us while vacationing in Portugal because it "made him think of us and laugh".


S and B apparently took it over to a friend's house this afternoon. and then they accidentally left it there...

I just got off the phone with this boy's mother:

"Hello, this is Betsy. Umm. yes. I think my boys might have left something verrrrrrry attractive over at your place this afternoon...."

23 April, 2008

Is this a seasonal product?

I was a bit surprised to see that our local supermarket has "Baby Bodys" on special this week. Apparently they're available with either long arms or short ones...

22 April, 2008

Update from Casa V

Lost: one tooth (the first!)
Earned: 2 yellow belts in Taekwando

16 April, 2008

10 reasons to go vegetarian (or at least decrease meat consumption)

People often ask me why I decided to become a vegetarian. There are many, many reasons, but the recent riots in the Caribbean and Africa have reaffirmed my commitment to eschew meat and animal products. This morning I feel compelled to share some basic facts:
  1. Over seventy percent of American grain and eighty percent of American corn is fed to farm animals.
  2. According to a Cornell University study, the amount of grain consumed by animals could feed approximately 800 million hungry people.
  3. Valuable water resources are also squandered for meat production. Producing just ten pounds of steak requires the same amount of water as is used by an average household for an entire year.
  4. An estimated 4,000 gallons of water is needed to produce a one day, animal-based food supply for an average American; a one day, plant- based food supply would only require about 300 gallons.
  5. Intensive animal agriculture is a vast user of fossil fuel, mainly for the production of feed. A grain-fed steer who ingests twenty five pounds of corn a day and lives to reach a weight of approximately 1,250 pounds, consumes almost 284 gallons of fossil fuel throughout his life.
For more chilling statistics please visit Veg for Life.

And if that wasn't convincing enough have a look at this:
  1. Every year in the UK livestock are given enough food to feed 250,000,000 people while in the world 30,000,000 people die of starvation
  2. 20 vegetarians can live off the land required by one meat eater
  3. Every 3 seconds a child dies of starvation somewhere in the world
  4. If Americans reduced their meat consumption by 10% it would free 12,000,000 tons of grain - enough to feed 60,000,000 people (the population of Great Britain)
  5. If all Americans became vegetarian, it would free enough grain to feed 600,000,000 people (the population of India)
  6. The UK imports £46,000,000 worth of grain from third world countries to feed our livestock
  7. Due to overgrazing 850,000,000 people live on land threatened by desertification & over 230,000,000 already live on land so severely desertified that they are unable to sustain their existence & face imminent starvation
  8. 1 acre yields 165 lbs of beef or 20,000 lbs of potatoes
  9. 8/10 of cultivated land in the UK is used to grow food for animals (14,732,000 hectares)
  10. It takes 16lbs of high protein soya to produce 1 lb of beef
*These and plenty more reasons are listed at ARC

08 April, 2008


S and B's school is part of a greater complex that includes all grades up through high school. The campus doesn't have a gate around the perimeter which means that students can enter school grounds at any time day or night. Consequently it's covered in broken beer bottles-- shards of glass cover the playgrounds and litter the steps.

Last week one of S's classmates fell on a broken bottle and cut his hand so badly it warranted a trip to the hospital, stitches and a cast all the way up to his elbow.

The solution for the glass problem? The school has now passed the responsibility for cleanup off on the children in the lower grades. ??? My first grader has spent the last two recess periods picking up glass shards, cigarette butts and other garbage. He isn't wearing gloves, and although he swears he's using tongs I can totally see a scenario in which he picks up the shard first, puts it in the tongs with his fingers and then tosses it into the garbage cans.

I'm all for community action but am having a hard time understanding why this is considered a reasonable solution to the problem...

03 April, 2008

I'm surprised she didn't brain him with that microphone

This video had me laughing until I cried. literally.

Hint: keep your eye on the drummer. (Anno, I hope your broadband is now hooked up and that you're in a punchy mood...)

01 April, 2008


We've just booked a trip to Cairo for a week's vacation in May! :-) :-) Somebody pinch me because I still can't believe it!