Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Leo is taking kenpo karate, and the Supreme Court

My husband David signed our son Leo up for a four lesson trial of kenpo karate earlier this month. Leo had expressed an interest in karate for a while, and he had attended two karate birthday parties at a local karate studio (is that the right term?). This type of karate came recommended to us by a close friend and by a therapist. So Leo had his four lessons, and after the third the teacher, Mr. Hobbs, met with David and me. He told us what David had already noticed, that Leo seemed to enjoy it and was able to focus and remember the moves - which is important with Leo's ADHD. The individual lesson format helps. So we signed him up for six months of weekly lessons, and he can attend as many group lessons as he wants, but it will likely be only one weekly. He got his gi, and is proud of it. It's black instead of white, but Mr. Hobbs explained that that is the traditional color in kenpo, since kenpo originates from a time of war in Japan. Mr. Hobbs spent time from the very first lesson going over when NOT to use karate. He also saw Leo slouching on the sofa in the studio while awaiting his lesson and asked "Is that how you sit on the sofa at home?" and told him how he should sit. David was there and didn't answer then but wanted to say "He doesn't sit on the sofa, he jumps on it or stands on it or runs across the room and takes a flying leap onto it."

The US Supreme Court handed down a surprising decision yesterday, and it wasn't the one ruling a law on handgun bans unconstitutional (guns seem to always be OK to Republicans). It was a decision about a Christian law student group at a California law school wanting student activity money without agreeing to the rules to get funding. The law school said that to be an officially recognized student group and get funding, all groups had to agree not to discriminate and accept all members who wanted to join. But the Christian law student group wanted the recognition and money but wanted to be able to exclude gays and lesbians. The law school said no, so the Christian law student group sued. The school won at trial and on appeal, but I really expected the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the student group. But the four liberal (or liberal for the US, which would be conservative in Canada and most of Europe) justices were joined by Anthony Kennedy, the swing judge, to rule that the school could make rules for student groups to get funding. Almost every decision on the court comes down to how Kennedy votes, including the handgun decision.

I wanted to welcome an new follower, Lightning Baltimore. I enjoyed your first post. I like to extend an invitation to introduce yourself and tell us about you, if you want.

Friday, June 18, 2010

we have the world champions of ... beer pong

I live just outside Sacramento, California, and the local newspaper informed us of our local world champions. Michael Seivert and Byron Findley, aka the "Drinkin' Smokin' Straight West Coastin'" team beat out 352 other teams and won $25,000 in the World Beer Pong Tour Championship in Atlantic City. Apparently there are other tournaments, and the duo, both 26, have also won the "World Series of Beer Pong" and the "King of Cups" tournament. Both claim their beer prong prowess comes from their athletic careers, having played basketball and rowed crew in college. One is part owner in a company that runs beer pong tournaments, and the other has no other income besides beer pong earnings.

I had no idea anyone took this seriously. $25,000 for beer pong? There must be either sponsors or lots of people willing to pay money to watch this. I've never played beer pong. I guess that it didn't exist when I was in college from 1982-86, or the parties that I went to didn't have it. Of course, I lived at home as did most of my classmates, so I don't think my parents would have let me and my friends use the kitchen table for beer pong. The wildest we ever got at a party was a game of strip poker. I thought everyone was kidding and wasn't worried when I lost the first four hands and lost my shoes and socks. Then I started to win, and when the girl next to me lost her bra and shirt I thought "Oh wow, they're serious!" I was maajorly bummed that the guys wimped out. The girls sat there having to show off their breasts, but when the guys lost their underwear they just slid them off and kept sitting. I wanted to see penises! I ended up winning. Most of the other people put their underwear back on and we just sat around and drank and talked, until there was a knock on the door, followed by a mad scramble to find clothing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

my son is a teabagger

For those of you outside of the United States, you may not be familiar with the teabaggers (and that's a good thing.) They are the most conservative, anti-immigrant, anti-big government (except for the parts that they like, such as Medicare and Social Security), ant-gay, pro oil drilling crazies in the Republican party. The name comes from the Boston tea "party", a rebellion before the American Revolution to British taxation on tea. Yesterday Leo decides that he wants to make tea. He's not allowed to use the stove on his own, so he tells me that he knows another way to make tea. He tells me in great detail of his plans to basically put a tea bag in a glass of water and put the glass near a lamp to heat it up. So he gets a tea bag, a glass with water, and puts the glass on an end table next to a floor lamp. I pointed out that the lamp was too far away (being about 6 feet tall) to warm up the tea, so he drags the lamp a few inches closer. Also the lamp had a compact fluorescent bulb in it, so it won't get hot, but whatever. He drank the tea later and said that it was delicious. By that time he had added some of my leftover sports drink to it.

I think that I have two new followers. Tommy from Australia, whose blog I have enjoyed for a while, and Fred B who I believe followed the blog of the supposed high school hockey player that we now know was a fraud. Welcome to you both.

Leo watched Star Wars yesterday. We've been holding off on letting him watch it - it is violent at times. But it seems that all of his classmates have seen it, and he's even played a Star Wars video game at a friend's house. I watched a little and it's still good over 30 years after it came out.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I have "the curse of the Celts"

I saw my internist yesterday and he confirmed what I thought, that I have rosacea. It's a chronic skin condition that causes flushing of the face, often mostly involving the nose and around the nose. If untreated it can lead to rhinophyma, which is scarring and nodules of the nose - think W.C. Fields if you've ever seen an old movie with him. My situation is nothing like that. I'm on a topical gel twice daily and was told to avoid the sun, which I do anyway. I read on Wikipedia that it's referred to as "the curse of the Celts", being more common in people of northwestern European ancestry, especially the Celts. Well, that's me, although I have some German and by family legend one Spanish ancestor. (He supposedly made it to Ireland after the British Navy sank much of the Spanish armada a few centuries ago. Not sure if that's true or just legend.)

Today is Leo's last day of first grade. That really is surprising to me. It really does seem like just a little while ago that we were at the hospital in San Jose when he was born, and now he's almost 7. Kids do grow up so quickly. David is going to the classroom today to share ice cream with the kids, and his mother may go as well. I'll be at work and miss it. I do sometimes want to be the stay at home parent and be able to do all these activities with Leo, but that doesn't work for our family.

Yesterday Leo rode his bike beside me while I ran. It's nice, and at times he holds my hand while I run and he bikes. He is a loving kid.

Monday, June 7, 2010

beet follow-up

I cooked the beets last night, actually two recipes, one for the beets and another a stirfry of the beet greens. The beets were OK, not great, but I would eat them again. I think they need something sweeter with them. Maybe something with apples. I stained my hands and the cutting board with them - they really are that red. I thought that food coloring was added to the pickled beets.

The beet greens were another matter. David tried both of them while I was getting my plate, and he didn't say anything but when I sat down I said "So you think that the beets are OK but the greens are bad." He said "Damn, I tried to keep a straight face but you figured it out anyway." Yeah, I've known him for almost 19 years, I can tell. And he was right, the greens were kinda bitter and not much else. But Farm Fresh to You is my idea to get us to eat more vegetables, and so far it's worked.

No progress on the sex talk with Leo. He had two playdates this weekend. I just need to sit down and talk about 'the male cell meeting the female cell and making a baby cell that grows in the female until she either lays and egg or has a baby'. Just not sure how to answer the "How does the male cell and the female cell come together?" question. Just not sure that at six he needs to know that his penis has another function other than urination.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Farm Fresh to You, and "The moths are kissing on their butts"

Yesterday we received our first box of produce from Farm Fresh to You, which as the name implies is a local farm or cooperative of organic farms that deliver produce directly to families. It's called a CSA or community supported agriculture. We live in California's Central Valley, one of the most fertile farming areas in the world (except that it's too dry to support large scale agriculture without massive diversions of rivers to supply water, but that's another discussion.) Although I'm a vegetarian, I realize that there are many vegetables that I don't eat, so this is a way to expand my eating habits while bringing more organic produce into the home and supporting local organic farmers.

The produce included was a mix of fruits and vegetables. My son Leo grabbed the blueberries and ate the entire package for breakfast. He let me have a few and they were large and very sweet. Today he ate one of the peaches, which was also good but not quite ripe. He has also claimed the honeydew melon for himself, although he can't eat all of it and we'll make him share, mostly to see how it tastes. Most of the rest are standard vegetables - Klamath pearl potatoes, butter lettuce, baby bok choy and rosemary. But two will be more of a challenge to eat. A head of cauliflower was included, and that is one of two vegetables that my husband David won't eat, the other being artichokes. He loves broccoli but won't eat cauliflower, even though I have heard that they are the same genus and species of plant, just different varieties. The other vegetable is a bunch of beets, which I am taking as my challenge for the weekend. There are always recipes included in the box, including one for red beet saute. I'm going to try making it on Sunday. I have also heard that beet greens can be stirfried, so I may try to find a recipe. Does anyone out in blogland have a good beet recipe? I don't want to just pickle them. I tried those a few times and never got into the taste. Today I'm off work and steamed some of the cauliflower and an onion and added it to spaghetti sauce. I'll use less cauliflower next time but it tastes fine.

Leo's class has some silkworms that are now in their chrysalises, and the first two have emerged. I took Leo to school on our bikes today, and another one was beginning to emerge - all the kids were excited, and the parents took a look too. He mentioned that the first two to emerge were "kissing on their butts." Well, they weren't kissing, but they were bonded together. I may gently explain to him what the moths are doing, in generic terms, something like 'the male and the female are coming together, and soon the female will lay eggs.' I don't really know how to start to explain sexual intercourse to a six year old, but I should start soon. Any suggestions?