Children’s Birthday Parties

It’s that time of the year when our jr god and goddess celebrate their birthdays.  We usually go all out for parties.  Last year Thor Jr. had a super hero party.  Everyone wore a costume (we had more Batmen than we knew what to do with) and the Riddler had kidnapped Green Lantern and left his hat behind with several clues (scavenger hunt).  The kids split into two teams and had to come together in the end to figure out where Green Lantern (Thor in a Green Lantern tshirt) was hidden.  It was loads of fun for all.  Oh yeah, we also played “pass the kryptonite” too.

The year before Thor Jr. had a pirate party.  The kids decorated their own treasure chests (shoe boxes covered with brown paper) and then they played “Pin the eyepatch on the pirate”.  After each activity/game, they were awarded pirate garb (bandanna, eye-patch and hook hand).  Thor had made a fabulous pirate map and after they had passed all their “pirate tests” we set up a treasure hunts for the kids.  The treasure went into their treasure boxes, of course.themap.jpgblogpost.JPG

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Mammogram recall time (with bonus fibroids!)

So it’s time for my 6 month recall for a mammogram.  If you were here back in September you saw my rather calm post here, detailing the situation.  I re-read the post and can’t believe how the hysteria associated with it all didn’t come through.

This time around, I’m not nearly as worried about the mammogram as I was before because I was lucky enough to go to the doc for an irregular period and was told (after the appropriate tests) that I have fibroids on my uterus.  I was quite surprised.  I honestly went in for the test results thinking that whatever it was, my doc would probably put me on the Pill and that would be the end of my irregular period.  No such luck.  Instead I get to be referred to a gynecologist and their office wants me to have another test.  An invasive test that sounds scary and painful (hysterosonogram). Fuck.

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Daniel Craig is still Bond, Hottie Bond.

Just in case you thought this goddess had gotten over her girlie crush on Daniel Craig, um, yeah, you would be mistaken.  It’s not that I’m obsessing or anything (Aphrodite has not inflamed me with stalker-like lust) but I have been patiently waiting the release of Casino Royale on DVD.  By 10:15 on the 13th (release date!) I had a copy securely in my hands.  By 11pm on the 14th I had managed to get a copy ripped and stored on my iPod.  Plus I had seen the movie at least 3 times.   While I’m still admiring His Hotness, there’s something to be said for seeing him on the big screen vs the iPods itty bitty screen.  It’s hard to be larger than life when you’re on a 2.5 inch (diagonal) display.

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Mazda 5: Zoom Zoom Zoom

I mentioned here that we were looking at the Mazda 5 as a replacement vehicle for our current minivan.  Our minivan is one of the big ones (a Toyota Sienna) and since the Mazda 5 is considerably smaller than that, I asked for (and received) a Mazda 5 to drive for an entire day.  So, today was “Mazda 5 test drive day” in our world.

Here’s my report card:

Seat Position: A+.  I’m somewhat vertically challenged and in most cars I have to sit very close to the steering wheel.  This is a small concern when you read about the dangers of air bags going off in close proximity to drivers.  In the Mazda 5, I sit far enough away that my arms are almost straight and yet, I can easily reach the audio/heat/ac controls.  It’s great.  Zoom.

Audio Controls: A+.  In our Sienna, I have to lean out of my seat a little bit every time I want to change volume/radio station/cd track.  This doesn’t sound like a big deal but Thor Jr and Little Athena are still at the ages when they like to hear the same cd tracks over and over and over and over again.  Louder and louder and softer and softer and louder again.  So I spend a lot of time fiddling with audio controls and leaning out of my seat to make adjustments.  Once or twice is okay.  15 times in as many minutes has become quite annoying.  In the Mazda 5, not only can I reach the adjustments easily but…there are audio controls on the steering wheel!  Whoo hooo baby!  I used those so frequently today that I now have them memorized.  I told Thor the only problem I saw with the Mazda 5 was that after our lease is up in 4 years, I’m going to want another vehicle with audio controls on the steering wheel because they are a beautiful thing.  Zoom zoom.

Handling: A+.  Sporty like my old Golf.  Bigger like our Sienna but not quite as large.  It’s like my VW Golf mated with our Sienna and the byproduct is the Mazda 5.  I was able to turn the Mazda 5 on a dime and park it with ease in spots I would have had to to struggle to maneouvre the Sienna into.

Horse power/responsiveness: A.  The Mazda 5 doesn’t have as many horses under the hood as the Sienna and it showed.  At the same time, I don’t know that I need all that power in the Sienna to begin with.  This isn’t a complaint, just something I noticed.  The Mazda wasn’t unresponsive or sluggish but there did seem to be a little kick that was missing.  I also had an automatic model as my test vehicle today and I want a manual transmission.  I’m hoping that will remove the feeling I had.  As I type this, Thor is reading over my shoulder and he commented that there are times he feels the Sienna is sluggish and thinks the only thing I was noticing today was the difference in horsepower.  Having said all of this, I took the Mazda out on the highway and we were able to keep up with (and pass) the big kids, without any significant effort.

Noise: A.  When we took the Mazda on the highway I didn’t have to adjust the audio volume and could still hear the radio.  Normally in the Sienna, I’m prompted by my two offspring to “turn it up please Mommy” (see audio adjustment comments above!).  Thor was seriously listening for everything he could because he’s one of those drivers that pulls over when he hears a squeak so he can see if he can fix it.  Okay, not really.  But he did come back from his solo test drive saying he heard a whistle from the auxiliary belt when the car was idling.  I think he’s nuts but I still love him and recognize that if he heard it, someone else might too.

Cargo space/3rd row of seats: A.  We didn’t actually test the 3rd row of seats with a borrowed child today.  I wanted to, but this time Thor thought I was nuts and didn’t want to have to explain to our friends why we wanted to borrow their child.  As far as the cargo space is concerned, it easily held 2 car seats (the size for kids 20-40 lbs) and then later, held 2 bins full of groceries.  This was with the 3rd row of seats flat.  I did realize that if we take any trips to the zoo, I didn’t think I’d have room for a wagon and 3 kids (sometimes we like to take one of Thor Jr or Little Athena’s friends with us).  There are work-arounds to that (ie. rent a wagon at the zoo) and so I’m not stressing about it.  Things might be different if we were still in that stroller phase of life but with kids aged 4 (Happy Birthday!) and 7 (Happy Birthday!), we’ve left that stage behind and are weaning ourselves off the wagon stage too.  It also helps that we’re ending that “we’re in the van and so the kids need to eat/drink” stage.  In the Sienna they’ve got room for a bag for all their food garbage plus a small lunch bag with their snack.  In the Mazda, things will be a little different.  But I think we’ll be okay.

 Likeability: A+.  Thor Jr: “I love it!”.  Little Athena: “I love the Mazda 5 Mama”.  Thor: “I’m over the moon.  We’ll be saving $100 bucks a month.”  The kids loved the little “secret compartments” (one of the middle seats flips up to reveal a flip-up table that goes between the 2 middle seats).  There were enough drink holders for everyone today and even a storage spot for my chapstick.

All in all: A+.  Zoom zoom zoom!!

We’ll get the car in July.  Just in time for our annual camping trip.  Think I’ll miss the Sienna much then?

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RIP Palm Pilot, Hellooooo iPod!

My Palm Pilot is dying a slow and painful death.  After 6 or so years, the battery appears to be shot.  It lasts about 5 minutes at a time and then flashes it’s ominous “place unit on cradle immediately to recharge!” warning.  It turns out, it’s bloody expensive to have a new battery installed in your Palm.  It will cost  $235 CDN if the repair is called in and $199 if the repair is requested via the net.   If I send my Palm in for repair, I’ll also have to pay shipping.  Chances are also good that I will receive a refurbished unit to replace my unit.  So far, I’m not impressed.  At futureshop.ca, I can score a new Palm (albeit, a low end model) for $149.   But I don’t particularly want to spend $149 right now.

Which leads me to the iPod.  Out of the blue, for what was either no reason at all or a belated birthday present, I received a brand-spanking new iPod 80G video unit. Wowie Zowie.  I managed to get my iPod all loaded up (900 songs so far) and found out it will sync with Outlook contacts and calendar.  Hmmmm, maybe this will solve my dead Palm problem.  So, after who knows how many hours sync’ing and loading and installing, I ditched Outlook Express and am now running Outlook, complete with calendar and contacts!  After laboriously loading and entering contacts, my iPod now contains all of my contacts.  But I haven’t switched my calendar over just yet.  Because I realized that while I can carry all this information around with me in my iPod, I don’t have a funky skin or carry case to keep it scratch-free I can’t actually input any new calendar information into it while I’m on the go.  Enter, the Motorola V360.

I recently found out that I’m eligible for a free phone upgrade for every year that I’m with my carrier.  It turns out that I could have had a new phone about a year ago.  I don’t *need* a new phone.  A little history is needed here.  Shortly after I signed up with the carrier and received a fabulous, sleek, gorgeous phone, Thor decided to wash my phone in the laundry.  He washed my phone!  Ah, but that was a long time ago and I really need to get over it.  Anyway, my A#1 phone was replaced with a piece of junk and I’ve been longing for a phone that does everything my old phone did (ie. speakerphone – I’m a simple person, really!) ever since.  Enter the phone upgrade and the Motorola V360.  I love my new phone.  It’s got a speakerphone!  It has a camera!  Both of these features were on the phone that landed in the washing machine.  I’m so happy!  Plus, the V360 has an MP3 player.  And it captures/sends/plays video!  Who hoo!  It will also sync (with the right software) with Outlook calendar and contacts.  So, technically speaking, it could be the new recipient of all of that information.  And I can enter calendar information on it, on the go.  However, that will probably be quite painful.  Pressing 111, 222, 333 etc to type in a doctor’s appointment would be enough to make me stop, write it down and transcribe it into my computer at night, just to sync it to whichever device I choose to use (ie. iPod or V360).

So, I have options to replace my beloved Palm.  Neither are perfect.  I don’t think that I need 3 devices to carry all of this duplicate information around.  Maybe I should just ditch all of them and get a Moto Q…  Nah, I’d rather spend my money on some cool skins for my new iPod!

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Is rehab the new black?

Without paying too much more tribute to the media fiasco that is Britney Spears, I do want to post about rehab.

It seems to me there’s a lot of rehab going on.  When did it get to this point?  Whatever happened to just booking an appointment with a shrink and paying them to listen to your troubles?  I understand that there’s a lot going on that none of us will ever know about in the lives of these celebrities but I don’t understand how at the age of (how old is Lindsay Lohan?) 20 something, someone finds themselves in a position where they are swearing off booze (among other things).  At the age of 20 something, how bad can things be that you need to go to rehab and not just remove yourself from the party scene for a little while?

While I do patronize the online gossip rags, I’m seriously thinking about stopping.  Not because of what they’re covering so much as I do think they contribute to some of the troubles these celebs have.  I also think they’re contributing to our culture of celebrity.  Fame seems to be an aspiration that too many of our children have and frankly, we need more plumbers, doctors, electricians, teachers and middle management (can’t forget those guys/gals!) than we do celebrities.

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My muse (for now)

As I sit here struggling through my final term paper this year, I pop on my headphones and boot up my jukebox to listen to 55 Sarah McLachlan songs and I’m happy.  I’m still struggling through this paper but something about listening to her sing brings out the writer in me.  Which segues nicely into my appearance here. I’m not really struggling right now – I’m procrastinating!  I’ve been stumped for ideas about writing lately and so, not having anything nice to blog I opted not to blog anything at all.  Not that I had ‘not-nice’ things to say.  It was more like a void.  Filled now with glorious sounds of Sarah.  If you find yourself staring at your computer screen, wondering just what the meaning of the vampire myth is, as written by Bram Stoker, for your mythology class, pop on some tunes and see if it can bring the un-dead to life.

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