Friday, May 24, 2013

Super-Cool to Super-Sad

So, there's a "trick" we used to impress guests with when we lived in Utah.  Something we can't seem to make work out here, and I'm wondering if it's the humidity?

The trick?

Turning liquid water to ice in seconds by just shaking the water bottle.  

It's a wonderful trick we stumbled upon by accident, and it involves "super-cooled" water.

You see, ice requires flaws or imperfections in order to form crystals.  Once one crystal forms, others can form atop it, but there has to be that initial imperfection.  Inside water bottles, there sometimes isn't the necessary surface imperfection necessary for ice formation, so the water, while it is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 celsius), remains liquid.  However, if you take that bottle and shake it vigorously or slam it down on a tabletop?  It becomes ice.


Not solid ice, but it becomes slushy and chunky.  It's been a great source of joy, was a wonderful science lesson for our boy when we discovered it, and we haven't been able to get it to work since we moved to the east coast. 

 Regardless of where you are, you should try it.  If you have some idea why we can't  replicate it here, drop me a note!


The following came across my wall the other day, and I found it . . . irritating.  Pat, lazy, pandering.  Stupid.  

I know, tell you how I really feel.

Here it is:

To the mom who's breastfeeding: Way to go! It really is an amazing gift to give your baby, for any amount of time that you can manage! You're a good mom. 

To the mom who's formula feeding: Isn't science amazing? To think there was a time when a baby with a mother who couldn't produce enough would suffer, but now? Better living through chemistry! You're a good mom.

To the cloth diapering mom: Fluffy bums are the cutest, and so friendly on the bank account. You're a good mom.

To the disposable diapering mom: Damn those things hold a lot, and it's excellent to not worry about leakage and laundry! You're a good mom.

To the mom who stays home: I can imagine it isn't easy doing what you do, but to spend those precious years with your babies must be amazing. You're a good mom.

To the mom who works: It's wonderful that you're sticking to your career, you're a positive role model for your children in so many ways, it's fantastic. You're a good mom.

To the mom who had to feed her kids from the drive thru all week because you're too worn out to cook or go grocery shopping: You're feeding your kids, and hey, I bet they aren't complaining! Sometimes sanity can indeed be found in a red box with a big yellow M on it. You're a good mom.

To the mom who gave her kids a homecooked breakfast lunch and dinner for the past week: Excellent! Good nutrition is important, and they're learning to enjoy healthy foods at an early age, a boon for the rest of their lives. You're a good mom.

To the mom with the kids who are sitting quietly and using their manners in the fancy restaurant: Kudos, it takes a lot to maintain order with children in a place where they can't run around. You're a good mom.

To the mom with the toddler having a meltdown in the cereal aisle: they always seem to pick the most embarrassing places to lose their minds don't they? We've all been through it. You're a good mom.

To the moms who judge other moms for ANY of the above? Glass houses, friend. Glass houses.

Okay, you know what?  Spare me the "What to Expect When Expecting" garbage that presents every parenting choice as equally good, equally desirable or admirable.


No.  Is a woman who chooses to formula feed, either because she can't be bothered (I've SEEN that in my own family), because she doesn't have access to the tools necessary for pumping at work,  or because she accepts crappy advice instead of educating herself a BAD mom?

Of course not.  But has she made a subpar decision that affects her child's health?

You betcha.  Let's not whitewash that.  We climb all over women who smoke, who drink, who do drugs, who gain too much weight, who do myriad "bad" things during pregnancy; things we know aren't good for the baby-to-be.  But when it comes to breastfeeding, which reduces the risk of a wide variety of ailments (including obesity and various cancers) and saves us, on average, thousands per child in medical costs, we're silent.  We whine about "personal choice" and call people who advocate breastfeeding "Nazis."  


And to the mom who's feeding her kid fast food from the drive-through every night because she hasn't gone shopping and doesn't feel like cooking?

You may be a "good mom," but you're making a crappy decision that damages your kids and determines LIFELONG dietary habits and choices.  

We ALL, every one of us, screw up the parenting thing sometimes.  But this back-patting, hand-holding, "all choices and actions are equal" crap really sticks in my craw.  All choices AREN'T equal, and seeking justification for crap choices and offering the congratulatory "You're a good mom!" thing is . . . 

Lazy.  It's lazy, and it takes away any incentive to make better choices.  Heck, it's misleading, it portrays lousy choices as equal choices, which really dings people's understanding of important parenting/health issues. 

Sometimes we're "good moms" DESPITE our actions, not because of them.  And yeah, that includes impatient-mom here who, more often than she's proud to admit, is short, terse, or lacking the patience she wishes she had.  I work on it, but if someone were to say to me, "You're impatient, you have to struggle to listen sometimes, you rush your child through some things because you don't want to have to deal with it?  You're a good mom," I'd scream in their stupid face.  Of all the vapid, dull things to say.  I may be a good mom, but, like I said, it's despite my shortcomings, not because of them, so don't pat me on the back and pretend my bad points are good ones.


So, I've been eating a bit of dark chocolate every day.  Between fifty and sixty grams.  While it's been a pleasant form of medical intervention, it is, point of fact, medical.  Here, check this out:  

So, I've been trying different dark chocolates, making sure that they're at least 70% cocoa, and checking that they don't contain processed sugars, additional oils, and rejecting any that have been "alkalized" or "Dutch processed."  In the process of trying out different chocolates (Newman's Own, Green and Black, Endangered Species), I was reminded of an experience hubby and I had early on, back in--oh, maybe 1995?

We were doing the road trip gig, and had wandered along the string of old mining towns that dot central and northern California.  When we came to Hornitos, which sits spang between Modesto, Merced, and Yosemite, we stumbled upon a bit of a treasure.  No, not just the cemetery (from which the town gets its name).  No, we stumbled upon Domingo (aka Dominico) Ghirardelli's store.  


Apparently, Mr. Ghirardelli, an Italian who had been making chocolate for a while down in South America (and tried his hand at selling chocolate in San Francisco), decided to strike out toward California in 1849 and, according to some, try his luck at mining.  

Turned out, Mr. Ghirardelli wasn't much of a miner, so he opened a general store, which included a confectionary.  Where he, once again, took to making chocolate.

There's a plaque there, put up when the folks at Ghirardelli bought the site back in the 1920s or so. 

In case you're wondering, no, I'm not eating any Ghirardelli dark chocolate as part of my health thing.  I like Ghirardelli, which is now owned by Lindt (which, sadly, may wind up being acquired by Nestle), but their chocolates have always struck me as more dessert rather than health snack, though I suppose I should have another look at their ingredients and processing.


And my final thing today?  Is a plea--fix this.  Please, let's fix this.  Because this is terrible, and this leads to feelings and ideas that last a lifetime.  Please.  

1 comment:

  1. Yay for chocolate! A while back, one of my friends started buying cocoa nibs from the ethnic aisle at Harmon's and roasting them in the oven. They tasted great, have fiber! and satisfied a chocolate craving instantly. Within a month, they stopped carrying the nibs at Harmon's and we haven't been able to find them anywhere locally. I'm thinking I should find a source online and order them. Good and healthy.