Wednesday, May 28, 2008

No More Sneezing in my Salad!

You know how it is when you're sooo excited to eat some delicious naughty thing, maybe fast food or maybe just at a restaurant, and then you see your server sniff mightily? Wipe their nose on their sleeve? Sneeze as they walk from your table?

And then you think, "Do I eat this? Crap... I paid for it, I'm so hungry, I'm going to take a chance here, but..." and then the fun of it is all drained away and you're just hoping that your immune system is in full working order.

Well, if most workers had paid sick days, they wouldn't chance your health OR their own by coming in to work. They'd be able to stay home, get well and not worry about losing their wage or even their jobs. And you wouldn't have to worry about gross germs spreading in your food (or by your kid's daycare provider). Sounds reasonable, right?

Except that most workers don't get a chance to earn paid sick days. BUT we can change that right now!

Here's the latest from MomsRising (this is the CA version but here is the version for the whole country, supporting the Healthy Families Act):

Dear California Member,

Great news! Thanks in part to the fabulous orange-o-grams you sent to your California legislators, the Assembly Appropriations Committee reported the Sick Days bill out for a full vote by the California Assembly! This is a tremendous step forward.

Things are moving quickly now. In fact, the California Assembly may vote on the Paid Sick Days bill today, and they need to hear from you!

Ask your representatives to vote YES now!

Why are paid sick days so important? Two big reasons -- public health and family stability. Did you know that 86% of service sector employees (that includes cooks and waiters) don't have a single paid sick day? And, all told almost 6 million workers in California do not get a single paid sick day.

For parents without sick days, a child's ear infection or case of the flu can mean no money for rent or food on the table...or even losing a job. This is why day care centers and other workplaces are hotbeds for spreading disease-- when people get sick, they have no options. This legislation also covers victims of domestic violence who could use paid sick days to care for their physical, psychological, and legal needs.

The bottom line is that California's working people need paid sick days to recover from illness and take care of their sick kids without endangering public health or risking their jobs.

The more of us who let the legislature know we need this policy, the better chance we have of passing it. Forward this email to friends and family today so they can take action too.

And, don't forget to tell your Assemblymember to vote YES on Paid Sick Days today!

Thank you!
--Katie, Kristin, and the Team

P.S. Check out this great piece from the Sacramento Bee about the benefits of Paid Sick Days

makeup and your kid

I love EWG (Environmental Working Group). (BTW, that's a link to their site for parents.) They are the ones who brought us the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, which is just awesome if you're looking to find out what makeup and personal care products are *really* the best ones for you (and which are just a sham).

They have this sensible little blog post on letting your kids play with makeup. They're going to be curious about it... especially if they're like Paloma, and have seen adults applying lip gloss and the like since, oh, about hour one of their lives.

So how to ensure they're not swallowing/absorbing all the lead, phthalates and whatnot? Come up with clever substitutions of course (wouldn't be a bad thing for me to keep in mind, either). Don't be fooled by cosmetics labeled "for kids." It's not safer.

It sucks, but there is zero regulation on most personal care stuff, and most companies can and do put all sorts of truly bad chemicals in there to make the product "perform" (e.g., causing the product to penetrate your skin more deeply, or be more sudsy, etc.). It's not like the stuff vanishes... usually it gets absorbed.

I still use lipstick, gloss, sunscreen, lotion. I firmly believe we have to live in the world and not be paranoid, but the facts are the facts-- some of this stuff is linked to cancer, most of it was *not* around when we were in utero or kids, and none of it is regulated. So get smart, consumers! Some brands are better than others. As usual in the US, yer on yer own (Clint Eastwood squinty eyes). But if you can read and have access to that Skin Deep database, you're ahead of the game.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I don't have a shoe fetish, but apparently my daughter has quite an interest. And I'm starting to catch it, so I tried on (and bought!) these beauties at a lovely small Berkeley boutique:

They also have (well, had until I wore them) these awesome soles:

And she came right up and poked them and said "OooOOooo!" She's really into shoes. It could be because we have her wear shoes outside, so she associates putting them on with getting to go play.

I also got her a new pair of sandals. They're See Kai Runs (the most delicious kids shoes), style Jacob. (Yep, they're for boys, but totally look gender neutral in orange and green. And they went beautifully with her clothes!)

Here she is in all her funky, fabulous glory:

I realized I like shopping at small shops much more than at big box dept stores. There's often hand made things of gorgeous quality. At riki in Berkeley, one of the buyers was there and talked with us about the designer who owns the store. She knew the artists who made the jewelry and the people who made the clothes. And the stuff is just more interesting. Obviously, one can't buy a ton of stuff (unless one is super wealthy), but I'd rather buy one thing I totally love and will wear and feel good about than a bucketful of crap. If there's a lesson for Minkie in all this, I'd like it to be that.

Or, if we're skipping the lesson for today, I'm just glad she's out and about, enjoying playing in her gorgeous, comfy new sandals.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

why it matters to me that gay couples can legally marry in CA

This just in: The CA Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage is constitutional. The ruling doesn't go into effect for 30 days, but according to this SF Chron article, couples are already lining up appointments at the City Clerk's office.

Why am I, as a straight woman married to a straight man, writing about this? Because not long ago, I wouldn't have been able to marry him. I'm a woman of color, and he is Caucasian. There are places in the United States where we would not have been able to marry as recently as 1967, when the US Supreme Court overturned the remaining anti-miscegenation laws in the beautiful Loving v. Virginia decision.

Mildred Loving recently passed away on May 2. Her obituary in the New York Times describes how the couple's marriage certificate was hanging on the wall when the Virginia police entered their bedroom at 5:30 AM-- and told them it wasn't valid in Virginia because it was issued in Washington D.C.

That happened just ten short years before I was born. Now I'm not saying having the right to marry makes everything perfect-- we still get our share of looks depending on where we are. But if I couldn't marry him at all-- and our right to marry is recent enough that I can imagine it-- it'd be crushing. To not be able to be legally with the one person in the world who understands me and loves me best-- well, I just give deep thanks to all the interracial couples who came before us, on whose shoulders we stand.

This signals to me the next thing to fight for-- a US Supreme Court decision that overturns marriage inequality throughout the U.S. I know, it's a ridiculous thing to consider in this era of the Court.

But I can easily imagine a time when I would have been like Mildred Loving, just asleep in my bed with my spouse like millions of other couples in the world, when police come in to tell me I'm a lawbreaker.

We read from Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the MA decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry, during our wedding ceremony (in a United Methodist church) because this is so important to us. All of us, whether same-race couples or interracial couples, straight or gay, deserve the right to choose our life partners and maintain that relationship in full view and with full support of the law-- and of each other.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

my preciousssss...

I couldn't resist the stupid blog title-- even though I was bored to tears (almost literally) during Lord of the Rings. (and now I am putting the fire extinguisher by the comments section...)

Here's a blurry pic of the ring, as requested! (The pic, not the blurriness.) It's under my wedding band because it's a tiny bit big. Eternity bands are quite hard to resize, so I'm keeping it as is.

You can't really see the sparkle, but it's there! 38 tiny diamonds. It is Way Too Fun.

In less fun news, our car got broken into last night. Apparently there was a rash of car break ins on our quiet, fairly well-to-do suburban street. Strangely, nothing was taken. Not even $4 in cash for emergency bridge toll. Or CDs.

It was so funny- a police officer came over to take the report (I thought they'd just do it on the phone!). He didn't even blink when I told him what was in the car (the $4, the CDs). He said, "It's very good you didn't leave things of value in there, like wallets or purses or an iPod."

Derek and I laughed and laughed about that when I called him at work to tell him. Yep, our "valuables" are apparently worthless to a thief. CDs? The thief probably had to take a moment to contain his own laughter. Our Alpine CD player? The face and radio were totally ignored. $4? Do people even use cash anymore??

My mom, though, was a little panicked and thinks my dad will be, too. Sigh- I lived in DC where my window was smashed in for the radio and a few CDs (in 2002). I lived in Berkeley where things get jacked all the time. Eh, you learn to be a little less precious(ssss) about stuff. No big thing.

Ok, but I have to end with a sweet moment. Pregnancy this time around hasn't produced quite as dewy skin as last time, and I have a zit on my cheek. Apparently this is novel to Minkie, because I was holding her and she stared at it... pointed at it... stared at it some more...

And then put her arms around me and KISSED my cheek! I melted.

Monday, May 12, 2008

New pictures!! And, best Mother's Day ever.

YAY!! I finally got new rechargeable batteries for the camera, so I went crazy with the photography and video-making this weekend. Just in time for Mother's Day!

But first I have to share what an incredible spouse I have. On Mother's Day we both awoke when Paloma did, around 8 am. And he handed me a little box.

I thought it'd be a tiny box of chocolates or something. I have to also tell you that I *always* talk about loving sparkly, elegant jewelry and then in the same breath talk about how I can't/shouldn't own it because I've learned so much about how heartbreaking mining practices are (if children dying from effluent pollution in the US, as well as in unsafe mines elsewhere, as well as in blood diamond wars doesn't break your heart, well...). Our wedding rings and my e-ring are antique/vintage, which I could deal with (even though I know it's still kind of supporting the industry, etc.).

Ok, but!!! I still love sparkly!!! (I still love lip gloss too, but try to buy paraben-free organic... I know so many other shoppers out there know exactly what I'm talking about!) But you know what? Last week I had to make a huge trip to SF for MomsRising, and was really dreading going alone. Derek came home early and came with me. And it was just... I can't explain why, but for some reason that was all my heart and soul needed that day, just to be with him, and somehow he was there. And I truly felt that I honestly got my Mother's Day gift.

Ok so!!! Now you know the context of me opening this little box. I thought, it couldn't be. But it was!!! It's a thin, gorgeous eternity diamond band! I *love* it. It's from a small independent jeweler in Berkeley. I can't help it-- the thing makes me smile. I can't believe it.

PLUS- he grilled for dinner (delicious) and was all-around wonderful, as always. For us, Mother's Day isn't about him doing the childcare or household stuff-- he helps out with that every single day. It was about doing something a little different and special-- but I hadn't expected a ring!! Yes, he is real. But I still have to pinch myself that my marriage is this good.

Anyhoo! Photos!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Miley Cyrus... aaaaand??

Ok, I am the only who isn't finding these photos of Cyrus to be a big deal? Let me say up front that I'm a mom of a toddler girl, and I wouldn't be thrilled to find her, say, as a 14 year old on the cover of New York mag in her little white undies. (shudder)

But somehow, the one shot of Cyrus with the bedsheet around her except for her bare back didn't make think, "Yikes." I really thought, huh, she's as covered up as most girls who wear backless halter tops and jeans. The implication of the sheet and the bedhead hair is another thing, true. But on the whole, I just couldn't get worked up about it.

(And as a person with a deep green environmental heart, it saddened me to admit that last month's Green Issue was kind of a snooze to me. The Madonna cover was gorgeous, but... I wasn't convinced she was the best cover model for this issue. Sigh.)

I've seen her show "Hannah Montana" exactly once, and I wasn't blown away by the acting or anything. But we're talking Disney Channel here, not NOVA or Masterpiece Theatre. Eh, I can see how it'd appeal to the tweeners. But I'm hard pressed to see what it's doing in VF.

Well, on to the next article!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

a few days early but....

Our MomsRising Mother's Day e-card is so darn cute, I wanted to share it early so you have the chance to send it to all the cool mamas in your life.