Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday Goodness

I have been wanting to say this all week.

We're coming up on summer now.  Mr. Wild, still in his new job, me in mine and we're back to, oh, no, we're two working parents, what do we do with the kids?

Fortunately, a great friend of mine was thinking about taking on watching kids during the summer.  Her kids and our kids are almost like cousins.  Breathe sigh of relief.

But that's not the real story.  The real story is that when we went out for ice cream on Sunday and met up at the park, my dear boy Andrew somehow got his knee stuck in some of the metal equipment.  Mr. Wild was not seeing how to get him released.  He was ready to call 911.  My friend, very calmly, coolly and collectedly told Andrew to take his shoe off, then she picked him up and held him and coached him how to turn his leg until he was free.  No 911, no tears, no fuss, no muss.  If I hadn't already had her watching my kids, that was a perfect moment to show how perfect she was for the job.  I don't think I properly thanked her.

Thank you so much!  I can't even express how it made me feel.

She knows who she is.

In addition, I found out that Water for Elephants is becoming a movie.  Funny thing to me is that the lead actor appears to look an awful lot like that vampire kid.  Oh wait, that's cause he is.

Hunh, I thought he would be tall and lanky.  Is Robert Pattinson tall and lanky?  I really don't remember.

Anyone else have something for Thursday Goodness?  Leave a comment.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts--Too Darn Hot!

What happened to spring?  When it says 77 degrees on my car thermometer on the way to work before 8 am and it is humid already, ugh!  It's too darn hot!

We sang this song in our high school show choir (this is not my show choir!  I am way older than that).  In our version, we really sped it up.  I liked our version better.

With this heat, out comes my iced coffees.  I make a large pot, let it cool down, equal parts milk and coffee, a splash of vanilla flavoring, ice, and voila, my summer drink.  Cheaper than $3 at the local coffee shop.  The extra coffee goes in a container in the fridge so that I have cool caffeinated drinks all week.  I can't drink cokes before 10 am.  It's not right.

Speaking of coffee, how did our ancestors, so long ago, figure out it was good to drink?  You have to roast the beans, then grind them up, then boil them in water, or pour boiling water over it.  The resultant sludge is not all that appetizing to look at.  And drinking coffee straight is really a very acquired taste.  For that matter, how did they figure out to make tea, beer, or wine?  All of these take some processing.  There had to be a lot of coincidence and accidents to make the results worth drinking.  Just kind of fascinating to think about the accidents and what would possess anyone to try the liquid.

Is it a bad thing when your knee makes a popping sound?  Should I have it looked at?  Should I not be using the arc trainers at the gym?  Maybe I just need some glucosomine.

At one time in my life, I thought I was a big city girl.  My hometown, while not tiny small, felt a little too small for my young tastes.  I swore I had to live in a big city.  I did during part of my grad school.  The next closest I came was living in the Chicago suburbs.  But suddenly, after having kids, I realized I never took advantage of the city's culture, even though it was "right there."  I dreaded the morning commute (5 miles=20-30 minutes, ok, not bad, but in the grand scheme of things, pretty slow for 5 miles), I got tired of the traffic and driving everywhere we needed to go.  We decided to move to a smaller town for our kids.  I think I'm a small town girl now.  My husband met people through a library playgroup with our daughter and we've got a fun circle of friends to hang with now.  And that I wouldn't trade for anything else.  I don't need to go to large museums or concerts or shows to have a good time with friends.  Our kids can walk to school safely and we see and know a lot of people around town.  It's a nice feeling.  I don't miss the big city.  I don't really even care about it.  How can a person's tastes change so much?

In addition to all this, we've been fighting a gastrointestinal bug at our house.  Me and Mr. Wild have been tag teaming watching the sick kid.  I am hoping we are at the end of it and he and I don't catch it.  Lots of hand washing.

How was that for random?  Check out the UnMom by clicking the button below.


Have a good Tuesday!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


You'd think I was the one with the dance recital this weekend.

Why am I awake at 3 am?

Good question.

I'm trying to keep everything straight in my head.  Make sure my plan of action is going to work.  We have to be at the recital location (20 minutes away) for rehearsal by 10 am.  Maybe I don't need to start her hair that early.

Start her hair?

Yeah, I am going a little crazy with the dress rehearsal.  She's performing to the song, "Good Ship Lollipop."  And, of course, I have decided to make her a bunch of, you guessed it, Shirley Temple curls.  We did a dry run the other night.  I was going to put her hair in curlers, but I was worried she wouldn't be able to sleep the night before.  Instead I decided to pull out my old curling irons.  They still run after all these years.  I have a big size and a tiny size.  Both were handy.

Here's the dry run:

(Good thing I checked the camera, because I discovered the mini card was missing and had to go searching for it.  It's found and all is in place now and I should be ready for tomorrow.)

She's wearing jammies, except the hat is part of the costume, in case you were wondering.  She really likes the curls.

So, after she arrives 15 minutes early, gets her individual and group picture taken, she rehearses at 10:30 am (she's early in the show).  Then we quick change and drive back to try to get in the last of soccer at 11 am. (I don't know how this will work)  The boy also has a soccer game at 11 am.  Then we eat lunch, change again and run back to the auditorium for rehearsal for the next dance by 2:30 pm.  The rehearsal part is at 3:00 pm.  I have to bring the boy with me, because Mr. Wild is working in the afternoon.  I think I'm obsessing too much.  These extracurricular activities should not cause me to lose sleep.

After that, I should be able to take a breather.  Dance recital day is not as worrisome.  I hope all goes well.  I need to get some sleep though.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday Goodness

Here's a little tasty treat, which I found by way of Random Tuesdays and Captain Dumbass.

So much linking goodness, in case you didn't wander by eventually.

Jim makes pancakes for his three year old daughter.  They look pretty amazing and run from engineering feats, to resembling other foods, to jewelry.  It made me smile during a pretty rough day.

Check it out at

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Random Tuesday, the Grrrr....edition

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, it's warming up nicely outside, and I left the house in a foul mood today.  Nothing and nobody in particular, just so much piling up and I was ready to explode.

That's right, it's Random Tuesday Thoughts.


Wish it wasn't a cloudy day in my head.

Why do I get to be the human PDA?  I have to remember bills due, ball games, recitals, rehearsals, swim lessons.  I have to remember meetings and sometimes ones Mr. Wild has at his own work.  I have to remember to get things for my staff, who is gone today, who is in today, who is subbing for whom, whether someone is out sick.  The last straw was that while I was getting ready upstairs, Mr. Wild did not call the school office to report the oldest being ill.  So I come downstairs, hoping to leave right away and finding out I need to do one more thing, other than get ready for leaving for work.  Granted he was staying with the sick kid today.  Granted he was starting to get ready to mop the floor and had put the dirty dishes away and in the dishwasher and started it.  But those things could have waited a couple of minutes while he made the call before school started.  Yes, I did not tell him to do it specifically, but nobody tells me to do it specifically.  So why does it have to be me doing it?  Or remembering to tell somebody to do it?


I do this to myself, this craziness with the kids in the spring.  I let them take dance and soccer and swimming all in the same season.  About now is when I kick myself for signing up for all that crap extra-curricular stuff.  I know the girl is loving it.  She got picked for the teacher's award in her class, of which I'm so proud, and she gets to do an extra dance, of which I'm also so proud.  I know she feels very excited about it and special.  But that means this weekend is insane.  Rehearsal at 9:45 am, then we try to get back to soccer at 11 am.  I'm missing son's game at 10 am.  Then eat lunch and turn around to go back at 2 or 3 pm (I haven't checked those times to know for sure, yet).  Then Sunday we'll spend the morning getting ready, taking her to the recital at 1 pm for a 2 pm start time.  And all afternoon will be in that auditorium.  Which I don't mind really, but my weekend is shot.  Thank goodness swimming was done last weekend.

I hope these kids really enjoy what they're doing, because that's why I let them.


Back to work again.  Still not happy here, again.  Which is sad, because I think I could be happier if the Powers-that-be created a different environment.  Instead of this one.  So I was thinking about this feminist thing and how some feminists express the opinion that women "choose" to stay home because society still makes it easier for them to choose that and pushes them to "want" to stay home and take the traditional female role because society doesn't give us enough outs to make it easier for man or woman to choose what naturally works for them.  Which I think is only partially true.  I don't want to work anymore.  If I'm going to deal with personalities that act under age 10, I think I'd rather do it with people who really are under age 10.  Here's something for the feminist ladies (and I'm talking hard core, get out and work, don't betray the movement feminists) to chew on.  Maybe work doesn't fulfill all our needs either.  Mr. Wild is struggling with this himself.  He's not sure his career should be more important than his family.  Same goes for me.  Maybe he and I should move to a small farm and work the land together with our kids.  Get back to basics.  Then I wake up and smell the benefits and can't quite make that cut.


What I think I'd really like to be able to do.  Teach at a university, technical or community college or high school.  Without going back to school.  And make it part-time.  Have health care that I don't have to worry about due to changing or losing jobs.  Spend part of my time away from work planning and making decent healthy meals for my family.  Spend another part actually setting aside time for reading and writing.  And have enough money that my children can choose extracurricular activities they would like to do and get to do them.


Okay, I like living in the Midwest, and I know that means the farmers are out and about in their big tractors, but could we please not be driving on the roads when I have to get to work?  Like, maybe get up at dawn and be in the fields before I'm driving between 7:30 and 8:00 am?  I am grateful not to be driving in heavy traffic, but going 15 mph on a country road in a no-passing zone gets my blood boiling.


You know what?  Go visit the UnMom.  I'm sure there is better and much more positive randomness out there. (Though Keely seems to be on the same page as me about work....)

To balance this, I'll work on something for Thursday Goodness.  If you'd like to join me in that meme, leave a message here.  I might get all technical and add a Mister Linky and everything.  We all need pick me ups, the more, the merrier we will be.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mommy Wars? Where are the dads?

I was led to an interesting blog about someone on Facebook dissing a friend because she chose to stay at home and take care of her children after spending years in a university.   We all know that is so wrong every which way to Sunday.  No one should presume to know what's right for another person's children and lifestyle.  Then her article led me to her piece on Linda Hirschman, who, on the surface, seems to say that women who opt for the stay-at-home role are ruining the work of feminism by bowing down to male pressure to give up good jobs to stay at home.  This always gets me up in arms.  The so-called "Mommy Wars."  Because the options argued by women and among women are either, a) moms, you must stay at home with your kids or they will turn out bad and you are a bad mom, or b) moms, you must get out and work and use your talents or you will waste your education and brain by dealing with children all day.

This argument rages and rages and yet I never once see someone say, "My husband does 50-100% of the housework when we get home."  I never see anyone say, "Well, what does it mean if dad stays at home?  It's still a parent at home."  And did Betty Friedan talk about changing the role of the husband?  I don't know, I really need to read that book, but I'm betting it didn't get top billing if she did.

My theory is to level the playing field, men should have to stay home with their children for part of the baby or toddler years.  Women need to make them change diapers, watch the kids, be DADS, who are as present in their children's lives as working mothers make an effort to be.  3-5 years in the home should be enough.

Not so long ago, moms AND dads were at home.  This was called the family farm.  Dad was at home for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Sure dad might go out to the field, but he often took the children with him to help.  Mom might need some help in the house and with the critters she took care of.  Lots of give and take, adn back and forth.  Sure, there were defined roles, but I'll bet many a good marriage was a partnership with the man and woman worked TOGETHER to help the family survive and to care for the kids.

Feminism's ideals are not going to succeed until we get the men not just helping, but doing work at home and taking care of kids at home, whether they work or not.  And it starts with women expecting them to haul the change diapers, wash the clothes, kiss the boo-boos, play the games, do the dishes, make the dinner, and so on.  When the boys of those men see what they do, they will model that in their own marriage (we hope).  Change starts at home.  Your husband may not be a crack cook, but he can probably figure out the laundry.  Your wife may burn the cookies, but she may prefer to do the baths.  Who doesn't love doing the bedtime stories?  And kudos to the dads who choose to stay at home.  I know that's a very hard trend to buck and even harder when people ask you what you do.  I've seen and heard about the looks my husband got.  We wonder if some little friends weren't allowed to come over to play because HE was the stay-at-home person.  But what a great bond he developed with his kids.  And even though he's in the work world, the kids are everything to him and he misses us.  No late nights when he can avoid it.  And making dinner is so much easier when we each take a dish and do it together.

Once I was going to write a book.  Maybe I still need to.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday Goodness

We always can use a little pick me up.  This one is especially appropriate just after Mother's Day.
(originally found at MSNBC)

A mom’s voice is powerful medicine

Beloved sound soothes nerves – but can it pierce a coma?

By Linda Carroll contributor
updated 7:23 a.m. CT, Wed., May 12, 2010

Next time you feel anxious and tense, like a knot of nerves, instead of scheduling a massage or some time in the sun, you might want to call your mom.

A mother's voice has the power to settle jangled nerves and maybe even reach through the fog of a coma to bring a brain-injured patient back to consciousness, according to a pair of new experiments.

In a study published Wednesday, researchers from the University of Wisconsin — Madison, asked 61 girls and their moms to take part in an experiment to determine whether a voice could be as comforting as physical hugs and kisses. The girls, ages 7 to 12, were instructed to give a talk and then solve some math problems in front of a panel of judges — a situation, the researchers figured, that would make any kid’s heart pound and blood pressure rise. 

Before the girls gave their performances, the researchers measured the levels of two important and powerful hormones: oxytocin and cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that spikes during times of stress. Oxytocin is the bonding, or so-called “love,” hormone.
“It’s generally been assumed that there has to be physical contact for oxytocin to released,” said study co-author Seth Pollak, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin. “We were curious what would happen if the contact was only by phone.”
When the girls finished their presentations, they were sent to one of three rooms. In one, moms were waiting with hugs and kisses and warm reassurances of the girls’ success. “The moms came in and hugged the girls and stroked their hair,” Pollak said. “They’d reassure their daughters with words like ‘I’m sure you did fine. You always perform so well.’”

In another room, girls received phone calls from their mothers with verbal reassurances similar to those heard by the first group. A third group of girls didn’t meet up with their moms but were sent to watch the heart-warming movie “March of the Penguins.”
When the researchers later measured hormone levels, they found, not not surprisingly, oxytocin rose and cortisol fell in girls who had been in physical contact with their mothers. What was surprising was that the behavior of the hormones was almost identical in girls who had only spoken to their mothers on the phone.

Sweeter than a penguin movie
The girls who watched the movie saw no increase in oxytocin, while cortisol levels continued to be elevated an hour after the stressful performance.
“Oxytocin seems to put a cap on how high stress hormones can go,” Pollak says. “What tickled me about this study was that it goes against all the literature suggesting that you need to have physical contact for oxytocin levels to rise. But all that research was based on rodents.”

The study results may not apply to every mother-child pair. Pollak allows that when relationships are more complicated and there is tension involved, mom’s voice might not be so soothing.

“The reason we chose pre-pubertal children is that, for the most part, they still really do like to be comforted by their parents. As kids get older the relationship can get more complicated and strained.”
Pollak says he’d like to explore the effects of a mom’s voice in those complicated relationships in future research.

Mom is great for a lot of things.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Seven years

My sweet baby...

How fast time flies.

When you're having so much fun!

Mischief and shyness...

Rolled into one.

Dancing the night away, kicking up our heels...

and booty.

Used to be a curly mop top, enjoying bananas...

ponies, and pony castle cakes.  You love ponies...

You love friends.

You have a unique sense of style.

You still adore horses, and you can learn sewing with the generations of women in your family.

You love tea parties, like your mommy.

You love your second cousins.

And, of course, your first cousins.

You enjoyed Hawaii with your family.

You are growing up so fast, performing a big solo on your own in front of a large audience.

How can it be seven years already?

Happy Birthday, Sweet Pea!

And a great way to celebrate 200 posts!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts--A little rant

Keely at the UnMom is responsible for all this randomness.

Click the button.


Ok, a couple of things that might explain some things about education in the US:

I was reading an article about how the students in Finland come out on top.  The summary of it is that students are taught to be self-reliant, competition between students is minimized (no comparative tests, no wondering who has the best grades), they are in school less and do less homework than many of their European and US counterparts.  Consider this:

Finland downplays educational competition in a number of ways. Schools aren't ranked against each other, and teachers aren't threatened with formal reviews. At many schools, teachers don’t grade students until the fifth grade, and they aren’t forced to organize curriculum around standardized testing. Gifted students aren’t tracked into special programs, invited into honor societies, or chosen to be valedictorians. Instead, struggling students receive free extra tutoring. After ninth grade, students attend either an academic program (53%) or vocational one (47%) — this flexibility results in a 96% graduation rate, dwarfing the United States' measly 75%. Finally, since there are no private schools to speak of, there’s no sense that the best students are being skimmed off the top.

Overall, such attitudes go hand in hand with Finland’s socialist-style egalitarian society, which focuses on meting out fees and services according to need rather than merit. Even parking ticket penalties are determined according to income: A wealthy sausage factory heir was fined $204,000 for going 50 miles per hour in a 25-mph zone!

And teachers are well respected.  25% of the students want to be teachers in Finland and only 10-13% actually can become teachers.  Teachers are allowed to make and follow their own lesson plans and choose their own books, based on a loose national curriculum.  Teachers feel their work is creative and self-expressive.  They are paid well--$45-50 for elementary, $75-80 for secondary.  The gist of it is that the country of Finland is resource poor, so they have put their money behind what they can develop, the minds of their youth.  Even so, they only spend $7,500 per student and the US spends an average of $8,700.

Then, I saw an article about the worst paying college degrees.  Ahem!  Elementary education is considered the second worst paying, and education in general rates at seventh.  Can I just say that this country really does not care about education?  I think this country cares about making lots of money.  And if it's only a few people who make lots of money, so be it.  Many have worked hard to get there, but sometimes I think that salaries are out of whack.  Really, do professional sports players NEED to make millions?  Do movie actors and moguls also NEED to make millions?  Do top CEOs really NEED to make all that cash in bonuses and incentives on top of the salary they make?  I was just struck by these two articles I came across just minutes from each other.

My May is incredibly busy.  I have birthdays to remember, Mother's Day was in there (and it was nice by the way), events, recitals, soccer ball games, swim lessons (still), it's just one thing after another and I'm afraid I will forget something.  Well, I almost forgot my niece's one year birthday bash!  Sheesh!  She was born on Mother's Day last year, so I am sure her birthday will always be a challenge to remember along with all the Mother's Day cards I try to send out.

Oh, and just for those of you that think Mother's Day is just another Hallmark made up celebration.  In 1905 Anna Marie Jarvis wanted to celebrate her mother after she passed away on May 9 of that year.  In 1907 she had a Sunday service in honor of her mother in West Virginia, and a larger celebration occurred the next year on May 10th.  The year following, West Virginia declared it an official holiday and other states followed.  On May 9, 1914 Woodrow Wilson declared it a national holiday to honor those mothers who lost their sons in the war.  And so it continued.  Luckily for us, unlike Anna, we can honor our mothers while we and they are still around. And remember those that are not.  (Thanks to Wikipedia)

That's all for today, I have a big post for tomorrow.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Writing prompts--Mother's Day

I love it when teachers give their students writing prompts.  It gets my kids thinking.  Here's what the boy had to say about me:

If my mom were a flower, she would be a rose because they both look awesome.

If my mom were a song, she would be great day [an African American spiritual they learned with their artist-in-residence earlier this year] because she's full of spirit.

If my mom were a super hero, she would be Super Mom because she has a T-shirt about it.

If my mom were candy, she would be chocolate because they're both sweet.

If my mom were a car, she would be a race car because she goes place to place all the time real fast.

If my mom were a color, she would be green because it's her favorite color.

If my mom were an animal, she would be a dolphin because they're nice and gentle and she is too.

If my mom were a TV show, she would be a nature show because she likes to watch the leaves fall in the fall.

He's got some great insight.  I didn't realize I moved around fast all the time and it's wonderful to be called nice, gentle, sweet, and full of spirit.

The other thing he put in my homemade card was 11 pennies for eleven Mother's Days.

Dear daughter painted me two pictures, one of me swinging on a swing from a tree and the other of both of us riding a horse.  She didn't have writing prompts, but just wrote from the heart:

Dear: Mom,
I love you so much!
Thank you for the crazy Day Bars!  Thak you for makeing supr.
Love,: Willa

(The Crazy Day Bars are actually Lazy Day Bars, but I like her version)

Hope all the mothers out there had a lovely day.  I know I did.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday Feel Good

I need something to cheer me up today.  Things at work are fine, but the grind just wears you out, you know.  I read this story on Yahoo, as I was checking yet another email I own (way too many accounts, I swear.  Why do I do this to myself?)  I think we can all use a pick me up.

When Losing a Golf Tournament Really Makes You a Winner

By Shane Bacon

There are times to be competitive. Moments when all you want to do is humiliate your opponent as you defeat him. It's the nature of sports, and what our internal competition meters usually read.

That, we all know, is how athletes feel most of the time. But, at times, and these are few and far between, we see acts that defy wins and losses. A moment when a girl is brought in on crutches to score a layup to break a record or someone being carried around the field after she twisted her ankle rounding the bases. Opponents coming together to transcend the game.

That is what happened between two collegiate golfers, vying for a spot in the NAIA National Championship.

Grant Whybark (left), a sophomore at the University of St. Francis, had locked up a spot in nationals with his team, which won the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship, but was in a playoff against Olivet Nazarene's Seth Doran (right) for individual honors.

As championships go, both the winning team and winning individual are asked to move on to nationals, so if Whybark won the playoff against Doran, he'd be honoring both spots and Doran wouldn't be asked to move on.

What happened next is the type of stuff movies are made about. Whybark stood over his tee shot on the first playoff hole, looked down the fairway and back at his ball, and hit it 40 yards right of the fairway, out of bounds by a mile. He made double bogey, Doran made par, and Olivet Nazarene had a man in nationals.

What makes it so incredible? Whybark intentionally did it, because he felt Doran had earned a spot in the next round.

"We all know Seth very well," Whybark explains, "and he not only is a very good player, but a great person as well. He’s a senior and had never been to nationals. Somehow, it just wasn’t in my heart to try to knock him out.

"I think some people were surprised, but my team knew what I was doing and were supportive of me. I felt Seth deserved to go (to nationals) just as much as I did.

"It was one of those things where I couldn’t feel good taking something from him like this. My goal from the start was to get (to nationals) with my team. I had already done that."

Too many times we read about cheap shots or fights or cheaters, and it is stories like this that make it all seem petty. A golfer simply knew his place, was comfortable with where he was, and thought that a senior, playing in his final tournament as a collegiate golfer, had done enough to earn one more week with the game he loved.

I'm not a big believer in karma, and I'm sure the story won't end the way it should, but if Whybark somehow won nationals, it would make for a really nice screenplay.

Whybark did what most of us would never do, and although he is short a trophy in his case, he earned respect from anyone reading this story.

Nice shot, kiddo.

I hope my kids can make me as proud as I'm sure this boy made his parents feel.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Good salad: Random Tuesday Thoughts


Grab the button, visit the Un Mom, and see more randomness.

Or just read on here.

Ok, the family's new favorite salad (and when I say family, I mean me and Mr. Wild, because you know the kids ain't having none of this crunchy lettuce thing) is one of Jamie Oliver's recipes.  Yes, I know, surprise, surprise.  You know I've been totally into Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution of late.  But, it is really good salad.

4 scallions
• ½ a cucumber
• A handful of fresh basil leaves
• 2 small, just ripe avocados
• 1 butterhead lettuce
• Large handful sprouted cress or alfafa
• Optional 2 ounces Cheddar cheese
• Extra virgin oil
• Red wine vinegar
• English Mustard
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Get yourself a big chopping board and large sharp knife. It’s best to start by chopping the harder, crunchier veggies first, so trim and chop your scallions and slice your cucumber. Slice your basil. Bring it all into the center of the board and continue chopping and mixing together. Halve your avocados around the big pit. Carefully remove the pit and peel the skin off. Add the avocado flesh, lettuce leaves, and cress or alfafa to the board. Crumble over the cheese, if using and continue chopping. When everything is well chopped, you’ll have a big mound of salad on the board. Make a well in the middle and drizzle in 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Add a teaspoon of English mustard and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix up so everything gets well coater and serve on the board or in a bowl.

I haven't made it with fresh basil yet.  I can't find any! I will have to beg off of friends. And we go MUCH lighter on the oil.  Mr. Wild and I like vinegary flavors, so we cut the oil way back, about 2-1 oil to vinegar.  Even that seems a little heavy on the oil.  We also used dijon mustard, instead, because that was in my frig. I'm now desperate to try it with the fresh lettuce that will probably come in our community supported agriculture pack.  I cannot wait for green things out of the earth!

Also, this salad helped open a new world of foods to Mr. Wild.  He was leery about the avocado I put in it, but raved about it when we had it.  Then, yesterday, we made fresh guacamole.  He was mad I wasn't going to let him taste it and I said I thought he didn't like avocado.  He said, well, he wanted to try it.  Ok, so he did.  Then he said he was wrong, he did like guacamole.  Ha ha!  And he was sad I was taking it away to a gathering.  They (media, experts, I don't know who they are) always say you should have your kids cook with you, they are more likely to eat the food.  What about husbands?

More randomness.  This was passed on to me by a friend of mine:

Last night I was in a discussion about how it is important that parents not only state their beliefs and how they want to live, whether it is for health, or caring for the earth, or caring for others.  It is important that we help the generations that follow by really taking a look at how we live and start to make small changes in our own lives, encouraging our children to do so, showing them how you can make these changes a habit.  It is a joint effort, husbands need to be in on it, too.

So, I took a bike ride with my daughter.  I use reusable grocery bags and ask my kids to help me remember to take them.  I have made the decision to get vegetables from a local farmer for the summer.  (It didn't hurt that my health insurance had an incentive for it as well, via a reimbursement.)  I talk about high fructose corn syrup with my kids, then have them watch me read labels and make decisions.  I should have them help me cook our food and get into making yummy veggies.

They are such little steps, but I feel that we're making better choices.  At one time, I thought doing so little couldn't make a difference, but, if my kids grow up with those choices, and they teach their children similar things and add more good choices, we should see it grown exponentially, eventually.  Already, choices like having dessert only a few nights a week instead of wanting it after every meal, I think, has helped put sweets in a better perspective for the kids and for us grown ups.

Now, I haven't dropped my aspartame laden Diet Coke.  That's one habit I just can't quite kick yet.  I should drink more tea and coffee for a caffeine fix.  I'm not sure that aspartame is totally bad, but I'm sure it's not good either.  But in some ways, it might be a smidge better than straight Coke.

If you were to be on your deathbed tomorrow and you looked back on your life, what do you think you would call your greatest accomplishments?  Mine is not my career.  I know at one point, my young self thought career was important.  As I get older--happiness, raising great children, loving my family--these are important. (And maybe good grammar.)  My greatest accomplishment, in partnership with my husband, would be the two kids I turned out and that I tried to be kind and fair to everyone I met.  And that's all I need to know to be at peace.

Peace for all of you.  Go Random.