Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pick Barkley's Halloween costume!

Our dog park is located on land owned by a nursing home. Every Halloween (and Christmas) a bunch of dog park members take their dogs to visit the nursing home residents, with all the dogs dressed up in costumes. We're thinking of going this year with Barkley (and also walking him around in the costume all day Halloween, cause hey, it's fun and it makes people smile)

So, help us figure out what Barkley should wear this year!

Here is our lovely Barkley.

Shall he dress as:

Lobster Dog?


Pirate Dog, AKA Captain Bark?

The Joker?

Vote in the poll on the right side of this page! :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Loving your children unconditionally

The New York Times has an interesting article today about how making your love for you children conditional can cause long lasting psychological effects, and doesn't get you what you want anyways. Some excerpts:

It turned out that children who received conditional approval were indeed somewhat more likely to act as the parent wanted. But compliance came at a steep price. First, these children tended to resent and dislike their parents. Second, they were apt to say that the way they acted was often due more to a “strong internal pressure” than to “a real sense of choice.” Moreover, their happiness after succeeding at something was usually short-lived, and they often felt guilty or ashamed.

The studies found that both positive and negative conditional parenting were harmful, but in slightly different ways. The positive kind sometimes succeeded in getting children to work harder on academic tasks, but at the cost of unhealthy feelings of “internal compulsion.” Negative conditional parenting didn’t even work in the short run; it just increased the teenagers’ negative feelings about their parents.

the data suggest that love withdrawal isn’t particularly effective at getting compliance, much less at promoting moral development. Even if we did succeed in making children obey us, though — say, by using positive reinforcement — is obedience worth the possible long-term psychological harm? Should parental love be used as a tool for controlling children?

The snarky side of me wants to email this article to my parents (especially my mom), but I'm going to refrain.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My dad just called...

For the first time since April. Yesterday he sent me an e-card that said "Dear Abandoning Eden and B, Happy New year!" and "ps when would be a good time to call."

I was happy to see he actually typed out B's name in the happy new years card thereby acknowledging his existence. And that he included B in a card to me, thereby (in my view) acknowledging that B is part of my family.

So he called today and we talked for about half an hour. I told him about my awesome honeymoon, updated him on a bunch of stuff in life, he updated me on my grandfather (still senile) and on his Shul (moved to a bigger building) and we chatted for a bit. Towards the end he was all "I haven't called you before cause I was afraid you'd be angry, but you sound normal" and I was all "well I was pretty angry at you right after I got married, but now I don't really care" and "You know I can't come visit as long as you refuse to meet B, but you can call me sometimes if you want" and he was all "Well I'll speak with you again soon."

Also he said he's not stepping into my relationship with my Mom, and that "me and her will have to work that out." So yeah, for now, back to talking to dad I guess, but I don't exactly feel like working out things with my mom, since I can't imagine how that could go down...what am I going to do, apologize for getting married? Beg her to talk to me again? Um, no.

Meanwhile, earlier this week B burnt 3 of his fingers when he was pouring hot bacon grease into a jar (for those of you who don't eat bacon- you can't pour bacon grease down the sink cause it will clog the sink, so we pour it in jars and then throw out the jar when it gets full). You can see pictures of his hideous burns over at his blog (warning: they are seriously hideous). I can confirm his reports of pacing up and down and crying...it was really bad, and now he has blisters (aka second degree burns) on 3 of his fingers. But awesomely, I just added him to my health insurance about 3 weeks ago, so we were able to go to the doctor the next morning when one of the burns turned into what the nurse later said was "the biggest blister she had ever seen." They gave him some fancy burn cream and fancy non-stick gauze that's specifically for burns, and B went back this morning for a follow up appointment to make sure it is healing right. Thank jebus for health insurance, cause a month ago he would have toughed it out with regular sticky gauze, neosporin and bandaids.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bad dates of years past

I was commenting on someone else's blog about what exactly a dating 'horror story' is... I think her horror stories (the date only went on for an hour and a half! He only sprung for coffee!) are way too tame compared to some of mine.

Which reminded me. Last year I started a series of blog posts about past crazy dudes I have dated. I spent about 3 years single before I met my husband (apart from a couple of short 'relationships' here or there that never lasted longer than 2 months), and went on a lot of crazy dates in that time. But then I got engaged to B, and had other things to write about (a ton of wedding plans, for one) so I never really finished the series. And I don't think I ever will. But I think I can manage a few dating horror stories.

Here are my top three dating horror stories of all time:

The third worst date ever: The dude who, during the course of a 1 hour coffee shop first date, told me all about how he posted naked pornographic pictures of his ex girlfriend on the internet when she had a broken pelvis (i didn't ask why her pelvis was broken). I already posted about that story on my blog so you can read the details there if you care to.

The second worst date I've ever been on was the last guy I dated in 2005. Because of this guy I decided to take a year off from dating in 2006.

So this guy, he asked me out for a drink at a bar. We go to this bar, he pays for beer for both of us, and we have our drink and are enjoying each others company. Conversation is flowing nicely, and I thought things were going well. Then he says something like "Damn, I want to get us a second drink, but I only brought enough cash for one drink." and I said something like "Oh that's no problem, I can pay for a second round." And that's when the shit hit the fan.

This dude starts off angry and eventually starts YELLING in the very public bar, about how he was taught that women shouldn't pay for drinks, he just doesn't think that's right, and then starts going off on how feminists (or rather "Feminazis") are taking over the world, etc, etc. After about 10 minutes of this diatribe I got up and left.

Needless to say, there was no second date. Did I mention that last year at Thanksgiving my husband introduced me to his family as a "Professional feminist" since basically i am...I've published in two of the top feminist journals already, and all my research is on women and work. Yeah, that was never going to work.

I might also add that my husband self-identifies as a feminist, and every time he says something along those lines I get all gushy inside and love him even more for it. :)

Which leaves my best dating horror story of all time. Valentines day 2005. (Actually come to think of it, all 3 of these horror stories happened in 2005, which probably all contributed to my year off from dating in 2006).

Unlike the first two stories, this was not a first date. This was with a guy who I had been dating about 6 weeks. Things were going pretty well with this guy, although I had some reservations about him. For one, I was beginning to suspect he was an alcoholic. He had just a few too many stories about how he "drank 2 six packs of beer last night and passed out." Every date we went on involved alcohol in some way. In general I'm not much of a drinker- in fact, nowadays I hardly drink at all, and I can't even remember the last time I had something with alcohol in it (it was probably the champagne we had on our honeymoon 2 months ago). But I drank more in those 6 weeks of dating this dude than in any other 6 week period of my life.

Which brings me to valentines day 2005. We decided to stay in and watch a movie, and we got a pizza and he brought over some nice Italian wine. Only he brought over two bottles of wine, because he 'couldn't decide which one to bring.' So, we watch the movie, eat the pizza, and split the first bottle of wine. And then the second bottle of wine. At this point I was pretty much drunk, but he kept going. I had half empty bottles of jagermeister and vodka, left over from a new years party- he proceeded to finish BOTH of these off, on his own.

Then he dropped the bottle of vodka on the kitchen floor. Miraculously it didn't break- until he picked it up and dropped it AGAIN at which point it shattered all over the floor. So, I drunkenly started picking up the pieces of glass that were now everywhere. My date helped by drunkenly stepping on a giant piece of glass, which went straight into his foot. But I guess he was too drunk to feel it, because he didn't realize he was bleeding until about 10 minutes later, when he had already tracked blood all over my apartment (which was carpeted). At which point he drunkenly freaked out about it. He went to the bathroom, got the glass out and started washing off his foot in the bathtub (destroying my bathroom rug in the process- there was so much blood on it I had to throw it out afterwords). Meanwhile I tried to wipe up the blood stains in the living room- mind you, I was totally drunk this whole time, and wiping up blood is just not a fun thing to do even when you're sober.

Over the course of the evening a whole bunch of other fun things happened too:
a) He tried to pay me to let him smoke cigarettes in my apartment, even though the door to the outdoors was literally right outside my apartment door, and I lived on the first floor. He kept offering me more and more money until I finally convinced him to go outside.
b) I went with him when he went to smoke outside. It was pouring rain, but he didn't stay under the awning by the door. Instead he started running around the parking lot in the rain
c) then he started taking all his clothes off in the rain cause "he didn't like wet clothes." Outdoors. In public. In February.
d) THEN he started peeing against the wall of my apartment building...right next to the window of someone's basement apartment.
e) Also over the course of the night he revealed to me that when he was in Italy on a student exchange program about a year before this, he went on a 3 week coke binge
f) for which he was kicked out of his student exchange program
g) during which he spent $5000 on coke, all from credit card advances
h) and apparently the credit card companies were calling him every day and he had no way of paying them back so he was just avoiding their calls
i) also that night he told me he loved me for the first (and last) time. Awww...?

After he cut his foot, he spent the night moaning on the couch repeating over and over again "I'm dying, don't leave me" "I"m dying, I love you, don't leave me." I lived in a studio apartment at the time, so I got to hear him moaning until around 3am. I asked if he wanted to go to the hospital for his foot but he declined. In the morning he slunk away before I was really awake, and after he didn't call me back for 2 days (probably from the shame of revealing all his horrible secrets while simultaneously trashing my apartment) I broke up with him over instant messenger.

So kind readers, what are your craziest ever dating stories?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

In recent news

No wonder B can't find a job...the unemployment rate in our city is now hovering around 11 percent! Now I'm sure that's not hitting the white male college educated folks as much as some other groups...but then again, recent college graduates and late 20somethings are one of hardest hit groups out there in terms of employment (or the lack thereof). Seems like the older baby boomers don't want to give up their jobs now that their 401ks have tanked. Speaking of which, I have a great idea, lets make it so that your job automatically invests your retirement plan in what is now essentially monopoly money! Assuming you have a job of course.

Meanwhile, I've seen the job market in our city as I've been helping my husband look for job postings, and what everyone wants now is several years of experience. Never mind if you have a college degree, if you haven't been a secretary for the past 5 years we don't want to hire you in our secretary job. Cause there's no way someone with *just* a college degree and no secretary experience can possibly be a good secretary. Besides, we have 300 recently laid off secretaries just lining up to apply! And good luck with any job with more status than a secretary..for that you need at least 5 years experience and a graduate degree.

Which brings me to the Obama speech this morning. Yes, lets motivate the young so they all stay in school and go to college, thereby ensuring a future job for me and my academic ilk. I like that. But meanwhile, what good is a college education anymore? What good is working your ass off for years, excelling at everything, if at the end of years of higher education you end up where my husband is now and where it's looking more and more likely I'll be a year from now (after a decade of higher education)- unemployed.

So yeah, Obama is encouraging the young kids to put in an effort. But he's also reinforcing the great American myth- the myth that if you just work hard enough, and pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and study hard in school, one day you will be president. Or at least employed.

I lost my faith in that myth long ago.

In general, I am losing the hope I had when Obama was elected, although not enough to take my Obama sign out of my apartment window. He has a chance to get it back though. If tomorrow he stands in front of congress, grows a pair, and declares that a public option for health insurance is necessary, it may restore a little of the hope I had for his presidency. If he even pushes through all the other reforms without a public option, I will be less happy, but I won't lose all hope.

If he doesn't, well, the sign is definitely coming down.