Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I'm lovin' it - the sweet tea, that is

I want to send a thank-you to McDonald's.

After 30 years, I've managed to grow disgusted with pretty much everything on their menu. While my kids can hardly wait to scarf down their chicken nuggets and fries (something I've done a good job of turning into a "treat" rather than a "routine,") I personally cannot stomach most anything on the menu anymore.

I'm not sure how it happened... "Supersize Me" only kept me away for a few months. But somehow, somewhere along the line, I've finally maxed out the McDonald's I can handle. Apparently I've hit my quota.

Well, other than when it's McRib time.

And now, the sweet tea.

I've always liked sugar in my iced tea, but I've also always been equally happy to drink it without. But I got sucked in by advertising and while visiting one of our local golden arches establishments a few weeks ago, decided to give the sweet tea (which I know to be a southern staple) a try.

So, now I'm hooked. Trying to dissuade myself, I looked up the nutritional information today. It appears the sweetener used is actual sugar. (Check: if it had been anything artificial, my sweet tea days would be over.) And there are 230 calories in one large sweet tea. (Check: Ok, that's a lot... but it's still almost 1/3 of some sodas and less than a lot of my favorite Starbucks drinks, so I'm technically still ahead of the game.) I haven't compared the actual sugar content of the sweet tea to that of soda or my favorite latte.

And then of course there's the cost - $1 for a sweet tea or $4 for a Starbucks nonfat vanilla latte. Hmmmmm....

Interestingly, I also learned that the McDonald's sweet tea has been available in other parts of the country for up to at least a year now. For some reason, I hadn't even thought about that possibility. When we lived in California, McDonald's introduced the fruit and yogurt parfait and "Eddie" commercials to go along with it. A full year later when we were back in central Illinois, they debuted it here. I remember feeling so worldly - I'd been able to buy them for so long already. Ha!

Why is that, I wonder? After all, we're supposed to be considered a magical "test market." Our area got the first crack at clear pepsi and those disposable bibs... why are we getting the shaft from Mickey-D's?

But there must be something going on... two weeks ago the husband and I had lunch at a new deli in Peoria that features sweet tea on their menu. And I noticed a local cafe here in Pekin is advertising it now too.

I find it interesting that in this health-conscious environment we live in, we're all happy to pour about a cup of sugar into our tea and drink it.

Oh well... it's here now, and I'm hooked. Figures. But I guess it could be something worse!

My Life Before Kids

Don't think the irony of this story being about a time capsule is lost on me...

But since I've finally figured out how to post videos to the blog, here it is...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Business of Being Born

Natural birth - for those who choose it - is a "cause" I hold very close to my heart.

I had a chance to watch the new documentary from Ricki Lake called, "The Business of Being Born."

Forget those 1970's lamaze videos - this should be required watching for anyone who's pregnant.
Especially if it's their first baby, but even if it's not.

Of course, it should be noted this is a documentary. And like all documentaries, it has an agenda... a slant, if you will. But we're so bombarded with "mainstream" images and ideas of the medical side of birth that this video presents a nice counter-balance and should give any viewer something to think about. It does a good job of showing how the "go along to get along" mentality that often naturally occurs in hospitals can be detrimental to the birthing wishes of a laboring woman.

And like they say in the movie, a woman's birth experience is a memory that will stay with her until the day she dies. Some women have great births and great memories. Some are indifferent. But far too many are forever scarred by the things that are taken out of their control. Our society likes to focus on the outcome - and often argues that a healthy baby is the only thing that matters in the end.

I've been present when a "perfect" (medically speaking) labor and delivery resulted in the unexpected death of a newborn. I do know exactly what it's like when things go wrong. But I still say, focusing on the "but you have a healthy baby" is degrading to women and discounts the very valid feelings of disappointment they may have in their birth experience. We don't do enough to protect that experience today, and we can and should be doing more.

In the end, I was left wanting a bit more from this movie. When it was over  I said, "I feel like Ricki Lake is just where I was seven years ago." Meaning - I feel like she is going through what I went through after the birth of my first child, she just has the means to turn it into a documentary. I didn't see or hear anything that I haven't known since I started researching natural birth after Ethan was born. So while it's not really "new" information, I know it will be to many people. And many will consider it "revolutionary." Personally, I'm just glad it's out there in a more "mainstream" format. 

If you were happy with your birth experience, I encourage you to watch this movie.

If you weren't happy with your birth experience, this movie might be therapeutic and help you work through those feelings.

If you're pregnant, get yourself a Netflix subscription and get it in your queue asap.


Since I'm sharing videos... this is a classic for any TV news junkie. I really need to buy this episode for my kids... the other songs on it are even better!

World News Polka

The World News Now Polka

Ten years ago (gulp!) Edgar and I were living and working in Monterey, California.

We worked the "nightside" shift together for some time - which meant we went to work at about 2:30pm and got home around midnight, after the 11pm newscast.

This was actually the perfect schedule for my night-owl ways, and we would usually stay up for several hours watching taped television shows and otherwise unwinding. It wasn't unusual for us to still be up around 2:30-3:00am, when a wonderful little program called "World News Now" came on ABC.

You'd think we would have had enough news by then, but this show was kind of wacky and off-beat. It was situated like most network news programs, but with a twist. They played funky music at the breaks, took a lot of time for light-hearted (and not forced) banter between the anchors, and frequently ran some kooky stories.

At the end of the show at the end of the week, they'd play the "World News Now Polka." It was awesome. (I'm going to post it for your viewing pleasure...)

It was also where I developed a crush for this unknown but very personable, charming, and just downright cool anchor named Anderson Cooper. Now I really feel old.

Anyways, when we moved back to central Illinois, WNN wasn't on the air here. I was kind of bummed, but my new work hours wouldn't have made it practical to watch anyway. (It would have been nice for those late nights I put in with three newborns though!)

So I don't know when it made it's way here (despite being a night owl I do try not to be up at 3am) but last night I found it because well, I was still awake at 3am. There were two female anchors who seemed to have a pretty good rapport, but I wasn't able to watch enough to see if the show still has it's same zaniness. If you happen to be up at that time, I highly suggest you check it out.

It was nice to see it on the air though, and for a minute - just a minute - I felt 10 years younger again!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Wacky Wednesday

In honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday, my son's school has a series of fun days and events this week.

Tomorrow is "Wacky Wednesday" - and the idea is to dress pretty wacky. Mismatched clothes, patterns, colors, etc... 

So I asked my husband to help him pick out his clothes... 

... and just pretend it was any other day.

I don't think he appreciated my humor at first, but he eventually conceded I was right - he's not exactly known for his ability to dress our children in coordinated (or even matching) outfits.

So basically, Ethan will go to school tomorrow looking just like he would if mommy wasn't home! :)