Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dear Husband (a belated birthday thought)

Thank you.
Thank you for casting me in your scene, from the play we’d later name our daughter after.
Thank you for asking me out so casually that day after we performed that scene.
Thank you for convincing me that moving apart wasn’t necessarily a reason to break up.
Thank you for believing in our future, even when I couldn't see it, much less believe in it.
Thank you for being endlessly patient with me, my craziness, my screams for independence, my need to run, my wanderlust.
Thank you for not only tolerating my family during a lot of ups and downs, but working your way into my family. And thank you for welcoming me into your family so openly, generously and completely.
Thank you for waiting on me, waiting for the right time, even when I kept you waiting too long.
Thank you for showing me your world, your hometown, and then helping me make it my own.
Thank you for constant support and encouragement. Thank you for trusting me even when I didn’t trust my own decisions.
Thank you for setting goals that included me and the family we didn’t even have – and then reaching them.
Thank you for choosing a career that uses your brain and your talents, but doesn’t abuse your time or your family. Thank you for being so good at it that we have such security, and I don’t have to worry about your happiness there.
Thank you for giving me our daughter, trusting me to raise her, and supporting my naïve mothering choices. You always said I knew best, even when I had no clue what I was doing.
Thank you for freeing me from any other obligations than motherhood, but then encouraging me to start a career path anew.
Thank you for getting me through my master’s degree. You didn’t have a very present wife for a few years, yet you happily provided sound advice, extra hours at home, and plenty of encouragement, with rarely a complaint.
Thank you for tolerating my endless prattling when you come home, when I am so eager to speak with an adult and to share my day. Thank you for being a full-time employee and a full-time dad.
Thank you for being an extraordinary father. Sylvia is a better person because she has a present, loving, fun, cuddly, entertaining, supportive and hands-on daddy. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in parenting.
Thank you for wanting to go through the chaos of newborn life again, but also for understanding how brief that time will be.
Thank you for teaching me how to value friends and family, why NPR is awesome, the subtleties of Southern barbeque, the simple joy of a day at the lake, and that it is perfectly acceptable – nay, rewarding – to be dependent on another person.
Thank you for sharing the last 13 of your 36 years with me. I love you.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


(c) PepsiCo
And now I'd like to put on my PR professor hat for a moment and and rant make an observation. Pepsi's new global campaign is entitled, "Live for Now." I just heard my first radio ad about it, and I'll admit it was catchy.

According to PepsiCo's press release, the slogan is about connecting Pepsi drinkers to music, entertainment, and pop culture events, and will open the door to various partnerships (the first one, launched in May, was with singer Nicki Minaj). Furthermore, "Live for Now" apparently, "embodies a mind-set that is true of Pepsi loyalists around the world, while still connecting with a large and growing number of consumers who share the same values."

I think that "value" must be living a life without consequences.

Living "for now" means not considering consequences, or not caring about what might happen in the future. For a company that produces a sugar-loaded nutrient-free drink, this might be one of the more brilliant moves in recent advertising. Inundated with pervasive press from health experts that people should not consume their products, a threat from the NY Mayor Bloomberg to ban large servings of their product, scientific links of consumption of items like their products to increased obesity and diabetes - especially in youth, it is quite savvy to try to make consumers think less about consequences of consumption. 

If I am living "for now, " I don't care that I'm drinking massive amounts of sugar with no nutritional value. If I live "for now, " I'm not worried about weight gain, sickness, or even the expense of drinking sodas. I don't need to worry about the packaging the drink came in, or even bother to recycle it. I am young! I am fun! I live for the now, for the latest pop culture phenom, the hottest concert, the coolest You Tube clip. I can't be bothered with consequences -- I just want what tastes good NOW.

Brilliant move, Pepsi. If you can't change your product, change your consumer. And you're probably right that the consumer will happily buy into this messaging (who doesn't want to live in the now?). But , for the sake of our future, our health, our environment -- I sincerely hope you aren't too persuasive.

P.S. I prefer Coke anyway.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Evil Milk, or Why It's Hard to be a Pregnant, Cheap Hippie

First, it's 11pm and I'm blogging, which is shocking in that I'm awake and actually writing. Turns out this last month of pregnancy comes with insomnia, something I have never, ever experienced. I'm exhausted around 1pm (and luckily find time to nap most days), but I'm wide awake until midnight. The kid is up at 6:30am regardless, so this is really not working out. But moving on...

I am currently drinking a glass of milk and having a near mental meltdown because of it. My husband bought the milk this week, and it's NOT ORGANIC. Cue: freak out. See, we started drinking soy milk soon after Sylvia was born. She was having so much trouble sleeping that I (briefly) tried giving up dairy (which I'd read can cause stomach upset through breast milk). She never slept better, but I liked the milk, so we stuck with it, which in the end proved a good idea as Sylvia was dairy-sensitive until about 20 months old. She likes soy milk too (she calls it "delicious milk" and won't drink the dairy kind), and my husband has a strong distrust of the Milk Industry (a.k.a. Evil Corporate Overlords with Strong Lobbying Power), so we've stuck with the soy.

All that said, I have strong hippie tendencies, and I like to do my Internet research, so I started learning about the possible negative effects of soy consumption during pregnancy (here is an example of a not very scientific overview of the concerns). More scientific reports (like this one from the Mayo Clinic) and others I read obsessively several months ago convinced me that drinking soy milk is OK, as long as I limit it to about one cup a day (soy has lots of benefits, too, so I felt good about that one cup).

That limit has become difficult to manage, as I have major dairy cravings. I use soy milk in my cereal (my usual breakfast) and my morning coffee or tea. That means I've had my one cup by 9am and a whole day of dairy cravings ahead of me. Thus, I've started buying dairy milk for that second serving of cereal at 9pm (don't judge), for the big glass in the middle of the day with graham crackers, and for mixing into the numerous baked goods I keep producing. Due to previously mentioned hippie tendencies and abundant research, I only ever buy organic milk, as I'd like to avoid Human Growth Hormones, especially (!) while pregnant.

So that brings us back to tonight's conundrum: I want milk, but Hubby has brought home evil, tarnished, regular, treated, dairy-industry over-produced milk. Yes, I drank this my whole life. Yes, most people the world over don't drink organic milk...but still. As I poured myself a glass (strong cravings tonight), I actually felt guilty. But I'm too cheap to throw it away, and my husband and daughter won't drink here we are. I'm feeling about as guilty for this glass of milk as I would if I'd had the ice cream sundae I originally wanted (which, incidentally, is made from regular milk, as I'm too cheap to buy organic ice cream, so WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!).

It's hard to care. And be cheap. And have cravings. And be pregnant. Man, I need a drink. At this point, I could likely be persuaded that wine is safer than the evil milk in my glass. Bottoms up!