Target Ice Cream

I happened to be at Target the other day, with a coupon for their Market Pantry brand ice cream. As I perused their selection, I noticed several flavors I hadn’t seen anywhere else. This led to a month-long (so far) obsession, and the testing of 5 news flavors (so far).

Target has the basic ice cream flavors, like chocolate, coffee, and 5 different kinds of vanilla, for some reason. I was interested in the weird ones. The first one Hubby and I tried was Caramel Waffle Cone ice cream.

waffle cone

This is vanilla ice cream with caramel swirls and fudge covered waffle cone pieces. I had high hopes for this, but it was slightly disappointing. The waffle cone bits were completely covered in that waxy “chocolate” stuff endemic to ice cream, and the caramel swirls were scarce. I was hoping for crunchy chunks of cones, but that’s probably not feasible with current ice cream technology. The ice cream itself is light and fluffy, just like I like it. Hubby wasn’t as happy with that aspect, since it stays fairly soft when frozen, and melts quickly.

The next one we tried is called Mini Doughnuts, and I can’t find it on their website. It sounds weird, I know. I was expecting vanilla ice cream with soggy bits of fried dough, but that’s not what I got. Instead the ice cream is more like vanilla bean, with those little black specks of ground up vanilla that somehow make it so much better. The most surprising part was the “doughnuts”. They were actually more like cookie dough, with a bunch of cinnamon mixed in, like maybe snicker doodle dough. It is FREAKING GOOD. If you find it, you try it, for realsies. Your pants will hate you, but your mouth and brain will love you, and you can always get new pants.

This next one is more debated in my house. Monster Cookie ice cream is one of Hubby’s favorites, but I really don’t care for it.

monster cookieIt’s vanilla ice cream with ground up M&M cookies in it, I think. There’s no actual description on the page, so I wasn’t sure if I should expect cookies or dough. Personally, rock-hard, frozen M&M’s are not appealing, and neither is grainy cookie shrapnel, but Hubby loved it. It also seemed to have a peanut butter flavor to me, but I could just be nuts (hahahaa, Dad joke!).

The Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream totally makes up for the Monster Cookie.

choc fudge brownie

The chocolate ice cream is creamy and chocolaty, and the brownie bits are amaaaaaaazing; more like brownie dough chunks than cooked brownies. I would eat this for breakfast if I could.

The last one, is my absolute FAVORITE, possible my favorite ice cream OF ALL TIME:

smores

S’mores ice cream is the greatest flavor ever. The chocolate ice cream is very rich, almost like a dark chocolate. That’s probably the best part. The marshmallow swirls weren’t really noticeable, but the graham cracker bits were surprisingly tasty. This is the first one Hubby wanted to get, and I overruled him to get the caramel cone one. Boy, was I wrong. I want to buy a tub of the s’mores ice cream and just eat it all at once, while sitting quietly in a candle-lit room. And it’s seasonal! What a travesty! Go out and buy a bunch right now so they’ll keep making it!  Each tub is only about $3, so I expect each reader to buy 80 gallons worth. Then deliver it to my house. Then leave so I can quietly gorge on it.

 

 

September 3, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Random typing. Leave a comment.

Book Review: Sh*tty Mom

*WARNING: Swearing ensues (Grandmas have been warned)*

I was at the library recently, looking for baby sleep books (I’ll let you know if I find anything worthwhile), and I stumbled across “Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us”. Of course I had to grab it.

This book is a quick read, and hilarious the whole way through. Even while caring for my son, it only took me 2-3 days to read. The humor starts immediately, with chapter 1: “Road Trip with Your Kids: Multiply How Bad You Think It Will Be by a Thousand, Then Add Ten Million”. Here are a couple excerpts:

YOU ARE NO PRIZE.

Good God woman, look at yourself. Or better yet, rent Sweeney Todd and check out Helena Bonham Carter. Cause that’s you. Ratty hair, crazy eyes, making questionable food choices. Now think of your poor baby. She spends all day staring at you, wondering if this is how she’s going to look when she grows up. Of course she is crying.
Your baby needs to see how rested adults behave. If she goes only by you, she’ll think it’s normal to shout, “I can’t do this anymore!” and storm out of the house to sit in the car and eat cheese.
Knowing you aren’t the only kind of person on Earth gives your baby a ray of hope.

This one struck close to home, because my baby is named Nacho. It’s an unusual name, I know, but we think it fits him.

How to Tell When Your Friends Are Pretending They Like Your Baby’s Name

You went your own way with the baby’s name. You picked a name that you’re pretty sure no one else will touch. You like it, your husband likes it, and that’s all that matters. Besides, if first names were destiny, Condoleezza Rice would have been a stripper.
Back to your friend. Perhaps she is old-fashioned – raised to be a Jacob Mom or an Emily Mom. Your name has taken her by surprise.
She will ask you to spell it. This is a stalling technique. She really wants to say, “Uh, what the fuck did you just say?” Spellcheck is a gentle way for her to confirm that, yes, your son’s name is Z-e-p-h-y-r.
She may ask, “How did you come up with that?” She is giving you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it was a family name. In fact, before you answer, she’ll suggest that very thing, and her voice will trail upwards: “Sounds like a family name…?”
Your response. “It is, now,” will not help her.

Those are just the two parts that were short enough for me to overcome my laziness to type out. The entire book had me cracking up and reading parts out loud to Hubby. Even non-parents will be able to laugh and enjoy some good, old-fashioned schadenfreude.

It does have a lot of strong language (which should be self-evident), so if that kind of thing bothers you, you should probably toughen up. We’re all grown ups. I go to work, vote, pay my taxes, and balance my check book. Swearing and drinking are a couple of the adult privileges that cancel out the boring crap, and I intend to take full advantage of them.

I’ve provided the Amazon link above, or just pick it up at the library, like I did. It’s absolutely worth the read. It gets the Clever Chick Thumbs Up!

 

August 11, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , . Baby Stuff, Book Reviews. 2 comments.

I Hate the Moby Wrap

I know a lot of people out there love their Moby wraps, and if this is you, you better skip this post now. I apologize, but brace yourself for an epic rant.

A friend of mine was kind enough to lend me a Moby wrap when I had my baby, Nacho. If you aren’t familiar with these, they are basically 87,000 yards of fabric you’re supposed to wrap around yourself in a configuration more complicated than an Enigma Machine. Your baby then supposedly fits right into the fabric without falling out the bottom or smothering to death. You can now carry your baby around with your hands free!

Here’s the thing(s):

1) There is too much damn fabric. There has GOT to be a better way to carry your child than 9 million yards of stretchy fabric. Women in pre-industrial countries wear their babies all over the place, and I have yet to see one using enough fabric to clothe the nation of Lithuania.

2) It’s hot. I was using the thing in WINTER, and my son and I were both coated in sweat after 30 minutes. I guess it’s to be expected with 18 billion yards of fabric piled on you, but it was ridiculous.

3) It’s overly complicated. I watched several videos trying to figure out how to use this thing. I got Hubby to watch and help. I prayed to both the old gods and the new (that’s a reference to a TV show, Gram, don’t worry), and I was still unable to get the thing on me how it was supposed to go. If you don’t get the tension exactly right when you put it on, you have to take the whole thing off and start over again. Lifting a wriggling baby in and out of the wrap 3 or 4 times before you get it right will test anyone’s patience, and I have very little to begin with.

Those smiles are LIES.

Those smiles are LIES.

4) It’s not really “hands-free”. You can sit in a chair, or walk around without holding your baby, sure. But forget bending over to do dishes or laundry. My son didn’t have neck control yet when we were attempting to wrangle the 8 cubic miles of fabric, so if I leaned over at all I had to support his head. If I tried to tuck fabric around his head, I had to worry that he was smothering to death, or his head would slip out and suddenly flop backwards (which happened, and was the impetus for me throwing in the 8,000 mile long towel). If I have to keep one hand on the back of his head at all times, it’s not that useful.

5) Getting in and out of it is nigh impossible. So let’s assume you succeed in finally getting your infant into the wrap. And then s/he poops. You’re now trapped, tied to a fussy, squirming baby and a poop balloon, just waiting to explode. Have fun untangling you both from 67^10 acres of fabric in a timely manner. If your kid is anything like mine, s/he’ll choose the moment s/he’s almost free to kick you in the chest and launch him/herself into oblivion (or, hopefully, the pack-n-play). Forget trying to feed a baby you’ve been mummified with also. There’s no room to get a bottle in there, much less get a boob out.

6) They’re expensive. $50 for some fabric? Come on. I’m really glad I got to borrow one rather than drop that kind of cash on some fabric I hated.

I do know a few people that like their Moby wraps, and I have a theory. All of the women I know who enjoy them, and who are shown in the tutorial videos and websites have fairly straight waists. I, however, have an hourglass figure, with big hips, so all the fabric slides up and bunches around my waist. Without such an exaggerated anatomy, the fabric seems to stay put where it’s supposed to. That’s just my hypothesis, based on a very small sample of data.

Wearing your baby is really fun and wonderful, but the Moby Wrap is not necessarily the way to do that. I was lucky enough to trick Mi Madre into making me a ring sling. She found a tutorial and the rings online, and used fabric she had laying around the house. We’ve used it a ton, and plan to keep using it for awhile. A fellow mom-friend of mine found a baby-wearing meet-up group that rents out different baby carriers so you can try them. She tried several before finding one she loves. Search for something like that before making any purchases.

I love popping my son into his sling and going for a walk around the block when the weather is nice. He’s fallen asleep in it several times, and it’s very easy to slide him out into his crib, or just sit down and let him nap on me.

August 5, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , . Baby Stuff. 3 comments.

The Land Down Under

I randomly had the song “Down Under” by Men at Work in my head, and it made me remember some random facts about the song, and the frightening land it’s about: Australia.

1) The first verse of the song contains the lyrics, “I met a strange lady, she made me nervous. She took me in and gave me breakfast.” If you meet a strange person who makes you nervous, don’t eat any food they give you! That’s like, lesson number 1 to kids: don’t take candy from strangers. I realize in the previous line he had a “head full of zombie”, aka weed, so maybe his judgement was impaired. But maybe this is also a lesson why you shouldn’t smoke weed?

2) The band Men at Work were recently sued by a music company who claimed part of the song “Down Under” was comprised of a 70 year old song, “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree”. This was the best version of the song I could find, but you’ll probably be familiar with it. Now to me, if their song came out in the 80’s and you wait until 2009 to sue, it probably wasn’t that important to you. Fortunately, there is a statute of limitations on some of the reward, so the band only have to pay earnings of 5% from the song starting after 2002. But still, really? A 70 year old song? The Happy Birthday song copyright mess is even worse. It was written in 1893! But you can read wikipedia for all that nonsense.

3) Australia is a testament to the arrogance of mankind. No one should live there. Everything is trying to kill you. They have tiny jellyfish there called Irukandji that are extremely venomous. They’re only 1 cubic centimeter in size, and they can FIRE THEIR STINGERS AT YOU. I don’t know about you, but invisible, venomous jellyfish don’t need ballistic weaponry on top of everything else.

jelly fish

These things plus magpies, snakes, pool spiders, and drop bears make the sharks seem particularly benign. This doesn’t even cover the heat and poisonous plants that want to kill you. If you want to be grateful you don’t live in Australia, just google “Deadly Australian Animals“. I can see why people were just dropped off there as punishment in the 18th and 19th centuries.

August 1, 2014. Tags: , , , , , . Random typing. 1 comment.

Not-too-serious post about race, pt 5

So for our last installment, back to me, your resident Clever Chick, to sum everything up. I’ve been trying to focus on humorous, unintentionally ignorant race situations. (See parts one, two, three, and four)

I personally am a white American, but I have dark hair, eyes, and skin. I’m constantly asked “What are you?” by random strangers. I don’t know why it matters. I know that people are just trying to fit me into a category, to try and understand more about who I am by fitting me into whatever backstory they assume comes with whatever race I happen to be. I’ve been mistaken for Indian, black, hispanic, Native American, Romani (aka gypsy), and Jewish.

People are always surprised when I say “White”. Some people just won’t let it rest at that answer.

Nosy Stranger: “Really? Are you sure? You don’t have any black in you at all?”
Me: “Well technically all humans evolved in Africa and migrated throughout the world from there, so we all have a little”
NS: *eye roll* “No, I mean like, in your family”
Me: “Nope”
NS: “REALLY?!”

I also have random people come up to me and just start speaking Spanish. I speak a little, but usually they talk so fast I have no hope. When I tell them I don’t speak Spanish, I get this disbelieving, disgusted look, as though I have betrayed my culture.

But I don’t have any “culture”. I can’t speak for all white Americans, but in general, we don’t have any “cool” cultural traditions. We don’t have bindis, egg rolls, or people dressed as dragons. We have the Americanized version of things: oriental rugs, fortune cookies, and Tex Mex. White people will bond over both being 1/8th German or Irish, and it’s ok to ask about and discuss. Our ties to any family roots are tenuous, but that has both positives and negatives.

I’m not trying to excuse anyone, and we can all definitely stand to be more sensitive and culturally aware. I appreciate the fact that I can have these in-depth discussions with my friends about all the different aspects of race and background in our society.

To sum up:

1) If you want to know someone’s race or ethnic background, think twice before you ask. Why do you want to know?
2) If you want to bond with someone, don’t assume you know anything about what they’re like just based on their ancestry.
3) If someone is well-meaning, but ignorant, try to gently point out their behavior. Hopefully, they’ll realize what they’re doing.

This whole discussion reminded me of these two videos on the same topic. I hope everyone found this as enlightening as I have!

 

July 27, 2014. Tags: , , . Random typing. Leave a comment.

Not-too-serious post about race, pt 4

Part 4 comes to us from my friend Iris. She’s ethnically Korean, and was born and raised here in the US. I swear, she must deal with these situations once a week, and they are always hilarious to me. (See parts one, two, and three of our ongoing discussion of race faux pas)

I went on a date and the guy was from a small town in Texas I think and also an insufferable date in general, but this really took the cake.  We had talked about where we were from, where we grew up, where we went to college, etc.

The conversation went:
Dude: What’s your background?
Me: I’m korean.
Dude: Full?
Me: Yes.
Dude: Wow, but your English is so good!
Me: You know that doesn’t have anything to do with my ethnicity, right? I was born here
Dude: Oh. okay (clearly didn’t get the point but wanted to move onto some other topic about himself)

Another time here in Vegas, I was grocery shopping at a store called Smiths, which is just like Kroger in TX, and an older white gentleman ran up to me and goes, “Excuse me, Excuse me!”
Me: Yes?
Man: Would you mind trying the sushi over there? *points to sushi sample stand in the bakery/deli section*
Me: Um..what? Why?
Man: I just want to know if it’s good. If YOU (big emphasis on YOU) say it’s good, I’ll know it’s good.
Me: But I don’t like sushi.
Man: YOU DON’T?????
I was so caught off-guard that I ended up just trying it and saying it was good for the sake of the poor sushi demonstration guy.

And yeah, the Asian food story-
At my job when I had just started, this guy noticed me and came over to start a conversation. The typical where are you from, when did you start, what dept are you in, etc. Then he goes, “Do you go to Chinatown often?”
Me: No, I haven’t been there yet
Him: Oh, you should! The food is so good there. I love Asian food. I was just there with my Asian friend, John. We had ramen.
Me: Ok…cool
Him: Yeah, actually I love Asia. I was just traveling in China before I started working here.
Me: Oh, I see.
Him: Asian culture is so cool, I just love how nice the people are, I want to go to Japan next.
Me: Ok.
I think that guy has an indian girlfriend now if that is relevant.

It’s always interesting when people try to ask what my ethnic background is. Sometimes I’m a dick about it.
What’s your race?  Human
What are you? A person
Where are you from? NY.  No, i mean where are you FROM? Rockland County, NY

It was awesome when I met my ex’s mother. She is from a small town in Florida and was trying to be very careful.
“So Iris, are your parents from the old country?”
I felt bad, so I just said yes, they immigrated from Korea in the 70s. I can always spot well-intentioned ignorance from far away, so i try to help them out.

The most awkward thing for me is that I hardly consider myself Asian, but obviously I am ethnically Asian. I think oftentimes strangers approach me with some kind of motivation of goal or connection or conversation topic related to Asia/being Asian and it takes me a long time to realize that, since I don’t assume that’s the primary reason that people talk to me. It happens a lot, though, especially in dating. LOVE when guys come up to me and tell me how much they like anime or sushi and assume that’s an “in” to talking to me.

July 25, 2014. Tags: , , . Random typing. 1 comment.

Not-too-serious post about race, pt 3

My dear friend Phuong of Mibellarosa is Vietnamese, and I asked her for some anecdotes of race faux pas she’d experienced for our (apparently) ongoing discussion of race and misunderstandings. She is a treasure trove:

 

I guess you’ve hit the jackpot with me but I’ll only give you a few stories since I may write a memoir one day and try to sell it as a sitcom to white people who are curious with how it is to be Asian…and by Asian I mean Chinese.

1.  “Konnichiwa!  Anyoung! Ni hao?”
My favorite experience is getting accosted by street vendors or vendors in general in very touristy areas.  The experience I speak of is walking around and getting greeted/yelled at by vendors in Japanese–always Japanese first, which I guess is a compliment because A) they think we are light-skinned Asians, which consequently means B) they think we have money.   When we don’t respond in Japanese because we are not Japanese, they resort to Chinese, then Korean, then they get curious and asks where we are from.  America is never the answer they care to hear.  When I’m in a good mood, I tell them to keep guessing.  They never guess Vietnamese.  My favorite is when they playfully respond with “I love you” in other Asian languages.   Please note this has happened in Cozumel, Cancun, Santorini, Rome, Florence, Los Cabos, Playa del Carmen, Athens, Montreal…basically anywhere not near Asia and Hawaii.  It makes me think Vietnamese people must be too poor to travel since they haven’t learned how to say “hello” in our language yet.  One time I told a vendor I’m Vietnamese and he said “No way.  Where are you from really.”  I guess I should be flattered that I look like I have money?
2.  “Are you Filipino?  No?  You look like you’re Filipino.”
Are you stupid?  No?  You look like you’re stupid.  The correct thing to do is ask someone what their ethnicity is before you tell them your assumption.  It’s never okay to assume someone is of a certain ethnicity and it’ also never okay to be in denial by what ethnicity the person really is.
3.  “Nguyen?  You must be Vietnamese.  I had/met a girl in ‘Nam during the war.  You look JUST LIKE HER,” smiles random old white men.
I used to work in the geriatric field, so I had comments like these almost every facility I visited and I would visit at least 3-4 venues per day, 5 days a week.  It got old fast.  If that didn’t creep you out just from reading, imagine them holding my hand or trying to get a feel of my hair to remember their days in ‘Nam.  I would get anonymous fan mail sent to my office with phrases like ” your porcelain skin” and “Oriental eyes.”  I know they’re from creepy old men because who else still tries to hit on Asian girls with that stuff?  This doesn’t just happen at these facilities by the way.  I have been hit up at grocery stores before.
4.  “We visited Korea once.  We love your people.”
A sweet old lady once took my hand at a carnival we participated in at an assisted living facility.  She and her husband walked up to my company’s booth and she was so genuinely happy to see me and then proceeded to tell me about their trip to Korea (South, I assume) and how pleasant it was.  She was really sweet, so I just let her talk until they moved on.
5.  “Wait, that’s your sister?”
When someone asks me, “Oh, you’re Vietnamese and you went to UT/you live in Houston?  Do you know (fill in the blank here).  I also go, “Of course!  That’s my sister/brother/cousin/mom/evil aunt/etc.”  The reaction always is, “OMG. Really?!  Small world!”
6.  “Why do Chinese people always do this?”   I don’t know.
Go ask someone Chinese.
7.  Non-Asians aren’t the only people who commit these type of faux pas by the way.  I’ve been to grocery markets where Asian women and men will just start speaking to me in their native tongue and then walk away when they see the blank look on my face.  One trip to Paris, I was shopping and a Chinese woman ran over and tugged on my arm going off in Mandarin.  I had no idea what she was saying, of course, but she was very adamant about whatever it was.  After two times of telling her I don’t speak Chinese, she looked flustered and left.  Apparently, there was a sale at Louis Vuitton, but they had a two-item-limit per customer, so the woman was looking for people to buy bags in her place so she can walk away with more bags.

July 23, 2014. Tags: , , , . Random typing. 2 comments.

Not-too-serious post about race, pt 2

Here we have part 2 in our 5 part series about race. We’re focusing on those incidence that stem from naivete and ignorance, rather than malice. This installment comes to us from my friend Tripp, of the now infamous incident that started this whole series. Enjoy!

If you haven’t read That Clever Chick’s not-too-serious post about race, please check it out.  Aside from the fact that it really happened (and it’s too funny not to), it’ll serve as a good primer for my forthcoming quasi-rant.  My thoughts pretty much mirror TCC’s on what my wife and I now affectionately refer to as – “The White Mom incident”.   Technically, there was nothing ‘wrong’ with what transpired.  We all agreed, after a round of confused and uncomfortable silence, her intentions were good, if not misplaced.  In fact, I somewhat admire the brass it took to come over and say something like that out of the blue.  I have two white aunts and I have yet to work the fact into a conversation with a white person I barely know.

 

Still, I don’t want to beleaguer the point.  What’s done is done.  Instead, I’d like to turn my focus to prevention.  Talking about race does not have to be painful, in fact, with a little understanding, compassion and common sense, you might be surprised how eye-opening and enjoyable a discussion about race can be. But before you sojourn off on a quest for understanding and tolerance, please check out my list below to avoid any…mishaps.  It’s a short list and taking a few minutes to read this could save you heartache and hospital bills later on down the road.  So without further ado:

 

Do not tell a black person they speak well.

 

This is a backhanded compliment that is way more backhand than compliment.  Let’s examine this dubious affirmation for a moment.  To say someone “speaks well” infers that you initially presumed otherwise.  Frankly, this is something that is far more appropriate to say to someone recovering from a head injury than to a black person.  Yes, there are plenty of black people who speak “ebonics”, reasons why vary greatly from person to person and fall outside the scope of this rant.  Regardless, if you plan on making nice with a black person, try not to draw attention to the fact that you can understand them without a translator.  Seriously, it won’t earn you any friendship points.  Language is an ever-changing institution.  And while its origins may be traced down to a particular group or ethnicity, no one “owns” it per se.  Disagree?  Take a trip to the suburbs and find any non-black teenager with their hat turned backwards and pants sagging and get an ear-full of what they say and how they say it.

 

Having a black friend does not give you privilege to say stupid crap.

 

White Person talking to black person  – “Black people love fried chicken.  I can say that because I’m friends with (insert relational status to black person here).  I’m not psychic, but I can tell you without a doubt, this conversation will end badly; especially if the person you are speaking to has no idea who you are.  It might come as a shock, but black people do not operate in a hive-mind.  Just because you know one black person doesn’t mean the rest of us got the update.  Black people do not use Twitter.  I can say that because I’m black.  *cough*

 

Assume nothing.  And for the love of all that is good, do not work into the conversation that you know a black person because it’s tacky and a little sad.  If you’re cool, we’ll sense it.  Your discretion will pay dividends in the end, trust me.

Never, ever, ever use the N word.

 

Most white people get the memo on this one early on.  For the slow adopters, take heed.  In no situation ever, EVER is it cool to say this word.  I don’t care if Jesse Jackson and Tavis Smiley both give you an annual subscription to Ebony magazine, a signed affidavit and thumbs up – don’t do it.

 

Do not claim to be more ‘black’ than your black friend.

 

You like 50 Cent?  Good for you.  You frequent an African restaurant and know how to pronounce the name correctly? Sweet.  Oh, you can dance?  My hat’s off to you sir.

 

None of those things qualifies you to say you are more “black” than your “black” friend.

 

Even in jest, this one carries too much baggage.  Being “black” has too many connotations (stereotypical, social, political) to too many people and your assumptions will more than likely differ from the person to whom you are speaking.  Besides, it’s just kind of a crap thing to say and I have no sympathy for anyone that gets the taste slapped out of their mouth for saying it.  I get it, you want to prove you’re “down”.  It’s just a joke, what’s the big deal?  The big deal is you have no idea where the other person stands on the issue.  Race can be a very sensitive topic and it would be best to tread carefully on this front.  Instead of trying to “out-black” your friend (wtf does that even mean anyway), tell them what you enjoy but don’t bias it towards what you think they want to hear.  Hey, if you like country music, good!  Tell them.  You might be surprised, maybe you’ll get an invitation to roll with them to Garth Brooks’ next concert, or maybe you’ll just get an eye roll.  Either way, being honest about what you like/dislike will open you up to a more authentic relationship based on mutual interests rather than the perception thereof.

 

There are plenty more that I could add, but in an effort to keep this from becoming a book, I’ll stop here.  In short, if you want to make black friends, look to make a friend first.  If they happen to be black, all the better.  Oh, and give them fried chicken.  Black people love fried chicken.


Don’t sweat it, I can say that because I’m black.

Tripp

July 21, 2014. Tags: , , . Random typing. 3 comments.

Dallas World Aquarium

Hubby and I took a trip to Dallas not too long ago to visit family and friends. While we were there, we went to the Dallas World Aquarium. This place is absolutely amazing! As you walk up the path to buy tickets, you pass cages with tropical birds, and a tree-kangaroo! This place is way more than just an aquarium. There are monkeys, snakes, sloths, spiders, a giant otter, a manatee, and all kinds of things. You start in the top, which is the rain forest canopy, and work your way down to the aquariums. They give you a guidebook at the beginning with the daily schedule, which includes talks and animal feedings. We got to see the giant otter and the sharks get fed. The sound system for the talks was not great, however. The background noise of an entire rain forest kind of drowned out the guides. The whole place is clean, and informative, and the animals are healthy and well-cared for.
aquarium 1 aquarium 2 aquarium 3 aquarium 4
Now for the practical details:
1) It’s a bit pricey, but I think it’s absolutely worth it. You can spend the ENTIRE day there, there’s so much to see. Keep and eye out for a Groupon or other discount.
2) Pay for parking, (it was either $7 or $5, can’t recall), but the parking is right across the street, and plentiful.
3) We went on a weekend and it was moderately busy. Not so crammed you couldn’t see anything, but enough people that you sometimes got caught in a clump.
4) Very stroller and kid friendly. The changing areas were clean and in working order. I didn’t check if they have changing tables in the men’s rooms or not.
5) There is food you can buy there, both snacks and in a cafe. We had our own snacks with us, and stuck to those. No one checked our bags or told us not to bring in outside food.
6) It’s all nice and cool! It’s not like, air conditioned, but it was kept pretty cool, and everything is shady and breezy.
7) BRING A CAMERA. I neglected to do so, which is why I only have terrible cell phone pictures for you.
8) You don’t need to get there at the crack of dawn, but I would give yourself at LEAST 3 hours to look around. We had about that much time before closing, and felt rushed toward the end.
9) Read the schedule they’ll give you. It has animal feeding times and guide talks listed, and those are worth seeing.
10) You don’t have to have kids to enjoy this place. Hubby and I loved the whole place, and my sis, Beans is a huge fan also. Baby Nacho wasn’t too interested in the monkeys and leopard, but the fish, and especially the octopus were enthralling.

July 17, 2014. Tags: , , , , . My Quest to be more Interesting. 1 comment.

A not-too-serious post about race, pt 1

A few weeks ago, Hubby, baby Nacho, and I were spending the weekend with our friends Tripp and Trina (who are black, which becomes relevant). We all went to an event at their daughter’s school one evening, and we were chilling outside on the lawn, listening to a local band and reading books. It was great, then a white mom came over to chat. This is a mom they had spoken to once or twice, but didn’t know well. Hubby and I weren’t really paying attention, then we heard this gem:

WhiteMom: “We did one of those National Geographic ancestry tests, and found out I’m 5% African! From the area of Mali (significant look as though they should know where this is). So anyway, I just thought you’d like to know!”

Hubby and I were internally cringing so hard I feared busting a blood vessel. Trina covered well by making the appropriate remarks, and we all waited silently for WhiteMom to leave. We were all so shocked we couldn’t do anything but laugh.

Later I started thinking; why was this such a bad thing to say? She was trying to be friendly, so what precisely was wrong about this interaction? What made it so painfully awkward?

Basically, even though she had good intentions, she was still reducing my friends to their skin color. She didn’t try to bond with them about their daughters, the school, the band, the city they live in, the cupcakes surrounding us, or any other factors they had in common. She assumed their race would be their main interest, even though she probably considers herself to be open-minded and enlightened.

Either that, or she was hoping they had an NAACP welcome packet just waiting for her.

If you’re searching for common ground to connect with someone, try and pay attention to what their interests are. Maybe they love Game of Thrones, or Batman. (Let’s be honest, if they don’t, they’re probably not worth being friends with). You wouldn’t try to bond about their hair color, or shoe size, so don’t try to use ethnicity.

I was going to make this just one post, but like most of my posts, it’s getting much longer and more involved than I planned. I asked Tripp to write about his perception of the same event, and I also asked several of my other friends for similar experiences. I think you’ll find all of this as entertaining as I did. Stay tuned for parts 2 through 5!

 

July 15, 2014. Tags: , , . Random typing. 6 comments.

How to Shop for a Baby Shower: pt 2

This post got a little unwieldy, so I broke it into two parts. See part one for advice on registries and baby clothes.

4) No stuffed animals – kids get millions of them, and according to the American Association of Pediatrics, they shouldn’t sleep with them until a year old. Stuffed animals can be cute, but they just take up space until the kid is old enough. If you want to buy a toy, check out Lucie’s List for some helpful suggestions (but always check the registry first).

5) Don’t buy any baby shampoo, lotion, or baby powder. Doctors recommend avoiding baby powder altogether now. For the other two items, my son has eczema which is very common in babies. Our doctor recommended avoiding anything that was not unscented and hypoallergenic. Plus, lots of people will buy these items for new parents, so avoid overkill.

6) You still have no idea what to do? CASH – It may sound crass, but cash is the best thing ever. The new parents can buy diapers, books, Chinese delivery, pay for housecleaning or yard services they don’t have time to take care of for themselves, or get that baby monitor they registered for, but no one bought.

Cash is far superior to gift cards because of the versatility. This is especially great if your friend lives far away (cheap shipping!), is registered at some specialty boutique you can’t get to for whatever reason, or only registered for items that are out of your price range.

If you don’t want to look lazy and cheap by sending cash, buy one of those cardboard baby books and tuck the cash inside. Cash WILL get used, I promise, and you don’t have to worry about duplicates!

7) Strapped for cash – make a card and offer to bring them food after the baby comes. A week or two after they get home from the hospital, send a text or email (something unobtrusive that won’t wake a sleeping newborn) and say “I’m free on (list a few dates). Would any of these work for me to drop off some food for you?” For people that may not have gotten to the store in awhile, produce that doesn’t spoil quickly, like apples and oranges, would probably be welcome as well.

a) You can even make and freeze food and give it to them before the baby comes. If you’re traveling to see them or are a terrible cook, even a frozen lasagna is helpful. Just check in advance for dietary restrictions and freezer space.

b) Really can’t cook? As I’ve said before, paper towels and toilet paper are extremely helpful. You can also offer specific help, such as “I can come over and watch the baby while you nap or shower”, or “I can run some laundry and dishes for you” or vacuum, or walk the dogs, whatever. Try to think of the things that get out of control when you get sick for several days. Again, give a few specific dates when you’re available so the frazzled new mom has to think as little as possible.

8) Use your skills – if you have something you’re good at, consider how to use that for the new arrival. We are so fortunate to have talented friends, and we received a crocheted narwhal, a tiny pirate outfit, pirate quilts, a beautiful scrapbook, and a pirate cross stitch, all handmade just for my baby Nacho. (There seems to be a theme emerging…)

 

This got incredibly wordy, but I promise, it’s simple. Anything you can do will be appreciated, and hopefully these guidelines will keep you from feeling too lost.

July 1, 2014. Tags: , , , . Baby Stuff. 2 comments.

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