Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

There are so many sad anniversaries this month, including the Oklahoma City bombing yesterday and the Columbine High School shootings today. I received an e-mail message from Dave Cullen of Columbine fame who reminded me that today marked the 11th anniversary of the school shooting. Cullen’s publisher just released an expanded paperback version of his book that includes a 12-page afterword titled, “Forgiveness.” They are follow-up vignettes of three victims in very different places, and the central role that forgiveness played in their recovery. Cullen promised “startling new revelations about the killers’ parents,” as well as actual journal pages from shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.

I was glad to see that Cullen has embarked on a tour of largely high schools and college campuses to discuss an important issue that may have led, at least Dylan Klebold, to partake in the shootings 11 years ago: teen depression. Klebold’s mother, Susan, wrote an article about it for Oprah magazine in October. I got chills reading her essay as well as Cullen’s book.

The Country Music Awards were Sunday night and here is a list of the winners, according to MSN. Congrats to Carrie Underwood who became the first woman to win entertainer of the year twice.

My Circle of Moms Facebook page recently had a discussion on “cool baby boy names.” I agree that boy names are harder to find than girl names. I am partial to Spanish names like Diego, Adrian, Romero, and Emilio. But these were some of the names actually recommended on the Facebook thread: Logan, Arthur, Harry, Aidan, David, Alex, Castin, Brenton, Austin, Axel, Brayton, Denali, Kaden, Cade, Maxon, Stran, Levi, Colby,Grayson or Gray, Everett, Hunter, and Ashton.

My husband and I could not agree on any names, so we decided before the kids were born that he would name a first-born boy, I would name a first-born girl and the other spouse would name the second child. My husband named our first-born son Aristotle Alberto after his favorite philosopher and grandfather respectively. What are your favorite boy names?

I thought we were hardcore in Berkeley when it comes to healthy food in children’s lunches. But this school in Tucson, Arizona, has us beat. According to the Arizona Daily Star, the Children’s Success Academy in Tucson bans all white flour, refined sugar and anything it defines as processed food, on school premises. The list of contraband includes: flavored yogurt, canned fruit, American cheese, processed meats, white bread, peanut butter made with sugar, and virtually all packaged crackers except Triscuits, because they are baked with whole grain.

Finally, Congratulations to Dave Cullen who is attending the LA Times Book Awards ceremony this Friday. His book Columbine is up against books by Tracy Kidder and Dave Eggers. I made sure to tell Dave that we are also fans of Tracy Kidder since we read Mountains Beyond Mountains here. As you can tell I am still star-struck. I know, I am a geek.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Every night this week at 8 ET, Discovery Health is airing a program related to parenthood. Tonight’s episode is about postpartum depression.

Excuse me for being kind of star-struck. But Dave Cullen of Columbine-writing fame contacted me to thank me for the mention of his book in a recent open thread. (I know, I am a nerd.) Anyways, the expanded paperback version of Columbine is being launched this week. I will definitely read!

Laurie Puhn over at the Expecting Words blog had a tongue in cheek column on the “10 surprises when recovering from labor and delivery.”

The Federal Trade Commission is circulating a video to show consumers how to file a complaint if they suspect they have been scammed.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Saturday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

First of all, thank you for your birthday wishes here and on Facebook. Unfortunately, I had a cold on my 33rd birthday, but it was heart-warming to receive so many messages, phone calls, flowers and outpouring of love. My day started in the morning when Markos took Eli to her dance class. My friend and nanny Llulle showed up with a flan chocolate cake, a couple of cards and jewelry. I was so touched and am so grateful to have her as a friend. Then the texts and phone calls started pouring in from family and childhood friends. I checked out Facebook and I had messages from all over the U.S., El Salvador, Greece, Honduras and Argentina. It was raining hard yesterday, and DH sweetly picked me up a chimichanga at my favorite Mexican restaurant here in Berkeley. When Ari got in from school at 3 p.m. our time, we skyped with my parents, my grandmother and great aunt out east. They all sang happy birthday to me as we cut into Llulle’s delicious flan. That evening, our friend and Daily Kos editor SusanG came over to watch the kids while Markos and I met some friends at a Caribbean restaurant in Oakland. Cold or no cold, I feasted on Cuban steak, black beans, rice and fried plantains. It was the perfect ending to the perfect birthday. Thank you all. Los quiero mucho.

In other news: this is devastating. An 8.8-magnitude earthquake rocked central Chile this morning, collapsing buildings and killing at least 78 people, according to the Associated Press. It was so massive that a tsunami warning has been issued for Hawaii, Australia and South America. I know we have MTers in Chile and Australia and I pray that you are safe. Please check in if you can.  

our Desmoinesdem over at the Bleeding Heartland blog wrote on how Iowa Republicans voted against a bill that would have made workplaces family-friendlier, including giving breastfeeding mothers space to express milk. One of the Republicans, Sen. Nancy Boettger, who said she breast fed all four of her children, called the provision an unfair mandate on Iowa businesses. So much for family values!

In other we-hate-women news: both the Utah House and Senate passed a bill that would criminalize pregnant women for illegally obtaining an abortion, or get this, having a miscarriage. The bill would penalize women who miscarried due to “reckless” behavior. As the RH Reality Check blog pointed out, that would include women who may have had a drink and then miscarried — even if they would have kept any children from those pregnancies.

Nearly 20 percent of U.S. workers are underemployed, or working less hours than they need to pay their bills, according to a Gallup poll covered by Reuters.

The Los Angeles Times book prize finalists have been named, and once again, I was reminded of how little I have read this year. The only book I have even heard of — and read — was Dave Cullen’s Columbine. (Good one!)

I got sucked into the comments of yet another drama unfolding at Mamapedia. A single father with joint custody of his 18-month-old son wondered if there was a way he could see his son for 24 hours without the mother coming over to nurse the toddler. The comments varied from “Breast is best — don’t interrupt their nursing relationship!” to “Your ex-wife is using nursing as a way to manipulate you.” Definitely check it out.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Susan Klebold, the mother of Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold, wrote a personal essay for the November issue of Oprah magazine. The article is not online, but the TODAY Show did a segment on it, including an interview with Columbine author Dave Cullen.

If you subscribe to a community-supported agriculture (CSA) weekly produce delivery, I am sure you come across fruits and vegetables you have no idea what to do with. Some of those fruits for my family are cantaloupes and melons. We love them, but they are so big and there are only four of us. So I was grateful for this tip I spotted in Parents magazine: Scope them out with an ice cream scooper and serve them on cones like sorbet. They are cute, tasty and the kids love them!

In somewhat related (veggie) news: “A kilogram of beef is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution than driving for 3 hours while leaving all the lights on back home,” according to the New Scientist.  

The Associated Press wrote about the quiet movement among preschools and daycare centers to offer healthier meals and snacks.

Also in AP: Swine flu has killed 76 U.S. children, including 19 last week alone, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The regular flu kills between 46 and 88 children a year, according to the CDC.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill that would consider violence against gay people a hate crime, according to the Los Angeles Times.

MSN ran an article on five $50,000-a-year careers that require only an Associate’s degree. They were webmaster, industrial engineering technician, occupational therapist assistant, dental hygienist and claims adjuster.

Another couple has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for praying for their toddler rather than taking him to the hospital for bacterial pneumonia, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Late-Night Liberty: Book Discussion Edition

I am more than halfway through Dave Cullen’s Columbine and all I gotta say is Oh. My. God.

I am at the part where Cullen examines killer Eric Harris’s psycopathic tendancies and goes into this whole disturbing discussion on how psychopaths are actually clever at masking their lack of empathy and can come off as charming. It uncomfortably shattered all the preconceived notions I and I am sure the public had that the two students who killed 12 of their own classmates and a teacher in Littleton, Colorado, were these social outcasts who just snapped. According to Cullen’s experts, Harris was a cold-blooded killer who probably would have carried out a crime of this magnitude even if it was not at his school. Yikes.

While I am intrigued by all of Harris’s and co-killer Dylan Klebold’s diaries and discussion by people who knew them, I am now morbidly curious as to where their parents are and how they can possibly carry on after their sons’ heinous crimes. From news stories like this one, it sounds like they were loving people who were blindsided like everyone else. The Harrises, sensing something was wrong with their son, even attended therapy with him.

Like I said, I have yet to finish it so perhaps there will be more. But from what Cullen wrote it sounds like at least Harris’s family has never spoken about the murders to anyone. I can’t imagine they remained in the area after their son carried out this heinous crime.

Have any of you read this book? What did you think? This is an open thread so feel free to discuss this, other books or whatever you want. Have a good weekend all!

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Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I heart Jennifer Weiner. The author of Good In Bed and Little Earthquakes wrote an hilarious piece about her neurotic friend Elizabeth for Glamour magazine. The photo of the two women is adorable.

Salon’s Broadsheet has a big debate going on about United Airlines’s new policy to charge overweight passengers for two seats. As the long thread pointed out, Southwest Airlines already has the same policy in place, although it is illegal for the airlines to do so in Canada because it is viewed as discrimination.

In case you missed it, Oprah Winfrey pulled her show about the Columbine shootings because it focused too much on the killers. She left a note on Oprah.com. Also in Oprah: Sex expert Dr. Laura Berman — and Oprah — recently agreed that moms should buy their teen girls vibrators. ParentDish had a recap of the fascinating discussion and topic.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos. Don’t forget to recommend us! :)

Good morning fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I am back with your weekly parenting news update. Here are some topics we recently discussed here at MotherTalkers:

Did you have a curfew growing up? What about your kids? We swapped stories and as it turns out many of you were responsible teens who did not have curfews. I was a responsible teen but my parents were convinced every mass murderer in the state of New Hampshire — as if! — were out to get me. So there was no staying out past 10 p.m. until I went away to college.

In somewhat related news, we discussed the controversy surrounding Gov. Sarah Palin’s allowing now ex-son-in-law-to-be Levi Johnston to spend the night with her daughter Bristol. Johnston recently told Tyra Banks that the governor allowed him to spend the night at their home and that he was pretty sure she knew he and Bristol were having sex. We discussed whether we would allow our own children to have co-ed sleepovers.

A disturbing study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine showed that almost 1 in 5 preschool-aged children are obese, a disproportionate number of them American Indian children, according to the Associated Press. Here is a breakdown of the  8,550 kids included in the study, according to AP: “Almost 13 percent of Asian children were obese, along with 16 percent of whites, almost 21 percent of blacks, 22 percent of Hispanics, and 31 percent of American Indians.” We had a lengthy discussion on how poverty and government policies play a role in this disparity.

It is the 10th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings and I have spotted all kinds of articles on it. The ones that most stuck with me were by the mother of victim Daniel Mauser who wrote about the tragedy at Open Salon.

And before I forget, here are some pictures from Eli’s birthday party last week. She turned 2. We celebrated with 50 other people at home, eating Salvadoran pupusas and busting a couple of piñatas. It was fun.

How are you? What else is on your minds?

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Midday Coffee Break

What’s up?

I got a chuckle from this article in MSN Health & Fitness: Women are better than men in detecting underarm odor even when it is masked by cologne, according to a study in Flavour and Fragrance Journal.

In other bizarre news: A woman in Texas called 911 to report that she didn’t get as much shrimp in her fried rice as she would have liked, according to the Associated Press.

This sounds so wrong, yet in this economy it seems inevitable. The Fox network plans to air a reality show called “Someone’s Gotta Go,” in which the employees of a small business decide which one of their colleagues to lay off, according to Salon Wires. Cruel.

Also in Salon Wires: Melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, is now the likeliest cancer to kill a woman in her 20s in Britain. Please lather on the sunblock, ladies!

The mother of a Columbine shooting victim wrote two poignant columns — here and here — about her reaction to a new book about the massacre that claimed the lives of 15 people, including the two shooters.

In case you missed it, Madonna’s application to adopt a little girl from Malawi was rejected by a judge on Friday, according to the New York Times. The judge said she would not bend the country’s strict residency rules for the pop star. The Anti-Racist Parent blog discussed domestic versus transatlantic adoption and the reasons African-American babies are adopted at a lesser rate than Caucasian children.  

Here are some gratuitous kid pictures at Amalah to make you smile.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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