Friday, February 13, 2009

5:00 Fridays

First things first, DC Urban Dad is the winner of last week's Dirty Sue giveaway! I'll be in touch about deets to get your shirt size and all. Big round of applause to honing your tastebuds for your new favorite drink!

Tomorrow we mark the most Hallmark of holidays, the one whose hallmark is a bounty of over priced chocolate and roses.

I'd like to toast all of you with a special Valentine's cocktail I conjured up. I think it sure beats a bouquet fluffed up with baby's breath filler and box of waxy Russell Stover.

My Funny Valentime (Do all children pronounce it like this or just mine?)

1 ounce orange vodka (I'd go with Absolut Mandrin.)
1 ounce vanilla vodka (Mix it up and use Stoli Vanil.)
3 ounces pomegranate juice
Vanilla bean
Pomegranate seeds

Shake all the ingredients over ice. Pour into a martini glass. Split the vanilla bean and add to the glass for garnish. Sprinkle in a few pomegranate seeds for a finishing touch of symbolism. Pomegranates are, after all, an aphrodisiac. Ooh la la! I'm making myself blush.

A few of these will turn you into a cheap date before you can say metamorphosis.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When Social Media Becomes a Social Cause: Twestival 09

This is no Twestivus for the Rest of Us kind of faux affair. A group of dedicated, savvy volunteers have leveraged Twitter's microblogging power to host Raleigh's own Twestival on Thursday, February 12. Here are the deets. This a the grand dame of Tweetups, with charity at its heart. Our goal is to raise money to provide access to clean drinking water to people around the world.

H2O. The same stuff we flush away without a care. The same stuff we waste down the drain as we let hoses run amok and taps drip to their own deafening cadence. The same stuff we mindlessly guzzle from bottles, fountains (or bubblers as they say in Wisconsin), refrigerators, Brita pitchers, faucets. Charity: Water.

Thursday's soiree promises to be fun and above all, uplifting. Food, cocktails, Wii, networking, and best of all, meet your favorite tweeple face to face. Tickets are only $11.40 if you purchase tickets online in advance, or $14 on day of, $20 at door. Did I mention the awesome chow and cocktails that are included in that ticket price? Did you catch what I said about the cause we're supporting? Clean dirnking water, people. The stuff we take for granted every. single. day.

On Thursday 12 February 2009, Twestival is going global. The flagship event will be
rocking out in London, with simultaneous events happening in major Twitter cities around the
world. Look at us, little ole Raleigh. A major Twitter city!

Here's some more information from Twestival's official website:

charity: water - Everyone in the world deserves safe, clean drinking water.
Right now 1.1 billion people on the planet don’t have access to safe, clean drinking water. That’s one in six of us. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of all sickness and disease, and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Many people in the developing world, usually women and children, walk more than three hours everyday to fetch water that is likely to make them sick. Those hours are crucial, preventing many from working or attending school. Additionally, collecting water puts them at a greater risk of sexual harassment and assault. Children are especially vulnerable to the consequences of unsafe drinking water. Of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation, 90% are children under 5 years old. The same as my Bird and Deal.

charity: water and how they work:
charity: water is a non profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of the money raised goes to direct project costs, funding sustainable clean water solutions in areas of greatest need. They also work to raise awareness of the water crisis through events, fundraising exhibitions and other public awareness campaigns.

Since it’s foundation in 2006, charity: water has funded the construction of more than 600 wells that, when completed, will provide clean drinking water to 250,000 people. And they are just getting started.

I have seen firsthand the effects of lack of clean water. Scratch that. Make that the effects of polluted, foul, smelly, diseased water. Images of those villagers haunt me still. It is heartbreaking to see people, fellow mothers and fathers and children, succumb to desperation and illness just because they lack the one basic thing our bodies need, the very thing that comprises 75% of our very being.

Can't snag a sitter or sneak away from work to join us at Raleigh's Twestival? Fret not, my friends. You can simply click here to make a difference. Imagine if it were your child dying from a simple lack of water. Imagine not doing anything at all.

Tweet. Meet. Give. We're going to change the world one tweet at a time.
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Wordless Wednesday: Sunny Disposition

Wordless Wednesday: Sunny DispositionSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mind Your Manners

I learned the hard way what it's like to be at the sandy playground without sand toys. While all the other children whose mothers had the foresight to actually pack a bucket of shovels and molds and rakes and trucks, I was meagerly handing my sons a few twigs and a handful of pine needles to muck it up in the sand. I played it off as the beauty of imagination, not the lameness of leaving the house in a daze and having no clue what the park would behold.

Now I keep the mother load of sand toys in my car. Each item painstakingly initialed in hard to reach crevices lest the sand wear away the Sharpie.

And unlike those other moms, my kids and I share our toys. If I encountered a mom as clueless as I was that day, I'd offer her a shovel. I'd do what I could to help her save face in front of her kids. Most of all, I'd extend our universe to let in some more kids, allowing everyone to have a piece of the sandy pie. A playground is no place to be closed and provincial. It is called a PLAYground after all, not a don't-play-with-them-ground. Is it not the quintessential place to learn all of life's lessons?

Play nicely.
Walk, don't run.
That slide will be blazing hot in August.
The see saw is gonna hurt.
Don't show your panties on the money bars.
A dress is a bad idea on the jungle gym.
Sensible shoes are a must.
Don't eat sand.
Pee in the woods if you must.
Introduce yourself.
Introduce your friends.
Say please and thank you.
Don't be a hog.
Swingers don't necessarily have more fun.

Our family celebrated our long awaited taste of spring yesterday by heading to the park, sand toys and lunch in tow. Deal promptly dumped out the toys and began digging his way to China, unearthing gold along the way. I sat filling castle mold after castle mold to help build our new city. A colorful pile of sand toys at the park holds a magnetic attraction to everyone in the five and under set. A veritable swarm of children pounced, grubby little hands stretching to pluck a rake or shovel from the pile. Wails of "But I waaannnnntttt the ggrreeeeeennnn one!" ensued. And ever so calmly, Deal handed over the green shovel. When one kid took the elephant mold right out of Deal's hand, he simply picked up another toy, walked over to the culprit, and held it out for a trade.

I don't know about you, but if it were my kid playing with someone else's toys, I'd be a hawk making sure my kid played nicely. I'd be all annoyingly ingratiating to make sure the mom and kid knew how grateful were were to play with their made in China shovel. Not so for the moms and kids we encountered yesterday. Oh, not so at all. Harumph.

I was kneeling in the sand building with Deal. Actually interacting with my son. Getting dirty. Sand all under my nails. The other moms, upon seeing their children distracted by our toys, plopped down on a bench and gabbed away the afternoon, leaving me to tend to the minor battles, tugs, and tussles. When it was time to go, those moms simply took their kids' hands and walked away. No thank yous, no smiles, no waves. Nada. Zip. Zilch. They played with our stuff, left the mess, and trapsed off.

Poor Deal shared like a champ and made me beam. Those other moms and kids made me steam.

How can we possibly teach manners to our children if we don't model them ourselves? Well, good manners, that is. I'm pretty sure the bad manners are the ones that are innate to our very being. Those mothers at the park should have made a concerted effort to thank Deal for sharing (or made their children say thank you). They should have helped collect the strewn toys. They should have shown some grace and class and manners.

Painful as it is for Mac Daddy sometimes, we spend a lot of time focusing on our manners at our house. Napkin in lap. Use your fork. Say please. Wipe your mouth...not on the placemat! Look her in the eye when you say thank you. What's the magic word? It's admittedly a lot of blah blah blahing, but I have to believe it will one day pay off. Granted, there are many days I feel it isn't working at all. Don't judege me by my children. Oh, that's another post in and of itself! For the record, I don't blame those little kids. But I fully blame their rude moms. Even Deal sullenly noted that no one said thank you. How 'bout that Ladies, called out by a three-year old. Shame on you.

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