Friday, November 28, 2008

Fitness Friday: Holiday Edition and Balanced Life Index

Today is a free-for-all Fitness Friday, so I'm going to discuss two things. First, a recap of my fitness week: Monday I was all jazzed up, refilling my gym bag with workout clothes and filling my mp3 with fresh material. I arrived at the Rec Center at 9am sharp -- only to find out that due to Thanksgiving Break, the gym didn't open until 11am. *sigh*

So, no workout on Monday. But Tuesday I was able to plan ahead and walked in the gym doors as soon as they opened. I was pleased to discover that I had not, in fact, gained any weight during my hiatus from planned exercise. Now, for reshaping the weight and getting my energy levels up...To the elliptical!! I'm starting out with my old routine of 40 minutes on the elliptical and 20 minutes rowing. Mondays I'm going to add in playing racquetball with Jon, which is always challenging since he seems to stay a level ahead of me. So that will help with cardio.

Wednesday was full of cleaning and cooking. Foodwise, I kept things small and simple all week in preparation for the Thanksgiving feast on Thursday. I'm pretty happy with my choices at Thanksgiving -- of course, keeping my little one entertained was a good distraction from eating! I did indulge with dessert, but I did so deliberately so I don't really feel bad about it.

Okay, enough recap. On to topic #2. Listening to an episode of MommyCast from their archives, I learned about this website: Start Making Choices. I highly recommend that you check it out! The Balanced Life index is a nice tool to track how you are doing with overall "life fitness", and there are useful articles and a lot of good ideas on how to add in exercise and good eating to a busy life. Also, for those of you on facebook, you can track your friends' Balanced Life scores for encouragement (and a little fun competition?).

Thanks again to Brenda at The Family Revised for hosting Fitness Friday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wifey Wednesday: I'll be happy when... husband stays home to help his sore back recuperate and spends half the day cleaning the house for me so I'll have less to do in preparation for Thanksgiving. He even placed the couch pillows artfully. And cleaned the blades on the ceiling fan. Really!! A wife's dream come true. Surely it made me happy.

I would have been genuinely and ecstatically happy about all of this. If a deer hadn't been standing in the middle of the road on the way home. And hadn't decided to rearrange the hood of my car. It does make it more difficult to show appreciation for the loving gift of unexpected housework.

Still, I'm proud of the fact that no four-letter words were uttered. I'm glad that we sold our 2002 Passat earlier this year and I was driving a 1992 Subaru -- our "Dave Ramsey" car. Oh, and I'm relieved (but not surprised) that my husband was completely understanding and told me out loud that there was nothing I could have done differently. Eventually I was even able to fully appreciate everything he had done around the house.

Here's the thing. We can't control things like deer hitting the car (or vice versa, depending on how you want to phrase it...which depends on how recently you've been in a deer-car accident). Neither can we really control the circumstances that would supposedly "make me happy when...", since they generally involve someone else's actions and free will can be a bummer in that case.

As Sheila Wray Gregoire puts it, if we say we'll be happen "when...", we're really refusing to be happy now. We might even find that when the happy circumstances finally arrive, they've been negated by something else. So if you have a virtual deer in your headlights (or on your hood) right now, I encourage you to look past it and find something in this moment, this precious "present" time, to be happy about.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Head over to Sheila's blog To Love, Honor and Vacuum for more Wifey Wednesday goodness.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Loose threads

I promised Birthday pictures earlier in the week, and then forget to put them up! So here you go.

First, proof that my daughter now has shoes (Yes, I am a good Mom!):

Of course, now I've learned that soft-soled shoes like Robeez are best for this age. I figure she only wears them to keep her socks on while traveling anyway, so I'm not losing too much sleep over her foot apparel.

Next up: Birthday cake!

The bakery did an amazing job, don't you think? I wasn't expecting anything near this lovely. I just handed them the card I used as an invitation and asked if they could try to make the cake to match. (By the way....$16!!! And there was a matching 8" round that had the Happy Birthday message on it.) 

The birthday girl:
"What? Do I have something on my face?" We went with Daddy's favorite flavor, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Yum!

And, finally, a treat at the mall on the actual "Big Day":

Aurelia's great-grandma specifically asked us to buy her a treat and let her know who it was from. So we took a picture of "Bama" along for our birthday stroll and bought Aurelia's first chocolate chip cookie and a Strawberry Julius. She seemed to enjoy it!

Life out of the freezer

I'd like to draw your attention to this amazing post: Embryo adoption. Wow. This has changed my viewpoint drastically. I've spent a considerable amount of time debating with myself about what should be done with leftover embryos from IVF. If IVF didn't exist, I would be 100% absolutely against any research using embryos, but the issue becomes more muddled by the existence of unused embryos that are either put in the deep-freeze or thrown out with the garbage. Wouldn't it be better, in that case, for something good to come out of their creation? It is very easy to view these leftovers with a "scientific" mindset and not see them as people. I will never be guilty of this again. I'd like you to meet one of the few who made it out of the freezer:

Thank you, Elisha. I'm so glad the world got to meet you.

Fitness Friday: Jumping on board

I've been watching Brenda's Fitness Friday progress over at The Family Revised, and debating whether or not to join in. Well, this week is "The Excuses Edition", so it's only appropriate that I share why I hadn't jumped on board immediately! 

Number 1 Reaso...Excuse: Nursing. This actually entails a few "sub-reasons". First, the time spent expressing milk led me to drop my usual exercise routine: a half-hour on the elliptical and a half-hour on the rowing machine at least 3 days a week. Even into my last month of pregnancy I had consistently kept up this schedule, usually going 5 days a week. But I simply wasn't making sufficient progress with my research and something had to go. Secondly, the energy. Making milk takes energy. Exercise burns calories. I do not have an infinite amount of energy. Thirdly (and this one feels most like an excuse), you're not supposed to diet while nursing. Err...yep, I know exercising and dieting are not the same thing... And, finally, I was losing extra pregnancy pounds just by eating well and nursing. 9 months after giving birth, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Unfortunately, that weight is not exactly distributed as nicely as it was before.

Number 2: Like Brenda, I find myself using the excuse that "it's not that bad". Sure, I'd look and feel better if I shaped up a bit and dropped about 9 lbs, but I'm not trying to be a model or anything. Whose counting 9 lbs? The point I need to remember is, if I don't make a habit out of getting and staying fit now, it's going to get a lot worse and a lot harder down the road.  

Number 3: I'm really stressed out and a glazed croissant with chocolate milk would make me happier. This is my biggest excuse in the food department. I never had a problem with a sweet tooth until I became a mom. It took me a while to figure out why I suddenly started craving treats....alll the time. I think I know: once you become a mom, about the only thing you have time to do just for yourself is eat something sweet! At least, that's what is going on in my case. I'd like to add here that I think we really should enjoy food. But a glazed croissant once a week is not the same as having a calorie-heavy treat every single day. And it's entirely possible to enjoy food that is good for you!

On the positive side, I just got the thumbs-up from our pediatrician to stop expressing milk and to cut back on nursing. So a lot of my excuses just evaporated! Monday morning, it's back to the gym.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thankful Thursday: Unlikely thanks

There are a lot of things in life that I take for granted that I should be thankful for. But there are also things that I'm simply surprised to be thankful for. Here are some of them from this past year:

1) Barney. Yes, the purple dinosaur. When Aurelia was sick last week, I learned to love the big guy, because he made her happy. You just wouldn't believe the look on her face when she sees the dvd cover with Barney on it.

2) AAA Plus membership. Particularly the towing service. I'm thankful that we didn't have to use the service at all this year, and thankful that we had the service when we used all 8 tows the previous year.

3) Cheerios. Like Barney, they make my little one happy.

4) Nutella and banana crepes. Had them the first time in Paris, and now I often make the quick and dirty version -- nutella and banana on wheat toast.

5) A husband who can fix the toilet using string from the weed whacker.

6) Facebook. I held out for a long time, but I'm glad that I finally decided to give it a look-see. I have reconnected with so many wonderful friends!

7) Tony Romo and Frank Gore. Without them, my poor fantasy football team wouldn't stand a chance. (By the way, ladies, I find that having a fantasy football team is a good way to connect with my husband during the NFL season!)

8) My vacuum cleaner. This almost falls into the category of "taken for granted", but not quite. I splurged and bought a Roomba last year. My back thanks me, my carpet thanks me, my crawling baby...will thank me someday...

9) The Diaper Genie. Yes, I mean the odor-controlling contraption in the nursery...but I also mean the wonderful man in my life who empties it for me!

That's all for now...have a wonderful day!

Choices: The Holiday edition

I seem to be stuck on my recent post about choices ("When Yes means No"). But if you're getting bored, don't worry. I'll be moving on to new topics soon. Or going back to old ones, like budgeting...

Anyway, as the holiday season approaches (What's that you say? Thanksgiving is only a week away?!?), I've been thinking about the painful process of deciding who to spend the holidays with every year. When my husband and I were first married, we lived close to both sets of parents. At first we thought this was a boon, and in some ways it really was. But it also meant that we felt like we had to spend holidays with both of our families, which led to some pretty crazy days of running around in a mad dash to see everyone...and very little time to actually enjoy being with our loved ones. Saying "yes" to everyone really isn't the greatest idea.

Things changed when we moved 6 hours away. My in-laws also moved, putting them an hour away from us. Strangely enough, this freed us by forcing us to choose more decisively. In an effort at fairness, we decided to alternate holidays. Thanksgiving with one family, Christmas with the other, and then switch the next year. I think this has worked well, although I don't know if anyone is ever fully satisfied with holiday visits. It seems like they're always too short or rushed. 

For example, our trips to visit my family still suffer from the strain of trying to spend time with too many people. I've tried going schedule-free to reduce the stress, and just go with the flow. That worked out about as poorly as you can imagine. I've tried scheduling precisely when I will visit with each person, but that wasn't much better. I'm really at a loss as to how to fully enjoy the experience of these trips home. Occasionally, I even agonize over what we're missing out on once we've made a choice. I think this is where the flip side of "yes means no" comes into play...once you do say yes to something, you have to stop thinking about what or who it is you've said "no" to and throw yourself wholly into whatever it is you're doing. 

I was better at doing this in college, when I lived by my personal mantra of "Never be afraid. Never be ashamed. Never be in a hurry." Now...not so much. Of course, now that we're a family of three, holidays are probably going to be changing again. This is a new year, with a new chance to embrace the joy of the season, and new choices to make. Time to look forward.

EDIT: I just have to add that Sheila over at To Love, Honor and Vacuum has a great post up on gift giving. Check it out!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Softball, chat and Captivating

(Not to be confused with Captivating softball chat, which is a common mistake). I seem to be in the mood for (asides) today, so I thought I'd start right off with one. On to the post...

In high school (oh so many years ago now), I was captain of the softball team. Before you start feeling impressed, I must point out that I went to a very small school and I literally forced the team into creation in the first place. I still think my greatest diplomatic achievement in life was getting my best friend Molly to join the team. Despite the fact that she "couldn't see the point in throwing oneself into the dirt" during sliding practice, in a desperate moment during a game she even slid into base. Once. She's a trooper. I digress.

My senior year, we ran into trouble with some cliques forming on the team. I struggled trying to break up the annoying little groups. We had never had issues like this in previous years, and no matter how much effort I put into "team building" exercises, we just couldn't gel as a group. Finally I realized that the best approach was to get the girls to refocus on God, and I instituted a team devotional before every practice. (Again, resist any lingering urges to be impressed...this was a private Christian school, so I wasn't exactly rocking the boat). I can't say that everything went smoothly after that, but it definitely helped. Getting my teammates to look "out" at God was the best way to help them get over their inner insecurities (the basis of most cliques, in my opinion). Or at least to forget about them long enough to pay attention to playing softball.

So what brings up my streak of nostalgia? There's been a lot of chatter lately on my favorite blogs (see my blogroll in the sidebar...I'm on dial-up at the moment and am consequently too lazy to link them up here) about unrealistic expectations in the blog world vs. the real world. It is terribly easy on a blog to 1) make it sound like you have everything figured out for everyone, and 2) come across as judgemental concerning anyone who makes different choices than you. Sadly, sometimes this is intentional. I've read blog posts that made it sound like you were going to the hot place if you used birth control. Or let your kids go to public school. Or died your hair red. You get the idea. But I don't think I'm being overly optimistic in believing that most of the time it's a side effect of the medium used to communicate. Regardless, we Christian women need to remember that we stand on the same ground in loving God and striving to do His will. Let's not beat each other up when that looks different in someone else's journey than it does in ours.

This recent set of discussions reminds me of why I can't stand most "How to be a good Christian woman"-type books. Like Stasi Eldredge, author of Captivating, one of the Three Books that Changed My Life (besides the Bible), I feel like throwing them out the window on about the second sentence. There is no one picture of what a good Christian woman looks like. And if we try to fit into a single mold, all we'll get is frustration and guilt and shame at having failed.

Well, that was my version of mental Stone Soup. Now I'm off to relax with my husband, ignore the pile of laundry, and remember that a year ago today I first held our daughter in my arms. Birthday pictures tomorrow!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Girl Talk: Milking machine of doom

Men, you've been warned. Your brain may not be able to process some of the following information. Turn back now. (Sorry Dad).

Last Friday I talked about the fact that good choices sometimes get in the way of great choices...or at the very least, other good choices. I'm trying to decide if I'm facing one of those situations in my life right now, and what I should do about it.

It was important to me from the beginning to give my daughter breastmilk. I couldn't stay home with her, but I could at least make sure she had "nature's best food for babies". (I don't want this to devolve into a breastfeeding vs. formula debate...I have no issue with anyone who chooses to use formula or must use formula. When I went on vacation, my daughter drank formula for over a week, and she was just fine when I got back. It is not evil. There, that's out of the way). Personal preferences aside, have you seen the price of formula lately??? I'm a grad student, for crying out loud, not a corporate executive. 

After I got past the whole "mastitis" incident, nursing has truly been a joy. Pumping, on the other hand...oh my, am I ready to be done with that. I am very fortunate that pumping has been physically easy for me. A fellow researcher I trade off with in the dark corner of a bathroom that is allotted to breastpumping mothers has to pump for an hour to get 4 oz. of milk. In comparison, I could win a blue ribbon at the county fair for "prodigious producer". As long as I've been drinking enough water and leave out the mint tea, I can get 12+ oz. in about 45 minutes. I have a decent pump -- the Medela pump-in-style double electric model. If assembling a breastpump were a timed Olympic event, I could probably win gold. But I'd rather borrow a rifle from the sharp-shooting event and blow the thing to pieces. 

I have to spend anywhere from 2 to 3 hours pumping on weekdays, and on weekends I still have to pump before going to bed. Granted, I get to read a lot of books while I pump, but that's a huge chunk of my time. Recently I had to stop going to the gym every day. I just can't get enough done with my research if I pump and exercise. And frankly, after pumping at night I am not even remotely interested in getting cozy with my husband. As the ever-wise Sheila Wray Gregoire points out,this puts a strain on the marital relationship, but I can't help it. It takes a lot of energy (500 extra calories a day to maintain milk production) and I feel less than beautiful after disconnecting from the Machine. Nursing bras don't help. (Yes, I know you can get pretty ones, but they're quite expensive and I can't see how they'd hold up against milk stains). I'm beginning to think I should reconsider what I'm saying "no" to in order to provide breastmilk for my daughter. 

Of course, Aurelia's first birthday is tomorrow, and her 12-month checkup is on Thursday. Hopefully her pediatrician will tell me I'm off the hook now. And give me a gold medal and a million dollars...haha. So this may soon be a non-issue. In the meantime, here's a clip of another Machine of Doom. Westley knows exactly how I feel.

Friday, November 14, 2008

When Yes means No

I'm sure we all know that "No means no!" But did you know that sometimes "Yes" means "no"? I learned this when I was listening to a podcast I recently discovered (Mommycast - check it out here). The specific episode was about Mommy Meltdowns, and how to avoid them. There was one bit of advice that jumped out at me so much that I had to immediately pull over and scrounge through my purse so I could write it down. It basically went like this: "Everytime you say 'yes' to doing something this week, stop and ask yourself what you're saying 'no' to."


If we did every good thing that came our way, we'd miss out on a lot of great things. Not to mention be exhausted, irritable, and spread too thin. Trust me, I know! Our family schedule gets packed so quickly that sometimes I have to look out several months ahead to find an empty weekend. Some weeks my husband is so busy doing good things in the evenings that he's hardly home. Fortunately, we've both come to realize this is a problem and we're working together to make sure it doesn't happen as often. I bought a big calendar for next year, and the first thing I did was mark out one "family" weekend a month -- it is absolutely, completely, non-negotiably off limits. Jon is learning that he doesn't have to be at every church board meeting, and the teens will know that he loves them even if he isn't at every fundraiser -- or even if he misses a regular teen group every once in a while to be at home with us.

Okay, that's all I'm going to say on the matter for now. I don't want the point to get lost in details. Just remember: every yes means a "no", to something or someone.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wifey Wednesday: Untamed men and Conquered mountains

Yesterday Sheila Wray Gregoire was wondering who will take up the torch to fight for what is right. At the same time, Mrs. Anna T asked her readers if women want to be treated badly, because many seem to not want "nice" men. I agree that it is unhealthy to want or to continue a relationship with someone who has a "destructive" personality. When choosing a mate, it is important both to seek someone with a loving heart and to acknowledge that it is highly improbable that you will make someone change -- so choose carefully and choose practically. However, I believe the two problems Sheila and Anna bring up are related. On the one hand, we cry out for strong leaders, and on the other we ask for our men to be "nice." I think in many cases, the root of the often detrimental desire for men who aren't nice is born from a twisting of a deep and good longing for real men, men with backbone and untamed hearts. Men who, like the great lion Aslan, are dangerous.

"Then he isn't safe?" asked Lucy.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good."

It is not easy to forget that men are not like us, right ladies? It is easy to forget that they aren't supposed to be like us. Sometimes we have to quell our instincts and fears and let our men be men. We have to let them take risks and spend time doing things we don't necessarily understand. In my favorite version of the King Arthur legend (the Pendragon Cycle by Stephen Lawhead), the boy Arthur is riding with his guardian and entourage and remarks on a huge, majestic mountain they are passing by. When he learns that no one has ever climbed the mountain, he immediately decides that he must try. Ectorius, who raised him from a babe, is obviously quite hesitant to allow Arthur and his lame cousin to try such a dangerous feat alone. Merlin, the wise bard and adviser, talks him into letting the boys try. 

"No," replied Merlin, "it is foolishness itself to let them go."
"Then why?"
Merlin smiled, lifting a hand to the mountain. "Because if we prevent them now, they would never again risk the impossible with a whole and open heart."
"Is that so important?"
"For ordinary men, no." Merlin shook his head, watching the boys ride away. "But, Ector, we are not about making ordinary men."
"...This is a needless hazard." Ectorius showed his contempt for such an idea.
"...Better to have lived while alive, yes? Besides, if they achieve this they will have conquered a giant; they will be invincible!"
"If they do not?"
"Then they will learn something about the limitations of men."
"A costly lesson, it seems to me," muttered Ectorius.
"Then it will be valued all the more. Come, be of good cheer, my friend," coaxed Merlin. "If God and his angels stand ready to uphold them, can we do less?"

Another book that helped me understand this concept is Wild at Heart, by Jon Eldredge. I highly recommend that every wife (or lady who would like to become a wife) take the time to read this. Even better, read it with your husband. As my husband put it, this book helped him realize that "Christian men don't have to be Ned Flanders." (And there's my Simpsons reference for the day).

Friday, November 7, 2008

My week in pictures (and incomplete sentences)

This week has been a rollercoaster, with Time laughing in the face of any attempts at scheduling...or accomplishing anything beyond reflexive reactions. At least I had a full bottle of Ibuprofen in my purse. To start with.

Friday: Jon's sister brings Aurelia home from grandma-care, and we have a lazy night of eating pizza and brownies and watching old movies. Ahhh...this is the life.

Saturday: Jon heads over to his parent's house first thing in the morning to help work on building a barn before Old Man Winter comes to visit. Aurelia and I pile into the car with all of our baby gear to go to a class reunion. A Childbirth class reunion, that is:

This is the first time Aurelia has been around other babies her age. Turns out she's the toy thief and class clown of the group. Do you notice her pointing at her bare feet?? "Mom!! Everyone else has adorable clothes on, including socks and shoes! Don't you love me?" In my defense, the boogie monster stole all of her clothes sometime last week, and this was the only outfit I had in the house for her.

Sunday: After church, the three of us head to the mall for some strolling and family-time. Oh, and to get some shoes...

Monday: Game time!! After Aurelia goes to sleep, I head back into town to play some dodgeball on an intramural team. (I'm the second from the left). Turns out that using an elliptical at the gym does not prepare you for ducking and weaving... But I think that we might have set a record for shortest time to lose three games in a row. How could we rickety old grad students hope to stand up to the Tri-Delta sorority girls?

Tuesday: Migraine time. 5-hour nap. Let's not dwell.

Wednesday: Experiments a bust. I might have said recently that everything that could go wrong with my Western blots had gone wrong. I would have been wrong.

Spend three hours editing a friend's novel. Forty more pages down. 460 left to go. Next time I'm charging for this.
On the bright side, I had an epiphany when it came to cooking mashed potatoes. Slow cooker!! Lots of leftovers this week.

Thursday: Another hodge-podge of a day, in and out of the lab, running errands, working on Mark's book. I tell Jon that if Mark ever asks him how he can compensate me for the work, Starbucks gift cards (for some reason I can only do editing work in a coffee shop) and Housecleaning services are at the top of the list. The highlight of the day: lunch at Wingers with Jon, and sitting drinking coffee together while working on our various projects. This I can handle.

Friday: Morning miscommunication completely overthrows planned schedule. Friends coming over tonight, house less than organized, Jon flying out at dawn tomorrow. Time to go take a shower and turn into superwoman!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fairness - not the best goal

Every spring for the past five or six years, I've faced the same dilemma. One of my husband's high school buddies has gotten married each summer, and it became a tradition for the guys to get together for a 4-day long bachelor's vacation. Since they're all married now, the trip has morphed into a "spring retreat". I'm glad that they've managed to stay so close despite the different paths they've taken and being spread out across two states. The problem is that this vacation always falls very close to my birthday. In the past this has resulted in my husband not being around on my birthday. To give credit where it's due, last year he persuaded everyone to change the date so there won't be any direct conflict. But every year I've been rather jealous, wondering when I'll get my turn.

Last week I decided, and even told Jon, that this year I want to commit to renting a place for myself for a couple of nights and inviting a few friends. He agreed completely that it was a good idea. Here's the rub: regardless of what's fair, our finances and budgeting needs haven't changed. On top of that, it is absolutely a must that we make a trip down South to see my grandmother this year. I want her to meet our little one and visit with her while we still have the opportunity. It's going to take every little bit we can save up of what's left over from our "debt snowball" to manage the airplane tickets. So the only way left to be "fair" this spring is for Jon to miss out on the spring retreat. I don't want him to miss out on that, and even if I did, I think it could lead to resentment. But how do I protect myself from feeling resentful when the spring trip rolls around?

I have a similar problem with everyday "division of the housework". We're both full time graduate students, so it seems like splitting housework 50/50 when we get home is an obvious and fair answer (factoring in, of course, the non-housework things that Jon does for our family, like changing the oil in the car and splitting wood). But it just doesn't work out that way. Fair or no, things simply have to get done around the house. With youth group events and board meetings and helping out around his parents' place, a lot of it gets left on my plate. Again, he has my full blessing for all of these things. They're important, and I believe God has called him to each of them.

So I think I really have to let this whole idea of "fairness" go. I do what I can, he does what he can, and we'll get around to the rest when we get there. Aiming for fairness is bound to lead to frustration and resentment. If, on the other hand, I remember that we're working as a team toward the same goals, I don't have to feel so alone or overwhelmed.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

"Don't talk like that in public"

(No, I'm not referring to foul language or teaching children courteous communication.)

Jon and I were discussing politics and talk radio the other night at the dinner table. We agreed that while there can be some useful information on talk radio shows, as well as some very interesting interviews, sometimes it's not worth gleaning. And sometimes, it's even embarrassing to listen.

Personally, while I enjoy listening to a certain extent, I can't stand having it on in my house (with very few exceptions) -- if I were to take my daughter into a room where men were yelling angrily at each other, I'd quickly leave. It makes it pretty hard to maintain a "sanctuary"-like home. Fortunately, my husband also came to that conclusion recently and now tunes in music in the morning instead. (The evenings still belong to the Dave Ramsey show, of course!)

Here's how Jon came to change his perspective a bit. He does a good deal of his research in a "tank room" in the basement of his work building. For a while, he was listening to talk radio while he set up the experiments, and he had to turn it up rather loudly to hear it over the hum of the water tanks. With the door propped open to the hallway, he realized anyone walking by could hear what he was listening to. And he caught himself thinking to the talk show host, "Don't talk like that in public!"

I had to laugh when he confessed this to me. Don't worry, he was laughing with me. We still listen in on a few shows, but we're a bit pickier than we were before. With tempers rising higher as the election approaches, we'll probably cut it out completely until things settle down again. What I would truly enjoy, however, is for someone (with more time than I have) to thoroughly research current political issues and events and then sit back with a cup of coffee and calmly lay out the details for me on air, with some good interviews to break things up. I almost wrote "cup of tea", but that brings up images of NPR, which is a topic for another day.