Wednesday, June 25, 2003

A Magazine for Women
A few weeks ago, I purchased a copy of the new Lifetime magazine. I love Lifetime TV - Television for Women - so why wouldn't I like the magazine? Overall, I did like it. The most noticeable and most positive thing that stood out was the type of advertising. Not a size 1 model in sight. Definitely not Cosmo or Glamour. But not frumpy Good Housekeeping-type ads, either. Ads for "Just My Size," Fruit of the Loom "Fit for Me," and Sears Apostrophe business clothes, plus the usual cosmetics and health & beauty aids. I found the content realistic and useful, even the fashion section, and read the entire issue from cover to cover.

However, I did have a problem with one article. The article was titled, "From Welfare Mom to Legal Eagle," and actually, I had more than one problem with the article. First, I think it was trying to do or say too much and the message was lost. It was supposed to be an article about a mother and housewife whose husband left her without any means of supporting herself. She had to go on welfare for a while to support her children, but eventually she succeeded by going back to school, getting a law degree and becoming a family law attorney to help women who were in the same situation as she was. But the article got bogged down in how her ex-husband was a deadbeat dad who didn't pay child support, which obviously made her situation worse, but could have been the topic of a separate article.

But most distracting was that I didn't feel the woman who was featured in the article, Pam Cave, was exactly the best role model to try and illustrate to other women how to succeed as a single mother. In the beginning of the article, when she's first down on her luck, she's described as the mother of three young children and nearly penniless. However, the subhead of the article and all of the photos show her with five children. As you read along, you discover the following:

"Pam and Eric had three kids in three years, but the marriage quickly disintegrated. 'Eric was unfaithful, couldn't keep a job and suffered from depression,' Pam says. In 1989, he moved out. Phillip was two and a half; April one; and Tricia just a couple of months old. Eventually, Eric came back. In 1990, with Pam pregnant again with their fourth child, he moved out for good - and in with another woman."

The next paragraph talks about how Eric stopped paying support after he moved out, then:
"Despite it all, Pam kept trying to help Eric. 'He was my children's father,' she says. 'I couldn't have him sleeping on the street.' (In 1992, she briefly reunited with Eric and conceived a fifth child, Thomas.)"

I'm sorry, but any sympathy I had for this woman went out the door when I read that paragraph. How could she be stupid enough to get pregnant by this guy, not once, but twice, when they were practically destitute and barely able to put food on the table? And when she knew what kind of man he was? He wasn't supporting his first three children - why would he support two more?

I also didn't like the fact that the article's writer just glossed over the fifth child by relegating him to a mention in parentheses. I think that this is a pretty big deal.

Before I get a bunch of e-mails about how unsympathetic or cold-hearted I am, let me just say that I do feel for women in this position. I know there are tens of thousands of deadbeat dads out there who owe millions in child support and they should have to pay in whatever way possible. And I don't think there should be a stigma attached to welfare if it is used the way it was intended - as a temporary solution, not a way of life. And people do make mistakes. But the fact that this specific woman was charmed and conned by her ex-husband, or not smart enough to use some kind of birth control, and had two more children in the midst of a desperate situation is, quite frankly, inexcusable. That's my opinion and I know there are some of you who won't agree with me. But this only happened in the early '90's, not the '60's, where women have choices about education, job training, working outside the home, and control over their own bodies. I think Lifetime Magazine could have found someone else to illustrate the point they were trying to make with this article.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

This is why I've never written a review on Amazon...
I just visited a great new blog, thanks to a referral from Natalie at "My Ramblings". If you want to be entertained for a few minutes, visit Amazon World, described as "Highlighting some of the more interesting user reviews found on" It will make you laugh, it will make you cry... and it will make you fear for the future of our youth.

Friday, June 20, 2003

Pictures - Finally!
Well, I'm at home this morning waiting for Sears to arrive with our new dryer (our old one died last Saturday), so I thought I'd try to upload some photos from my home computer.

Here's one of Hayley with her Daddy, eating licorice. She has quite a taste for Strawberry Twizzlers!

Another one, of Hayley in the new walker we bought her Memorial Day weekend.

Now that this is up and running, there will definitely be more to come. And Hayley officially started crawling yesterday - actually going forward for a significant amount of time. Daddy was right - he predicted she'd be crawling by the end of the week. I'll be spending the weekend babyproofing the house!

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

TV Woes
My Monday night TV-viewing plan for the summer was to watch Everwood instead of Raymond reruns. Two weeks ago, the WB re-aired the pilot and I thought it was excellent - a little quirky with a good blend of humor and drama (thanks to Eliza for the recommendation!). Then it wasn't on the following week because of special programming (back-to-back episodes of 7th Heaven), so I was really looking forward to it this past Monday. Well, my summer-long plan was ruined as the WB decided not to air the reruns in order, but instead to skip ahead 5 months. It took me a few minutes to figure everything out and I was quite disappointed. So I spent the time perusing the new books I received in the mail from instead.

Obviously, the first two episodes of Real World: Paris were not very memorable for me, as I forgot it was on last night and turned on Dateline instead. At 10:20pm, Mark said, "We're missing Real World," and we caught the last few minutes, but it was pretty much meaningless. If I care to, I guess I'll try to catch one of the 15 repeats before next Tuesday.

NOTE: I did upgrade my blogger membership, but alas, the firewall situation at work will not let me upload files, so I'll have to squeeze in some time at home to post some pictures of Hayley, so bear with me.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Oh, Baby

Today was Hayley's 9-month check-up (she'll officially be 9 months tomorrow), which means I can no longer say, "It took 9 months to put this weight on; it will take 9 months to take it back off!"

She weighed 21 lbs., 3 oz. (85th percentile), gaining about a pound a month from her 6-month visit. She measured 28 and 3/8 inches long (77th percentile), adding another 2 inches from the last time. The doctor said she is healthy and happy and right on target developmentally. And no shots this time, so it was a good visit!

She is almost crawling - still scooting backwards and in a circle, but yesterday she made a couple of moves forward before collapsing. Mark and I think she'll be crawling by the end of the week. Also, over the weekend, she finally learned how to sit up from a laying down position. No more crying when she gets stuck on her stomach or back like a stranded turtle! The doctor said girls are usually a little bit slower than boys at motor skills, tending to focus on their verbal skills first. And she does babble like crazy!

The pediatrician group we belong to has 7 doctors in their main office, then they rotate down to the office we go to - a different one each day. Between the hospital, well visits and 2 sick visits, we have now met all 7. I wanted to get a feel for all of them before we started seeing one or two exclusively, plus it seemed like a good idea to meet all of them anyway since you never know who you'll get for a last-minute sick visit. I really liked the doctor we saw today, Dr. M. He was great with Hayley and I didn't feel rushed at all (especially since we were the first appointment of the day). Her 6-month visit back in March was a disaster. We had a late afternoon appointment and the doctor was 45 minutes behind by then because of an emergency. When we finally got in to see her, she had a pediatric resident who was following her around all day and our visit was very rushed. I felt like I didn't have time to ask the questions I usually ask and I was tired and frustrated by the time we left the office. So right now I think we'll rotate between Dr. M and Dr. C, who we met in the hospital when she was born and also saw for two visits, whenever we have to make an appointment.

As soon as I get on the ball here and upgrade my blogger service to the next level, I will post some pictures. I know you're dying to see how cute she is!

Friday, June 13, 2003

On Reading
I have been on a reading frenzy lately. I go in spurts, but right now I'm averaging close to 2 books a week (and with an 8-month old, too!). Some thoughts on a few titles I've just finished - keeping in my that I'm woefully behind in my reading in some subject areas:

Four Blondes by Candace Bushnell (author of Sex and the City) - Was really looking forward to reading this book, but I did not like it at all. The four female main characters were uninteresting, one-dimensional and unlikeable. I felt no connection with the characters and didn't care about what happened to them. (As I went to Amazon to get the link for this book, I saw that it has an average customer rating of only 2 stars, so I'm not the only one.)

The Devil Riding by Valerie Wilson Wesley - This book is the sixth in a series featuring P.I. Tamara Hayle, but the first one I've read. I'm usually incredibly anal about reading series books in order, but I had finished my library books and this one was on my shelf at home and sounded interesting. Overall, it was a light, fast read (a little short for a hard cover). I do feel that I was missing something by not having read the other books in the series - some of the character development that I would have had in my mind as background. Again, why I prefer to read series books in order. But Tamara is a spunky female heroine and I would definitely go back and try the other books in the series.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reasonby Helen Fielding - I said I was behind! I loved this book as much as I loved the first one. I actually laughed out loud several times while reading. Mark and I were in bed, watching TV and reading, and he kept asking me what was so funny. I could completely identify with Bridget, such as getting stuck sitting next to "overly-friendly-gassy-man" on the airplane while Shaz was seated next to the Harrison Ford look-alike. And I think Bridget's spirit is rubbing off on me. Last night I had a dream that Hugh Jackman proposed to me (yes, I know he's from Australia, not England, but you get my point).

Right now, I'm reading In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner, author of the hilarious Good in Bed and one of my favorite new authors and bloggers.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Like Sands Through the Hourglass...

I used to be a huge Days of Our Lives fan (affectionately know as DOOL for all you non-fans). Huge! I have been watching it for as long as I can remember. It made me very popular for one week my sophomore year in college. I was a Peer Counselor and all of the counselors returned to school a week early for training, which was all morning and all afternoon. I had a TV/VCR combo in my dorm room and taped DOOL to watch later. A few other counselors got wind of this and each evening after training was over, quite a few of us would gather to watch. But joining the working world after college was over and the hassle of first taping, then trying to find the time to watch a one-hour daily show every evening got to be too much and I gave up on DOOL (although I still watch the Christmas episode every year when the Hortons hang everyone's name ornament on the Christmas tree.) My older sister Jenn, who goes home to eat lunch everyday at 1pm so she can watch, keeps me vaguely informed.

I got back into it a little bit when I was on maternity leave, then caught another episode this past Friday when I stayed home with Hayley, who was running a fever. A few observations:

  • I'm stunned by how slowly the stories and plot lines move in today's fast-paced world. Back when I was on leave, a storyline about Brady and Chloe spending "one night" in the woods in a tent lasted almost two weeks. I usually have a long attention span, but it was difficult at times to stay focused on the show.

  • But on the other hand, time does move very quickly when it comes to the ages of children. It seems that children are the same age for a long time, then all of the sudden, they age 10 or 15 years. I'm almost positive Hope had her baby Zack back in August or September, but then this past Friday, he was a toddler.

  • This observation is probably a reflection of how old and un-hip I have become in my thirties, but there seems to be a disproportionate number of teenagers/young actors on the show (with the surreal effect of "Kyle" from The Real World joining the cast recently). Even though they've been on the show forever, I don't remember Bo & Hope and Roman & Marlena as "young people." Roman was always a cop and Marlena was always a doctor.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Watched the first episode of The Real World: Paris last night. I'm not into most of the reality shows, but I have watched The Real World from the beginning, with the exception of the last one, Las Vegas, mostly due to the fact that I could rarely make it to 10pm in the first months after Hayley was born. Anyway, I was surprised by the amount of trouble stirred up in the first episode, especially after they got off to such a great start by waiting until everyone arrived to choose rooms instead of the usual first-come, first-serve and predictable arguments that follow.

It seems to me that the last few groups have come on the show looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend, when it used to be that they were just supposed to be roommates and experiencing living in a different city and meeting/living with people from different backgrounds. In my memory, it dates back to RW: Hawaiiand Amaya and Colin and it's gone downhill from there, but maybe it's been there all along. I felt like the Paris cast spent the whole episode analyzing each others attractiveness, date-ability and chances of establishing a relationship. Adam was madly in love with Mallory after the first day, then angry and resentful to everyone else in the house when her feelings weren't reciprocal. I think this shows great intelligence on Mallory's part - what, she's not in love with him and doesn't want to sleep with him after the first day? What is the Real World coming to?

I was also surprised that the producers decided to stick the lone foreigner in with 6 Americans. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I guess I'll have to see how it plays out. I think it would have been better to have a few Europeans and a few Americans if they really wanted to give it an international flavor.
Welcome! A Little Bit About Me...
Welcome to my weblog/online journal! This is a new adventure for me. I've been keeping a "practice" blog in Word for the past year or so, working up the courage to do this for real. So here it is. I have random thoughts on television (which, like most people, I watch way too much of), books (I love to read), sports and just about any thing else. Please send me an e-mail - I'd love to hear from you.

In case you were wondering, the title of my blog comes from the title of a Trisha Yearwood song. I consider this my "Ally McBeal soundtrack playing in my head" song. You can read the lyrics here.

Just a few basics about me:

  • My name is Andrea (pronounced like Gabrielle Carteris' character on "90210.") Of course, I've been pronouncing my name like that my whole life, way before that show was ever on the air.

  • I'm 31, married to Mark for 4 1/2 years, with a newborn daughter, Hayley (8 months).

  • I live in South Central PA, near the Mason-Dixon line, and I'm originally from Maryland.

  • I work in PR/Marketing for a manufacturing company. I hope to talk about things other than my job here.

  • I love TV and movies and will watch just about anything, although I'm not that into most of the "reality" shows.

  • I also love to read, voraciously. I didn't read a single book the entire 3 months I was on maternity leave (I barely had time to read the mail) and was going through major withdrawal. I was finally able to read again when I returned to work and could read on my lunch break. Favorite reading material includes mysteries & thrillers (especially legal thrillers), "chick lit," and Southern fiction (Anne Rivers Siddons is one of my all-time favorite authors).

  • I'm a big sports fan, including NFL (Baltimore Ravens & Washington Redskins), college basketball (Duke and Maryland - I know, that doesn't make much sense, but I'll have to explain another time) and NASCAR.

  • I'm an obsessive list maker, so I think this format will be great for me!

More to come soon!