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Welcome to my musings on pop culture and parenting. I am the Pop Mama and this is a safe place to steal away from your screaming child and get your fix on what's up with Beyonce and great poop stain remover tips.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

As Seen Elsewhere...

Best headline I saw today hands down was: Lindsay Lohan Named a Suspect in Assault Case at Rehab.  What?  The entire story (which is short) states that she is suspected of assaulting a female staffer at the rehab after coming in from the bar.  What?  I thought she was going to rehab to get away from the bar.  You know how people in jail say that it was easier to get drugs in jail than outside of jail?  No, you've never heard that?  Oh, well, I must watch too many crime movies / shows...anyway, I guess when you go to Betty Ford (under court order no less),  you can also leave Betty Ford to go to the bar.  Amazing.  I would like to know the hot spot in Rancho Mirage, CA that Lindsay is hanging out in...a desert Chateau Marmont?  Oh, and she is a "suspect"?  Were there a lot of other self-involved washed up celebs there assaulting the victim?  Well, it is Betty Ford...

Second best headline that I read today: Prince Williams Cousin Zara Phillips is Engaged.  Umm...who?  I have never ever heard of this girl and I know a tad about the Royals.  This girl is only in the American press right now because William is also engaged.  Zara Phillips?  She is Princess Anne's daughter.  She is described as a "blonde showjumper."  Now, I assume that means that she has yellow hair and she rides horses -- translation -- rich and jobless.  Now a big faux pas would be if she got married before Prince William and Kate (aka "Kills")...  Million dollar question: Does Zara and her betrothed (rugby player Mike Tindall - aka "Zike") get their own Royal wedding china pattern or will they just get a commemorative plate that you can order out of the back of the USA Today insert in the Sunday paper?  

Third best headline of the day: Lady Gaga Shops Pantless in Paris.  Seriously?  Trying out a new trend are we?  You think this should be the First Best Headline?  Yeah, you are probably right.  This chick must be on so many drugs.  Or, she cannot be out of the spotlight for ONE SINGLE MOMENT.  Scary.  No, not the implication that she is on drugs and is attention-obsessed, but the picture of her without pants on...that is scary.  Lady, what planet are you from?     

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sarah Palin's Alaska = TLC's Folly?

I caved in and did it.  I watched Sarah Palin's Alaska and I didn't hate it.  In fact, I found it rather fascinating-- mainly because I didn't know much about our country's eastern most state (see I learned something from the show), but also because I still cannot make up my mind as to what I think about Sarah herself.  I know this -- I do NOT think she is Presidential material or even Vice Presidential material, but I do think she is an interesting cat.  I am a mother of one.  She is a mother of FIVE and a grandmother of one.  She impresses me with her seemingly ceaseless energy and what appears to be a never-ending positive attitude.  Plus, the scenery and wildlife is amazing -- even if she is always killing one animal or another.  TLC knows what they are doing -- just like Seward did when he acquired Alaska for the good ol' U S of A. 

This past week's episode of the show featured a TLC cross promotion bringing Kate Gosselin and her eight (yes, she still has 8 kids) to Alaska to go camping with Sarah's family.  Production genius -- someone is getting a big holiday bonus this year (take that Mr. Recession!).  I wish I could say that hilarity ensued with Kate and Sarah becoming buddies -- a regular Laverne and Shirley team -- but NO, Sarah made Kate cry like a baby out in the wild.

It went like this: Kate, a self-proclaimed Mama Grizzly and her eight cubs head on over to Sarah's house to meet the family and get some training on wilderness survival -- particularly how to avoid and/or slaughter bears.  Kate, Sarah and Willow (Sarah's middle daughter) go to a wilderness survival course where the instructor scares Kate and they all shoot guns.  Kate acts uncomfortable around the firearms, but says she would do anything to protect her kids.  The day of the camping trip it is raining and chilly.  Sarah's family goes out to the site ahead of Kate and sets up camp.  Kate and her 8 arrive by float plane and she begins whining right away.  While her children explore and play and have a grand ol' time, Kate whines, sulks and gripes about camping, the weather, cleanliness, etc.  She literally pulls a diva move and actually yells at a producer about how bitterly cold she is and how she want to leave.  Her children NEVER ask once to leave or even complain -- they having the time of their lives.  Kate then makes her children choose whether they would like to be a Gosselin or a Palin.  Frankly, given the circumstances, they should have chosen to be a Palin.  But, seriously Kate, don't your children have enough turmoil in their lives that you feel the need to make them feel guilty about having fun?  Then, the Gosselins leave and Sarah's family continues to camp and end up having a fabulous time as the weather clears.  The End.  

Kate's snotty attitude and determination not to have fun taught me a valuable lesson.  Show up for your kids.  I mean, it may not have been her idea of a red-carpet good time (I mean, she wasn't wearing her usual high heels), but her children were having a blast.  It is a once in a lifetime camping trip, in Alaska, with Sarah Palin.  Although that may be a nightmare for some people, Kate agreed to do it and she was getting paid no less.  What the french, toast?  She can't suck it up for one night in the wilderness for the sake of her kiddies?  Some Mama Grizzly.  

On the other hand, maybe TLC knew exactly what they were doing and that Kate wouldn't last more than a few hours...hmmm...genius?  We'll never know.  All I know is that I was on Team Sarah on this one -- those kids were out there having fun -- some good conservative family fun no less -- and their mother was a sour puss prima donna.      

Friday, December 17, 2010

You're a mean one Mr. Recession...

 I have about a thousand things on my to-do list right now, with most of the items being Christmas related.  Wrapping gifts, planning menus, grocery shopping for recipes on said menus, figuring out outfits for baby to wear to holiday celebrations -- and of course, addressing and sending Christmas cards.  I admit that I am a little behind on getting these out, with less than 10 days until the big day, but give a mom a break.  Apparently everyone is a little behind on the cards because I have only received a few this year, whereas I would have had a mailbox stuffed full in years past.  I've heard that other people are experiencing the same drought of cards as well...my friend blames the economy.  Just one more thing to blame on the ol' Recession.  Neighbor didn't give out Christmas cookies this year?  Damn Recession.  Stores going nuts with coupons and bonus deals?  Recession.  Work served crappy deli trays for holiday party this year instead of cocktail shrimp and mini quiche?  Oh Recession.  Baby is sick again?  Naturally it is the Recession. 

The Recession is taking on a persona to me...I imagine it looks a lot like the Grinch who stole Christmas -- I mean, it is definitely green and has a scowl on its face.  It probably doesn't regularly wear a Santa suit (and if it does it is a hand me down), but it definitely makes you feel hopeless and cynical.  It is actually more like a cross between the Grinch who Stole Christmas and a Dementor from Harry Potter.  Scary bugger at times, but also just a huge annoyance that reminds you time and time again of the failings of our country, the losses to your investment account and the fact that you really can't count on anything.  

Even though the Recession is a big a-hole, I believe that it has caused people to dig deep and continue (or even just start) to do good things in the world.  Our church was able to raise an amazing amount of money in a fund-raising campaign that just ended at the beginning of November.  People are still donating to needy families during this holiday season and my company raised a nice chunk of money to fund efforts for helping the disabled.  The Recession has made people get creative, share and figure out alternatives...it has allowed us to re-evaluate the "wants" and the "needs."  It was a much needed kick in the pants to remember the true meaning of Christmas and the holiday season.

Our Christmas card (which has yet to go out) features my favorite gift this year -- Cam!  He has no clue that we are in a Recession and he reminds me everyday that I have all I "need."  A family that has not met Mr. Recession (of course it is a guy...) is the Kardashians.  I think that their card read: You may not understand why we are famous, but we wish you a Happy Holiday from atop our pile of money!  Cheers!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All good things must come to an end?

Well, it is a damn shame that the world will never know what the progeny of People's Sexiest Man Alive (Ryan Reynolds) and Scarlett Johansson will look like.  The two have split after only a mere moment of marriage and it is sad to see another couple call it quits.  The article in People said that there was no third party and that the couple had been "having some issues for a few months now."  A few months?  I hope there is more to the story than that, because as everyone who is married knows, having issues for a few months can happen...easily.  Marriage is work.  I actually feel kind of bad for Ryan Reynolds because the article stated that Scarlett was the one who initiated the split and he just hasn't been that lucky in love.  Remember when he was engaged to Alanis Morissette?  Now she is pregnant with some guy named SoulEye's baby.  If Ryan Reynolds ever wants to come to my neck of the woods, I can certainly set him up on a blind date...with a fabulous girl who won't throw him over for a wannabe rapper!

Another thing that ended recently was the TLC reality series Little People, Big World.  It was time and the last episode was uber weak...basically the twins, Jeremy and Zach ponder moving out but decide against it for money reasons (give me a break) and Amy and Matt ponder selling the farm but decide against it (thrilling).  There was an undercurrent running through the episode that hinted at a possible divorce in the making for Amy and Matt, which wouldn't surprise me at all.  We'll just have to wait until the media breaks that story and then Amy can go on Dancing with the Stars, ala Kate Gosselin.

And lastly, Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron split.  Anyone?  No, no one really cares.  I mean, they are like 20 or something, did we expect them to stay together forever? 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Drum roll please...

Two drum roll worthy events happened this weekend -- one personal and one pop!

First --  we have a tooth!  Yep, Cam's first tooth cut through this weekend and now he has a little (sharp!) nub on his bottom left gum.  He was pretty miserable, but he still managed to smile a bunch and I am sure that the baby motrin helped keep him sane.  I can't believe how big he is getting and although it may seem silly, I am really proud of this milestone.  First tooth -- the start of a grown-up smile.  After months of waiting around, excessive drooling, whining and chomping on all things, he now has something to show for it!  Once it fully grows in, I will document the pearly white evidence and post it.

Second -- history was made when the first two woman team won season 17 of The Amazing Race!  Doctors Nat and Kat finished first in the race around the world, with a second two woman team (Brook and Claire) hot on their heels.  It was a girl power finale and I must say that I was rooting for either one of these teams to win...it was time for a two woman team to take first!  These girls (all four of them) are tough, but still managed to have fun on the race together.  It was refreshing to see that these women didn't turn on each other during the stressful competition -- unlike many of the couples teams in which the male teammate would berate or freak out on his female counterpart during a leg of the race.  These gals were polite, friendly and sweet throughout the entire race...not to say that they weren't strong -- just that they didn't come off as pushy b-words.  I was so happy to see these smart, motivated and fabulous women take the million dollar prize!  Congratulations Nat and Kat!!!! 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A SuperMom

After a hellish day yesterday I was working on my laptop while The Biggest Loser played in the background and just as I was about to log off I learned that Elizabeth Edwards had passed away.  Immediately, a wave of sorrow washed over me as I couldn't help but think of her three children -- two of them very young.  Elizabeth Edwards was 61 (the same age as my mother) and she had battled cancer for the past 6 years...very publicly, becoming an advocate for cancer awareness and a symbol of strength. 

My hellish day didn't seem so hellish as I thought about her daughter Cate, who at 28 will not have a mother to guide her when she herself becomes one.  I thought about my own mother, who had generously baby- sat for Cam just hours before when my husband and I needed a quick dinner out -- alone.  I thought about all the advice and help and comfort my mother has given me (and continues to give) as my journey through new-motherhood bumps along.  I also thought about how Cate will be a surrogate mother to her younger sister (Emma Claire) and younger brother (Jack) and what a comfort that will be for all of them.  My heart aches for their loss and the road of grieving ahead.  

While she had her own struggles with her health and in her marriage, Elizabeth Edwards always seemed so strong and hopeful -- but also real.  I didn't see an "actor" or the gilded wife of a politician when she did interviews.  I mostly saw a real woman, a real mother -- who had lost a child and been betrayed by her husband -- but still kept going to help others and be a mother to her children.  It was clear in interviews and in her work how much she adored her family.  It was clear that they were her top priority.  Even if I didn't agree with all of her choices, I still respected her and admired her work as a cancer and health care advocate.  She was graceful -- or maybe gracious is a better word.  When I first read an interview she had done, back when John Edwards was running for Vice President, I felt that she was very relatable.  I liked that she was open about the loss of her son, Wade, and that she was open about her desire to have more children later in life.  Even though her husband turned out to be a complete and utter disgrace (at least in my eyes), I think her goodness and optimistic perspective allowed her to rise above all of the scandal that surrounded her and her family.  

It doesn't seem real that she is really gone.  I always thought, foolishly, that she would beat the cancer -- or at least live for many more years.  Elizabeth Edwards was so many things and so many people loved her, but most importantly, she was a mother and three hearts are aching.  Let all of us count our blessings, remember our own mothers and hug our children -- because life is way too short.  She left the following final message on her Facebook page, showing her strength -- "I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces--my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope."       

Monday, December 6, 2010

Piece of Art / Piece of Work?

Cameron has two pretty large blisters on his thumb/hand from his vigorous thumb-sucking.  I don't think they bother him because he still sucks his thumb, but I would still like to put something on them to try and keep them from cracking.  My go-to Aquaphor remedy is not the best choice in this situation as Cam would likely make a meal of it, so I went to the trusty internet for suggestions.  The best one I found was to put some Lansinoh creme on it because it can be ingested safely.  However, Cam's thumb-sucking injuries are not the topic for today.  While I was searching for remedies, I came across a very disturbing picture.

This amazingly bad and horrifyingly large tat belongs to none other than my favorite Teen Mom bad girl, Amber Portwood.  Apparently this tattoo is supposed to be a portrait of 2 year old Leah (you know, her daughter that became a ward of the state after Amber beat up baby daddy Gary on national TV).  Not only do I not see the resemblance, which is beside the point, but I would NEVER get one of these.  She would have been better off getting an airbrushed t-shirt of this "art work" and calling it a day.  Nope, now she has a massive tattoo covering most of her abdomen that she will live with for the rest of her life -- and worse, subject others to everytime she decides to don a bikini or middrift bearing shirt (hey, 90s style could come back someday). 

I am not even going to go into my thoughts on body art in general, but I do know that tattoos are expensive (despite how this one looks) and as I remember, Amber had NO money...she was getting government aid and living off various boyfriends.  Ummmm, who paid for this tattoo?  Perhaps it was a gift...that you CAN NEVER RETURN.  The only good thing about this story is that we didn't have to see a picture of Gary's abdomen tattooed with Leah's face... 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

T minus 24 days!

The Christmas count down begins!  The tree is up and decorated, many presents bought (none wrapped yet) and the holiday spirit is in the air.  I just have to get my Christmas cards sorted out and we will be golden.  Cameron is in a better mood (still no tooth) and it is snowing for the first time this winter!  Now don't get me wrong, I am NOT a big fan of winter -- I tolerate it through the holidays and then immediately get seasonal depression until the first warm day of spring. 

First on the agenda is correcting a past post (http://www.thepopmama.com/2010/11/what-does-15-minutes-of-fame-cost.html).  It had been reported that Alexis and Colin Gosselin were expelled from their swanky private school in Pennsylvania and were being home schooled.  Well, that is partly true.  Kate Gosselin did an interview with Meredith Viera on the Today Show and cleared the air.  Alexis and Colin were NOT expelled from school and instead were pulled out and started private tutoring at home.  Kate explained that they were struggling with anger issues related to the divorce and were having trouble performing within the constructs of their school.  The two are getting private tutoring at home and weekly therapy and Kate hopes that they will return to school within this school year.  Well, that is good news that they were not expelled.  I can certainly imagine that these children can have some anger and coping issues -- after all they are only 6 years old!

Next, what are you all doing to get in the holiday spirit?  Here are some suggestions -- things that just make me feel all the merrier!

1.  Drink hot chocolate.  When I was pregnant this was a saving grace -- hardly any caffeine and some calcium to boot!  I favored the McDonald's hot chocolate because it was VERY creamy, but I also didn't have to get out of my car to get it if I didn't want to.  Very convenient.

2.  Watch holiday movies.  Snuggling on the couch and watching: Elf, Love Actually, A Christmas Story (my husband's favorite), Christmas Vacation, Miracle on 34th Street...pure bliss.    

3.  Drive around looking at holiday lights.  This is a good one, especially for kids (Cam isn't really old enough yet...).  My husband and I do this together every year and I really like seeing all the neighborhood decorations. 

4.  Play Christmas music at home, in the car, on the iPod, etc.  I play it now when I am changing Cam's diapers and getting him ready for the day.  It just seems to put us both in the right frame of mind. 

5.  Bake.  I am not a huge baker (think refrigerated cookie dough), but I do like making banana bread to give out as holiday treats and I do like to make the occassional cookies.  More than anything I just like the feeling I get when the house is warm and smells good.  I suppose you can also get this effect by burning a cookie scented candle.  To each his own.

These are just a few things that I have been doing to get in the spirit.  Let me know if you all have other traditions, tips, activities that make December special.