Friday, November 30, 2007

San Diego Shopping

Finally, I've compiled a list of just a few of the trendy boutiques found in San Diego:

For Kids

Gracie Kids

Leaping Lotus

Because Diamonds (and Silver) Are Forever



Just Hatched

For Hip Moms and Dads

Neighbourhood Boutique
(Tell Christine you read about her here!)

Viejas Casino & Outlet Center

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Countdown Begins

There are four more weekends to shop before Christmas. I've discovered some hip new sites including a few that feature adorable clothes, high-quality products and toys for the little ones on your list.

And in case you're wondering, the one thing I'm asking Santa for this year is a coffee pot. One that doesn't drip all over the counter and that ideally matches the rest of my stainless steel kitchen appliances.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kiss Me

My son and I had a rough night last night. It usually takes about 24 hours to adjust between his staying with his dad for the weekend and his coming back with me. I felt pretty awful though because he was refusing to sleep at my house and begging me to bring him to his dad's. We both ended up crying ourselves to sleep. Of course, he slept through the night. I tossed and turned and did not get much sleep at all.

Tonight was much better - the complete opposite of yesterday's experience. He played in the bathtub tonight and seemed to really enjoy himself for the first time in a long time since he's been having issues lately with not wanting his hair washed and wanting to get out of the tub right away after I terrorize him with shampoo and water. When I was drying him off tonight he actually said he had fun in the bath.

Then, when he was laying down in his bed and I was watching him fall asleep, he sat up and asked if he could sleep on my lap. How could I possibly say no to that? He curled up on my lap before setting his head on my shoulder and fell asleep about five minutes later, just seconds after he whispered, "Kiss me."

I was moved to tears all over again.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Shopping Spreeeeeeeeeee

Wow, do I LOVE to shop. We drove to the desert on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and headed straight to our hotel. We stayed at the Renaissance Esmerelda Resort & Spa in Indian Wells. After a long windy drive through the mountains, I was SO glad to get into our room and relax.

Saturday we sat by the pool before our MAJOR highlight of the weekend - shopping! Did I mention that my shopping partner - a male - was SO MUCH FUN to shop with? He helped carry my bags, waited outside a few dressing rooms for me and dragged me away from the $500 green Prada suit I was drooling over in SPACE. I can't even remember what stores I didn't go into since there were so many at the Desert Hills Premium Outlets.

The stores I do remember: Armani, BCBG, Coach, Gucci, Guess, Juicy Couture, Levi's, Oakley, Skechers, and we had to wait in line (just to get inside) at True Religion and Burberry.

Shopping sprees like that are dangerously exciting for me - orgasmic - and something that I will probably not experience for a long, long time or I will need to seriously sell my soul to the credit card companies (and charge them interest).

We also had a really good meal that night at The Falls in Palm Springs, although we kept having to change our reservations later and later because we just couldn't stop shopping!

Christmas is coming, I realize. I'm sitting at my computer thinking about all of the wonderful online sites I can hit up to fill the gift boxes for those on my list.

Oh, and to top off my wonderful weekend, my sweetie completely surprised me this morning with a beautiful 7-diamond necklace as my early Christmas gift.

My luck has changed!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Gender Equality

The October issue of Psychology Today includes an article on a man's shelf life. Harry Fisch, urologist and author of The Male Biological Clock, talks about fertility and how men's health can also affect the health of his offspring. Fisch is also the director of the Male Reproductive Center at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.

While women have known for years how they are "at risk" for having fertility issues after age 35, it seems long overdue that someone introduces the idea that the age of the father might also plays a role in disorders and disabilities passed on to offspring.

Fisch points out that men in their 20s are in their prime reproductive years while their testosterone levels start to decline at age 30. Men who are 35 or older are twice as likely to be infertile as men under age 25.

The author is not suggesting that men freeze their sperm or have children at a younger age, but he does say that by staying healthy, men can increase the likelihood of producing healthy sperm.

Here are a few suggestions he does offer:
  • Protect your heart
  • Stay active
  • Watch your weight
  • Take antioxidants
  • Don't smoke, drink to excess, or abuse drugs
  • Avoid hot baths, Jacuzzis, and hot tubs
  • Keep laptops on the desk (not on your lap)
  • See a urologist (if you are over 40, have toxic exposure or have tried to conceive for a year)
  • Have varicoceles removed
These words of advice sound - for the most part - fairly standard as far as trying to maintain a healthy body and lifestyle. As I mentioned earlier, the fact that this is a relatively new discussion amongst health professionals seems long overdue. But, it is now official: Women and men can both equally stress out about the fact that they are held responsible for passing on healthy (or unhealthy) genes to their unborn children.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Monday!

I've had quite an unusual day. Actually, it was quite pleasant. The streets were somewhat empty as many schools and businesses are closed this week. I dropped my son off at pre-school and headed into work to interview our first candidate for the newly created role of Marketing Assistant.

I then took care of some correspondence and details for our upcoming spring season and then we closed the office for a few hours while we took a much-needed Kane/Miller fieldtrip to see the film, Dan in Real Life, which features a sc
ene that includes our best-selling title, from Japan, Everyone Poops.

The film was sweet, laugh-out-loud funny and made for a pleasant break in the middle of a Monday. Steve Carell plays a single father of three girls, the oldest of whom is 17. The middle child (why is it always the middle child) is "in love" and manages to teach dear old dad a thing or two about following your heart by the end of the movie.

Dan's character writes a parenting column in the local newspaper and has been raising the girls on his own since their mother passed away. His life focuses on the girls and it's not until his mother tells him to "get lost" that he finally begins to open up and enjoy the feeling of companionship when he meets a lovely lady who he feels quite comfortable with.

The story takes some twists and turns, all full of humor and family chaos. I recommend this film to anyone who's trying to find their own place in the world, especially single parents who tend to put their own needs last.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Jam Session

Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle (two of my favorite actors) team up in the 2007 drama, Reign Over Me. The movie is quite intense and focuses on Charlie Fineman, played by Sandler, who lost his wife and daughters in the 9/11 disaster.

The college roommates Fineman and Alan Johnson (Cheadle) reunite after several years, and after Johnson, a popular (with the ladies) dentist, learns of his friend's loss and tries to reach out to him.

The best part of the film is witnessing the chemistry between the two as it pulls Fineman back to reality and draws Johnson out of his shell.

In one scene, the two main characters jam together and look as though they have a good time with one another, both in front of and behind the cameras. I discovered a true jam session between the two with hilarious lyrics as sung by Charlie and Alan.

I highly recommend this film to those interested in human nature or who simply enjoy a touching, tear-jerker. This one serves as a gentle reminder to live each day as though it were our last.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Little Meme

I discovered a mention of the Kane/Miller Japanese title, Breasts, this morning on the Paradise Found blog and browsed the site since it's new to me. I also found this little meme posted there yesterday and thought it'd be fun to continue it here.

From Japan
by Genichiro Yagyu

All memes, no matter what the subject, remind me of Trudy White's Could You? Would You? I'm always up for promoting anything to get young people talking and getting to know each other - or themselves - better. I consider myself young (at heart) so I'll begin...

From Australia
Could You? Would You?
by Trudy White

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night?

My best friend from college.
2. What were you doing at 8:00am?
Still trying to wake up.
3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?
Responding to over a dozen emails.
4. What happened to you in 2006?
My husband filed for divorced (can't recall much else from that year...)
5. What was the last thing you said out loud?
Thank you.
6. How many beverages did you have today?
Still working on my first.
7. What color is your hairbrush?
I don’t use a hairbrush, but my comb is blue.

8. What was the last thing you paid for?


9. Where were you last night?

At the office until 10pm
10. What color is your front door?
Dark brown
11. Where do you keep your change?
In a jar on the kitchen table that reads: Family Fun Night
12. What’s the weather like today?
Overcast, foggy.

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor?

14. What excites you?
Spending a day with family
15. Do you want to cut your hair?
No, it's short enough as it is.
16. Are you over the age of 25?
Yes, thank god.
17. Do you talk a lot?
Yes, too much.
18. Do you watch the O.C.?
No. And I'm appalled that other people do.
19. Do you know anyone named Steven?
Yes, but only through a friend of a friend.

20. Do you make up your own words?

Of course.
21. Are you a jealous person?
Yes, sometimes.
22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’
Andrea, Alison, Amber... (Hi, ladies!)
23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’
24. Who’s the first person on your received call list?
My son's father
25. What does the last text message you received say
"Yeah, right. Maybe if I win the lotto."
26. Do you chew on your straw?
27. Do you have curly hair?

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to?

Palm Springs
29. Who’s the rudest person in your life?
Can't think of anyone
30. What was the last thing you ate?
a muffin
31. Will you get married in the future?
My first marriage just ended, and no, I don't think I will have a second go.

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks?

A Night at the Museum (this is actually the only movie I've seen in the past 2 weeks)
33. Is there anyone you like right now?
Sure, lots of people!

34. When was the last time you did the dishes?

A few days ago
35. Are you currently depressed?
No, should I be?

36. Did you cry today?

Not yet!

37. Why did you answer and post this?

I've been having bad luck this week and thought perhaps answering random questions about myself would cheer me up. It has.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Who was it that said things happen in threes? Tuesday, I was pulled over and got a ticket for speeding, yesterday someone hit my car in a parking lot and today - you'll never believe this - I got a flat tire and spent the majority of my afternoon dealing with waiting for the replacement and being stuck in traffic afterwards.

Needless to say, after the week I've had so far, I couldn't help but laugh when I discovered the flat tire (after a few minutes of pure panic). Luckily, reading kept me busy during that waiting period and I suddenly found myself enjoying the fact that I wasn't at work. After all, I was spending the day outside, enjoying the beautiful San Diego weather, reading.

I find it's typically our response to disruptions like this that tend to give others a perspective on what we're like under serious stress. There are several characters from our books that I have learned from and consider role models as far as trying to maintain a positive attitude.

Dougal the Garbage Dump Bear is one such character. One of my favorite quotes from any children's book is found on the last page of this one:
"...while he sat there on his own, Dougal would think how lucky he was...he realized that sometimes bad things happen so that good things can happen. You just had to make the best of it."

From Australia
Dougal the Garbage Dump Bear
by Matt Dray

There are certainly other characters that I could reference, but it's been a long day, a long night, actually. I'm heading home - finally. I'm going to have much better luck tomorrow. I just have to.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Better Luck Next Year

This morning - and most of this afternoon - turned out to be one of those days where things were not going my way. I might as well move to Australia (Bonus points for the first person to let me know where that came from!).

I brought my son to the dentist this morning. He's been going every six months since he was six months old. He was a fabulous example of a well-behaved, fully cooperative child - until today. He started kicking his feet and waving his hands up in the air when the dental hygienist attempted to start cleaning his teeth.

Twenty minutes and several attempts at trying the whole thing again turned out to be false starts. We're going to try it again in another six months. Both the dental hygienist and the dentist herself deserve patience (and patient) awards for probably having to deal with that same situation several times a week.

Although the whole experience felt like it was more devastating for me afterwards, it was nothing compared to the frustration I felt when my son and I got to our car only to discover a note that read: "I hit the front of your car while trying to get out. Call me at ... "

This was some sort of joke, right? I looked at the front of my car and no, this was no joke. Indeed, there was a small dent in the middle of the hood along with a scrape mark on the front of the grill. Lovely.

What else could go wrong this week? After all, I was pulled over yesterday for speeding and the lovely CHIPs character (yes, he was on a motorcycle) was not interested in my excuse ("I just got back from Chicago and I haven't driven in over a week!")

2006 and 2007 have not been my years. I'm hopefully optimistic about 2008. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Made In China

It's hard to explain to people - who have never heard of Kane/Miller - why we don't publish any books about Thanksgiving.

Take a look around our website and you'll quickly discover the fact that our books are a little different. There's a flag on each individual book page to represent which country the book originates from.

Our tagline - Award-winning children's books from around the world - should alert people to the fact that our books are not about U.S. history, U.S. holidays, or U.S. artists, but I can't even begin to count the number of times I've been asked at a trade show if we have books about Native Americans or on President's Day.

And I can't even begin to explain how many times I've had to tell people that our submission policy is unlike any other publisher's guidelines since we work with authors and illustrators that reside outside of the United States.

In a world that is slowly becoming smaller and considering how quickly our children are realizing how accessible it is to reach others in countries on the opposite side of the globe, I'm still somewhat surprised that there are people out there who have not heard of Kane/Miller, or are unsure of what to think about our vision and our goal of opening young minds to the world through literature.

Just recently, there has been a discussion about banning books (perhaps that's the wrong term) that were printed in China. Until this became an issue, Kane/Miller was known for the high quality books that we print, with regard to the paper quality and durability of the books that we publish, along with the book's content.

Parents and educators are in the middle of a frustrating time as toys are being pulled off the shelf and health scares related to these particular toys are presented to us in the media. I feel for the parents of those children who have been effected by the chemicals found in these toys.

What I don't understand is the idea that removing books printed in China from library shelves would help to keep our children safe (or healthy). What our public and our communities are in need of is education regarding safety issues and learning how to reach those inside the corporations which have allowed such items to be sold in the first place.

As a parent, I realize that my argument is emotionally based, but who wouldn't want to protect their child? We wouldn't allow for lead paint to be in our homes or in any products that we bring home for our children and yet, I find it very difficult to believe that books from China could be doing my son any harm.

Kane/Miller is working on providing certifications that show that our books are safe and should hopefully encourage those who might have doubts to continue to purchase books based on the quality of the writing and illustrations, rather than where the product was shipped into the United States from.

Our nation has been purchasing toys "Made in China" for so long now that sadly, we've forgotten that there are companies here who have been making educational, high-quality products for our children as well.

I highly encourage everyone reading this to think outside the (toy) box and pick out toys - and other items - that you feel comfortable with, no matter what that criteria might be. Please don't judge a book by its cover, or the country that produced it.

The media has spoken and while I applaud those who have already been purchasing items for their little ones that don't have batteries or are not made of plastic, I realize that there are those that simply don't have the resources to discover what else might be out there.

Earlier this year, my post entitled Batteries Not Included contained a list of companies who do offer these types of toys. I urge you to check them out, set aside some money to purchase items from them for the holidays or birthdays and spread the word to others.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Waking Up Together

I read an enlightening, eye-opening book recently, entitled Waking Up Together, written by Ellen and Charles Birx (Wisdom Publications). When I first read the description of the book from the publisher's website, I wasn't sure this was a book for me.

Here I am, newly divorced, freshly single, still learning from my past mistakes. But, the book intrigued me and once I started reading it, I couldn't stop and I learned quite a bit along the way. The book not only discusses the art of meditation and incorporating the quiet act of calm, quiet surrender, but it also discusses the art of relationship, as told from a husband and wife team who have been working and meditating together for nearly forty years.

Anyone who's been together that long has a lot to share with the rest of us and they spoke eloquently on finding a partner, letting go of a loved one, and co-parenting relationships.

These are just a few things I learned from the writing couple (and not necessarily just about relationships):
"A relationship is not something that you "have." It is not something that can be owned, possessed, or attained. Relationship is mutual opening to and presence with one another."

"A relationship is best cultivated in an atmosphere of gratitude and generosity. Gratitude is more than appreciation for the good things in your life; it is an appreciation for life itself, even with its ups and downs."

"No matter how much we may love our partner, we cannot take away our partner's pain. We cannot 'make' our partner happy, and we cannot 'enlighten' our partner. So even if we travel together we travel alone. Recognizing this aloneness is essential for togetherness."

"A loving relationship is an ongoing process of being present with and open to one another. This is not just a matter of spending more time together. Relationship has to do with the quality of time you spend together."

"If you want to live in relationship, you have to learn to take turns. Taking turns doesn't mean a rigid fifty-fifty. Taking turns is a flowing back and forth - a give and take without keeping score, not a mathematical equation. There are innumerable factors to consider, and it is a delicate balance, moment by moment."

"Your willingness to remain tender, open, and vulnerable is essential to an intimate relationship. Not only do you need to be willing to be wounded over and over again, but you also need to be willing to forgive over and over again. Forgiveness is an act of compassion that frees both you and your partner to love again."

"For a long-term relationship to survive, each partner needs to be willing to serve the other. Being a servant cultivates humility and puts the ego in its proper place."

"There is a saying, 'Love is blind.' However, if ever there is a time when you need to see clearly, it is when you are entering into a committed relationship."

"How you do your work is as important as the occupation you select."

"True and deep communication in an intimate relationship can take place only in the context of an attitude of openness, honesty, trust, and acceptance."

"Change is a vital force that keeps your relationship fresh, exciting, and alive."

"Sometimes it is not what happens in a relationship, but our interpretation of what happens, that causes us to suffer."

"All of us need to be free to change and grow, and the challenge in a relationship is to learn how to move along together."

"Be yourself. Being genuine will lead you in the direction of a relationship that is truthful, open, and whole. Be your best, but don't deny or hide your faults. In balance, both confidence and humility are attractive. As you develop yourself, your life become richer, you become more radiant, and people naturally gravitate toward you."

"Even when you are not physically present with one another, you can maintain a presence and connection through phone calls, letters, and email messages. Presence transcends space and time: even when you are apart, you can be present to your partner in your heart. Your heart is unbounded, and in love you are united."

"...first you need to be able to stand on your own two feet without excessive leaning or clinging that wears the other down. You need some degree of emotional and spiritual maturity in order to enter into a relationship of mutual giving and receiving."

"Integrity is the honesty to end one relationship before entering into another."

"Relationship is a creative process. As is any other creative process, you need to be open not just to your intellect but also to your intuition, spontaneity, ingenuity, and spirit. Creativity is playful, artistic, and expressive. Viewing your relationship as an opportunity to co-create infuses it with renewed energy, enthusiasm, and enjoyment."
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is in a committed relationship, who is searching for ways to strengthen their marriage, or who has recently ended a long-term relationship. I learned quite a bit from this couple and I have no doubts that many of the lessons I learned will carry over into future relationships as well as the fact that it has helped me to heal from my past.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

One of Those Days

"The best proof of love is trust." - Joyce Brothers

"I'd marry again if I found a man who had fifteen million dollars, would sign over half to me, and guarantee that he'd be dead within a year." - Bette Davis

"Don't marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can't live without." - James C. Dobson

"Getting divorced just because you don't love a man is almost as silly as getting married just because you do." - Zsa Zsa Gabor

"Almost no one is foolish enough to imagine that he automatically deserves great success in any field of activity; yet almost everyone believes that he automatically deserves success in marriage." - Sydney J. Harris

"Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you. When you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable." - Joyce Brothers

"Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then." - Katharine Hepburn

"Never get married in the morning - you never know who you might meet that night." - Paul Hornung

"Being divorced is like being hit by a Mack truck. If you live through it, you start looking very carefully to the right and to the left." - Jean Kerr

"More marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the better comes after the worse." - Doug Larson

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person." - Mignon McLaughlin

"The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret." - Henny Youngman

"Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so." - David Grayson

"The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost." - Gilbert K. Chesterton

"Who so loves believes the impossible." - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

"There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness." - Josh Billings

"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself." - Harvey Fierstein

"You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well." - Lewis B. Smedes

"Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely." - Auguste Rodin

"At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet." - Plato

"Love conquers all." - Virgil

"All that I know I learned after I was thirty." - Georges Clemenceau