Thursday, January 31, 2008

One Big Mindf*ck

That was the original title for the series Lost. Poker Chick offers $1 to whoever can get either of the following websites to work and report back to her: find815.com or flyoceanicair.com An extra $1 to those who can tell her why the reflection of the island in the ocean is a city skyline instead of trees.

Friday, January 25, 2008

So the doctor tabled the pee thing for about six months. Meanwhile, Poker Chick hit a new low as a working parent. Realizing this morning she had no gift yet for a kids' birthday party today (Really, who has birthday parties on Fridays? Some of us work, people!!) she asked the nanny to go buy a gift while the mini was at school and also get a card. Nice, right?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It's Gross, But I Gotta Ask

So the mini had her 3 year "big kid" physical. 30 pounds, 37 inches passed her eye and ear tests, was appropriately chatty and behaved perfectly. But she failed her urinalysis. Weird, I know. So we took cups home and did it again (I know, picture a nanny running 'round NYC with pee in her bag. Talk about bad job descriptions). She failed that too.

Photo for illustration purposes only.

Doctor wants to "chat" tomorrow. Anyone want to make neurotic Poker Chick feel better? What does it mean if her kid has trace amounts of blood in her pee?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The beginning of the final dental work begins Thursday. So all y'all who are around, take a good look and say goodbye to these teeth as you know them.

Monday, January 21, 2008

How Time Flies

So the mini woke up next to me this morning and shook me awake yelling "hey Mommy! I'm 3 now!" Now Poker Chick is a slow waker-upper but she managed to sit up and shake her head groggily. The kid's right. Even the weather's responding with a wind chill of just 3 today. Happy Birthday, mini. We love you, kiddo.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Headlines

Forget the election, Middle East peace and Britney Spears, and focus on the real news you're missing:

  1. Injuries when a bus en route to a casino burst into flames. Unthinkable.
  2. A different way of denying rhinoplasty.
  3. Stephen Colbert's in the National Portrait Gallery...really!
  4. Bulldogs are the new black.
  5. Bin Laden's son says Daddy wants a truce. What's he smoking?
  6. Gary Coleman's back...with his pants off.

    And finally.....
Could it be? The return of television as we knew it? Will someone write a friggin' ending for Lost already!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Updates!!! Loads of updates!!!

Poker Chick sends a huge thank you to everyone who has been reading her mindless stories. Aside from being surprised and glad to hear there are many lurkers out there, it turns out the food allergy post gave a friend some new education. Coincidentally, yesterday she found herself in an unavoidable situation alone with the mini and it was that new knowledge that prevented a potentially dangerous situation. To follow up on that post, the medical community now has an official response. Dr. Pisitiner proves Ms. Broussard to be a sensationalist and misinformed reporter and Poker Chick hopes all this confirms to all this is not an issue to be taken lightly.

Moving onto to lighter matters, check out the hilarious post below!!! And below that is an update on the latest chapter in Poker Chick's travel adventures. Finally, to all those concerned, our stubborn girl is finally taking those antiobiotics, and hey - they seem to be working! Duh.

This is too d*mn easy

The husband found this piece of news and it's definitely, as he put it, "blog-worthy". Now we all enjoy a good bridezilla story, here's another one where someone's just taken that concept of "your own special day" waaaaaay too far. Check out this Texas' bride wedding cake (left). Beyond ridiculous, this one's redonculous peeps. Poker Chick is wondering what the groom did first with that cake knife.*

*Special thanks to VH-1 for this image from their site.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Guns and cockroaches...

You know what that means....Poker Chick is on the road again. Here's the latest adventures.

Tuesday
Poker Chick arrives at the airport at 4pm for a 5pm flight. She checks in and is told with a smile she's "confirmed for the 8:30pm". Excuse me? Some investigation turned up the 5pm had been cancelled. Uh, thanks for the heads'-up US Airways. Not. But hey, there's a 6pm on another airline with room. So they could move her right? Wrong. They admitted they could. Then they said they wouldn't. Their excuse? She had no connections and therefore they were getting her there within a fair amount of time. She's not sure what made her day more, the $10 coupon they gave her for dinner at the food court or the cockroach sitting on the chair next to her at LaGuardia.

Wednesday
Out on business in a small city. With a surprising free hour on her hands, she walks to the mall to buy a guilt gift for the mini. She passes a convention center on the way. There seems to be quite a show going on. People from all over the country. Busloads of people, kids too. What was it? An exciting gun show!!! Yes, peeps, that's right. There's nothing like a good gun show to put you in the mood for being a good, calm and responsible human being. OK, well technically it was an archery hunting show. But those "lethal and silent" products they were advertising weren't exactly the bows and arrows from summer camp.

Poker Chick could hardly contain her excitement. This people-watching opportunity was too good to pass up. She got herself a pass (uh government, it was too easy!) and walked in with her mouth wide open when she saw the first big table near the entrance: THE BAR.

Yep. Drinking makes for better hunting. Didn't you know?

Poker Chick was exceptionally glad to see that people are exercising their "right to bear arms" while taking every possible precaution against civilian casualties. Freedom for products like the "buck bomb" and others that were "lethal but silent" is so important. It was also nice to see the children there, knowing that they, too, could learn how to hunt responsibly while successfully holding on to their beer bottles. And names like "license to steal" and "doinker" help make learning fun. And these lessons are awfully important. After all, these children are our future.

Friday
Wrapping up another fun-filled trip, yours truly got an urgent call interrupting her meeting. Yep, you guessed it, her flight home had been cancelled.

Don't you just wish you could hit the road with Poker Chick?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Kashi* can Kill

Poker Chick is taking a break from mindless chitchat for a minute to talk about an important issue that is currently making her blood boil.

Sadly, an article recently published in Harper's Magazine is vocalizing a scary opinion many parents share (Everybody's gone nuts: The exaggerated threat of food allergies, Meredith Broussard, January 2008). Seriously. She states:

“the rash of fatal food allergies is mostly myth, a cultural hysteria cooked up with a few key ingredients: fearful parents in an age of increased anxiety, sensationalist news coverage, and a coterie of well placed advocates whose dubious science has fed the frenzy.”

Well let's talk about what Ms. Broussard calls "supposed threat" for a second. We'll use an example, say something as simple as a finger food for toddlers. Kids walk around with it in their snack cups all day. But it's got sesame. And it just so happens that my kid is severely allergic to sesame. So one little "mighty bite" could kill her, literally, and it would only take minutes.

Let's say you cared. You'd have a hard time taking care of my kid. You could get rid of them and replace with cheerios. Maybe, but did you wash the container first? If not, she probably got enough sesame just from the dust in the container to get a reaction. What about the cheerios you bought? What if they were made by Kashi? Maybe they had no sesame but were made in the same factory. Maybe some sesame flour from the Mighty Bites line spilled over into the other line. And that is the package my kid happens to be eating. That could be enough to cause shock. Maybe you're giving her another food. You think it's safe, but aren't 100% sure. If you'd have done your homework, you'd know that product has trace amounts of sesame. But you might never know this because sesame is not listed as an "allergen" in the ingredient list. This is because sesame is the 9th most common food allergy in American children, and manufacturers are only required to list the top 8.

Maybe you've understood and taken all the proper precautions. But did you remember to wash your hands and face before watching my daughter? Because the oils from the seeds on that sesame bagel can cause a reaction on her skin. Did you check the lotion you just put on your hands? And finally, if you're secure after all that, do you know where the Epipen is in case it all wasn't enough? Do you know how to use it? Are you sure?

Scared yet? Welcome to my nightmare. It gets worse your kid starts going to school. What terrifies me is that there are people like Ms. Broussard out there. Parents, teachers, public opinion leaders. Not only do they make things more difficult (for what reason? Are you really just too lazy to take some precautions not to bring nuts to school?) but people with this lackadaisical attitude like this pose a huge danger to my child and the millions of others with food allergies.

Please send this to anyone you know who has children or spends time with them. I can tell you firsthand that the food allergy thing is not a crock. It's very real and the only way to prevent is to have grownups understand it and take precautions.

For more information on food allergies, and some real facts, click here.


*Poker chick has nothing against Kashi. It's a very healthy cereal. Just not for people who are allergic to any of its ingredients.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Flight #2: The airport riots

First, a fun fact: Try and guess how much $$ was charged on Poker Chick's credit card for in-flight movies. For background, the card was passed around several times between the mini's seat, PC and her entourage. The person who guesses closest receives a special treat.

The flight home. As Poker Chick's luggage did not arrive on the way over (it was delivered 12 hours later), all made sure to check in over an hour before our flight. Except for bathroom trips it was a relatively calm flight. The mini slept and so did Poker Chick's arm underneath her. We finally saw Superbad. We drank milkshakes. We landed on time. It was good.

Hey you! You didn't think it'd be that easy, did you?
We got off the plane and waited for a while at baggage claim, but figured it was no big deal because there were 2 other flights on the same carousel and their luggage was still coming out. We saw many other people still waiting for luggage from our flight so figured bags from our flight just hadn't come out yet. 30 minutes later, Poker Chick began to think something was amiss.

She got in a relatively long line at baggage services to see what was up. Before she got to the front, there were ten times the number of people behind her as there were in front of her. Everyone had pretty much figured out that if the bags weren't coming out yet, they weren't coming out.

Guess what happened?
That's right. Virtually all the bags on our flight never made the plane. No explanation. They even admitted "LAX dropped the ball on this one." You think? They said it was on the next plane. So we asked what time that was, figuring if we left 6 hours earlier the next plane was already in the air.

Guess what happened?
They admitted the bags were still in LAX. They promised we'd get them "in a couple of days". That was it. No voucher, not even an "I'm sorry". Not even an admission of the fact that instead of "Welcome to New York, your bags are on carousel 3" perhaps the captain might have wanted to confess "Good news! We arrived early at gate XX. Unfortunately, your bags did not. See baggage services at [insert directions] to file a report." Sucky, but it wouldn't have been an outright lie. Frustrated and disappointed, we couldn't accept this response as DinDin and Linster were continuing to Europe the next day and needed their bags ASAP. We needed a drop dead date and a contingency plan. Unfortunately, "Lloyd" (as he called himself) was not only unhelpful but also an utter jack*ss. So we asked to see a supervisor.

Guess what happened?
That's right, he said no. We asked for the name of his supervisor and his working hours. He said there was no one and we should call the Delta 800#. We asked for the direct dial of the desk he was at and who would be there the next morning. He said you had to go through the Delta 800#. We asked how the heck his wife contacted him and he replied she had to use his cell phone. We asked for a direct phone # to file a report and were directed only to the 800#. Outraged, Poker Chick declared she was not leaving the desk (and moving along the now redonculously long line) until she got someone to speak to other than an 800 with a 45 minute wait time and an electronic operator.

Now pay attention, peeps. Here's where the story gets interesting. Here's where the passenger unrest began. Poker Chick was making a stink. She wasn't quite at yelling range yet, but it was close. People knew exactly what was going on.

After 20 minutes of saying there was no supervisor, "Lloyd" finally made a mysterious phone call and said if we stepped aside a supervisor was on his way down to talk to us about our "situation". This is where PC made a huge mistake. She stepped aside.

Guess what happened?
20 minutes later, there was no supervisor and the passenger at the desk was even angrier than Poker Chick. Also, he was a very very large, muscular man - and probably from somewhere in Africa judging by his accent and appearance. He did not look like the kind of guy you want to get on the bad side of. Neither did his very large and also very angry friend. He saw Poker Chick was still waiting and refused to move until a supervisor actually appeared. He was now yelling. He was pointing fingers. Everyone was afraid but also chering him on. Unfortunately, he also used the "f" word. Apparently this gave "Lloyd" license to call security rather than his boss. This triggered anger in our large friend and led to his telling "Lloyd" to "do your mother f-ing job!". The F-bomb was used a lot after that, like a machine gun. It was awesome.

The cops showed up. Chaos ensued. Everyone was yelling at once. PC and DinDin led the other passengers in immediately telling the cops "this guy didn't do anything wrong!" At the same time, everyone vented their individual stories out loud, throwing them out as if they were tickets on a trading floor. "I'm traveling alone with two kids!" "I'm going to a funeral and can't go in jeans!" "I've never been to New York and don't even have a toothbrush!". And so on and so on. It was a huge riot. Seriously. Everyone let it all out.

Guess what happened?
We wish we knew. When a supervisor finally showed up, the only thing Poker Chick managed to obtain was a free cab home and a direct address to file a report and how to get an actual answer (Note: it was now 3am. All the other passengers had either given up, or were taken into custody. We're not sure which). The next day, she spent 5 hours on the phone to find out the luggage had arrived in JFK a few hours later and was sitting in a warehouse where it would sit for 12 more hours before being delivered. This was too late for the European flight.

Guess how the story ends?
Poker Chick and Linster took a cab to Queens and back to get the bags themselves. They are sending Delta the bill, along with a claim for significant damage to two brand new suitcases.

Stay tuned for the nail-biting conclusion....two years from now.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Allergy friendly and kosher treats you can buy

Many parents ask us "what can I buy for mini?" What can she eat?  Well the short answer is, simply employ us and we shall happily bake cupcakes for you all day long for a not-so-small fee.  For some reason, they do not like this answer, so they like the next one better:  over the past few years there has been a proliferation of products geared to the food-allergic community.  There are many websites you can go to for information on allergy-friendly products, however finding products that are both allergy friendly and kosher can be challenging.

But fear not! Poker Chick has tried the products, spoken to the companies, and done the research for you.  So here is your complete list of products we have found that fit the bill. 

Home Free Treats
What? Delicious cookies, coffee cake and baking ingredients.  You can buy them in many health food stores.
Free of: peanut, tree nut, dairy, eggs, wheat.  Only soy is lecithin.  Made in seed-free facility as well.  Some varieties are also gluten free.
Any added bonus?  Organic, all whole grain, and they make some little mini cookie packs that are great for school or playdates.
Kosher?  All products certified kosher parve by OK.  Large special orders (i.e. for a school) can be Pas Yisroel.

Divvies

What? Awesome cupcakes, delivered to your door.  Chocolate or vanilla with many color frosting options. They also have candy toppings to decorate your cupcakes with, and they sell cookies, popcorn, chocolate and candy.

Free of: peanut, tree nut, dairy, eggs.  They do not use sesame in their facility either.
Any added bonus?  They are not all organic like home free, but their treats are awesome and convenient.  Also, the delivery box for cupcakes doubles as a take out box so you can turn over the box, frost the cupcakes and use the same box to easily transport the cupcakes to a party or meeting.  Another tidbit? Their cookies and candy are sold in DisneyWorld.  And we have seen their popcorn sold in the kosher marketplace on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Kosher? Certified kosher parve by KVH, Rabbinical Council of New England.

Enjoy Life

What? Enjoy Life makes a lot of awesome products that are starting to be distributed through regular supermarkets, not just health food stores.  Soft cookies, hard cookies, cereal, bars, granola, chocolate chips and chunks and chocolate bars.  They make really delicious boxed cookies that people without food allergies will eat before we can get to!  They also make great chocolate chips that are our go to for recipes.

Free of: peanut, tree nut, dairy, eggs, sesame, soy, wheat.  All products are vegan and gluten free as well.
Any added bonus?  They claim "no artificial anything".  Their variety and availability are pretty awesome.  Our school uses their cookies and chips.

Kosher? Certified kosher parve by the Chicago Rabbinical Council.


Cherrybrook kitchen
What? Amazing cake mixes, cookie mixes, brownie, muffin and pancake mixes, plus mini cookies and tubs of frosting.

Free of: peanut, tree nut, dairy, eggs.  They do not use sesame and many of their products are gluten-free.
Any added bonus?  The mixes are really easy and convenient, especially if you get a tub of frosting.  Really easy for birthday parties, all the parents in our nursery school class used this mix for cupcakes.

Kosher? All products certified kosher by the Orthodox Union (OU).



Please leave a comment or email us at bornsteinwriter@gmail.com if you learn of any others we have missed; we will do our best to keep this list up to date.