Tuesday, October 25, 2011

From Left to Write: Lost Edens

In Lost Edens, author Jamie Patterson struggles to save her marriage which may or may not be already over. Keeping her attempts a secret from her family, she attempts to mold herself into the wife her husband wants her to be. As a member of From Left to Write book club, I received a copy of this book for review. You can read other members posts inspired by Lost Edens by Jamie Patterson on book club day, October 27 at From Left to Write.

After reading this book, I was really happy that Jamie was able to leave her husband and get a divorce. I don't think that sentence is a spoiler because she wouldn't have been able to write this true story if she were still with the abuser. After reading it, I wanted to find her husband and get revenge for her. Visions of Uma Thurman in Kill Bill were the first thoughts to pop up. But as the saying goes, the best revenge is living well, which Jamie seems to be doing. I am really happy for her.

Reading the book made me think of a close friend who needs help. She is an adult who has withstood years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father. Her father has called her stupid, dumb, all sorts of hurtful names. He's screamed at her for being overweight and once ripped a cookie out of her hand because she didn't stop eating it fast enough. During her childhood years he threw things at her, but now his abuse is mostly verbal and manipulation through guilt trips. I want to tell my friend to quit her father. A man who does that to a child is NOT a father, he's a sperm donor. Of course, it's not my place to tell her to do that, so all I can do is support her until she can come to the realization that she needs to be free of him.

A battered spouse without children can leave her spouse and break off all ties. But what does a battered child do--especially if the abuser also abuses the other parent and the other parent is unable to leave? My friend wants to maintain her relationship with her mother. If she doesn't answer the abuser's phone calls and doesn't comply with his wishes, he blames the mother and takes it out on her. So she feels like she's stuck. She also thinks that her father has a mental illness stemming from a long-diagnosed hormone disorder, which he won't seek treatment for because he doesn't he doesn't have medical insurance. So what can she do? When she tells me what is happening to her, I get so angry and want to call the police. But what would I tell them? That an old man is badgering his grown daughter? If she were under the age of majority, there would be help out there for her. But since she's an adult, the state no longer has the ability or desire to intervene.

A lot of what is going on is cultural. My friend is Asian. The Confucian society of her background places filial piety as one of the first virtues of their culture. The father-son relationship is one of the five human relationships that define all of life. To be a good son or daughter is a value that is instilled from the very beginning of life. There is a joke(?) that goes something like, if your mother and your wife are drowning, who would you save? The answer is obviously your mother because you can always get a new wife. People think that they lose stature if their neighbors think that their children are not treating them right. If a parent commits suicide, it is because the children did not do their duty. My friend is carrying the weight of all this cultural expectation on her shoulders as well as her love for her father in her heart. My friend, if you are reading this, know that I feel so sorry for what you are enduring. I hope things change for you soon. You are a good daughter. You are the BEST daughter.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Technology as Friend: HTC Rhyme Review

Stewart will tell you that technology is not my best friend. I once tried to get the wireless router at my in-laws house to work so I could watch a bar exam review lecture and managed to bring down the entire system. I had a smartphone for work but didn't use the data feature for a year and a half because I was scared that I would break it. Even something as simple as scanning a check to deposit it online has been something I've been avoiding for some time. But as my mid-life crisis age approached, I've decided that I need to be more adventurous and find my inner tech geek. I downloaded skype and talked to Stewart while he was working in France. I signed up and started reading Mashable. Then when HTC contacted me to review the new HTC Rhyme (available only through Verizon), I signed up to do it because I did not want to simply be comfortable with my old people phone!

The first thing that made me like the phone was that it came in PURPLE. I have long been a lover of all things purple and having a purple phone, even for a little while, to match my purple purse and my purple pea coat was fabulous! When I turned on the phone, one of the first things I noticed was that the screen is bright and vivid. The 3.7” size is more than adequate to allow you to watch video or a quick clip on Youtube without feeling a pressing need for more space. The slick user interface known as “HTC Sense” is an added layer of software that actually enhances the user experience. It allows for quick access to your camera, contacts, friend updates, and any multimedia you might have, and more importantly, doesn’t appear to bog down the operating system or performance in any way. The 1 gigahertz processor readily handles all the tasks that I’ve asked of the phone, including streaming video, without much of a hitch.  This phone doesn’t have access to 4G, but 3G seems to handle all the data requirements I’ve asked of the phone.

I’m pretty impressed by the quality of the camera (5 MP 28mm f/2.2 camera with auto focus and power LED flash).  Outdoor shots look beautiful with vibrant colors.  Indoor shots tend to require more light, but in the right settings, can do the job. The HTC Rhyme takes much better indoor photos than my old people phone. There is an added LED flash in the back of the phone which does provide some additional light when needed. H had fun with the HD 720p video recording feature. The phone comes with 4 GB onboard memory, 768 MB RAM, and 8 GB microSD pre-installed so you can take a lot of photos and video before you have to download to your computer. (The photo on the left was taken with the HTC Rhyme.)

The primary operating system, Android Gingerbread 2.3.4 feels more polished that previous versions of Android. Among my favorite apps that come with the phone is the Google Maps Navigation, which I’ve found to be the most accurate and easy to use GPS systems. That reason alone is almost compelling enough for me to select Android over iOS, which doesn’t not come with a native GPS system.  Sure you can download one on iOS, but I recently had a melt down when Stewart told me to use it and I couldn't figure out how.

I like the fact that the phone comes with great accessories. When you open the box, you’ll see the Tangle–Free Headphones, a multifunctional Docking Station, and the Charm Call Indicator. When your headphones are in the bottom of your purse, they have the tendency to get so tangled up you just decide to forego untangling them and put the speaker on low. The HTC Rhyme’s Tangle–Free Headphones remain untangled, despite the jostling you put them through so the person working out next to you won't get annoyed. It also comes with a multifunctional Docking Station, which is a charger, an alarm clock, and external speakers for your Rhyme phone. For some reason, the alarm clocks in hotels hate me and I can't figure them out. With the docking station, I wouldn't have to anymore! And what mom hasn't missed a call or text because you can't hear the call or notifications over the chaos of a playground playdate? The Charm Call Indicator dangles discreetly from your bag or purse. The Charm illuminates whenever you get a call or text, so nothing or no one goes unnoticed.

I have to return the phone next week so that ends my purple matchy-matchy ensembles. I'm glad I had a chance to be one of the hip next generation phone people! Thanks HTC for expanding my tech horizons.

I was not compensated for this review. I was provided the HTC Rhyme to test for a two week review period. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Freschetta Proud to Support Pink GIVEAWAY

If weren't aware of the meaning of all the pink ribbons in the supermarket, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, other than skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), an estimated 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among women in the United States this year. An estimated 40,170 women are expected to die from the disease in 2009 alone. Today, there are about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States.

As a member of the Freschetta Fresh Connection Community, I'm happy to share information about how Freschetta is doing its part to support breast cancer research. From September 25th-October 31st when you purchase specially marked-packages of Freschetta pizzas and Artisan Pizza Crusts you will be helping the company reach its goal of a $50,000 donation to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Specially marked packages are printed with codes that you can enter at the Proud to Support Pink website. For each code entry, $1 will be donated to this center to support breast cancer research. The site also has a place for people to share their breast cancer journey or the journey of a friend or loved one. 50 pink iPod Shuffles will be given away each week in October as part of a giveaway on the site with an additional 50 pink iPod Shuffles being donated each week to four cancer centers for use by breast cancer patients during treatments.

To encourage Random Mommy readers to check out the Proud to Support Pink website, Freschetta is offering a fun giveaway of a coupon to try any Freschetta pizza and two pairs of Freschetta Proud to Support Pink earphones--one pair for you and one pair for you to share with an IRL pal or family member as a reminder of proactive health. I will also pick two additional winners to receive the earphones I received from Freschetta!

HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:  Contest period runs from Thursday, October 6th, 2011 at 12:01 AM (Pacific) until Friday, October 14th, 2011 at 11:59 PM (Pacific). Enter by leaving a comment on your favorite type of pizza, and leave your e-mail address OR sign in to comments using your Blogger ID, making sure your Blogger profile is public and includes your e-mail address.

Bonus Entries (leave a separate comment for each entry, it counts if you've done any of these so leave a comment for each one)
1) Follow me on Twitter
2) Tweet this contest and leave the tweet url (once per day)
3) Follow my blog with Google Friend Connect by clicking on the sidebar
4) Like Freschetta Pizza on Facebook
5) Follow Freschetta Pizza on Twitter

If you don't leave a qualifying comment and your e-mail address or public Blogger profile, your entry will be disqualified. I reserve the right to extend the contest period. At the end of the contest period, I will utilize Random.org to randomly choose the winners. The winners will be contacted by e-mail and will have 72 hours to respond to my e-mail. If the winners do not respond within 72 hours, the prize will go to the next place winner as decided by Random.org. This contest is open for US Residents onlyGood luck!

I did not receive compensation for this post. I did review product samples to facilitate my review.