Whitewashing, a centuries-old chore of
priming your to-be-painted surfaces, painting outdoor surfaces with a low-cost and temporarily effective paint, is a colloquialism that has evolved to mean a kind of window-dressing. Just as you could decide, instead of paying the money to paint your fence, to just whitewash it, you may decide, instead of investing in a quality plan to execute, to just do the minimum and hope no one notices.
[Blank]washing has not yet taken on nearly the level of buzzword status of as [Blank]gate (Watergate, Nipplegate, Rathergate, Weinergate) but in light of a lot of tepid do-gooder efforts, maybe it's time.
We've heard of greenwashing - Wal-mart has been accused of hyping its not-all-that-impressive efforts at sustainability even as negative aspects of its track record go unaddressed.
But over at In These Times, Josh Eidelson takes Starbucks to task for a different kind of [Blank]washing - selling little bracelets, and donating proceeds to businesses or non-profits in the hopes they will hire some more people. (Eidelson is a former co-worker who, in the interest of full disclosure, is awesome.) You should read the article to get the gist, but I guess you could call Starbucks' program Recoverywashing or Charitywashing, or maybe just Goodwashing.
A lot of things bother me about Starbucks' approach. I think what most infuriates me is that, in my memory, these types of bracelets originated with cancer awareness. It wasn't that you got a yellow, purple, red, pink or white bracelet and huffed around like you had done your part. It was a call to do more. Starbucks' bracelets are a way to say, "Yep, $5 with my AM coffee is enough."
Another message I get an earful of that troubles me is "Oh, at least Starbucks is doing something about the recession." No. What is actually happening is that you are essentially paying into a slush fund of a company that has taken over its market and whose success has driven others out of business. You are giving your money for a company to give to a company of their own choosing. Why not choose yourself? Why not take that $5 and buy something at a business you support on Etsy or Kickstarter? Or buy your coffee at a local place and pump money into the business of someone who could be your neighbor, or your kids' classmates' family?
I'll be interested to see who bites and gets the bracelet. Meanwhile, I'm excited to try Blessed Coffee for my next caffeinated treat. No bracelets there, at least.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Whitewashing, a centuries-old chore of
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
Please go read this brilliant piece right now, because it is so very spot on, and covers so many situations.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
As I grew up, always an annoying little question-asking gunner, I realized that my dad often made up answers out of convenience.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
My mother once told me that she refuses to give to domestic charities.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Okay, we moved and are kind of settled. Humming along in some semblance of a routine. But hello, culture shock!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
I love this freakin' town. I went to college here, and by the grace of God and my husband's hard work and fancy brain full of book smarts, we ended up getting to hang out here for a few years. I'm excited about moving, but packing has been sentimental. You know, "Mike was sitting over here when he got his job offer," and "remember when we put up our first adult sized Christmas tree by that window." And don't get me started on the baby memories: first sink bath, first tub bath, first food, first tossing sippy-cups off of her high-chair, etc., etc., ahhh.
Monday, August 8, 2011
I'll be blunt: I wish 100% of my time outside of 9-5 Monday through Friday were my own and my family's.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
In 2004, at the tender age of 23, I set off from my childhood home in a U-Haul, with my earthly belongings and also with four of my mother's muffin tins, for some reason. The move was driven by two things: my conviction in the value of getting a masters degree, and a leap of faith in my boyfriend.
Monday, July 18, 2011
It's embarrassing when your eight-and-a-half month old has more determination than you do. For years I have been trying to commit to finding a sense of balance, purpose, tranquility - you know, the first world problems that I mostly talk about on this blog. I'd like to eat better, to write more, to exercise more frequently, to spend more quality time with my family and watch less T.V. Yeah, goals, you know?
Sunday, July 17, 2011
We're moving away from Philly very soon. I'm going to miss a lot of things about the city, things that almost anyone would miss: delicious ice cream at Franklin Fountain, community and greenery at Clark Park, the allure of Penn's beautiful campus. But I realized today, coming back from a trip on Columbus Ave, that I will miss something that I often dread: Driving down Oregon Avenue.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
"For anyone who feels this Internet emptiness chewing at them, I would say, do a little test. Go outside and take a 15-minute walk — around the block, through the park, just a short walk. While you’re doing this, clear your mind of work and of home. Just look at things, birds and cars and trees and the clouds and buildings and dumpsters, and when you think of something internal just say “thinking” to yourself and go back to walking and breathing. Then return to your computer. Do the usual things you do on your computer, like check the news and your email and the blogs you read and whatever people post on Facebook and Twitter.
"Do this second part, the computer-looking-at, for just 15 minutes. You can set one of those web timers … hang on, I have one in my bookmarks.
"When this stopwatch beeps, honestly ask yourself how you feel. Compare this to how you felt at the end of your 15-minute walk. Ask yourself what, if anything, you learned during those 15 minutes of wasting time on the Internet. Did it help you in some way? Are you better off? This is a question often asked by political challengers: Are you better off than __ years ago? Well, are you better off than fifteen minutes ago? If not, don’t re-elect the Internet."
I fully realize the irony of blogging this.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Yes, perhaps a rebellious mythical creature who, in a turbulent mixture of adolescence, infatuation and authoritarian repression (repression by her father), sacrifices her most prized ability in order to achieve an extremely painful physical transformation (to get away from her father) at the hands of a notorious sociopath, then wordlessly abandons everything she knows (her father), could be called a "Daddy's Little Sweetheart."
Sunday, May 22, 2011
I've never read the Left Behind series (I will NOT link to it; sorry but I draw the line there) but last week I thought a lot about the end of the world. I thought about the people that sacrifice everything in anticipation of the belief that the world will end. I considered the religions that don't believe in the inevitability of a particular rapture day. I thought of the Biblical translations that lead us into different directions; e.g. translation words to "raptured," "carried up," "carried off," "snatched up." I wondered, if the world ended, how would it end? How would we know?
Monday, May 16, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
Saturday, May 7, 2011
"You better write your thank you notes before you forget."
"Stop touching your face."
"Everything tastes better at the beach."
"NO WIRE HANGERS!" (Kidding about that one.)
"Push your sleeves up."
"Women mourn. Men replace."
"Always be prepared to be outraged."
"Did you write your thank you notes yet?"
"Of course I took your dad's last name. I only married him because I couldn't find a 'Smith.'"
"Stop playing with your hair. Teenagers play with their hair."
"When planning anything, guests are always the most important thing to consider."
"I never sign anything I don't have to sign."
"You just have a different relationship with your body after you have a kid. You kind of don't care anymore."
"Babies look best in white."
"Shit happens, and we try to make the best of it, and also to appreciate all the good fortune that we have."
"Okay. Sit down right now and write your thank you notes already. And stop playing with your hair."
My mother has been a very strong presence in my life, and she has given me a lot of good advice over the past 30 years. I think I have heeded most of it, forgotten more than I would like to admit, ignored some, and pretty much internalized the rest.
We have very different personalities but we have grown closer as I have learned to navigate the adult world. Lately, I have been leaning on her advice heavily, as my life has included first-time-home-buying and childbearing/rearing, as well as such critical issues as finding attractive post-maternity work clothes that are, depressingly, 4 sizes bigger than the size in which I started my "maternity." Because I now have a baby, I feel closer to my mother than ever, and I think I understand the mechanics behind our relationship a little better.
There is also, obviously, a more difficult side. Babies are demanding. Their needs don't go away when you are sick, sleep-deprived, in a bad mood, or alone while the other parent is traveling. Babies do indescribably disgusting things in which you sometimes have to involve yourself. I guess people don't talk about that side a lot because if they did no one would have babies ever again. (Those who do talk about the gross stuff usually end up here.) The bright side of the dark side is that I have in my mother a caring, understanding, knowledgeable resource who does not hesitate to do whatever she can to ease the pain.
Through all the work and sick and ick and tears, I believe something always compels you, as the parent, to do everything you can to make sure your little one feels safe and happy and loved no matter what is going on. It's not just the sense of adult responsibility. It's a powerful, visceral parenting feeling that must be a product of millions of years of evolution. It's hard to put into words, but the best way I can describe it is, "Nurture this thing, it has a part of me in it."
And I'm only six months into this gig. My mother's got 30 years on me. I guess that compelling "something" never really goes away, maybe even intensifies with time. That could explain, in part, why we've grown closer. Her reaction to me trying to buy a house is probably like mine to seeing my daughter's first smile: that surprise sunrise, a strange and momentous first. But after the initial gasp, the feeling kicks in: "nurture this thing." Comfort this thing through the hard times, celebrate the good with it, help it succeed and feel good as much as you can.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Wisconsin continues to fight. Badgers are tenacious. On Wisconsin! (TPM)
Am I a terrible mother for pre-ordering Go The F**k to Sleep? What? Louder? One more time? No? Okay awesome, thanks. (Amazon)
Right after you finish buying me copious amounts of flowers and once you've nail down your plans to feed me grapes and fan me with palms for Dia de
los Muert las Madres this Sunday, check out 19th century peace activist's original vision for an movement-based Mother's Day. (Greenwala )
My clothes horse sister has introduced me to the very impressive fashion blog of a Capitol Hill staffer who manages to post three times a day. Can you say dedicated? (Hint:you can) (Capitol Hill Style)
Allie Brosh, the genius behind Hyperbole and a Half, is coming out with a book. Oh, marry me already, H-and-a-H! "This is Why I'll Never Be An Adult" is basically my autobiography!
The Las Vegas Sun has excellent pictures of a very inspiring and moving march by casino workers. One day longer. (Las Vegas Sun)
And finally - sure, go ahead, keep whining about how you are oh-so-sick of the backlash to the backlash to the backlash to the ridiculous song "Friday" performed by the actually adorable and charming Rebecca Black. Because I am POSITIVE you were humming it in the shower this morning, hypocrite. You love "Friday" and everything associated with it. So without further ado, I would like to present to you, secret "Friday" lover, the Bad-Lip-Reading version of Rebecca Black's "Friday:" "Gang Fight." You're welcome. (YouTube)
Happy Fry-eee-day, y'all!
Here I go, here I go, here I go again. Girls, what's my weakness?
SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES! Okay then. I’m sorry, I just love Salt ‘n’ Suga. 'N' wheat. 'N' high fructose corn syrup.
I cannot resist a cookie or a Twizzler or a Lindt truffle. I need to keep these things out of my house. I refuse to categorically reject any food (except donuts, those are completely unsatisfying to me and I feel like I need to eat 4 to feel satisfied so I am avoiding them post-pregnancy).
So I won’t say to myself, “I will never eat sugar again.” I know only one person in real life who as actually done that, and she is awesome, but I’m not her. I can’t give things up forever. What I can do is keep sweets out of my house. On maternity leave, they were so much easier to pop in my mouth with a babe in one arm than, say, preparing a salad. But then I would continue eating candy and didn't compensate by eating more healthfully on other days, or by exercising. Now that I need to model good habits for the kiddo, and get back to fighting weight (aka non-obesity), I can’t run to the grocery or drugstore in the middle of the afternoon to fulfill a Bassett’s Allsort craving as I did during pregnancy.
And I can strive to try to eat sweets when and only when there is something delicious and unusual afoot. For example, a night out for ice cream with friends, or my mother’s special coginettes at Christmas. The sweet surprise of the food truck cupcake arriving in our neighborhood. The treat of Mexican cookies at a Cinco de Mayo parties. Not daily binging at my apartment.Moral of the story? I can't be perfect. But. Cookies are a sometimes food, y’all.
*Apologies for the lyrics bastardization go out to the incredible Salt 'n' Pepa, who I have on 100% good authority read this blog every morning before breakfast. I LOVE YOU LADIES and I hope you understand.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Today according to my calendar, is Martin Luther King, Jr. (Observed) Day. I really admire President Obama's national call to service on this day. It's good to remember that this is not just a day off from work and school, it's a day to remember all the good we have done and still have yet to do in this world.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Monday, January 3, 2011
I've decided to make a grand total of ZERO New Year's Resolutions this year.
This is not because I'm lazy. It's because I'm ready to settle into something normal. The past year I worked really hard to maintain at work, adjust to a new city, support my husband in his incredibly stressful job search, conceive, deliver and care for a child, and deal with a very challenging housing situation. The year before, we moved to a new city, suffered two miscarriages, and I lost 30 lbs. The year before that, I achieved and adjusted to a promotion at work and traveled to a foreign country. I'm feeling kind of tired. I think making resolutions this year would be somewhat of a false enterprise: I would make them, not really care about them, and feel like I had no credibility with myself.
Instead I will continue trying to do all the things I have wanted to do all along - be a good wife, mother, daughter and sister, take opportunities to help people in need, live healthfully, and leave the world a better place than I found it. I know that sounds cheesy and generic. I also know I don't really have a plan to do these things.
But instead of making myself miserable by "vowing to blog more" or "losing 40 lbs" or starting off determined that "this is the year I will ...." I am going to try to treat 2011 as a continuation of my 2010, 2009, 2008-and-further-back-goals.
I accomplished a mother lode of stuff in 2010. Our family accomplished a mother lode of stuff in 2010.
2011 will just be a year of striving, as gracefully and happily as I can, to live well.