Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Do Not Think This Movie Means What You Think It Means

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."

I just don't want to live in a world where that is true.

I mean there are plenty of Disney characters that are more "Daddy's Little Sweetheart" than Ariel: Belle and Cinderella, to name two. I get that it's the summer, so beach, ocean, blah blah blah, but how about a different caption? How about "Little Princess" (she was literally a princess right)? Or "I Wanna Be Where the People Are?" "Hot Crustacean Band?" I would buy the hell out of that shirt.

I guess there is the possibility that this whole thing is a cheeky prank, but given that this is mass-produced Disney-made shirt retailed at Babies 'R' Us, and not, say, the week-long project of an independent artist via Vix Emporium or Etsy, I just have my doubts.

So guys, I suppose what I am saying is, I did not buy the tank.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Caught Up

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?

I don't really believe in a firm rapture date, I don't even know if I believe that the re-gathering with Christ is going to be signaled with a lot of fire and brimstone. Still, I couldn't get it off my mind, as I had a one-day, fly-in-fly-out business trip on Rapture Day (or maybe more accurately, Non-Rapture day). What a day for my first flight since September, right?

I was too tired on the way in to really worry too much about it. I was advised that people can get raptured off planes, but I figured I had until 6 pm and didn't have to worry about that on my out.

While in the meeting, no one really brought it up. We mostly talked about meeting stuff. I really don't know if anyone there was religious, but they were serious and seemed very committed to their work, so I figured they were planning on staying alive and on earth at least long enough to get through the project we were meeting to discuss. Like a real a-hole dummy, I brought it up jokingly after our meeting was over, said something lame like "Guess it's time to go get raptured now" and people laughed half-heartedly.

We almost died on the way to the airport, but that was probably due to the poor signage on the interstate, and hopefully not due to a higher power embarking on some kind of cruel Nelson Muntzian sadism. (I don't know that that's really how God rolls.)

Up in the air, I sat between two very pleasant men on the plane, both of whom seemed to plan to be alive tomorrow. They were kind, and non-intrusive, and more genuine than anyone I had ever been randomly plopped on a plane with before. The guy sitting to my right was very nice and didn't bring it up - we talked about his job offer, his flight tribulations, and our kids. The guy sitting on my left actually ran a bible study group and was Presbyterian, so he was not having the rapture stuff at all. I brought it up jokingly, said something idiotic like "Guess we made it" after we landed and guy on my left said something really interesting about how Revelations ends with something like "Don't add any words to this book" maybe because the author knew that people would go nuts with it.

The only part of my trip that gave me pause, though, was my experience leaving the airport in Philly. We landed around 12:30 midnight on May 22, and were probably the last flight, we just barely made curfew. Shops had closed hours ago, and the 60 or so of us, we who seemed so jam packed on the plane, fanned out to urban isolation once on dry land. Guess we were going to be stuck here on earth.

The airport was clean and bright, the maintenance staff probably having done a sweep before leaving their shifts. The light in the terminal hallways was uniformly white and gentle.

Just before transferring from airside to landside, there are sliding glass doors that take you from the gleaming white of the post-security area to the dark, carpeted part of the terminal that takes you to the noise of ground transportation.

As I crossed over, I shit you not, the terminal was broadcasting, faintly enough that I had to strain to listen, N'Sync's "Bye Bye Bye."

Good one, God.

*see rapiemur

Monday, May 16, 2011

Grammar Grump

I'm not trying to be grammar girl (who else can? I love you, grammar girl. I love you so muuuuch) or anything. I just need to get some things off my chest.

"Myriad" is an adjective.

A group "comprises" individuals.

Individuals "compose" a group.

A group is "composed" of individuals.

"Its" is possessive. "It's" is a contraction of "it is."

"Impact" is a noun, unless we are talking about your "impacted" teeth, in which case, ugh, sorry.

"Affect" is a verb. "Effect" is a noun.

I'm tired of seeing people who get paid lots of moolah to write and make these mistakes that a) they don't realize they are making but should have learned how to avoid in, I don't know, elementary or middle school and that b) their editors, if they have any, don't notice.

If you are a writer by trade, please take pride in your craft. I was knitting tonight, and dropped a bunch of stitches, and thought, "Well I'd like to do better but I don't really do this professionally, I am just learning."

But if I ever open an etsy shop (yeah right) I will damn sure take pride in my craft. I will not try to sell people scarves with dropped stitches (saving those for your Christmas gifts, dear cousins). I will respect my suckers customers enough to present my very best effort.

I wish people who wrote for money on the internet would do the same.*

The end.

*I am exempt from my own rule because I don't really do this professionally, I am just learning.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wiz Khalifa: Expansion Brands

Fizz Khalifa - Heavily Tattooed Seltzer Water

Biz Khalifa - An All Work and No Play Rapper

Twizz Khalifa - Candy From Pittsburgh

Saturday, May 7, 2011

You Were Right, Mom. Thanks.

"You better write your thank you notes before you forget."

"Stop touching your face."

"Everything tastes better at the beach."

"You may think he's a nerd, but he might make a great husband someday."

"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."

"I live by the golden rule. That's my religion."

"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.

When my daughter first smiled at me, I gasped in fear because I had never seen that expression on her face before, but her smiles delight me now. Last night she was up past her bedtime and seemed for the first time to recognize a special occasion, flirting and giggling and milking it for all it was worth until she crashed. These moments are like waking up to a bright and early sunrise the morning after daylight savings time ends: disorienting at first, but actually very awesome and fun to point out to someone else. I find the first person I think of to share these moments with, after my husband of course, is my own mother.

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.

Soon my daughter will probably be throwing fits at birthday parties and sassing us. After that, I'm sure she'll sneak out with a boyfriend/girlfriend we hate. She'll just generally make huge mistakes and break our hearts from time to time. And after kicking around the latest issue over an adult beverage or six with my husband, I'm pretty sure I know who will be the very next person I will call to strategize, commiserate and cry.

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.

My mom has taught me countless valuable lessons about all aspects of life. But this Mother's Day, I want to thank her especially for teaching me both by example and by lesson to try to be almost as good of a mother to my daughter as she is to me.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Link Blast!

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!

Sugar Shoop

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.