Monthly Archives: April 2011

Linguistic Public Service Announcement

Dear English Speaking World:

The words are ‘especially’ and ‘escape.’ I have taken the History of the English Language at the graduate level and I can ascertain that there is no linguistic rule for an invisible or implied X. So please stop saying ‘exspecially’ and ‘exscape.’

XO

A

Categories: Get Smart | Tags: | 1 Comment

Don’t be a Camille . . . and other television lessons

I grew up in the golden age of After School Specials, and aside from things like “Don’t Drink and Dive” (yes I left the R out on purpose–Thank you Scott Baio!), I can’t recall that I took that much from them. But that isn’t to say television has not also been a classroom for me.

Even though everybody lies, don’t lie about your physical condition or medical history. House.

This summer, after having my son, I had a mysterious fever that kept me in the hospital for seven days. As each new doctor on rotation or specialist came to see me, I would give them an almost painfully complete medical rundown, including any and every symptom. Why? Because on House it’s always those little things that are key. Interpreted in to my life? I’m not a doctor, I have no medical training, so how the heck can I judge what’s important and what’s not.

Don’t be a Camille. America’s Next Top Model, Season 2

On season 2 of this long running Tyra Banks ego-showcase, a young lady of Camille elected to play the villain role that is necessary on every reality show. In this case her primary adversary was eventual winner Yoanna, who look like Audrey Hepburn to Camille’s Diana Ross. But where Camille really faltered was not in her altercations with Yoanna, but in her response to critique. Camille loved her some excuses. And so, when my mom and fellow ANTM viewer was faced with criticism at work, she actually used the phrase, “I’m not going to be a Camille.” This is sound advice. Take criticism gracefully and without excuses, even if you don’t fully agree with it. There’s probably some truth to it.

Even truck driver’s are eloquent–much more so than I’ll ever be. Survivor, Season 1

I actually use the end of this speech to teach figurative language. Well constructed, character appropriate–never underestimate the intelligence of someone, just because they don’t have a degree.

Sue Hawk’s Final Speech

Don’t be a Camille, Part Deux. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Season 1

What is it about this name? In this case, we’re looking at a women who acts innocent, then instigates issues, doesn’t really take care of her own children, spends way too much time with other people’s husbands, says she doesn’t want to be in her husband’s shadow and then drops his name every other sentence, and claims she has a Jesus complex when she’s not demanding compliments. Granted, most of the women on Housewives, no matter the city, are there own brand of crazy. But Camille isn’t crazy; she’s mean, unlikable, and seriously lacking in self-awareness. It’s a sad state of affairs when people side with your cheating, ex-drug addict husband. What can be learned from this? We all have flaws. Just don’t be so oblivious to yours or the feelings of the people around you. And don’t do coy little shrugs after saying something horrible. It doesn’t defuse it; it makes it worse.

Be honest with your hairstylist. Sheer Genius, Season 2

Tell your stylist what your lifestyle is, what you’re willing and capable of doing, and how long you can spend on your hair. Because they can cut it, dye it, and blow it out to look amazing, but unless you are willing to repeat those same steps (or hire them to show up at your house every morning), it ain’t going to look like that again. A good stylist can help you fit your hair to your life, while still making it flattering. There was an entire challenge based around this idea and only Nicole really listened to her client and didn’t give them 20 products and tools to use. My stylist knows, in no uncertain terms, that I will not use product, straighten, curl, or blow dry. So my cut looks good in a pony tail (it’s normal place) and great air-dried down.

Always ask to see the badge before letting a policeman in. Law and Order: SVU

Even if they are in uniform. Especially if they aren’t. Take down the number and the name. Teach this to your children.

Don’t cross Glen Close. Ever. Damages, Season 1-3

There is a scene in the third season of Damages where the pregnant girlfriend of Michael, the son of Patty Hewes (Glen Close) tries to blackmail Hewes for money. My mom and I actually cracked up watching this scene because, honestly, how does she even think for a second that she can outwit Patty? She can’t. It cannot be done. Don’t piss off Glen Close. That’s just logic.

What’s the best thing you’ve learned from TV?

Happy Easter!

A

Categories: Let Me Entertain You | Tags: | Leave a comment

If you ask me . . .

“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.”

Eric Jong

As of late I have found myself in the strange position of giving advice. I am normally the one stumbling through life, clueless, asking someone wiser than myself what the devil to do with the fix in which I find myself. So being on the other side is alien; however, I find that my own guides, along with my ticker tape parade of mistakes, have given me some good things to pass on.

On Fashion:

“No cleavage before 10 pm if you can help it.” One of my good friends from college

“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take off one accessory.” Coco Chanel

“Fit, fit, fit.” Tim Gunn

“Just because it’s made in your size, doesn’t mean it’s meant for you to wear. Dress for your body, not the trends.” Me

On Food:

“I try not to eat more than I can lift.” Miss Piggy

“If you read the label and it has more than 5 ingredients, don’t eat it.” Bethenny Frankel

“Don’t freeze salad.” Me

On Child Rearing:

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you. Worry that they are always watching you.” Robert Fulghum

“You can love them and still want to strangle them. Know your limits and know when you need to give yourself a time out.” Paraphrase of my brother-in-law

“The best thing you can do with a kid is when they get home from a game, ask them two thing: what did you learn and did you have fun. Never ask if they won or lost, even if you are dying to know.” An ex-counseling professor of mine

“Always have a spare.” Me

On Education:

“Be tough but fair.” One of my mentors at work

“Admit your mistakes; students appreciate the honesty.” Another mentor at work

“Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance, admit your mistakes, and learn from them so you can mess up in a new and much more interesting way the next time.” Me

General:

“Acknowledge your feelings, acknowledge your doubts. Then let them go and move on.” My college yoga instructor

“Fail better.” Samuel Beckett

And my final piece of advice, building on Beckett’s quote is this:

There is no such thing as perfect. No matter how amazing someone or something is, they can always improve. The only way to improve is to do something and fail, so that next time, you can fail better.

What’s your best piece of advice?

XO

A

Categories: Feed the Belly, The Little People and Furry Friends | Tags: | 1 Comment

A Few of My Favorite Things

I don’t particularly care for blogs that just become product placement. And so I will begin by saying that is not the goal of this week’s post. Instead, I would like to share a few eco things that I have researched and tested that I feel really made my life better. Some of them are a bit pricey, but the long run impact has been worth the initial investment.

Envirosax These are not those wimpy little reusable bags from your local grocery store. Instead, these suckers hold up to 50 pounds and roll up into nice little self-contained cylinders when you aren’t using them. I bought a set for my mom for mother’s day and the La Boheme Pouch for myself. I keep them in my purse, diaper bag, and glove box, and use them at any store I go to, not just the grocery store. Because they are so compact, yet so durable, I use them to carry things around. Also, since they are also washable, I use them for wet/dirty kids clothes when we are out and about. You can buy the pouch of 5 for $40 or build your own–yes, that is pricey upfront, but I use these so much it is insane. My 4-year old actually wants her own set and with these super cute Kid Options, the Easter Bunny is doing some online shopping this year.

Arctic Blast by Herb N’ Organics is simply the best natural all around cleaner I have found. Their other cleaners are worth a spin and their hand sanitizer is A-MAZ-ING. However, if you want to invest in one cleanser that will do the work of four others, get the Arctic Blast. Gets dog blood out of walls, carpets, clothing . . . you name it. Dog blood. Need I say more?

White Vinegar. Yes, plain old white vinegar. I would buy this stuff in drums if I could. Cleaning, laundry, deodorizing, cooking–I cannot live without it. Even keeps my son’s cloth diapers funk free.

Stacking Recycling Bins from The Container Store are not super fancy, but they are affordable and get the job done. The clear bins also allow for my daughter to see what to put where, allowing her to participate in recycling even at the age of 4.

Plain Old Cloth Diapers can be bought at pretty much any store. They are basically absorbent cloths that can replace paper towels in your life. Throw them in the wash when you’re done and they are ready to go again. (If anyone is interested in the type I use on my son, I can do another post about those–or just general green kids products.)

I love that these things make my life easier, cleaner, and are still good for the planet. What about you? What are your favorite things? Leave your comments below or send them my way. Until next time.

XO

A

Categories: Life and Other Nonsense | Tags: | Leave a comment

Human Behavior

This week’s topic has long been rumbling around in the back of my brain, but I have avoided it because I don’t really like to discuss my political views in the open. However, the topic isn’t actually, or at least shouldn’t be, a political issue. I’ll keep it short and if I alienate readers, so be it. Some things just need to be said.

I was recently asked to review some requests for verification relating to my husband’s work. Basically they needed proof that our children are eligible to be on his insurance and proof that I am eligible to receive his life insurance should anything happen. Normally I skim these kinds of things, but for some reason I actually read this one. Under terms of eligibility for his spouse, the first qualification was that I be of opposite gender.

I did a literal double take. There is was, in black and white, not even fine print. In order for me to receive any of the legal benefits allocated to me by my husband, I had to be a woman. Now I am very much aware of the on-going debate regarding same-sex marriage in this country. It is probably the ‘hot button’ issue that most directly affects people I love and care about. I cheer the victories, no matter how small they may be; I am angered when those victories are almost immediately redacted by fearful politicians. But never have I seen in such simple terms this discrimination.

If the person with whom I share my life is not of the opposite gender, our relationship is worthless and I deserve nothing if he is taken away.

If we live together for X number of years but never get married, as long as I am of the opposite gender, I am entitled to the rights of his wife.

How can this still be happening?

What really sickens me is thinking of a family acquaintance who is in his 30s, working on his third marriage. He marries girls who are barely legal, produces children he can’t support financially or emotionally, and inevitably gets divorced. The current wife he married so she could get health insurance. They did have the decency to wait until his previous divorce was finalized–roughly one week.

Yet, my friends who have been together for 15, 20 years are denied not just the piece of paper, but the basic rights given to companions because they happen to be of the same gender.

I’m not saying all same-sex couples last; they don’t. They make mistakes and fall in and out of love just like the rest of us. Because they are human. But our country doesn’t give them the right to be like the rest of us . . . human.

After I read the paperwork, I brought up the sick feeling it left with me to my husband. He actually considers himself a Republican and is deeply spiritual, in addition to a biblical knowledge which puts most church goers to shame. His take was so clear, so right on, that I have to share it.

This is not a political issue. It is not up to the government to tell us who we can and can’t marry above the age of consent. This is a human issue.

And it shouldn’t be an issue at all.

Categories: Life and Other Nonsense | Tags: | Leave a comment

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