soap box

another opinion

In light of all the EPL hype, I came across this article pontificating the perils of the new priv-lit genre; ironically, it becomes a bit preachy.

My only critique of the article is that my understanding of the book was that it was just a memoir of a lady who didn’t like her life and wanted to change it.  She happened to be white.  She happened to already be  a writer who got an advance for a book.  She told her story.  I didn’t realize it was (or is in any way inferred to be) woman’s new holy grail and that Ms. Gilbert was selling something.

But yes, I too was a bit bothered by just how many women not only resonated with Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey, but somehow claimed it as their own.  (Are we all really that unhappy?)  But obviously the author struck a nerve with her audience.  (155 weeks on the NYT Best Seller list!)  Maybe so many gravitated to the book because she let thousands of women escape/journey with her — to stunningly beautiful places– vicariously.  And really, who doesn’t want to “take a year off” to self-indulge?  But I never got the impression that she was telling me that “this is how you do it”.  Rather I heard, “this is how I did it.”   I (and thousands of others) will never be able to afford the experience/life she created for herself but I don’t resent her for having it.  (In the same way that I don’t resent GOOP.  It is what it is.)

I get that the Oprahfication of America’s woman is doing something funky to our self-perceptions and spirituality.  And I think I get what the article is intending to communicate, but I think they’ve made a huge assumption in thinking that women who read/watch books/movies such as this are using them as a how-to rather than just accepting it for what it is — a personal memoir.

But all this other garbage idiot-marketers are selling, maybe that’s where they should have directed their vitriol.

Boy, I sure am opinionated this week!

to whom do i gripe about this?

Is this a segment of SNL’s “Really” routine…  Because, Really?!

I’m sorry, wait, actually I’m not.

In what world is it remotely acceptable to place a child with an adult in an overtly sexual photo shoot (or any similar scenario really)?

I’m not sure if I’m mad because at its root it’s child exploitation or because it’s a horrible double standard.  This would NEVER happen with a 16 year old female pop star and older man.  (Well it probably has happened and since I don’t religiously read particularly pop-crazed magazines, I’m sure I missed it.)  What’s worse is when People promotes Kim Kardashian’s questionable shoot as  “Channel[ing] her inner cougar with Justin Bieber”.   Would we ever read the headlines “29 year old man gets his flirt on with 16 year old girl while in his underwear” and all be ok with that?  I think not.

I understand the artistic direction was influenced by The Graduate, but at least Ben Braddock was of legal age.

Maybe my outrage is because K.K. is just so va-va-voom (and having your ta-tas tantalize a 16 year old boy is beyond inappropriate.)  Maybe it’s because I feel like Justin Bieber needs an advocate — because he is still a child! Either way, I just can’t believe that this is not only culturally  accepted, but also encouraged and thought of as “cute” and “whats the harm” and “he’s so lucky” as well as what I’m assuming will be considered good press for each star involved.

If someone thinks I’ve misinterpreted the intentions of said shoot, maybe this video will clear things up.

***********Post Script*********

I wonder if others don’t feel as strongly as I do because it doesn’t “feel like” they’re doing anything wrong.  If this was a closed door shoot, shady and suspicious, that would imply that there is something to hide.  But as it stands, it’s out in the open.  Literally.  But somehow I think everyone involved has been duped by good lighting and a sweet smile.  Just because it looks like fun, it started as a joke, or there were no bad intentions doesn’t make it ok or appropriate.

an ideal life?

this is the story of art & nan kellam.  they lived together, alone, on an island for over 30 years.

this i get.  the story of two people choosing to barricade themselves off from the world.  to live alone, together.  being self-sufficient, self-reliant, living off of just our love and hard work.

this story isn’t new; it’s just new to me.  i have often dreamed of being an island of two.    sometimes we feel like we are.  we want to escape; make things easier.  we feel like people don’t get us; or just plain don’t like us; or we are hurt in some other way.  i wonder what hardships art and nan faced to push them to the decision that defined their lives.  was it a reaction to something or a choice to disengage?

and although isolation together is quite a romantic notion (for some, for us), i think it says something about those couples (and individuals) who choose to stick it out in the world.  they continue to engage: despite the hurt, disenchantment, and frustrations of this world.

i’m glad art & nan found their happiness in one another, but a love that great would have been nice to have been shared by all.  a friend once pointed out to me in my first year of marriage that when couples completely retreat into themselves, not only are they robbing themselves of potential, meaningful relationships, but it robs other people of that potential too.  it’s easy to forget sometimes, that as much as i feel like it’s just the two of us,  it isn’t.

read the story.  see photos.  buy the book.

{so glad i saw it here}

*le sigh*

There is nothing that can make me feel worse about myself than job hunting.  Wait, wait…wait.  Hold on just a minute.  That’s not entirely true.  I usually have to get talked off the ledge after swimsuit shopping.  But when job hunting you’re forced to hold up this mirror and try to see only the marketable assets and then cleverly describe them on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper.   And usually what ensues is a spiral of despair ending with me on the floor lamenting the fact that I’m over-educated, under-qualified and lacking the copious amounts of experience necessary to attain whichever job description has caught my fancy.  I think the largest hurdle to overcome is the feeling that you are casting a tiny net into such a large ocean.  I completely understand that the best way to get a job is to know someone.  And I’ll admit, I’m terrible at networking.  Not because I’m bad at it mind you, but because I hate it.  I hate keeping acquaintances for the sole purpose of networking.  I’m much more into intentional communication and authentic relationships.  I don’t do facebook or twitter or linked in anything like that.  (This place is the closest I’ve come to anything remotely related to “social networking,” which is a whole other can a worms for me.)  But when you’re moving to a new city and you’ve not got someone who can vouch for you, what do you do?  How do you stand out from the pack?

Really all of it seems moot when faced with the fact that I still have no idea what it is that I want “to do” with my life.  I’m envious of those people who just know and then go do.  I’ve got a little know-how on a lot of subjects and that makes me qualified for jack-sh*t.  I’ve applied for several jobs that I know I would be good at…and one of them I kind of really want.  But really, just how in the world are you supposed to stand out when your only option for getting a resume out is to upload a .txt version?  I hate not being able to wow them with my creative wiles of clever font choice, layout design and paper selection.  And just how exactly do you say, “I know I don’t have the necessary experience, but I can promise that I will not fail you.  I work hard and I’m a fast learner and I know I can do it!”  Well my resume is out there, plain txt and all, and I’m just going to continue to cast a wider net and maybe my “to do” will find me.  I’m not opposed to that.

{photo: google LIFE image archive}

the perfect gift

Stuck for just the perfect gift? How about some okra or a swank sewing machine or even a bee keepers suit.  Women for Women has presented an opportunity to give a gift that gives back and gives life.  Choose from a $15 item to a $250 gift that will really make an impact on a woman’s life (much more than another trinket on a shelf that will sit and collect dust!)  Read more here and then follow these instructions to make it count–but act quick as tomorrow is the last day!

Give Your Gift in Three Easy Steps:
1. YOU
choose a gift to give on behalf of a loved one.
2. On the donation form, choose “My donation is honor of someone special” and your loved one will receive a card in the mail letting them know about the gift you have given them.
3. Your donation goes to work immediately to help women survivors of war rebuild their lives. *

curves not welcome

I was casually perusing blog-land tonight when I came across a photo of this little gal.  She is a model for the current J.Crew season.

erez-1 I passed her by without much thought, but a few blogs later she was still in my head.  I decided to look again, but I couldn’t remember whose blog it was so I went straight to the source.  As I searched for her, I realized that I was getting angry and that’s why she was still in my head.

I was annoyed at her lack of curves and youth, but not jealous mind you.  Soon my annoyance turned to anger.  But my vitriol was redirected to the appropriate source: J. Crew for the moment.  Just who the hell do they think they are trying to sell me, a 31 year old woman (with curves), a lifestyle that this young girl can’t possibly know anything about.  It was as absurd to me as a 10 year old wearing high heels and lipstick.  Basically the message you’re sending me is that if (one) I buy this outfit I can be a 14-year-old-prepubescent-girl-with-the-bank-account-of-beyonce.  And (two) if I don’t look like her then I am not worthy of praise and adoration.  A bit extreme maybe, but not far from the mark I’m afraid.

erezYes, I know this is not a new idea.  There are whole blogs devoted to the topic, but it really irked me tonight.  The usual lure of clean lines, soothing colors, and safe photos were lost on me.   I looked beyond the shine.

On the casting choice of this young girl, I understand that the reason we hold these models in such high esteem is that, yes, very few people are blessed with the combination of such beautiful bone structure, height, and protruding hip bones.  However, this look is attainable…for a 14 or year old.  I would even cut retailers a little slack if they would God-forbid cast a model that is over 25 (and NOT Gisele, Cindy, or the like). Why not actually cast someone in your target audience (maybe I’m the idiot and they are targeting 15 year olds… with $300 t-shirts I’m sure they are.)

I’m not advocating having the every jane-frumpy-person on the cover of a magazine.  Oh believe me, I don’t want to look at ugly!  But I wouldn’t mind looking at someone slightly authentic… ok fine.  I’ll say it, someone over 20 with boobs!  I’m not wanting to get on the bandwagon of the whole “plus size” model that has recently been in the news.  (But good for her if she is healthy)  I just want to see a woman that is around a size 8 with curves (someone that is not a glamazon and 10 feet tall).  So maybe I’m a little biased because I’m a size 8 and I have boobs, big ones that combined with my short torso continually make me look “thick in the middle”.  But people pa-leaze… how long are we going to tolerate this?  I like being in my 30s.  I have no desire to be an adolescent again…nor look like one.  A few less wrinkles, an easier time toning my muscles, sure; but I like my boobs.  I just don’t want to be made to feel bad for having them.

ok.  rant over.  it’s just another fabulous reason to boycott the box-stores.

now, it’s personal

I rarely use this forum to express deep, personal emotion.  I try to keep things light and focused on things that have made me smile or cleverness discovered.  But today it’s different.  Today I need all the positive thoughts and energy of the universe to head our way.

We have to sell our home.

It’s to a point that this has to happen.  We’ve been through the circus that is the real estate market and agents.  I’m so angry… so bloody angry.  At the economy, at incompetent people, preconceived notions and f*ing stereotypes.  Believe me I know that our property is a bit unorthodox (for this area), but my god people, it’s not like we’ve re-invented the wheel here.  And I’m so angry that just because of things beyond our control we have to sacrifice our price tag.  It’s just plain unfair.  I know there are plenty of people way worse off than us, but we had so many plans… and now we have needs… not just wants.

I feel as if our home doesn’t sell (and soon) then nothing will work out.  I’m usually quite a hopeful person, but this is too much.  If I hear one more person make a negative comment about our situation I’m going to scream.

I see nothing but positives about our home.  Seriously.  Some people think 1100 sq ft of living space is too small…fine.  Some think that the idea of not having a yard is a down side… fine.  But the unwillingness to see how living above a commercial space (and having that person pay you rent… that yes, goes towards your mortgage) has HUGE advantages that seriously outweighs the perceived disadvantages drives me insane.

I’m so sad.  I’m SO sad!  I love my home.  We built it to sell.  I don’t understand why there isn’t a realtor out there who doesn’t know how to sell a mixed-use property!?!  It’s these freaking real estate agents that are setting the bloody prices… for entire communities.  And they screw them.  You would think that since realtors are having such a hard time selling property right now that it would make them work that much harder.  But you would be wrong.

And so now I feel stuck.  Not knowing how to do this ourselves.  (And clearly the realtor thing is not working out.) And every freaking website we go to doesn’t have a “box” for us to check.  It’s either commercial step to the left, residential step to the right.  And each excludes potential buyers.  This place is perfect for someone who is looking for an investment property and they can cash-flow the entire purchase by renting the top and bottom.  It’s perfect for someone looking to have commercial space and then pay their mortgage by renting the apartment or vice versa. I also think it’s a nice location.  No… it’s not the uber-hip town just to our west, but it’s perfect for someone (or couple) who splits their time between the lake-shore and the city.

I don’t know what to do.

front room south view

north view

bookshelf

bedroom

commercial space downstairs

commercial space

spring cleaner kills the environment

I think that I am personally responsible for the destruction of over half of the rain forest.  Because it was 60 degrees and sunny on Sunday, Brad and I took the time to PURGE… and I mean trim down!  We have a small, but cleverly over-stuffed storage space.  It is located on the ground level of our building, right next to the door.  Thus we began assembling what some thought was a “yard” sale… or more like a back-door sale.

I couldn’t believe just how much shit we’ve not only accumulated over 4 years as is natural, but all the shit that we’ve moved — multiple times!  And as we are now looking to make a move again, I refused to relocate one more box of unnecessary crap.  However, as I saw the last seven years of my life in the shambled boxes, I had mixed emotions.  So much of that “stuff” made me feel terrible.  I mean, who really wants to see all of their old school work… especially when it wasn’t exactly all A’s?! And what do you do with old photos…boxes of photos from college, summer trips, old flames?  Well I made a decision that if I didn’t know what was in a box from looking at the outside, I probably didn’t need it.  Tossed.  All of it.

Well, not just tossed, but I then frantically started ripping apart every item as I pulled it out, hoping to find some way to recycle it.  I mean, I alone had probably 20 spirals of class notes that turned into three different recycling piles: paper, cardboard, metal.  I knew I should be feeling better about cleansing myself of this unnecessary yoke, but I was really aware of my “stuff factor.”  For example, I had an entire rubbermaid container full of toiletries (that have been in that same box since the first time I moved in MA in 2004); if it was unopened it went to a give-away pile, but so much had to be thrown away: medicine that had expired, old make-up bags, samples of anything and everything.  Why do I “collect” these things?  They sit in drawers, unopened, for a special occasion or something else.  I will admit that I have gotten much, much better about using and/or giving things away, but I still have an entire house full of stuff.  It really can feel like a burden.  Then I really started to get upset when I realized just how much couldn’t really be recycled and will probably sit in some landfill for the next millennia.  Awful.

I guess all I can do is start to change a day at a time.  The one nugget I took away for the day was in a box that I would have sworn I had lost in 2003.  I had no idea that it has moved to SIX different locations with me.  I was almost in tears I was so excited… Six of my old journals hidden under my LPs!  I thought for certain that those journals were never to be found again…or worse, they would end up on some tacky website.  AND THEN to get my records back was too much!  Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Indigo Girls… ahhh vinyl.

It ended up being a pretty good day, despite my attempts to single-handedly destroy our environment!!

old journals

death to the swimsuit

i hate going to the gym.  no, i loathe going to the gym. there’s something about the entire process of being in a crowded, smelly room full of strangers trying not to be seen while doing things to your body that make you look completely uncoordinated.  we get on these machines that have you run, climb, or cycle in place.  where’s the sanity in that?  i don’t usually like people that go to ‘gyms’ either.  (probably because these people see it as another social outlet)  i haven’t been to an official gym since grad school… until now.

a new gym just opened around the corner from my house.  and seeing is how there is snow everywhere and it’s been just painfully cold lately, i won’t go walk outside.  yes, i should be cross country skiing or snow-shoeing, but i seem to be losing my motivation for that.  it’s just so bloody cold.  it also seems that my motivation needs to be green…as in greenbacks.  and if i pay to go torture myself it’s more likely that i will go or that i can at least guilt myself into it.  so i figured why not try it for one month.  this gym — and i use that word liberally — is running a special called ‘afternoon delight’ (like such a fallacious title would suck people like me in).  if you’re willing to workout between 1pm & 4pm it’s only $20 for the entire month.  not a bad deal.  i also don’t mind that this is their lowest time of attendance and therefore i have to put up with fewer ‘gym people’.  most of the folks that go during the ‘afternoon delight’ are the old ladies avoiding afternoon tea with the girls.    i guess i’ll manage for a month…but we’ll see if i can make it a week.

part of the whole gym thing is knowing that spring is just around the corner and I will yet again be exposing myself to the world in ways i should not.  it’s bad enough that i’m pasty white (not the pretty-model-from-ireland-way, but rather that of one-dark-haired girl-who-has-not-seen-the-sun-in-months-sort-of-way) but to be flabby and pasty white is just humiliating.  i wouldn’t even be bothering with it except that my current swimsuit finally needs to be retired and this has forced me to face the fact that i will have to purchase another one.  i have had the same one-piece swimsuit since 2003, originally purchased from the only provider of non-athletic/old-lady one-piece swimsuits and call-girls outfits.  the underwire is popping out, the bottom has thinned a bit and maybe the elasticity is not what is should be.  if i’m going to have to don one of these vile contraptions, it might as well look like something other than a swimsuit, but not quite a moo-moo.  i don’t think i’ll ever be fully comfortable in a swimsuit again, but hopefully i’ll at least not scare small children this year.  while at a trip to mecca the other day I saw this little gem.  praise jesus for target because they actually have nice one-piece swimsuits this year…well nice-er than in the past.  this just might be the one for the next 6 years of my life…that is if i keep working out!