Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Comment: The Definition of Passion

So I'm fascinated by a young dance who's actually not on SYTYCD: Silvia Moreno. I found her by accident when I wanted to show my kids what flamenco dancing looks like. Check out the clip. The kid is FIVE. There is also a clip when she is nine posted as well.

This is the most intense five-year-old I've ever seen. Watch her face. Watch her footwork.

How can anyone in their right mind say the arts aren't vital for kids?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Comment: Word

I've decided that anyone who genuinely uses the word "grand" to describe how they feel or an event they've experienced is all right with me.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Comment: Compare and Contrast

I'm finding it interesting that the two TV shows about which I am currently obsessed are "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Sons of Anarchy".

At first glance, they certainly appear to have very little in common. The former is a spunky reality show about sprightly young dancers with stars in their eyes. The latter, a raw, gritty drama with crusty bikers who kill anyone who's not deemed "an innocent" in their eyes, always involving copious amounts of blood and gunfire with occasional maiming.

But upon closer examination....well, they're both about people who move around a lot. And about tight-knit groups of ambitious people who have their own way of dressing, speaking and behaving.

However, the main area in which these two seemingly disparate shows overlap is in the following: the hugging.

The adorable and talented little dancers of SYTYCD hug EVERYBODY, all the time. They hug when they win, they hug when they lose, they hug when they meet their choreographers, they hug before they dance, they hug after they dance.

And "Sons of Anarchy"? The bikers hug before they go out and slaughter bad guys. They hug after they go out and blow shit up. They hug before meetings, they hug after meetings. They hug when they arrive at the clubhouse, and they hug when they leave. The few who are committed to one woman hug them, too, but mostly they hug each other, multiple times a day. They sure are hearty huggers.

So maybe that's what draws me to both shows: the incessant expression of physical affection interspersed throughout exciting comings and goings.

Or maybe I'm just really wierd.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Comment: Organize NOW!

That's the title of the book that's sitting on my desk right next to this laptop upon which I am typing.

I really should look at it some time.

This book is supposed to take me through organizing my life week by week. But really, do I really need (or want) to spend an entire WEEK organizing my email?

Sure, I could understand it if I were a CEO or a journalist or something (though that's something I'm pretty glad I'm not, at the moment) but I'm a teacher and mother and writer. I just don't get enough email to bother organizing.

But I did buy this book for a reason. I mean, who doesn't want to be more organized? (Baboons, maybe. Dogs and cats. How organized do you have to be to fling poop, sniff butts or pee in a box?)

I should be more organized. My mother-in-law is so organized. Her back patio looks like a spread from Martha Stewart Living. She's way organized.

Should, should, should.

I have to tell you that my personal happiness level has gone way up since I stopped reading so much about how to improve myself. I was trying to figure out what changed in the past month, and one of the variables is I went back to reading fiction instead of constant relationship, self-exploratory, I'm ok-you're ok type of books. Does organizing fall into the category of self-improvement? Probably. But I've found I'm happier when I'm not analyzing myself to death.

Maybe I should write a book about that. Ha!

Still, I would like my desk to have some cleared surfaces. And I do have a basket of crap on my desk that could be streamlined. Maybe I will look at that organization book. Maybe not.

But at least I know where it is.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Comment: JJacked Up

So today I got home to find 6, yes, SIX, catalogs from various stores I frequent, all of them online. Had a little sit down and perused, I did.

Have you seen the jjill catalog? I really liked their clothes for about a month last year. They make lots of drapey things, which, given my ever-changing middle-aged body, is helpful.

But, as my sister pointed out to me some time ago, their color scheme is super-lame. They have about fourteen shades of antique rose (gah!) and just as many of subdued blues (yawn). Oh, and they have a thousand different shades of clay and grey and dirt and cement-like colors. They are thus COMPLETELY impractical if you spill anything on them EVER, which I do. I ruined a perfectly good muted grey sweater with one lousy stinking spot and now I can't wear it in public. The jjill models clearly don't have kids, or, if they do, they're off at Bennington discovering themselves.

Also, jjill is massively overpriced for what it has. I got one thing I really liked from their catalog: a long, grey (again with the grey) corduroy blazer that is actually fun. And I waited until it was on sale (natch) but when I got it, it HAD NO LINING. That's super-lame.

And their TALL sizes are not messing around. I have one pair of pants from them and I have to roll the waistband up otherwise I literally fall all over myself in them. And I'm no graceful swan to begin with.

I guess the thing that most irks me about jjill is the way everything is toned down and bland. Is that the message we want to be receiving at middle age? Hell to the no.

I like me some rich saturated greens, purples and intense pinks. What's the point of only wearing colors you find in a concrete facility?

I will not go gently into middle age!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Comment: Suddenly Superfluous.

It's come to my attention that my children do not require very much of my attention these days. It feels like it came overnight, but of course, it hasn't. I was too busy to notice, working at three or four different jobs (I can never remember, she sighed breezily) and going back to school.

Now that school's out for all three of us, and work is out for the season, I'm kind of walking around wondering what to do with myself. Have you ever seen the Simpsons episode where the family moves to the swanky suburbs for Homer's job for an evil corporation and Marge has so many tools and machines that do all her work for her that she has nothing to do, and she takes up drinking fortified wine?

I'm feeling a little bit of that right now.

Except I'm also a little bit scared of wine right now because I associate it (rightly or not) with the last MONSTRO migraine I had two weeks ago. I don't think it was the wine, but who knows? (It wasn't red, which is usually the culprit, apparently.) But I've been reading about triggers and menopause (fun!) and it looks like I could be hitting the jackpot these days. Alert the media. A middle-aged woman is irritable and would like to drink wine, if only she knew it wouldn't result in a tremendous butt-kicking headache.

Such a glamourous life.

Speaking of which, what do you think Sheila E. is doing these days? Did she run away to suburbia and if so, does she beat the pots and pans in her kitchen to the sounds of an ancient Casio keyboard? Does she regret her tryst with Prince? Did he support her after her breakout success or was he too busy making up new names for himself? Did he drop her like a hot potato when she developed a muffin top? What about Appolonia? Does she have a muffin top? Is she bitter? I'd be bitter if the only movie I was in was Purple Rain. Not exactly Oscar-winning acting, that.

But I digress.

And there are actual muffins (with tops) in the oven right now. So PEACE, I'm out, people. (I'm co-opting that expression, mainly because annoying Candace uses it in Phineas and Ferb and I like it even though she drives me batshit.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Question: Is it hot in here?

I think it's just me. Wait, I'm okay now.

Just watched the most recent episodes of "So You Think You Can Dance" and found myself tearing up when Robert and Miranda were sent home. Is this hormones, or simply the depth of my humanity showing through? (Wow, it's definitely hormones.)

There's something so genuine about the show, and I find myself anxious to watch it every week. Even with the silly fillers they have, it's primarily about young, super-talented people chasing a dream. I find that I put myself in their place, but, increasingly, put myself in their parents' place. How proud would you be if your child made it to that show? How exciting would it be? I get so thrilled for these young adults, kids, really, who are already making it big merely by being on the show. They're so sincere and excited and pure, somehow. That's what gets me. They shriek with delight a lot. They cry a lot. I can relate.

I'm not a dancer myself. In college, I was put in "Movement for Actors", not real dance class. It was just a euphemism for actors who could stagger around to rhythm, at least some of the time. And still I had the humiliation of wearing a leotard but not looking hot in it. What I did for my art.

But I love to watch dance. It's powerful, beautiful and beyond my skill set.

Fox may be a lame network and their news may be as unfair and imbalanced as they come. but I love, love, love SYTYCD.

And that's not the hormones talking.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Comment: Baby, you are NOT a firework, nor are you anything like a plastic bag.

I feel as though I should write something about it being the fourth of July. (Am I supposed to capitalize the f?) But I didn't write anything on Canada Day (July 1), and I swing both ways in terms of nationality, so technically I don't have to write anything about this country today.

I feel wierd about celebrating this holiday since I didn't grow up doing it. Yet I've been in the States for almost 20 years, so it's only a matter of time before I'm in the US longer than I was in Canada. Does that make me less Canadian? No way, eh! Does that make me more American? Maybe. Sorta. I don't know.

Frankly, part of why I'm writing about this at all is so my good friend and fellow blogger, The Solipsist, will respond in some smart-assed, New Yorker acerbic, way.

Have at it, Sol! Happy Fourth!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Comment: Drip, drip, drip.

I've spent the afternoon lying in balmy Mid-Atlantic heat, on a leather couch (what was I thinking?!) reading about night sweats, irritability and hot-flashes.

It's kind of gratifying to know that some of my more, ahem, challenging behaviors, can now be attributed to perimenopause.

What a relief! And I thought I was just a bitch.

I'm reading a book called "Menopause Sucks", which I had to buy, just for the title. It's kind of awesome. It's not all overly medical, but it gives you some idea about all the fun things in store for the relatively-newly middle-aged. (Sidebar: what number, exactly, constitutes middle age? 40? 45? I can't believe it could be 35, because that's the new 25, so it's got to be 40 or so, doesn't it? Let me know, would you, please?)

But back to the hot flashes and night sweats. I've been having the latter for YEARS. Does that mean I've been in perimenopause since I was 30? Doubt that, since I've given birth twice since then.

I do own some of those awesome moisture-wicking jammies made for sweating women. I got them about two months ago, before I was ready to face the fact that I'm in peri-men. Frankly, I don't care what level of pause I'm in, I've been sweating for too long and nobody likes to wake up with thigh sweat unless a partner is involved.

And amazingly, these things actually work! For years, I'd worn allegedly moisture=wicking athletic wear to bed, to little success. So maybe I should be wearing my wonderjams when I work out. Though that might garner a little more attention than I'm after at the gym.

At this time of year, everyone's having hot flashes, so it just doesn't matter. We're all sweaty, sunscreened balls of flesh at this point. Pass the popsicles, I've got more reading to do.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Complaint: Transitions Suck!

This summer marks a major transition with my kids. They've just hit that point where peers are more important to them than parents, and where play is more important than anything else.

This is overall an excellent thing; it's developmentally appropriate, and it's healthy.

But if you've stayed home with your kids for a chunk of time, to suddenly feel irrelevant is a bit of a buzz kill. Especially when you deliberately said no to job opportunities so you could be home all summer for your kids, when they, in fact, are never home.

I'm honestly really happy that my children are developing more depth in their friendships, as well as more independence. I want that for them.

I just have to get used to it first.

Today I found myself a little broken up over the fact that the kids stayed for supper at their friends' house. (They'd been there all day.) I know, it sounds like nothing. I should be glad!

And for them, I am.

But I guess I feel a little bit lost at the moment. I spent most of the day wandering around like a lost sheep, feeling a bit distraught, to tell the truth. Transitions aren't just hard for kids.

I've gotten so used to being needed. It's almost a like a detox, what I'm going through. Lovely.

And let's not discount those raging, ever-changing, deranging hormones of mid-life. I'm sure they're not exactly helping the situation any.

Damn you, estrogen! And your little dog, too!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Comment: It's Official.

For awhile there I was too busy to write, and on the rare occasion when I sat down to try, I felt like I had nothing to say.

But that appears to have changed.

Enter: MIDDLE AGE. Aaahhhhh!

It's not like I just became middle-aged. I've been middle-aged for awhile now. But today I hit a milestone, because I broke down and bought......

reading glasses.

Yup, that was me in the back of the store, surreptitiously trying on different levels of magnification and seeing what I could read on the little chart that Foster Grant provides for my elucidation. I naively thought that since I have great vision in a family clad in glasses that somehow I would escape the fate.

But age has a way of fucking with you like nothing else. Hence, the glasses.

I mean, I can't read the damn writing on the ibuprofen bottle and at 2 in the morning that's pretty annoying.

I haven't even used the glasses yet. I just got them this afternoon. And I wonder if anyone will notice or care, or if I'll end up making a big deal out of it because "Oh my god, I wear GLASSES now, look at me, I've over 40!" I do tend to skew on the dramatic side.

But I kind of leaned into it today, and at the same time bought some moisturizer for "mature" skin. I don't know how exactly they determine what mature means. My skin is probably more mature than me, but that's not saying much.

Somehow I ended up subscribing accidentally to Women's Health magazine and on the cover there are always twenty year-olds on the cover, baring their midriff, with the heading "Chrissy Celebutastic shows you her secrets to staying fit!"

And the secret is? She's TWENTY. She doesn't EAT. Not really much of a secret, people.

I'm more than twice that age, and I love to eat, so this magazine does me no good. I've just got to figure out how to unsubscribe. There's no tab on the bottom of the magazine to click on!

As I like to say to anyone who will listen, and especially to my best friend, we're not 20, and we're not 80. So being in the middle is pretty much where I'm going to be for awhile. So get set for more ranting about the middle ground.

If you're strong enough to take it.