Sunday, December 6, 2009

Emma Eun Bee - The Best Almost Christmas Gift Ever

Twenty-one years ago today someone came into my life who forever changed it very much for the better. That person is my daughter, Emma who on December 6, 1988 arrived into our family on a plane from Seoul, Korea.

Emma was tiny. At three-years-old she was barely on the growth chart, weighing in at only about 23 pounds and 32 inches tall. After over 24 hours of travel her hair was matted, she had green gook running from her nose and she spoke no English. But from the second I'd seen her photos months before, she was my daughter. As soon as I saw those above photos of that tiny girl with her name pinned to her shirt, I fell in love.

I've always had a very hard time writing about how I feel about any of my children because I love them so much words just escape me. I truly don't have the words to say how much I love her. Emma has been such a gift in my life, I cannot imagine how my life would look without her.

I'm one of those lucky moms who can honestly say Emma isn't just my daughter, she's a friend as well. Granted, a friend who gives me a really hard time, teases me relentlessly and makes me question myself, but that's a big part of why I adore her. She is sassy, smart, funny and despite her attempts to hide it from everyone - she's a loving, caring young woman.

When Emma graduated from Wellesley College a year and a half ago, I sat there wishing her birth mother could see her. That she could see how her selfless act of letting her toddler daughter go to a country thousands of miles away had turned out. Here she was, this girl who'd been orphaned in Seoul, Korea graduating from the school of Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Allbright. I thank this woman I will never know for entrusting me to love and raise the daughter she gave birth to. I am forever in her debt and hope on some level she knows just how much I adore the girl she named Eun Bee.

Emma is now back in Korea for one year. She always wanted a chance to go back and spend some real time in the country of her birth. She's teaching English to elementary and middle school students who don't believe she is Korean because she dresses and sounds like an American. She is loving her time there and learning more about what it means to be a Korean American.

She loves to tell me that it took 21 years, but that she finally found a way to escape the US and find her way back to Korea, away from the crazy white people who adopted her. I know however, that as much as she loves to tease and torment me that she loves me as much as I love her. Well, maybe almost as much.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Is Bella Swan of "Twilight" a Good Role Model? I'm Not So Sure

I read all four of the "Twilight" books last winter and while they weren't great literature, I had a good time reading them. I did however always have my concerns about the messages being sent to the tween and teen girls the books were targeted at.

Last night I went to see "New Moon" with a friend and both of us had some real concerns and questions about what girls were being told about what love looks like and how relationships should be.

There are some spoilers here, so be aware!

In this second book of the four, Edward, the sparkly vampire, leaves Bella who completely falls apart without him. All right, so we've all been heartbroken at least once in our lives and it sucks. But. most of us move on, right? Not Bella. She sits looking out her window for months and months. She loses weight, she sits alone at school and ceases all contact with any friends. Can we say co-dependent anyone?

The only thing that brings Bella out of her funk is when she starts hanging around with Jacob, her werewolf friend. She's seems to only be okay when there is a guy in her life who becomes her whole life. Not exactly the message I would have wanted my daughter to be getting at 13, or any age for that matter.

My friend Sandy brought up two great points as well: We don't really know Bella. She is a blank canvas. All we see is her obsession with Edward. Does she like dance? Sports? Reading? We don't know because she is like a hologram, an empty shell of a person other than her love for Edward. She is so completely dependent on him that it caused my daughter to say while reading the books, "Bella needs to grow a pair." She appears strong in some ways, but only when it comes to Edward, without him she ceases to live, until she gloms on to Jacob, essentially using his love for her to make herself feel better. She's really not a very nice girl.

Sandy's second point, very well taken, is the subtle message of domestic violence in the movies and books. There's always the possibility that Edward could hurt her, and he's protective of her to the point of controlling her and treating her like a child. He's a guy, he knows better, she needs to listen to him. There are elements of stalking in the way he's always there, watching her. We are given the message that she cannot be safe or function in the world without Edward right there. It makes me think of the No Doubt song, "I'm Just a Girl." You're just a girl so be careful!

Worse that this is the wolf pack couple, Sam and Emily. Emily bears a disfiguring scar on her face from a time Sam got angry and phased from man to wolf and attacked her. But, here she is, lovingly making muffins for them all when Sam comes in, pulls her into his arms and kisses her. Is the message girls are getting, "Hey girls, just because a guy gets mad and hurts you doesn't mean you still shouldn't love him"? Men get angry every day and hurt the women they supposedly love. It's not okay. And being a werewolf is not an excuse!

As we drove home from the movie we talked about the seriousness of the messages about love that girls are getting from these books and it's a bit disturbing. Young girls are impressionable and what they read and see on screen does impact what they think love should look like.

My hope is that girls can override the messages in these stories, see them as flawed fairy tales and know that they are valuable people who can survive and thrive without a boy/vampire/werewolf in their lives. Anyone who has read the entire series knows that eventually Bella gets her wish to give up her mortal life and become a vampire, able to live for all eternity with her beloved Edward. Do we really wants girls thinking about giving with their lives for the boys they love? That's not romance, that's suicide.

I think a much better cinematic role model, if you're looking for one, might just be Bridget Jones who ends up with Mark Darcy, a man who loves her just as she is. And she doesn't even have to become undead to be with him, she just gets to be herself. All in all, a pretty good message.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Top 10 TV Shows of the Decade

Recently I was reading my dear friend's blog where he had listed his top ten TV shows of the decade and was struck by the fact that while there were some choices (several actually) I agreed with, it was still a decidedly "guy" list. So, I decided to make my own list. My own girl-centric list.

So herein lies my Top Ten All Time Favorite TV Shows of the Decade. These may not all be critical winners, but I love them.

10. "South Park." This show isn't always great, but when it's on, it's spot on. Who can forget the "Trapped in the Closet" episode?
9. "Ally McBeal." It's easy to forget this show because it's been off the air for a few years, but it was edgy and broke boundaries with it's unusual story lines, dancing babies, cute pajamas and frogs. And whimsy, there's not enough whimsy on TV.
8. "Daily Show"/"The Colbert Report." Sad or not, these two back to back Comedy Central shows are one of my favorite sources of new. Smart, incisive and willing to offend anyone and everyone, they are often the first ones to point out hypocrisy where it needs a spotlight.
7."The Sopranos." Okay, so the series end was a little vague, but it was a show that kept me coming back season after season.
6. "30 Rock." I adore Tina Fey. I think she's a genius. Any woman who can be the head writer of "Saturday Night Live, " write "Mean Girls," and create this series is totally my hero.
5. "Mad Men." The show just ended it's third season and it's already in my top five. The characters are well drawn, the set and costume design are stellar, the writing is top notch and the acting is superb.
4. "Rescue Me." This series about a group of New York City Firefighters in a post 9/11 NYC is gritty, hard hitting, funny at times and always intense and thought provoking. As both its star and co-writer, Denis Leary is amazing.
3. "The Office." I just love the lads and ladies of Dunder Mifflin.
2. "Sex and the City." This show has great dialogue like: Charlotte: "I just know no matter how good I feel about myself, if I see Christy Turlington, I just wanna give up."
Miranda: "Well I just want to tie her down and force feed her lard, but that's the difference between you and me."
1. "Gilmore Girls." This may not have been a super critically acclaimed show, but the writing was magnificent and completely holds up a few years after the series end. Admittedly it did jump the shark when Luke had a previously unknown daughter show up in the next to last season, but it still remains my favorite if for no other reason that the love I have for my own daughter and that special bond only a mother and daughter can share.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Is Being A Good Wife An Outdated Idea?

In today's London Times I read an article about being a "good wife." When I saw the headline I admit I had visions of suggestions of wrapping yourself in Saran Wrap or making sure you've got a pot roast in the oven and that his socks are properly sorted. What I read was nothing like that.

Now as a disclaimer - I'm the first to admit that being divorced might preclude me from waxing too seriously about how to be a good wife, but actually having been divorced may give us divorced folks a better perspective - we sure know what doesn't work.

As I read the above article what I realized was that the message was mostly about being kind and being supportive. Now call me the anti-Christ of feminism, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Why wouldn't you want to be with someone who makes you feel good about who you are and is unfailingly supportive?

Of course these are things that go both ways. Being a good husband requires the same support and kindness as well.

I wince at the way I hear some women talk about their husbands and men in general. I happen to like men. Very much so. Sure they think differently than women do, but they're not dumb Neanderthals dragging their knuckles on the ground waiting for us to tell them what to do.

Author Ayelet Waldman caught a whole lot of hell when she wrote about loving her husband more than her children. She spoke of not replacing the passion she feels for her husband with how she feels about her children. She was pilloried for saying this, but I think she had a point.

The "good wife" article goes on to talk about the importance of kissing and having sex as well. Think about that the next time you ignore your significant other in favor of updating your status on Facebook or watching "Project Runway." It just seems that we've decided that TV, computers and cell phones are more important than the person we share our lives with. Maybe it is an outdated ideal I have, but I think nothing is more important than relationships, and at the top of that list is the relationship with your partner.

Last year I read a book, "Just Do It: How One Couple Turned Off The TV And Turned On Their Sex Lives for 101 Days (No Excuses!)" by Douglas Brown and first thought, damn it, why can't I come up with a high concept book idea like this, and second, I think the author had a point. The more often you are affectionate and loving, the more you want to be.

So what does it mean to be a good wife or husband? I think it's pretty simple - always remember to treat your mate like the treasured friend they are. Too often people treat their spouse in ways they'd NEVER treat their best friend. Don't let stupid things get in the way. Socks and tops of toothpaste tubes don't matter in the long run. Take the time to remember why you chose this person in the first place.

And then make sure you kiss. A lot.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Does Any Woman Think She Has "Good Hair?"

I was given an assignment to write a story to talk to women about the issues brought up in Chris Rock's movie, "Good Hair." As a Caucasian woman with what I guess would be called, "good hair" I wasn't sure I was the right person to write this article. Even though I decided not to do the story, it did get me thinking about about the question I posed in the headline: Does ANY woman think she has good hair?

Last week at my writing group the six of us were talking about this very topic. These were all white woman of varying ages and hair types. I heard a variety of complaints.

"My hair is too thin."

Mine's too curly"

"Mine's too flat."

"When it rains I can't do a thing with it."

When I was 13-years-old I used to take my already-straight, long, blond hair and roll it over a giant orange juice can in an effort to make it even straighter. Like many women I have had a life long love/hate relationship with my hair. At this point in my life most days I like it. But I've permed, highlighted, straightened, ironed, moussed, gelled and fluffed all in an effort to feel like I've got good hair.

In a conversation with an older black woman I know, she enlightened me a bit about the history of all the torturous ways women of color have straightened their hair for decades. She described painful sessions as a child, her mother using a almost-red hot comb to straighten her hair, one searing section at a time. There are chemicals that burn your scalp, electric irons to flatten and straighten and hours spent blow drying it within an inch of its life.

This woman, who has seen a lot in her life, was shocked however when I told her that many, many Caucasian women struggle with their hair too. By no means am I minimizing the racist undertones women of color and their hair choices face, but I just think in many ways we're all a lot more a like than we often think. And as a true woman's woman, I think we should stick together and celebrate how we can support one another in any way we can.

Now that I'm a little older I've learned to appreciate what I have and who I am. That doesn't though that for one minute mean I'm going to trade in the highlights and hair products and go all natural. I'm not crazy! I celebrate what God and my very lovely parents gave me, and the rest is thanks to a great hairdresser and some really good styling products.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

David Letterman - Bad Guy? Victim? Or Both?

Once again we're being forced to know way too much about a celebrity's private life and the sad thing is, I'm less and less shocked every time something salacious comes out about someone.

That said, I have to admit I thought a bit more of Dave. In my 20s and 30s I had a major crush on the comedian. I loved his geekiness and self-deprecating humor. I didn't bother to think about the possible ego involved in getting someone that far up in the food chain of fame. What was I thinking? Like many men in positions of power of course he slept with willing young women.

Before he was a parent and partner that was fine, but now there are a couple of people who need him to not be an ego-centric star and just be a dad and a husband.

Being the crack investigative journalist I pretend to be, I wanted to know what one of Dave's former long-term girlfriends had to say about all this, so I went to her blog. I have always loved Merrill Markoe. She and Dave created a lot of the bits - like Stupid Pet Tricks, that Dave still uses. She didn't say much in her post, but the line, "As you can imagine this is a very emotional moment for me because Dave promised me many times that I was the only woman he would ever cheat on," led me to believe that this isn't the first time he's been unfaithful.

To answer my own question in my headline, I think he's both a bad guy and a victim. It's wrong obviously for someone to shake you down for cash in order to keep their silence, but clearly he was not right in cheating on his girlfriend/now wife.

There's no easy answer to why people cheat, and let me be clear, I know women do it as well, I just think it seems a bit more common amongst males. Especially successful males in positions of power.

When Dave first confessed his transgression my first thoughts went to his wife. My heart broke for her because there are few things more painful than being betrayed by the person you trust and love more than anyone. Behind all his jokes about how chilly things are at home is someone who is really hurting, and there's nothing funny about that.

I would love to live in a world where no one hurts people they love. Where people are faithful, loving and true. But humans are flawed and at times weak.

I may be less shocked when these things happen, but it doesn't mean I'm not disappointed. I always thought Dave seemed like a good, stand-up, mid-western guy, but no matter how old I am or how much that's not good life shows me, I will never give up hope that most people are indeed committed and good.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

So When Did a Size 10 Become Plus Sized?

When I saw all the brouhaha about this photo of model Lizzie Miller in Glamour magazine I was a bit torn. On one hand I thought it was great that this photo of a woman who is a size 12-14 (the size of the average American woman) had garnered lots of positive response from readers wanting more. Yet on the other hand, looking at this lovely woman, it made me sad that she was considered "plus sized."
Our expectation of beauty is so far out of whack I don't know if we can ever find a healthy balance. We have designers who create fashion for women built like 12-year-old boys, not the beautiful curvy creatures we are, and a multi-billion a year magazine and beauty industry that preys on our insecurities and makes us feel bad about ourselves.
Lizzie Miller is 5'11" and weighs 180 pounds. She has a little bit of a tummy, and isn't a stick. She looks like a woman, a very beautiful woman.
In doing a little research I discovered that as a woman who is 5' 9 1/2" tall and wears size 8s and 10s I am considered plus-sized in the modeling world. In my life I only know a couple of women who wear sizes as small as the ones models are expected to wear - and both are about 5'2," not over 5'9" like most models.
Due to the overwhelming positive response Glamour received from running this photo, they are planning in November to run nude photos of several plus sized models.
It's a start, but the real success will come when it doesn't take a "special issue" of a magazine to have women of all sizes and shapes in their pages. When that day comes hopefully it will allow girls to grow up loving themselves, just as they are.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You Can't Go Too Far In Scaring People About Texting And Driving

Okay, so this isn't the most cheery thing to watch, but please do. Studies show that texting while driving is actually more dangerous than driving drunk. If you know a teen driver sit them down and make them watch this.

This PSA was filmed in England. American television companies felt it was too graphic to show here. Two weeks ago a 19-year-old girl on Cape Cod, where I live was killed on our main highway, she crossed lanes, hit an elderly couple (who recovered) and died. How important was that message she just HAD to send at that moment? I doubt it was worth losing her life over. I don't think you can scare teens enough about texting and driving.

Let's make Don't Text And Drive as much a part of our culture as Don't Drink And Drive.

Friday, August 7, 2009

John Hughes: Writer, Director and Teen Whisperer

I wasn't a teen when John Hughes hit the big time, I was a twenty-something and a young mom. But I was young enough and also old enough to know he really got it. I was extremely sad to hear of his passing yesterday at only 59-years-old.

My first Hughes movie was "National Lampoon's Vacation," and from the opening credits with Lindsay Buckingham singing "Holiday Road" I was in love. The writing was so smart, so quick, and so unlike anything we'd been seeing at the movies. I was eight months pregnant with my second son. In August. A hard time to feel anything is funny, but I still remember walking around outside in downtown Chatham, MA on that summer night reciting favorite lines to my then-husband. Lines like, when talking about French kissing, cousin Vicki tells Audrey, "My daddy says I'm the best." Or, Clark flipping out about Wally World being closed: "We watch his program... We buy his toys, we go to his movies... he owes us. Doesn't he owe us, huh? F-----' A right he owes us!"

I read today online a quote from Steve Martin where he said he once asked the filmmaker how long it took him to write "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," the film Martin starred in with John Candy, to which Hughes humbly offered, "I wrote it over a weekend." To writers like me who took 3 years to write a novel, that is unbelievable. To say he was prolific in an understatement.

He will, however be forever known for his teen movies. "The Breakfast Club," "Sixteen Candles," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off and "Pretty in Pink" were spot on in how teens think, relate to their parents and each other.

I've had the pleasure of interviewing Anthony Michael Hall several times, and he counts the films he did with Hughes as something he's forever grateful for. Unlike some former teen stars, he is gracious when fans ask him about those films, he embraces the era, and knows he was part of something iconic.

In this era of practically everyone shouting "Look at me! Look at me!" via Twitter, Facebook and blogs (oops, well, I don't Twitter) Hughes was a very private and humble man. After an incredibly successful run, he kind of bowed out of the movie business to be in Chicago and spend time with his family. Married for 39 years to his high school sweetheart, he truly was one of the good guys.

As I said, I wasn't a teen coming of age in the 80s, but John Hughes was was nonetheless a part of my growing up, as a young adult. I was a stay-at home-mom when Michael Keaton was feeding a baby chili in "Mr.Mom," and I took my young children to see "Home Alone." Hughes' work touched all age groups.
I thank him for countless hours of entertainment, and even though I'm far from 16, for still keeping the hope alive that you never know when your own Jake Ryan might just drive up.

Friday, July 24, 2009

"The Ugly Truth" About Romantic Comedies

I have always loved romantic comedies. Modern movies like "Sleepless in Seattle," "When Harry Met Sally," "You've Got Mail, "Love Actually" and classics like "The Philadelphia Story" are amongst my favorites.

The thing about those movies, and the reason I like them is because the women are smart, accomplished and not desperate to catch a man.

Something has happened in the romcom world though in the last few years, something has made me question my affinity for the genre.

Too many of these movies portray women as whiny, desperate and as jittery as a bunch of poodles. The single women I know (myself included) are none of these things.

I was about sent over the edge by "He's Just Not That Into You." The women were cloying and panicked at trying to get a man. Ginnifer Goodwin made me want to hit my head repeatedly until she stopped being such a weeny. She was attractive, adorable even, but somehow she was under the misapprehension that something was wrong with her because she didn't have a boyfriend.

I've written a novel that's a romantic comedy and my hope that while a little klutzy, my protagonist is neither desperate nor incapable of living a great life on her own.

It's amazing to me after reading about 15 reviews today of "The Ugly Truth" (which I had actually been thinking of seeing, but probably won't now) that reviewer after reviewer talked about how misogynistic it was. And it was written by three women! Why is it so hard for even women to write good roles for women? I've come up with a few rules that I'd like Hollywood to take note of, and hey, if any of them want to take a look at my book, I'd be happy to oblige.

1. No more showing women sitting by a phone, pacing by a phone, doing yoga while staring at a phone waiting for a man to call. We have lives of our own.

2. No more having women desperately dissecting conversations, body language and lack of said calls ad naseum with their equally delusional friends. See above for why.

3. Just because a woman is successful in her job doesn't mean she's. a. frigid b. socially inept c. pathetically lonely. Maybe she LIKES her job and is happy.

4. "You complete me" is a stupid notion and women need to get over it already. Compliment me? Sure, but stop making movies where women are sadly roaming the aisles of supermarkets looking for someone to make a pot roast for because unless they do they're lives are incomplete.

5. Start making movies again about people who are interesting in their own way, all on their own. Sally Albright in "Harry and Sally" was a journalist with lots of friends, as was Annie in "You've Got Mail." And well, no one would ever accuse Katharine Hepburn of being a wimpy woman who'd do anything to snag a guy in... well, any movie.

I want to love romantic comedies again. But I also don't want to feel like my gender is being denigrated and reduced to a ridiculous stereotype. I love love. I just want it to come in a package that doesn't insult my gender or my intelligence.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Icky Things And The Single Girl

Most of the time I am pretty happy being single. As a writer I can work until the wee hours and no one complains. I can read in bed with copious amounts of moisturizer on my feet and no one blanches in disdain, obviously not appreciating the beauty of a smooth instep. Well, the exception might be that creepy foot fetishist, Tanner from "The Bachelorette" who would be way too into it. In general it's a pretty happy life, but there are times a guy could come in handy.

Yesterday I came home from doing errands and as I pulled into my driveway I saw a squirrel lying across my driveway. I pulled into the garage and cautiously walked out, wanting to make sure he wasn't just laying there in wait, having planned the perfectly orchestrated take down of a human wanting to throw a big squirrel rave in my house. When I observed it wasn't an obvious threat I got closer and bent over to get a closer look. There were no obvious wounds, no blood, but it appeared to be dead. This was tough for me because oddly enough, I love squirrels, I think they're awfully cute.

"I so wish I had a husband to take care of this," I muttered to myself as I went to get a shovel. When I tried to scoop up the the poor thing (with a snow shovel no less) I thought I saw her head move and jumped back, startled. As I crouched down close to her, I saw she was still breathing. (I assumed it was a female having run herself ragged for her children)

I ran in and called Wildcare, a group that rescues animals. The volunteer gave me instructions on how to get her to them, but I was scared. I pictured getting this critter in a box, then into my car, and as I drove along it leaping on to my head a la Clark Griswald. As I stood there talking to to Lila at Wildcare, I noticed that the squirrel's eyes had closed. Closer examination showed she'd stopped breathing. I told Lila, and we hung up.

I put an umbrella next to her sheltering from the sun, hoping she'd somehow revive. Within just minutes though I could tell her body had stiffened.

Trading the scoopy snow shovel for a garden one, I buried her in my yard.

As I put away the shovel I thought back to the years when I had a husband to do those things, and then, when I was no longer married, having sons who took care of the creepy crawly stuff. Now that I have to handle all things icky and non by myself, I see that whether it's a dead squirrel, a hinky toaster or a really scary thunderstorm in the middle of the night I really am okay.

It's nice to know I can bury a squirrel, check the oil in my car and put the screens in the windows come summer, but as old fashioned as it may sound, sometimes it might be kind of nice to not have to.

Friday, June 26, 2009

There Will Never Be Anyone Like Michael Jackson

I will never forget sitting in my living room watching Michael Jackson perform at the Apollo Theater for the 25th anniversary of Motown Records. I had never seen anything like it. Those moves were like nothing we'd ever seen. As he moonwalked across that stage I knew I had just seen history being made.

Even though I was a young mom at the time, I was still very into music and bought "Thriller" which I played constantly. I was awed by his talent.

It saddens me that for many young people that the impression they have is of "Wacko Jacko," trials for child molestation and his children shrouded in scarves. I hope that in time the bizarre behavior will fade in memory and that his talent as a song writer, singer, dancer and producer will be what we remember him for.

I don't think Michael Jackson ever had a chance to have a normal life. Thrust into the spotlight by an abusive father, he achieved a level of fame as a child that no one can ever fathom.

He truly did seem like the lonely man at the top. I heard someone say in the midst of this media blitz that the reason he befriended children was because they were the only people he knew didn't want anything from him. They didn't want to hang out with him because he was a star or would be looking for a check. But I wonder, what about their parents?

Yes, he was an odd man, but he was an amazingly talented one. No one will ever know if the horrific charges levied against him were valid, or perhaps just more of the leeching off of a vulnerable man.

It's particularly sad that he died now, just as he was poised to rebound from the trauma of the last few years. We will never know what he would have shown us next, and how he might have, once again changed the landscape of music.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Breaking Up Is Sometimes Pretty Easy To Do

After years of having George Clooney as my make-believe boyfriend, I decided to break up with him. He of course knows nothing about this, hell, he doesn't even know me, so he's taking it very well.

I've been reading about George's newest alleged girlfriend (I say this because we all know you can't believe everything you read) - a 23-year-old cocktail waitress from Miami.

Two things struck me about this news. One, my daughter is 23-years-old and do I really want to be crushing on a man who is close to MY age but dates women (well, girls kind of) who are my daughter's age? Um, no.

The second thing that struck me is that while I admire George's work - both on the professional and humanitarian fronts, it appears from the outside (I do not pretend to know the man so I'm only going by what I've read)that there's a chasm between the personal and professional that I find unappealing.

We all know George could date anyone he wants. And he should date whomever he wants. I just find it interesting that he's rarely if ever linked with women close to his age, or even close to as accomplished professionally.

I'm reminded of a line from the Diane Keaton/Jack Nicholson movie, "Something's Gotta Give." Nicholson plays a man in his 60s who's never dated a woman over 30. When Keaton asks him why he says, "I like to travel light."

Women of a "Certain age," (over 40 perhaps?) have more baggage. We have homes, careers, children maybe and our own strong wills. We can't necessarily drop everything for a summer in Italy or a stint in NYC while a certain movie star makes a movie. Younger women are more malleable and flexible - in oh so many ways.

I like to think though, that those of us who have been around for more than two decades have a lot to offer. We're smart, sassy, funny and confident. I'm not looking to hook up with someone to make my career, to get me connections so I can get my picture in a magazine or walk a red carpet. I just want a partner who's hard-working, passionate, ambitious, funny, caring and smart. Is that really too much to ask for? Don't answer that.

I'm heartbroken that Craig Ferguson recently got married, because he would have been my next choice. Even in my make-believe relationships I have ethics and will not pick a married man as my make-believe boyfriend because within the make-believe there HAS to be a hint of possibility, and in real life I would never date a married man. So I'm taking my time, looking around and thinking about it.

I'm thinking George is really missing out, not with me, (oh all right, I do think I'm sort of a catch:) but by not looking to women who can stand toe to toe and give him a hard time, question him and challenge him. But, that doesn't appear to be what he wants in a woman. So it's time for me to move on and find another make-believe boyfriend, well at least until the real thing comes along.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Why Does Dating Make Us Stupid?

All right, maybe I should qualify that headline and say dating makes ME stupid.

In the Huffington Post today there was a great column by Dr. Alex Benzer about how important it is to toss toxic mates. Sounds like common sense, right? Then why do women and men (including me) often keep trying to make it work even when we know it's NOT working?

We can get all Freudian if you want, but I'm starting to think the why isn't as important as just saying no to relationships that don't feel good.

I have never been in an abusive relationship - I've never been hit, verbally abused or humiliated. That's a whole different thing than I'm talking about. Anyone who is in that type of relationship needs professional support in help getting out of it. I'm talking relationships where you don't feel adored, appreciated and are constantly questioning what's going on. I've been there and it's no fun. I'm not proud to say that I've turned myself inside out trying to make relationships work - much to my daughter's eye rolling chagrin - and I've made a vow to NEVER do that again. As Dr. Benzer says in his column, everyone has issues but it's not your job to try to fix them (that's me - Miss Fix-it!) what is your job is to look out for yourself.

My friend Laura's mom always used to say, "Better to be alone than wish you were alone." Thank you, Adie! We all deserve to be loved for who we are, just as we are, and should not be second guessing what someone else is thinking or feeling.

In the now-classic, "he's just not that into you" episode of "Sex and the City," Miranda is sitting on some steps eating her lunch listening to two women who are strangers talk about why a guy hasn't called, "He's working hard," "He's stressed out," etc etc etc. No. We're not doing that anymore. If it's not working for you, if you're spending time analyzing what he's thinking, what he's doing and excusing his behavior, and if you're talking to your girlfriends ALL THE FREAKING TIME about him/her, it's not good!

I think it's time to stop being stupid, to stop trying so damn hard to make it work when it's not working and just move on (of course I'm talking dating here, not marriage - so don't inundate me with comments saying I'm condoning divorce!).

Stop compromising yourself and start realizing what you're worth and expect the best. If you settle for anything less, well, you're just settling.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why Are Women Always Cast As The Mean Mommy?

Just a little while ago I was cleaning up my kitchen while watching the news, and this damn Yoplait yogurt commercial came on.

In the commercial a husband is on the phone talking to a friend about how he's been eating Boston cream pie, Key lime pie and all sorts of treats and losing weight. While he's talking the wife is looking in the fridge and sees her yogurt is missing. She gives him THE LOOK and he sheepishly gets off the phone.

There are others as well, and the woman is of course - a mean mom.

Why oh why do we always have this stereotype of the mean mommy and the doofus man/child? Women are so often portrayed as punishing bitches and men are cast as stupid in need of a grownup to make them tow the line. Left to their own devices they will blow up the house, feed the children a steady diet of cheese curls and Yoo-hoo and never bathe.

I don't know about other women, but I don't see myself as the person who keeps a partner in line and acting like a responsible adult. That's his job. Any guy who needs me to be a mommie, mean or otherwise should be looking elsewhere for companionship.

In the "Sex and the City" movie, Miranda, while looking for a Halloween costume says to Carrie, "There are only two choices for costumes for women, sexy kitten or witch." To which Carrie replies, "You said a mouthful sister."

Do we really only have two archetypes - sexy vixen or bitch? Hmm, I don't really think so. I know lots of women and most are neither. I just want to know where our yogurt commercial is.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Britain's Got Talent Winners Are Awesome!

Tonight in England supposed front runner, singer Susan Boyle ended up in second place behind these young men from Essex, England. They are a group of street dancers who call themselves "Diversity" and they are incredible.

Diversity's choreography is just outstanding and as much as I have been rooting for Susan Boyle, her continued success is all but guaranteed, she will have a career as a singer now. For these young guys however, this win is enormous exposure and validation.

The leader seems to a young physics student, Ashley Banjo, a guy who said he started at 14 copying dance routines and then started making up his own.

I love stories like this because just when I give into cynicism, something like this comes along and reminds me of the unabashed joy and unexpected in life. I just love it when that happens.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Is Playing Princess As a Little Girl Really Bad?

It seems about every two months or so a story comes out linking issues with girls (from body image to low self-esteem and more) to the big bad Disney corporation and their princesses.

Perhaps it's because I'm not 25 anymore, and my children are all young adults that my perspective may be a bit different than some. If I were to have children now I think I would obsess a whole lots less - everything from thumb sucking to security blankets and diapers resolve themselves in due course.

So when it comes to girls loving everything princess and mothers fearing their daughters subjugation all I can say is: lighten up!

My daughter liked to watch "Cinderella" every single day from about ages 3-5. Then it was "Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "Mulan," "Pocahontas" and any other Disney movie you can think of. She also grew up to be one of the brightest, most independent, sassy (in a good way) young women you'd ever want to meet. She never expects a man to rescue her, and travels the world by herself. Somehow I do not think loving Belle, Ariel and their ilk damaged her in any way shape or form. When she graduated from one of the best colleges in the country she had a Hello Kitty pin on her gown and had bedazzled the hem.

You CAN be a girly girl and be smart and accomplished, to teach girls otherwise is just plain wrong. My advice to all these over-zealous parents is the realization that you have a hell of a lot more influence than Belle or Aurora. Kids watch and listen to you every single day. Parent your kids and they will realize what's real and what's not. In the meantime, let them enjoy the fantasy.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Why Are So Many Women So Mad At Elizabeth Edwards?

As the recent "Oprah" episode with Elizabeth Edwards who was promoting her new book, "Resilience"was still on the air I noticed Facebook was abuzz with people kibitzing back and forth about her.

Some people were criticizing her for staying with her husband after he admitted cheating on her, some felt she was putting her kids first, and some were downright mean.

I have certain things I'm really kind of obsessed with, and I have a friend, Laurie, who I love to talk about these kinds of things with. She's a writer as well and we get all fired up.

In some ways the things I get fired up about have a connecting thread - how women treat and judge one another. Whether it's how we mother, how we look, if we work or don't work while raising kids, how those kids turn out and what kind of relationships we have with the men in our lives are all open season for opinions.

During her "Oprah" interview Elizabeth Edwards said something I have thought many times about infidelity in marriage and the women married men cheat with. Oprah asked her if she blamed the other woman rather than her husband and she said, to paraphrase: She does blame her husband, but she also hold the other woman accountable as well. She said she believed that women should have enough respect for each other to not go there. If you see a man with a family and think you would like that, you don't knock on the door and say, "you're out, I'm in." You go and create your own life with your own man. I wholeheartedly agree.

I am a woman's woman. I love my women friends. Some women make me cringe for the way they represent our gender, but in general I really like women. As a single woman I would never insinuate myself into anyone else's relationship, I just would not go there. Sadly, not all women have that same belief.

Elizabeth Edwards has made the choice she feels is best for her and her children. It's not our place to tell her what she should or shouldn't do. We cannot know her feelings as a person with a terminal illness, who has lost a child when he was 16, possibly she feels she's been through enough and wants to peacefully live the life she has left.

My wish would be that as women we could learn to be each others' greatest cheerleaders, not detractors. I'm well aware of my own shortcomings and lapses into silent, and okay, sometimes not-so-silent judgement, but I'm trying to do better.

It's hard enough to be a mom, a partner, a career person and all the other roles we play without a chorus of other women just waiting for us to screw up so we can feel better about ourselves. Truly feeling good about yourself does not come at someone else's expense, it comes from knowing we're all just doing the best we can, which is all any of us can ask of ourselves.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Could You Give Up Social Networking For A Week?

This morning I read about a challenge - a challenge to not use any social networking sites for one week.

Think you can do it? This means no Facebook, no Twitter, no myspace.

If you're up to the challenge go here to sign up.

I'll be honest, almost all my work life is on the Web. But, I do not Twitter - truly my life is not that interesting. I've thought about it and wondered about doing trying it, but seriously, I sit in front of a computer for probably 10-12 hours a day. I go to the gym, I clean the cats' litter box and eat standing up in my kitchen. A thrilling life it is not. It occasionally gets spiced up with some movies, music and friends, but basically there's nothing going on that anyone would ever want to read about.

Also, for all my multi-tasking - I blog, I am a columnist, I write feature stories and am working on my second book, I don't feel the need to share minute by minute breakdowns of my day with anyone. Even my children don't want to know what I'm doing all day long. I can see the Tweets now:

"Still sitting at the computer"

"Made some tea. It tastes really good."

"Oh my God, there's a spider on my desk!"

"Something in my fridge smells bad, but I'm hungry so I'm ignoring it."

Yeah, not exactly front page news.

If you think you may be a bit addicted to social networking you might want to try to take a week off. Chances are after a day or two you might find you have a lot of time to do other things on your hands.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day 2009: Love Your Planet

I write a monthly column in the Cape Cod Times called, "Be Green" offering readers ways they can do more to live a green life. Last night I spoke at an Earth Day event here on the Cape and complied the list below as a handout. Thought I'd share!

Remember EVERY day should be Earth Day, not just once a year.

Ten Things You Can Do Today To Be More Green:

1. Unplug your cell phone chargers and other small appliances when not in use. Ten percent of our energy is wasted on items that are plugged in and not in use.
2. It may not be realistic to give up all paper napkins or paper towels, but think before you grab an armful for one spill, or a half dozen napkins for a bowl of soup.
3. Switch from petroleum based paraffin candles to soy and beeswax ones. Cheaper candles also often have lead in the wicks, so you're breathing in that along the oil-based wax fumes. As a bonus, beeswax candles last longer too!
4. Summer is coming, and instead of slathering yourself with chemical-laden sunscreens, (some of which contain oxybenzone - a chemical that has been shown to cause hormone disruption, low birth weight in children and allergies). Health food stores are chock full of natural choices. Use those. Brands like Kiss My Face and Badger Balm are considered safe for the whole family.
5. This is simple and you are hopefully doing it already - recycle. Don't throw away anything that you can recycle. Paper, magazines, old phone books. cans, plastics, cardboard and glass. Get some bins and just do it.
6. If you take your lunch to work or school pack it in reusable containers.
7. By now you should know to not be buying bottled water. Buy a bottle and fill it. If the water in your area isn't great buy a Brita pitcher or a filter for your tap.
8. No matter what kind of shopping you're doing bring a reusable bag with you. Not just to the grocery store but every kind of store.
9. Buy locally grown food as much as possible. The less your food travels, the less the impact on the environment. The good news is local is often healthier as well.
10. Switch to online bill paying. If everyone did this it would save lots and lots of paper, and fuel driving those bills around. To see the impact the switch would make check out this Web site.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Susan Boyle: Perfect Just As She Is

Like many people, over the last couple of days I've been hearing a lot about a lovely Scottish woman, Susan Boyle with an amazing voice. This sweet, unassuming woman sang a song from "Le Miserables," so beautifully it even softened the often-grouchy Simon Cowell and caused the audience to rise from their seats yelling and clapping.

But, it's started already - the desire to make her over. A writer whom I love, Ann Leary, wrote about how women are often critiqued for their looks on her blog yesterday, and it caused me to follow through on something I'd been wanting to write about.

I saw Simon Cowell and the rest of that British audience rolling their eyes at Susan Boyle. See, she's not pretty in the conventional sense. I confess I had those thoughts as I watched her, wanting to "pretty her up." You know, wax the brows, fix the hair, convince her dark hose with white shoes isn't a great look. But then I thought about it and asked the question: Says who???

We are all awfully opinionated about how we should all look. Hey, I buy into it. MY hair is highlighted. I pluck, pumice and preen with the best of them, and I like it. One of my best friends, who is one of the most incredible people I know, isn't at all into that stuff. She'd rather chainsaw down a tree, play her fiddle or teach a child how to do math than fuss with her hair. She does however, paint her toenails. When I've pointed out the incongruity of this girly pursuit, she just shrugs her shoulders and says she like having her toes painted. God how I love her.

I was watching "Access Hollywood" or "Extra" last night - they're pretty interchangeable - and they had a makeup and hair person do a virtual makeover on Miss Doyle and showed her all prettied up. And it made me sad. What is wrong with the way she looks now?

If Susan Doyle wants to change her look she should, but my hope would be that if she doesn't that it wouldn't change her trajectory for success. But I know that won't be true. I can see it now - some stylist will get their bony hands on her and style her to be something different, something they feel is better - something the masses will think is an acceptable amount of pretty.

Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder. I know the lens through which I look at others refocuses when I see beyond what I might initially see. I remember when my son Ben was in high school and had dreadlocks. I would see the looks he got, especially from older people who judged him without having a clue as to who he was. What they didn't see, beyond the hair, was the captain of the football team, the honor roll student, the REALLY nice kid who would hold a door or carry groceries for them.

Not everyone wants to be waxed, Botoxed and trussed like a turkey. Susan Boyle is sassy, brave, funny and incredibly gifted. So back off you crones with the scissors and makeup brushes, let the woman be who she is, I think she has a lot to teach us about what beautiful truly is.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Being Single: Blessing, Curse? Or Maybe A Bit Of Both?

Last night, before I shut down my computer, I came across this blog post about being single written by Lea Lane on the Huffington Post.

Ms. Lane gave some compelling reasons for being single that seemed pretty wonderful.

While I was lying awake at about 4 o'clock this morning, I started writing my own pro/con list on singledom in my head. We'll see how many of the things that seemed so brilliant in the middle of the night I remember.

1.When I wake up in the middle of the night I can read, watch a movie or write with no worries about disturbing someone else.
2. There's a freedom to not having to check in with someone else when making plans.
3. Instead of looking for someone else to fix something - whether it's a toaster or a bigger problem, I don't look to someone else to fix it for me. When it's up to you a resourcefulness kicks in forcing you to dig deep. With that I've learned I can do a lot of things I never thought possible.
4. Being on my own has allowed me to spend the time I've needed on my writing. I've written a novel, created this blog, and created a career as a journalist. It's probably not always a good thing, but no one, especially now that my kids are on their own, is pulling me to stop working.
5. At some point most everyone will be alone. Having the skills to do it and be okay is reassuring and confidence building. I will only be with someone if it feels right, I won't do it out of fear of being alone. A friend's mom once told me, "Better to be alone than wish you were alone." There's nothing more lonely that being in a relationship that isn't working. At least when you're single there's always hope something new will come along.

Okay, here on the cons:
1. It can be lonely sometimes to not have one special person to whom you really matter and vice versa.
2. Sometimes two more hands would come in really handy when you're trying to get a lot done. A partner to share to day to day have-tos with, someone to spur you on when you really don't want to clean the garage.
3. There's an intimacy that is missing when you're single. Not sexually necessarily, though that can be an issue for sure, but emotional intimacy that only comes from truly being in it for the long haul with another person.
4. A partner can give you another perspective, another point of view that opens you up to new thoughts and experiences.
5. I believe most of us want someone to be a witness to our lives. Someone who will notice the way we live our life, who we are, and support our dreams. I've got a lot of great friends who are there for me, but you know, it's really just not the same.

As I tossed and turned from 4 until 5, I didn't come up with any definitive answers. Bottom line, I think we're a coupling species and will always be searching for a mate. I just want to make sure I choose the right one so that what I'm giving up is more than made up for by what I'm gaining.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Why Is Everyone So Mad At "The Bachelor"?

By now we've all seen or heard about "the most dramatic (after rose) ceremony EVER on this season's, "The Bachelor."

The reason everyone seems to hate bachelor contestant Jason Mesnick is because he asked one finalist, Melissa, to marry him, weeks later changed his mind, and asked the girl he let go, Molly for another chance.

It wasn't easy to watch him break young Melissa's heart, but as I watched it I actually had to give him credit for not stringing along someone he didn't feel was a fit. Remember all those dates, the home town visits all happen in about six weeks. Not enough time really to know how the hell you feel about someone.

The other important factor to remember is that these are people who signed up to find love on what is basically a game show. Yes these are real people with real feelings, but they signed up WILLINGLY for this. No arm twisting involved.

I'm going to anger some people (especially women) here, but I truly believe that Jason had to be true to himself, and that all involved are grown-ups. To me it's sad that there's still this expectation that it's a man's job to make this fairy tale come true, and a guy should "man up" already and just marry the girl. The disparaging remarks about Jason being a guy who cries shows how far we haven't come in allowing men to be real people - not knights, not walking wallets just real people. People who should be allowed to show emotions and change their minds. I don't recall "Bachelorette" Deanna catching so much heat when she broke up with her choosen one, Jesse.

Maybe it's being the sister of a brother and mother of two sons that gives me a different perspective about guys. Don't get me wrong - I'm a girl's girl, but I get tired of the double standard: We want respect, independence, financial equality BUT we expect men to appear to not have their own needs, feelings and expectations. AND make a boat load of money to buy us stuff.

In all honesty I had more questions - as a woman - as to why Molly didn't think enough of herself to take a breath and tell Jason they could talk and see where things went. Instead she was like a giddy teen nuzzling and kissing him, so grateful he came back to her. He picked me! I actually expected her to yelp.

I think we need to stop thinking of Melissa as a helpless victim. If women want to be treated as equals we need to not expect that men are supposed to put a ring on it and rescue us. And we have to learn to not feel the need to compete on national TV against 25 other women in hopes that a man will deign to choose us. If you want control in your life you don't choose to go on a show like "The Bachelor" to find a guy. You live your own life and do your own choosing, and realize no one else can complete you or make you happy. That's your job. Finding a great guy is just icing on the cake you already baked for yourself.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sadly, Rihanna Is Acting Like Many Abused Women

When I read yesterday that Rihanna had gotten back together with her boyfriend, Chris Brown, who allegedly hit her I felt sick, and very sad.

Now of course I don't know these two, probably never will, but nonetheless I felt terrible.

What made me sad was all the young women AND men, who look up to these two thinking that beating someone you supposedly love is something you can just move on from, and that this choice was somehow legitimizing abuse.

Hitting a partner is not okay, never is, never will be. End of discussion.

What's equally disturbing is the number of comments on blogs from people saying she "deserved" it. What year is this?!

Just when I think women are finally getting somewhere in our world something like this comes along to remind me, um, yeah, not so much. Sadly, women who are abused all too often forgive the perpetrator, somehow locked in this messed up cycle of abuse, repentance, declarations of it never happening again, and then rinse and repeat.

At only 21, beautiful and successful, you would think that Rihanna does not fit the profile of a woman who would allow herself to be treated this way. But the thing is, self-esteem is complex - and what we see from the outside may not be at all what she feels. But just imagine how trapped a woman without the means she has may feel.

I just hope that every parent of every young girl who has danced around her bedroom to "Umbrella" or seen her adorable Cover Girl ads, will tell their daughter that it's not okay for a boy/man to hit them, and if it happens once, chances are it will happen again. Actions do indeed speak louder than words. People tell you things you want to hear, but they show you who they are every single day.

As I said, I don't know these two, and I wish them well. I just hate to see any girl anywhere think that just because Rihanna's boyfriend may have hit her and she forgave him that it's okay. It's not.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

You Gotta Listen To Leon Jean Marie -And Not Just In That Tostitos Commercial

A couple of weeks ago I became obsessed with a song that I kept hearing in this animated Tostitos chips commercial. I did some digging and found out the song was "East End Blues" by a British musician named Leon Jean Marie.

I love, love, love music - though I have to say I have people in my life (two in particular) who have no problem pointing out what I don't know, but I still keep plugging along. I love it, as is the case with Leon Jean Marie, when I find an artist even they haven't heard of.

While I loved "East End Blues" enough to search it out, once I found that song though I fell in love with this song, "Trusted You." On all these videos the embedding has been disabled, so take the time to follow the links, you won't be disappointed, I promise!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

All You "Single Ladies" Stop Worrying About Putting a Ring On It Already!

All right, so it's Valentine's Day. Again. The day that reduces otherwise competent, self-assured people into thinking there's somehow something wrong with them if there's no one giving them a heart shaped box of mediocre, not very tasty chocolates. Life is about a lot more than being one half of a couple, and all the Valentine swag can cloud that thinking. Seriously, I'm telling you - if you're single it's not an anomaly that's needs fixing, it's all right. You're all right.

I was talking to a young couple today about horrible reality TV - like "Rock of Love Bus," "Tool Academy" and "For The Love of Ray J." Long after the conversation ended I kept thinking about the women on those shows and what a huge step backwards women seem to have taken. Is it because they don't believe they're okay on their own? I don't know. I watch these women parading around in skimpy clothes thinking "Choose me! Choose me!" and it turns my stomach. What the hell happened to us?!

I came of age when "Roe V Wade" was fresh and new. I read "Ms" magazine as a young teen and believed women could do and be anything they wanted to be. Of course my choices weren't all that revolutionary - wife, mother, only to become a divorcee and single. I watch my daughter making much more adventurous choices than I did and I am thrilled. She's in no hurry to get anyone to put a ring on it, and that makes me very happy. Be complete yourself I believe, because it takes two whole people to make a complete couple.

So if you're not getting taken out for dinner by a guy, or some woman isn't bringing you homemade brownies in a trench coat with nothing underneath, (I think I've been watching too many movies) don't despair. It really is better to be alone than wish you were alone. It doesn't mean any of us who are single always will be, but I think it's much better to feel good about where you are rather than settle for something that just isn't quite right.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Why Do Women Have Such A Hard Time Realizing "He's Just Not That Into You"?

I might as well confess. I am a romcom whore. I love "Bridget Jones's Diary," "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," "27 Dresses"... yes, I admit it. I love romantic comedy. But I can also throw down with the best of them and gobble up Tarantino movies and love indie movies as well. But I have no shame in admitting my love for movies that are like a frothy pink cupcake with sprinkles on top. This probably explains iPod choices that range from Britney Spears to Q-Tip.

So I went to see "HJNTITY" this weekend and enjoyed it more than film aficionados would want me to, but I don't care. It got me thinking though, that no matter how well we know the truth about relationships - we don't seem able to believe it.

When the book came out the publisher sent me a copy, and so did my father. Yes, Freud would have a heyday with the father who left me as a little girl giving me a book titled, "He's Just Not That Into You." Truly, you can't make up this stuff.

So I read the book. I wrote about the book. I made fun of the obviousness of the advice: "If he's not calling, he's just..." How silly! How could any woman not know that?! Well it turns out, when we like someone we start to rationalize. And we're really good at it, and so are our friends. You will hear all sorts of excuses:
"He's probably intimidated by you because you're so awesome!"
"Maybe he's just really busy at work, you know how stressful his job is."
"He could be sick - maybe I should call and see if he's okay?"
And the classic: "I know he's into me, he's just scared."
Yes, and maybe a huge bookcase fell on him crushing him AND his phone.

I'll admit it, I've done it. And if you're being honest you have too. Somehow the thought that "He's just not into you," is totally liberating yet somehow just a little bit heartbreaking. We all want people to adore us, and can't understand it when they don't. Somehow I think all those rationalizations make the pain of rejection just a little bit easier to take. After all, everyone wants someone who's totally into them. But wait, what if he's really into you and you're not into him? Because for whatever reason that seems to happen a LOT.

I think it's amazing anyone ever gets together.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Is Nadya Suleman Trying To Be Angelina Jolie?

Am I the only one who thinks the fact that octuplet mother Nadya Suleman wears her hair just like Angelina, has full lips that resemble Jolie's ( which btw look inflated with some type of filler) is more than just a little creepy? This woman clearly seems to be unbalanced, and the doctor who supported this medical travesty should be held accountable for enabling this behavior. It really seems that she is trying to mirror Jolie's large family and has fashioned herself after her in appearance and demeanor. Even her comments about leading an "unconventional" life are practically verbatim what Jolie has said. The difference is Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are multi-millionaires who can hire help and provide well for their children, Suleman clearly cannot.

This is a woman who lives in a two bedroom house with her mother, is unemployed and single. For her to say the only reason people are shocked is because she's single in insane. People are shocked because she seems pretty wacky. Her own mother has doubted her sanity.

In the interview above she talks about how when she's done with school she will be able to support them. She's training to become a therapist, (watch out folks, you may want to seek help from someone who seems a bit more together) but even with a Master's degree she can't hope to make enough money to support 15 people.

No one should be having children to fill an empty life. She has talked about how she had a dysfunctional childhood and wanted to create this family to make up for that. She has suffered from a debilitating injury for which she received money (money she used for the IVF) and suffered from depression for years she has said. I'm not saying someone who has been depressed shouldn't be a parent - I'm just saying they might not be the safest bet for trying to raise 14 children on their own.

You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube on this one. These children are here and they are going to need a village to help raise them. It just seems a shame that no one seemed to notice that this appears to be one troubled woman and got her some help before 14 innocent children had to be dealt this hand.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

If You Like "The City" You'll Love "The District"

The fact that I watch "The City" is not something I'm particularly proud of. But, yes I do. I follow the exploits of Whitney, Jay and her frenenmy, Olivia, and even think about trying to get Allie to eat something so she doesn't fall over in a stiff wind. For the uninitiated, "The City" is a scripted faux reality show that follows the travails of a bunch of 20somethings who seem to sort of work, but not really, but have lovely apartments and gorgeous clothes. I would love to pretend to work at Diane Von Fursternberg, buy Manolo Blahniks and have brand new furniture delivered to my brand new apartment. But alas I live in the real world, oh wait, that's another fake reality show. Where does reality begin and end? I think here which is a very scary thought.

The folks at Newsweek have done a stellar job in copying the format in this first installment of "The District." I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Christian Bale Makes a F@#$%^* Ass of Himself

WARNING: The above video is not safe for work or appropriate for children. Nor is the link about David O'Russell. I don't want you getting fired!

I'll be honest. I have a really low threshold for people behaving badly. I think people should always treat others with respect, and acting out - unless life and limb of yourself, a loved one or especially a child is involved, you don't go off on people.

When I heard this audio tape of Christian Bale abusing the director of photography on the set of a movie I felt really uncomfortable and disappointed. I don't have any particular feelings about Mr. Bale one way or another, but it's just disquieting to hear one human being talking this way to another one.

I had two immediate thoughts: First, how does one person think they have the right to speak to anyone like that? And second I thought, wow, if he speaks to people like this in anger in an open area, what is he like to his girlfriend or wife in private? Does he get angry at her like this? It's hard to imagine in all other walks of like he's an angel after hearing how this expletive-laced tirade flowed from his tongue.

There was a great story a couple of years ago about George Clooney clocking director David O'Russell on the set of "Three Kings" for the way he repeatedly treated staff on the set of the film. Clooney told him he didn't have the right to talk to anyone like that. Ever. And then he punched him. Now I'm not one to promote violence, but I think O'Russell had it coming. O'Russell later went on to show this temper once again, this time in the set of "I Heart Huckabees" where we went off of Lily Tomlin. Seems to be a pattern perhaps?

I've often wondered if for me this goes back to never getting yelled at as a child. My mom was not a yeller. She got quiet, which honestly, was just as scary. It's been rare that I've yelled as a parent (and the child I yelled at knows I'm sorry about those times :) I just don't think it's an effective way to communicate and I don't believe anyone has the right to belittle another person.

This is one of those topics that is so close to my heart it's hard to find the right words to express how I feel. Not particularly helpful for a writer. People belittling and screaming at others just strikes at something visceral in me. It actually makes me feel sick. I've only been on the receiving end of such things a couple of times and it was really hard to take. Being half of "The Bickerson's" would give me an ulcer.

When I went to see "Revolutionary Road" a few days ago I was struck at how cruel these two people could be to one another. I often think about how mean people can be to the one person they are supposed to love above all else. We know the soft spots, we know right where to hit where it will hurt the most and it's awful. I feel very blessed that when I was married it was not like that, divorce does not bring out the best in people, but at least I know we did not torment each other with digs and jabs for years. That would slowly kill me, I know that.

I often feel like a Pollyanna when I am so dumbstruck by these things. I have this inner belief that people should always try to be respectful to each other. You don't have to agree, and anger is normal, but abuse is not. There's a line that should never be crossed, and if I hear one more actor say, "Well, things can get heated on the set..." in defense of Bale I will scream. Seriously, Christian? You're an ACTOR. You're not creating world peace, curing global warming or disease. I'm not saying what you do doesn't take talent and hard work, I'm just saying a little perspective could go a long way. Get over yourself, buddy, issue some apologies, and maybe get yourself some help in dealing with that temper.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Can Men and Women Just Be Friends? I Really Want To Think So

One of the things I love most in my life is the bright, passionate and very verbal friends I have. We get into debates about topics, sometimes pretty passionately, but it's always all good, and we all learn a lot.

Recently a friend and I got into it over whether or not women and men can just be friends, and if one or both of them are in a relationship with someone else, is it okay?

Coincidentally, I came across an article on today about this very topic.

Now at full disclosure I have to say that my friend is married and I am not. I have male friends and female friends, and when she said she didn't think it worked to be in a relationship and have friends of the opposite sex I was stunned. I've been on my own for several years now, and if I thought getting married again meant giving up my guy friends, or the freedom to hang out with a guy, I'm not sure I'd do it.

When I got married, at 20, things were different. I was different. Now, a long marriage, three kids and a divorce later I'm not the same woman. I have on my own, built a life and a career, both including all sorts of different people - male and female.

Despite having some unhappy endings to relationships, I remain trusting and hopeful about who people are. I like to think if someone loves me, but has a terrific female friend who is just that, nothing more, that I would be not only accepting of that, but welcoming of having a partner who is open enough to really like women as people, not just romantic partners.

I think of my professional friends, some who happen to be male, whom I'm very fond of, and I would never want a partner of mine telling me I couldn't meet them for coffee or lunch. I like to believe that we are more than just a cascade of hormones waiting to be set loose, and that we can be our higher selves and keep it in our pants.

When the movie, "When Harry Met Sally" came out the message was no, women and men can't just be friends - that sex always gets in the way. Of course we all know that Sally and Harry did end up together, but we all knew they loved each other all along.

If being in a relationship means a man gets to tell me who to hang out with and who not to, I think it means staying single for me. But I don't think that will happen because times have changed. I look at my kids and they all have friends of both sexes and everyone is cool with it. I believe gone are the days where everyone has to feel threatened and jealous. I want to believe it, and I think it's worth working towards, even if the waters get a little choppy now and then.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Slumdog Millionaire" Has Me Dancing

This video cuts off a little abruptly, but I dare you to not watch this and smile.

With only a couple of days to go until Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States, I feel like Bollywood dancing all over the place. So, I want you to put this song on, when you're all alone, and just let go and dance! I won't tell anyone. I promise. You try to copy all the great Bollywood dance moves from the video or just let use and do your own thing. The most important thing to do is DANCE. And smile.

I should have blogged about this incredible movie weeks ago when I saw it, but I didn't, so here I am late to the "Slumdog Millionaire" love fest. I will warn those, who like me did not know that while there is much that is uplifting, a lot of the violence and poverty in the film is tough to watch. So be forewarned. But go see it.

Now stop reading, go back and click on the video again, and dance. Then hop over to iTunes and buy the song, "Jai Ho" from the soundtrack so you'll have it wherever you go. You never know when the need to dance might strike.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Okay, So Sometimes "The View" Actually Delivers, And I REALLY Can't Stand Ann Coulter

Whenever I see Ann Coulter on my television I have two reactions: nausea and the immediate urge to change the channel. Occasionally I manage to make it through an interview, but not without feeling I want to throw something at my TV.

Coulter is on the PR trail once again with a new book, "Guilty: 'Liberal Victims And Their Assault on America," yet another inflammatory diatribe about evil liberals.

In her last book she railed against the 9/11 widows who fought for more information about how their husbands died, daring to accuse them of enjoying their roles as widows.

In this new book, equally inflammatory, her new target is single mothers. This unmarried, childless woman seems to be saying that all of societal woes are due to the rise of single mothers in our country. She offers no solutions mind you, she just points fingers at liberals and accuses those of us who are single are (though apparently those of us who became single mothers due to divorce or widowhood catch a little bit of a break) raising children who will soon be filling courtrooms and jails.

Being a single mother and having been raised by one, I want to not-so-eloquently say - screw you, Ann Coulter. You have no idea what you're talking about. Their are plenty of incredible people who had single mothers who have done quite well in life, people like well, out next president.

The fact that mainstream media gives her the time of day, and yes, I'm aware I am giving her attention as well, is just plain sad. Outside of Fox News I can't imagine why any news person would opt to have her on. She's rude, (I couldn't believe how impolite she was to Barbara Walters) doesn't listen and is just the worst example of how cruel and insensitive people can be.

So, I promise to never write about her again on this blog. I don't want to contribute to her success in any form or fashion. As a believer in karma I think she will have some lessons come her way, and maybe, just maybe she will wake up and see the error in her ways. Hey, miracles do occasionally happen. Even to conservatives.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Oprah Is Changing My Life! Well, Sort of.

All right. So it's maybe time to come clean. I am a certifiably straight woman (I could give you a couple of numbers) but I'm sort of a little in love with Oprah. And well, Tina Fey too, but that's it for my female love.

Many years ago when I was going through a painful divorce (is there any other kind?) I would come home every day from my job at a charter school and jump on my treadmill and watch Oprah. My bedroom began to resemble a self-help library as I bought book after book she recommended. I swear Oprah was responsible for all my personal growth. I lost weight, I took responsibility for my life and I at least tried to balance my chi - I never got too far with that one. I'm still a bit unbalanced.

Now, thanks to her own weight gain, Oprah is reassembling a team of experts to help us all lead our Best Lives once again. Doctors, spiritual leaders, fitness specialists have been summoned, and even Suze Ormon is there to help us all get our money straight. For that one I think I might actually have to HAVE some money, and for that to happen I'd need to change careers. So, here I am on day two and doing swimmingly if I do say so myself!

Yesterday I realized that Oprah and I have much more in common than I ever thought possible. We've both burned ourselves out over the last couple of years. Of course my stresses have not involved amassing a huge fortune, opening an academy for girls in South Africa, or acquiring a television network. I've just been trying to keep kids alive, pay a mortgage and publish a book, but still, it's hard!

Something did occur to me though as I decided to pull myself out of this funk I've been in - we really do have a choice. It was actually an e-mail from a friend that started me down this path. He always used to call me "Suzy Sunshine" and when he addressed me as Suzy in the e-mail it struck a chord. I couldn't even remember what it felt like to be that perky, sunny woman. Losing both my parents, my only remaining aunt, and having a child in crisis all within less than a year took a toll on my perky-factor. But now, as we begin a new year it occurs to me, thanks to Oprah and my Suzy-reminding friend, that I have a choice in how I feel.

So for two days in a row I've been salad-ing, working out and all in all trying to re-perk myself. I don't want to be a bitter, despondent woman who is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Unless somehow I could squeeze a best seller out of that role. But then again, who'd want to read that? Maybe the best book would be the one with the happiest of endings, the one about how you can go through hell, come out on the other side, and even have a firmer butt in thirty days. I bet lots of folks would want to buy that one.