2009-11-24

Bunnies don't wear glasses

My daughter was just eating carrots. Without being asked or prompted or begged or bribed. Her sixth birthday was last week and it's as if some switch was flipped; she's proud of being a Big Kid, and she voluntarily seeks out situations where she can demonstrate her new Big Kidness.

She knew I'd be thrilled and so she skipped over so I could watch watch her chomp down happily.

"Look, Mom!" Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.

I told her how happy I was, because carrots are so good for you.

"They are good for your skin! And your hair! And your eyes!" I blathered on.

She nodded.

I decided to dial it down a notch, so I said, "I mean, bunnies like carrots, right?"

She nodded again.

"And have you ever seen a bunny with glasses?"

She shook her head, crunching on her carrot.

"So, carrots MUST be good for your eyes, right?"

She nodded and bounced away.

Oh, my. She nodded. And bounced away.

She usually catches me when I try to pull a fast one over on her like that. I thought she'd roll her eyes and say, "Mooooooooooooooom! That's silly!"

But she didn't. She nodded.

And bounced away.

Someday, not tonight, but someday, it will be the last time she buys my goofiness. I won't know it at the time...but it will happen.

I'm glad it wasn't tonight.

2009-10-29

Schwarzenegger's Assembly Bill Veto, complete with super secret hidden message!

Frankly, I don't know a lot about Assembly Bill 1176, whether it was a good idea or not, etc. I do know it was sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano and that he and Schwarzenegger have a rather contentious relationship.

Check out Schwartzenegger's written veto (emphasis mine):

To the Members of the California State Assembly:

I am returning Assembly Bill 1176 without my signature.
For some time now I have lamented the fact that major issues are overlooked while manyunnecessary bills come to me for consideration. Water reform, prison reform, and healthcare are major issues my Administration has brought to the table, but the Legislature justkicks the can down the alley.
Yet another legislative year has come and gone without the major reforms Californiansoverwhelmingly deserve. In light of this, and after careful consideration, I believe it isunnecessary to sign this measure at this time.

Sincerely,

Arnold Schwarzenegger


2009-10-01

The Wagons Are Circling Around Roman Polanski

As an undergrad, I had an amazing English professor. He was one of those rare educators who manage to not only make the course syllabus come alive, but also enlighten in ways that reach far beyond the classroom. He was intense, demanding, insightful, ruthless, dramatic, and above all else, passionate.

Once in a while this Immortal of Immortals (as we called him) would step out of the small, upper-level Literature classes from which I knew him and teach to an auditorium that allowed non-English majors. The subject? The Films of Roman Polanski.

It was interesting to watch him in this different venue, speaking directly into a microphone instead of with a carefully staged whisper. Trading the squeak of leather shoes on worn wooden floors for gestures amplified for an audience of 250. Frankly, it was wildly entertaining for us ever-so-special English majors to see him devour unsuspecting Math/Paych/Bio/Art/whatever majors (who thought that this was going to be an easy A) with his calculated retorts to what they thought was an adequate comment. "Adequate" didn't compute with Immortal of Immortals.

Nothing set him into a tirade more than when someone tried to explain the actions of an antagonist with an offhanded, "He's crazy." Of course, Immortal of Immortals loved this...he'd set up his audience with the question, "What do you think motivated {insert antagonist's name here} to {insert whatever fucked up thing the character did}?"

Inevitably a newbie to Immortal would raise their hand and say the dreaded word, "crazy."

And off he'd go.

"Why would this author spend months, perhaps years of their lives crafting this work, this character, to have them be so readily dismissible as simply crazy? Do you NOT think the author was trying to convey a message with this creation? Why would they bother to conceive, construct, and manifest this character, this situation, this oeuvre if not to convey a message? I highly doubt the message is that the character is, quote, crazy." ***

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As you've likely heard, Roman Polanski has been in the news recently. Because of the aforementioned class, I've got more than a soft spot for him as an artist.

That being said.

In 1977 Roman Polanski (age 43) had in his care a 13 year-old girl. Her mother dropped her off at Polanski 's house as the the famous director was supposed to take photographs of the child for a Vogue session. As it happens, Roman Polanski fed her wine and quaaludes, then despite her protestations and begging him to stop, he raped and sodomized her repeatedly. He violated her in multiple ways.

Polanski skipped the country to avoid sentencing. He's been living in Paris for the past 30 years, continuing with his directing career and raising a family. Last week, however, he got nabbed by the Swiss and is sitting in jail, waiting to find out if he'll be extradited to the United States to face the music.

Astonishingly, there are plenty of people who are defending Polanski's actions, and who believe his actions shouldn't be considered criminal. Take Whoopi Goldberg, for example...she claimed on The View that the drugging, raping, and sodomizing wasn't rape rape. Really? Have you read the court transcripts of her account, Ms. Goldberg? Sounds like rape rape to me. I thought you were a woman's rights advocate. Huh.

Maybe she agrees with Joan Z. Shore's Huffington Post article, "But there is more to this story. The 13-year old model "seduced" by Polanski had been thrust onto him by her mother, who wanted her in the movies."

Ummmm...statutory rape isn't seduction. By definition. And Roman admitted that the girl was begging to be let go. Doesn't sound like any case can be made for "seduction." And so freaking what if the mother wanted her daughter in the movies. Ms. Shore's bio says she is a Co-Founder of Women Overseas for Equality (Belgium)...I'd laugh if I wasn't so disgusted by her.

Some make the case that Polanski should be granted leniency because his childhood in the Krakow ghettos ended with the loss of his mother at a Nazi concentration camp, and years later his happy marriage to Sharon Tate ended with her brutally murdered while pregnant at the hands of the Manson family. Unspeakable, unbearable horrors, for certain. But that doesn't mean he should get a pass at abusing others.

John Farr's defense of Polanski (also at the Huffington Post) even goes so far as to say, "And unless there's something we don't yet know -- for instance, that he actually wanted to be arrested to gain some sort of late-life expiation of his past sins -- then it's clear he thought he was safe going to Switzerland to accept that award."

So...because he wasn't anticipating being arrested, it's not fair that he was arrested? Seriously? By extension that means unless he turned himself in voluntarily, no arrest would ever be fair.

Sadly, according to this petition/press release, "Filmmakers, actors, producers and technicians - everyone involved in international filmmaking - want him to know that he has their support and friendship." Signatures include Woody Allen, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Wim Wenders, and hundreds of others. This press release also states, "Roman Polanski is a French citizen, a renown and international artist now facing extradition. This extradition, if it takes place, will be heavy in consequences and will take away his freedom."

Yes. It just might take away his freedom. Jail's like that.

The greater point is, however, the first sentence. "Roman Polanski is a renown and international artist."

That's the crux of the issue, for each of Polanski's defenders, from the above mentioned to all of the others who are rallying behind Roman. He's famous. He's talented. He's one of us.

Their hypocrisy is deafening.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you've seen Rosemary's baby (1968), you remember the demonic rape scene in which Rosemary (played by Mia Farrow) realizes this "hallucination" isn't a dream, but it's really happening. It's hard for me to reconcile that the director who so accurately and sensitively portrayed the horror of being drugged and raped is the same man who did just that to a 13 year-old girl.

But maybe it shouldn't be. Art imitates life, and vice versa, no?

***While I heard variations of this speech many times, this is obviously not verbatim. In fact, I think I can safely say that if Immortal of Immortals read it, he'd be mortified that the quote was attributed to him. He was far more succinct and erudite...my best guess is he'd have given me an "A" for content, but a "D-" for execution.

2009-08-14

Crazy Girl




One of the things I love most about where I live is that I can be on the coast in an hour or so. The ocean is the closest thing my brain has to a reset button.

The last time I was fortunate to be seaside, my children and I were huddled in a make-shift tent of blankets and towels. The wind was whipping so fiercely the next day I was wishing I could market it, but there's nothing like nature's free dermabrasion.

Anyway, as we were trying to keep sand from gouging our eyeballs while still making castles, a man with a huge backpack and a tiny dog settled down not far from us. He pulled a large orange tarp-like thing out from his backpack and flapped it open. We couldn't figure out what it was...a tent? A raft? A kite?

With what looked like a bike tire pump, he proceeded to pump this thing up. It ended up looking like a giant pair of bat wings; we still didn't know what it was. He threw some sand on it to weigh it down, and he left with his dog at his heals.

A few more people came along and soon the beach was dotted with these THINGS.

The things turned out, in fact, to be kites. The people, in fact, were surfers. Surfers who used the wind as well as waves to propel them.

Kitesurfers.

Watching them launch from the beach into the Pacific was breath-taking. One minute they were standing on the shore, all laden with hooks and ropes attached to large swaths of fabric, and the next they were dancing on water.

I watched and I drooled. I swear, my muscles were twitching, just aching to experience that...gliding over the water, jumping into the air and diving back into waves; they were both surfing and flying.

Eventually, a woman strode onto the beach and began the same ritual of pulling out the tarp, pumping of the bike pump. At this point, however, the winds had picked up even more and her tarp was whipping around making it hard for her to keep it attached to the pump. I watched for a few moments, and then headed towards her.

"Can I help?" I asked.

For a moment, she was quiet. She looked at me without expression; there was enough time for me to wonder if she was silent because she hadn't heard, or if my intrusion was unwelcome. I explained myself by gesturing to the wind.

She broke out into a smile and said, "That would be great. Grab this part here."

I grabbed the wrong part.

"No, here."

"Sorry." (Why did I apologize? I need to work on that.)

"No problem. Right here."

She asked me, "Have you seen us kite from here before?"

"No. It looks amazing. It must be incredibly physically demanding."

"It is. I am crazy. I am a crazy girl. This is what I've chosen. I'm a crazy girl...I didn't chose to stay home and crochet or cook or have kids. I chose this."

Okay, honestly, for a split second I felt a bit defensive (yet there was nothing judgmental in her delivery; she was clearly thinking out loud). But for the rest of that second, and for the following minutes, I chatted with amazing woman as we got her gear in order. She shared about kitesurfing, and I talked about my life.

Eventually, she also threw some sand on her kite and went off to put on a wetsuit. She asked me if I'd be able to hold up the kite when it was time for her to launch. I gushed that I would love to; the concept of being a part of this experience, however tangentially, thrilled me.

I filled my kids in on the details they weren't able to hear and waited for her to come back. I kept my eye out for her as we built more castles, as I read to my little one or read my own book as my boy read to her, as we shared some sandy sandwiches.

But then I saw her, Crazy Girl, in the water slipping her feet into her board while another wet-suited person held up her kite. Somehow, I'd missed her reappearance on the beach, and I'd lost my chance. The disappointment crept over me as I watched her take off, gliding across the water.

I looked at my kids arguing about how best to build a moat for their sandcastle, "NO! The moat should be a circle and we make a river to the water!"

"NOOOOOO! We bring the water to the moat!"

"NO!"

"NO!"

Even as I started to intervene to make sure their argument didn't continue to escalate, I was aware that I was so glad I chose to be the Crazy Girl With Kids.

With every choice, there is a loss.

Reset button pushed.

2009-08-12

Did I mention my calfs are full of spider bite welts?

Earlier today, I was watching a spider.

As it slowly, slooooowly crawled up a wall, I considered my options. We're a "No-Kill Zone" when it comes to spiders in our home; we strictly capture and release.

My husband and I have always made a bit of a deal about it for our kids, "Bye-bye spider! Now you can be outside with your family and friends and not be stuck inside! Have fun!" Yes. We really say that. Honestly.

(Then, since we're already outside, we usually decide to barbeque, generally either tri-tip or ribs. YUMMM!)

Anyway, I'm watching this spider painstakingly make it's way up the wall. It. took. forever. Then, I literally gasped as it suddenly plunged to the floor in front of my eyes.

At that point, I started to feel guilty for the moments I considered grabbing it with a wad of tissue and flushing it down the toilet. (Don't tell anyone, but I sometimes do that when the kids are in bed. In my defense, I say, "I'm sorry spider. I hope you are like Nemo and make your way out of this mess." Yes. I really say that. Honestly.)

But! The spider awoke! It hadn't plummeted to it's death...in fact, as I watched, it made a left turn, trucked along for a while, and made it's way back up the wall.

Ooooooohhhhh....

It was spinning a web.

I'm so freaking out of touch with nature.

2009-07-15

Like you haven't thought the same thing. Oh, you haven't? *Ahem*

I was sitting in my family room today, and this little bug flew past me. I don't know what kind of creature it was, just that it wasn't a fly nor a mosquito, so it was cool with me.

It buzzed around the room a bit, as if checking out the piano and bookshelf and sofa and walls. Then, seemingly bored, it made a beeline (HA! But it wasn't a bee!) out of the room. It proceeded to go through a doorway, and purposefully made an abrupt right turn to go down a hallway. It went right down the center of the hall, and deftly turned the corner at the next jog.

That buggie knew the floorplan of my house! My jaw dropped and I thought, "Wow, how fucking cute that the little bug totally knows where it's going!"

So, this is the type of gripping news you've been missing due to my blogging sabbatical. Stay tuned for more!

2009-07-02

My Type of Motivational Posters Part Deux

Here's Part One...nearly two years ago. Sigh...where does the time go? Seems like just yesterday this blog was born and started being ignored.









2009-06-18

Are women born this way?



Cutest part is the "mama" at 6 seconds.

2009-04-01

I'm just a girl who can't say no. Well, I used to be. As of today, I am a bitch.

Photobucket

There are many reasons I haven't been round these here parts recently, but there is a common thread that weaves through most of them.

Despite myself, I'm a volunteer-er.  I'm a helper.  I'm a go-to gal.   I'm that one who people know they can depend upon in a crisis, a pinch or whatever.   I say yes.   I can't seem to stop myself. They neeeeeeeed me.  I can heeeeeeeeelp them.  Why should I not?

I'll tell you why not.

Beware the pitfall of consistently saying yes. The thing is, the one time you don't, it can throw the recipient of the unexpected, "No" into such a paradigm shift that things can get ugly. Fast. At first they waddle in circles for a few minutes, spinning their arms saying, "Does not compute. Does not compute. Danger. Danger. Does not compute."

Then things tend to settle into a comfortable anger on their part. After all, there must be some malevolent reason why their request was denied; you've always managed to find some way to rearrange things to help out in the past. This recent alteration in your behavior clearly indicates that YOU have suddenly turned into a dickwad.    

Anyway, this is where I find myself. I've heard stories of it happening to others (oh, the irony), and now it's happened to me...I find myself the target of resentment and mistrust because I HAD to say, "No.  Not this time."  Ah well, deeeeeeeeeeep breath.

Coincidentally, I recently finished two other volunteer positions:  the HUMUNGOUS main one that sucked the life out of me and my family for months (hundreds of hours over 13 months), and another far smaller one (errrmmm...probably about 40 hours spread over three weeks). Which means, suddenly, I am volunteer-obligation-free.   For the first time in years.

Yowsa.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Okay, so...you know how there are a ton of book/seminars/videos/etc. flying around out there about how awesome the word 'yes' is?  Embrace 'yes' and your life will soon expand to the point of overflowing with sparkly goodness, true love, flying unicorns, and a fat bank account!  That kind of crap?

Why does 'No' get a bad wrap?  "Oh, it's so negative!" and "'No' is so limiting"..."'No' is mean and ugly and probably smokes behind the garage."  You've heard it all before.

Not. true.

'No' can be a most freeing, honest, concise, and profound word.  "No, I really don't need to spend seven bucks on a bar of soap, no matter how fancy the twine bow is," or, "No, that's okay, I understand," or, "No, that makes me uncomfortable."  How about, "No, I can't attend your event; I need to stay home and darn twine to wind around the soap I make," or best of all,  "No, I think I'd better not."

No, wait.  I think this is the best 'No" of all, "No, I disagree.  But we can still agree on other things."

So, I am reclaiming 'No'.  No is not evil nor unfair.  'No' is just itself, and as Mr. Roger's taught me, what makes you YOU is what makes you SPECIAL.  ~chucks 'No' under the chin~

What I am getting at is this...I pledge to you that starting tomorrow, No Watch Me Christine is going hard-core.  I promise to say NO every day and to report back to you all the juicy details.  

Does this mean I am going to actually report back to you daily?  NO!  

But, maybe.

I always keep my word.




2009-02-28

Bye-Bye BlogHer Ads

Cleaning house here...getting ready to get this li'l ol' blog back up and running.

First thing to go...BlogHer Ads.

Buh-bye!

I'll be doing more cleaning, and soon she'll be fresh as a daisy and ready for spring!

2009-01-25

My advice to the writers and producers of the Sex and The City sequel, because I think I am that important.

Photobucket

Not too long ago, one weekend afternoon I was faced with a mountain of laundry (plus other random chores) and a quiet house (husband was out with the kids).  That's quite a rare occurrence. The raining made it a cozy, stay-at-home afternoon...also rare.

So, I flicked on the TV and checked out the movies I could order from our cable company (again, a rarity). I wanted something mindless as I was going to be in and out of the room and didn't want to be bothered with a plot (I am so deep).

Sex and the City it was!

Despite the fact that I did occasionally watch the TV show, and admittedly sometimes even enjoyed it, I had no desire to go to the theater with my friends to endure watch the movie without being able to openly mock it. I mean, two-plus hours of Samantha's rasping double-entendres in her roller coaster delivery? In fact, double-entendres from all four of them? Hard to take. 

(As an aside, my husband and I often entertain ourselves by lapsing into Samantha's vernacular to make anything sounds dirty, "Oh, you're go-ING to make an OM-elette, are you? Let me HELP you with the SPAT-u-LAH.")

Anyway, this movie fit the bill mindless visual and auditory entertainment.  Sadly, though, after a while I found myself thinking...and remember, I was trying to avoid thinking; it was supposed to be a No Thinking Afternoon of mindless entertainment and laundry folding.

The movie predictably starts (well, after an odd montage from the TV show to bring unfamiliar viewers up to date on it's complex character arcs and plot points) with a voice-over from Carrie, which went something like this, "Year after year, twenty-something women come to New York city in search of the two L's...labels and love,"

Really?  

Really?

Twenty-something women don't move to New York City because that is where their career takes them?  Nor for access to museums and world-class restaurants and Broadway and kick-ass pizza by the slice, and the sheer excitement of living in one of the world's most diverse, fast-paced metropolises...and, and, and?

I shook that thought off, and as I watched the movie I was dumbfounded by that Carrie was so freaking obsessed with labels.  Sure, designer apparel was also revered in the series, but at least Carrie brought her own Molly Ringwald "Pretty in Pink" irony to her wardrobe.  None of that in the movie...it was slathering over labels for label's sake, even to the detriment of the other "L" (Opps!  Sorry!  Guess I should have warned to about the quasi-spoiler there!).

As the movie continued, I was struck by the fact that despite being released less than a year ago, it is horribly dated.  The conspicuous consumption rampant in this movie, I thought to myself, just wouldn't be relevant in this post-October 2008 economy.

Yeah, and then the next day I found out they are filming a sequel.