Tuesday, February 26, 2008


A couple of days ago I was shopping alone-an anomaly that occurs about as often as a lunar eclipse in my world-when I decided that I should check out the juniors department at Nordstroms. I was having no luck finding just the right thing in the womens, so I casually sauntered into the jungle called juniors, and with as much confidence as I could muster, selected a few items to try on. Only after I had played my own version of 'Name That Tune' trying in vain to determine if I knew the song that was blasting in this albatross [I didn't] did I turn to look at the outfit I had so carefully selected. "HOLY CRAP! I look like Cyndi Lauper and Betsy Johnson rolled into one."

On the way out I decided to try on some jeans in the middle section of the store. When a friendly Nordbot came to my aid to start a fitting room I questioned her about the lower case letters (t.b.d.) above the section we were in. In an almost inaudible whisper she said, "to be determined." Though spoken softly, these words hit me with a force akin to an open handed thud to the forehead. "Oh", I manged to say, "like not juniors but not womens?" "Exactly!" she said. What I thought was this............Why don't they just call it what it is......PURGATORY!

I'm not so naive to think that I can still shop in juniors, yet sometimes I will still face a bit of humiliation and save fifteen bucks on a tank that looks the same as the higher priced version who lives in the more civilized neighborhood of the womens dept.

Another similar experience happened just a couple of weeks ago at a store called Hollister. I believe it to be the bastard child of Abercrombie & Fitch. Anyhow, I was navigating my way through the dank, dark store with my two kids in tow when a young sales-dude (he was by no means yet a man) asked me if I was from Georgetown.

"No-why-do I look familiar?"
"Oh, woww....it's just that you look just like my friend's mom."

Ok. I get it.

It's not 'to be determined'.......it's more like.....It has been determined.

Ok, Ok, I get it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sans Mom

According to my second favorite news source (E! News holding the #1 position-embarrassingly enough) Yahoo News reports that a new reality show is in production. It seems we as a society just can't quench our desire to lurk into the lives of total strangers. The reality shows fill a void the soap operas can't, adding a new dimension-the This could happen to you element. And there is very little grey area within the world of reality TV. People's lives are either a train wreck or fabulous beyond your wildest dreams. Strangely enough, I'm more apt to tune in to those who's lives are in ruin or have some element of tragedy coursing throughout. I guess on some unconscious level I gain a sense of satisfaction when I see just what a curse all that fame, fortune and beauty can be.

I'm betting that this is precisely what the producers of this new series are hoping to hone in on. The show chronicles the lives of the men and children left to survive on their own when the entire population of women leave. Yes, they send all of the women off (to a resort) and watch to see what happens when men are left to deal with the children entirely sans mamma!

I've never left my children alone with the husband for more than 3 or 4 days, but feel that that's ample time to gain at least a glimpse of what will take place in the show, and in reality, it makes for a better comedy than any other genre.

I'm fortunate, The Husband has always played a very active parenting role. In fact, he took on night duty when our first was only weeks old, since I was going back to work and had to be up by 5:00am. He also dressed and hauled both children to daycare each morning without any assistance from Moi. So I really never doubted his abilities when I did have to leave them alone for more than a couple of days. I was confident that things would be just fine, and they were.

As a teacher, I could always tell when Mom was out of town. Little girls would show up to class with twist ties in place of ponytail holders or clothespins in lieu of barrettes. And while this may not have been in the best interest of fashion, it seemed practical. Ahhh.....good ol' male practicality...entire industries have been built on this quality.

So, on the day I picked my kids up from daycare and my son was wearing his footed pajamas backwards, I just reminded myself (and the caregivers) that Daddy dresses them in the morning and on his behalf, added that it was probably still dark when he did. And again, when I received my daughter's school pictures and hardly recognized her due to the lack of attention The Husband gave her hair in their morning routine (it wasn't that big of a deal, all things considered, she had been dressed, fed and properly kissed goodbye) I shrugged it off and tucked the pictures away in desk drawer. And so what if my house reeked of bacon and my children's new favorite food was now hot dogs cooked in the fireplace when I returned from a weekend away.

The reality of it is, they can survive on their own. They may appear a little less coiffed and the house may have a slightly less appealing aroma than when you left, but, for all practical purposes, things will be just fine.

I'm betting that this new show doesn't make it. Not because it's not a tantalizing topic, but because it's just not tragic enough. Besides, He's usually in charge of the remote control and I'm guessing that he'll just flip right by this one.

That's reality.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Domestic Diva...in training

I've always admired those women who could remove a purple popsicle stain with sparkling water or vanish gum from the carpet using only a sliver of ice and a hot iron. These are the same women who know how to use a label maker and have their spice rack alphabetized. Martha Stewart, the Grand Mamma Jamma of this realm and Heloise, the antiquated version, can make even the most tedious tasks look simple and even fun!

I, on the other hand, have always viewed myself as more of a 'Bring home the bacon...fry it up in a pan...' kind of gal. Until the other day, when I lugged out my ironing board in order to save a trip to the dry cleaners, my daughter, staring with wonder, at the rickety contraption asked, "Mommy, are we having a rummage sale?"
"Uhhh.. No, why? And where did you hear that?"
"From Max & Ruby." she replied. I realized she had no more idea what to do with an ironing board than I would have with a scalpel.

Another time she twirled and whirled through the dust that was streaming in through the sunlit window declaring to all the world that she had discovered 'Fairy Dust!' It was at this moment I realized that I was leading my daughter down the slippery slope to domestic ignorance.

It's not due to a lack of education on my part either. My mother, who I believe to have at least a master's level of education in the Domestic Arts (D.A.) gave me ample schooling as a youngster. I've heard her lament on how she could have done more to teach us better technique in the fine arts of dusting or dishwasher loading, but to her credit, she was an excellent instructor and did the best she could with the pupils in her charge (me and my younger sister). To her worries of failure I say, "Pashaw!"
My sister is no domestic slouch. She owns books on the subjects of stain removal and organizational awareness. She has taken it upon herself to further her education...a sort of self imposed, self taught, learn at your own pace type of schooling. She too, is probably now at the master's level in the Domestic Arts. Somewhere between high school and now, my education came to a screeching halt. I hold, what I imagine to be a junior college degree in this area. Enough to get by in the real world but never enough to impress.

So, inspired by a girlfriend who holds 'boot camps' for everything from 'Ice-cream Licking' to 'Stair Climbing', I have decided to implement my own training program. My children will begin their training starting yesterday! It's a rigorous, fast paced curriculum, not for the faint hearted or lackadaisical child. The program entails several pre-requisite courses...Bathtub Toy Tidy, Napkin Folding 101, and The Science of Sock Matching. After these subjects are mastered, we can move on to more sophomoric, philosophical studies such as...Bed-Making Technique, and Vacuuming Without Guilt. My son will receive the same, (in my house gender bending is the rule, not the exception).

So far, my daughter's only plea is that she must wear her tiara while she toils. I decided that this would be OK. In fact, I tried it myself! It's like the Mary Poppinish saying, "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.." Plus it makes for a much more pleasant picture of domesticity.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Old School Barbie

I was chatting with a girlfriend yesterday and she is telling me about this Barbie her son picked out for a little girlfriend of his as a birthday present.

"Have you seen that Barbie that has a dog that poops?" she asks.

"Oh, yeah I saw a commercial for it...I don't get it."

"Well, that's what he picked out for her."

My curiosity was piqued. I thought I remembered Mattel jumping on the Women's Lib bandwagon a few years ago-waving banners about body perception and positive self image. Had they fallen off the wagon or was this their lame attempt to portray Barbie as a Liberated Woman-able to pick up dog crap all on her own?

I had to get to the bottom of this. To investigate, I went to the Barbie.com website, where I was instructed to 'Think Pink' as I waited for the download of information to come into view. Waiting patiently, tapping my unmanicured nails, I think back to the Barbies my sister and I played with 'back in the day'. The buxom, silky haired gals who were up for anything...skinny dipping in the bathroom sink, cruising topless (and sometimetimes bottomless-no embarrassing bikini line to worry about) in their cherry red Corvette convertible, or just hanging out at the townhome.

They were always barefoot because #1. their shoes (a chocking hazard) disappeared five seconds after they had been ripped from their plastic boxes and #2. my sister always chewed the dolls' feet, making it impossible to ever fit a pair of Go-Go boots on them again.

Ding-Download complete. I am now entering Barbie.com. A world...allbeit fictional, where any young girl (and some young boys) can be "...whatever they want to be!" I was dissapointed - scratch that- I was HORRIFIED at what I saw as I clicked away in this Pepto-Bismol cyberland. Mothers of young girls (and some boys) everywhere, LISTEN UP!.....This is what the Toy Gods out there are deeming acceptable.

Click-The "I can be...Barbie" No, I didn't say the I can be Barbie. Notice the three innocent dot, dot, dots following the word be. These dots may seem insignificant but they are not. They are a gentle reminder to wait, use your imagination....think of all the possibilites, kind if dots. If it would have been I can be Barbie without the dots, don't you know there would be a cyber meltdown occuring? Women everywhere clicking away with wild abandon! Anyway, so the "I can be... Barbie" page pops into view. Guess what ladies? You can be a photographer, an art teacher or even a pet sitter!!! Thank God I didn't toil away during my college years, foregoing that fraternity kegger, trying to boost my G.P.A. another couple of points, so that I could embark on one of these, "Real Life Careers".

Click-Next it's the "Bride and Groom Barbie". You can choose a black groom or a white groom. Wow! Barbie's parents are librals! Barbie is all aglow for this '...fairy-tale occassion, complete with a light up engagement ring.' A little gaudy in my opinion. Is the groom Barbie at all realistic? No. He doesn't have a clickety mechanical button on his back to make farting noises or excuses like, 'Oh, sorry Barbie, I didn't think you where in the room.'

Click-The "I Heart Pets Barbie" This is the one with the dog who really poops. At least she's equiped with a pooper scooper and isn't chasing around with a platic bag. But wait......where is Ken??? Isn't he the gallant knight that should be retrieving this steamy mess as a grand gesture of love? Oh yeah, I forgot, Ken's gay. Why else do you think they had to create the Groom Barbie? I mean Barbie and Ken dated forever and he just couldn't committ. He obviously had issues.

Click Click- There are "Chat Diva Barbies" who can lipsynch- wait are you ready for this-three different songs! And I'm willing to bet that one of them is by Brittany Spears. And hold on to your hats ladies because she also knows how to answer her phone!!!!! Hey Barbie, why don't you try doing that while you cook dinner, change a diaper and balance your checkbook simultaneously? Hmmm...betcha can't!

Click-And I can't hardly find the strength to go on...but...there are the "Pom-Pom Diva Barbies". "...flipping through the air to land on each other's shoulders...with glittery uniforms flashing these Fly Girls [trade-marked] really know how to put on a show!" Good gravey!-what's next? Stripper Barbie with a cool metalic pole?

Oh, please, (and forgive me if I sound too whiney) but I know many a women out there who are Barbies. I'm talking about the old school Barbies like my sister and I played with back in the day. The kind of gals who didn't have the media crammed down their ultra taut throats. They were naked-in a sense. Deciding on their own who they would be and what they would do. I know this because they are my friends...writers, lawyers, educators, business owners, and moms. These are the true Barbies of the real world.

By the way, my girlfirend..I'll just call her Barbie for now, took the doll back.

Moose Coming May 27th!!