Despite my major love of shoes, I must confess that I’m so not good at being a girl. It pains me to wear dresses, mostly because of my hatred of stockings, but also because I suddenly feel that I have to look better when I wear a dress or a skirt. I start hunting for makeup (which is an entire ordeal in and of itself), locating accessories (and I must consult a book in order to successfully wear a scarf), and coordinating jewelry. I just suck at all that stuff.
Adding insult to injury, I also have more loose and jiggly bits than I ought, and this requires the use of shapewear. Normally when I find myself in need of shapewear, my shapewear then decides to hide from me on general principle. It is always nowhere to be found. So seeking to remedy that problem, I stocked up on various pieces during a Rue La La event and then got a clear shelf box from the Container Store to trap all these items and keep them from running away.
Thus yesterday during the 2 hours it took me to get ready for my big presentation, I was, in fact, able to find my shapewear and successfully use it to keep my jiggly bits stable for the day. Unfortunately, however, my total girl ignorance created another problem that I only discovered as my bladder was about to explode.
Right before the talk, I had to use the loo in the worst way. All the fluids I had taken in to help my laryngitic throat ran through me at breakneck speed. I ran to the bathroom and discovered in the stall, that I had created a major problem for myself.
Because I didn’t know any better, I had put on my pantyhose first and then the full bodysuit shapewear thing (had like a bike short bottom). Now the shapewear people knew what they were doing because they put a nice opening in the crotch of the bodysuit for such a need as I was then having. Yet because I’m ignorant of the girly ways, I found this crotch opening to be blocked by my non-crotch opening pantyhose! Who knew that shapewear goes first and then the pantyhose?! Do they teach you this in girl school somewhere?
Yes, what ensued in the bathroom was fascinating in its complexity. I’ll spare you the details. But good goodness, lesson learned!
Last Saturday I dragged Z across the bridge to New Jersey in order to pick up my order from The Container Store that I was too cheap to have shipped to the house. She was pretty excited to go to New Jersey, which, in her imagination, she thought of as a place to go have an adventure. Unfortunately the adventure was being led around Crate & Barrel to look at housewares AND THEN to go next door to The Container Store and do the very same thing.
Despite her boredom, she was a really good sport. She was pretty cool about helping carry things and only had one bit of upset that I didn’t get her a large fuzzy pillow. The child needs a $50 fuzzy pillow like she needs a hole in her head, so that didn’t happen. But Mommy got some cool things like a fab summer cocktail pitcher and stirrer, an individual serving brownie baking sheet, a doughnut pan, a sheet for rolling out dough to size, herb scissors and (so cute!) a powdered sugar sifter. (I’m a major sucker for kitchen stuff!)
As we waited for my order to be brought up in The Container Store, we did more wandering to see if there were any more items left to buy after the enormous order I placed during an insomniac night. In one aisle, I found a fabric covered grocery/laundry cart thing with wheels that I thought would be a great way to cart around my blankets and props during a photo shoot. Zara was more than happy to be responsible for wheeling it around the store.
When the time came to check out, both the cashier and the floor clerk who had helped me with my online order retrieval fell under the spell known to me and Mason as The Zara Effect. The kid has a magnetic pull that makes most people forget that either of us are standing with her. And when she gives them the dimpled smile, they are totally smitten.
The floor clerk asked her the obligatory, “how old are you” question. To which she gave the standard, “I’m 5 years old but am turning 6 on May 2nd.” They did a little more chatting (what school do you go to? what grade are you in?) while I watched my purchases add up on the cash register.
Then the lady asked her, “Do you know what shape this is?” pointing to one of the large dots on the cart I was buying. Now, I’m thinking to myself, if my almost 6 year old daughter cannot recognize a circle at this age, I would need to be home educating her ferociously rather than shopping away for home furnishings. The kidlet, though, gives her a look that’s a cross between do-you-think-I’m-stupid and is-this-a-trick-question?
“It’s a circle,” she declared, choosing the former interpretation over the latter.
“Very good!” enthused the floor clerk. I rolled my eyes.
“Or it could be a sphere,” Zara then posited. “Or an orb.”
“Well yes,” declared the clearly stunned woman. “It could be a sphere or an orb. You are right.”
My eye roll turned into a smirk. Don’t sell my kidlet short. Circle, my ass!
I then turned to wink at the best kid in the world. She flashed that beatific smile in my direction, and all was right with the world.
I’ve returned to my long-ignored blog because I saw something yesterday that I need the help of my internet friends to help me figure out. I just cannot make any sense of what my eyes saw. None whatsoever.
I was exiting a conference room at work on Wednesday and passed what looked to be a fake ficus tree decoration. I had never paid any attention to this fake ficus, because, after all, who pays any attention to fake trees in a workplace? Unless you are a workplace that sells fake trees.
This time, however, I spent a nanosecond more viewing the tree than I normally did and saw this:
Do you see what caught my eye? I’m sure you do. The apples.
Yes, indeed, there were fake apples hanging in the fake ficus tree:
Note that they are hooked to the tree with twist ties. Let me re-state this for it to sink in. Some person or persons took the time to get a bunch of fake apples and hook them to a fake ficus using individual twist ties…for a conference room decoration!
What possible reason could he/she/they have had for doing such a thing?!! This is not the apple tree conference room. And the job does not involve trees or apples (or twist ties for that matter) in any way. So what would possess someone to decorate a fake ficus with fake apples?!
I have no answer, but it puzzles me nonetheless. I’ve tried to come up with some possible explanations, though none of these are very convincing.
- A flash mob gathering to decorate conference room fake ficus trees with fruit.
- A person who really likes to ponder the beauty of apples while stuck in an interminable meeting
- Someone who seeks to confuse analytic people like myself (why the hell are the fake apples attached to the fake tree? I MUST know!)
- Left over from some teambuilding event involving attaching fake apples (to represent the employee) to a fake tree (to represent the team).
- Cleaning people with too much time on their hands
I just don’t know, my internet friends. But this was just too weird a sight to pass by. I had to share.
I shot some great fireworks photos on the fourth. Visit the Eclectic Journey Photography blog and prepare to be amazed!
And yes, one day soon I will write a real post here again. I promise!
You Mean You Don’t Worry About That Too or Reason #207 Why I Love My Husband
What? You mean that you don’t worry all the time that your car is going to blow up every time you start it? Are you telling me that fear isn’t common or (gulp) normal?
Well…I don’t know what my problem is, but I do have some unusual fears. These aren’t paralytic or run-screaming-from-the-room fears, but they are the self-talk-needing, get-that-thought-out-of-your-head type fears. It all began with lightbulbs.
I’ve very hesitant to change a lightbulb for fear of electrocution. (Wha? You’re not afraid of that too?) I blame the Girl Scouts for this fear. Yes, the Girl Scouts!
During my tender years long, long, long, long, long ago when I was but a little Brownie in the GS, we were shown a film (not a video…a film on a reel with a projector) about CPR and first aid. I think we were a tad young for such a film, but it was shown nonetheless.
The initial scene was one where a carnival worker reached up to change a light bulb on the outside of his booth while standing in a puddle of water. As I watched in horror, he was electrocuted, requiring someone to perform CPR and send him on his way in an ambulance.
However, to my young mind, this was an astonishing event to witness. The idea that something as simple as a light bulb and a puddle could combine to cause death was just dumbfounding. It imprinted in my mind at such a young age that every time I go to change a light bulb, I still look down to make sure I’m not standing in a puddle (yes, I do this in the house, even). It’s ridiculous, I know, but that image of the electrocuted carnival worker made me look differently at light bulbs.
Now the whole car-blow-up-when-I-start-it fear comes from heaven knows where. But it’s real as I sometimes find myself holding my breath as I press the starter just waiting to be incinerated into a crispy critter before my brain can even log what’s going on. I truly have no freaking idea where this fear came from. Perhaps I watched too many crazy movies of the week. I just don’t know.
The funny thing is that this is a fear I must have forgotten to share with AdoringHusband. So he was a little taken aback when I blurted out, “I hope the car doesn’t blow up” as we were making our way in the parking lot after a lovely Valentine’s Day dinner. I can blame the Cosmo for making me speak aloud my silly thought, but it resulted in one of the funniest conversations we’ve ever had.
“What do you mean, ‘I hope the car doesn’t blow up‘? Why would it blow up?” he asked in confusion.
“Well you know,” I stammered, “cars do blow up some times?”
“Where do cars blow up sometimes?”
“They blow up sometimes. You hear about it,” I insisted.
“On the news. In the Middle East.”
“No, they blow up here too.”
“When’s the last time a car blew up here in SmallSuburbanTown? When’s the last time one blew up in Philly?” he pushed.
“I don’t know,” I exclaimed huffily, “but it still could happen. Don’t you worry about your car blowing up?”
“No. Of all the things I worry about, that would not be one of the them.” he said flatly.
“Well what if someone put a bomb in your car? That could happen!”
“Why would anyone put a bomb in my car, for goodness sake?”
“It could happen! Like what if someone put a hit out on me…”
“What?!,” he interrupted, “Wait a minute! Why would anyone put a hit out on you, suburban pediatrician without enemies or vices?!”
“I do have a weakness for cheesecake. That could be considered a vice.”
“So a hit would be put out on you because, what, you bought too much cheesecake and didn’t pay for it?! Your cheesecake loanshark is going to blow you up for that?!”
“Well maybe would put a hit out on me because, well, I took the parking space they wanted.”
“Someone is going to be so mad that you took his parking space that he’s going to follow you, find out who you are, and pay someone to put a bomb in your car?”
“Maybe they’re angry and obsessive…”
“But to pay a hit man?! If he’s going to take out a hit over a parking space, there would be dead people all over the city!”
“Maybe the hit man would accidentally put the bomb under my car when it was meant for someone else. He could have confused me with someone he actually wanted to blow up.”
“So let me get this straight. This lazy and careless hit man is going to think you’re the target, not bother to verify this in any way, and then spend the time dangerously wiring a bomb into the ignition of the wrong freaking car!” His eyes were wide with incredulity. “Hit men who hit the wrong targets are really not good business investments. The guy would have to find another line of work!”
“Well maybe he just wouldn’t care that it’s the wrong car because he likes killing people!”
“Oh, well that’s different! So now we have a lazy, serial-killer hit man who likes to kill people by blowing up their cars even if they are the wrong target of the hit?!”
“Ok, so maybe he’s not a hit man. Maybe he’s a serial-killer, car bomber who will decide that I should be his next victim!”
“A serial-killer, car bomber, huh?”
“But why you? Where is this putative serial-killer, car bomber even finding you to decide you are the one who should be blown up next?”
“He could have just happened upon me getting out of my car at work and then decided that I was next.”
“What’s he doing in your work parking lot? Is he an employee? Do you work with serial-killer, car bombers?”
“Maybe he was passing by, saw me, then decided I was the one.”
“So he passes by, sees you, circles back, goes into the parking lot, pulls out his bomb materials from his fanny pack and gets to connecting?”
“It could happen!”
“Wouldn’t someone notice him messing under your car?”
“Maybe he’s really fast…”
“Oh so now we have the suburban, serial-killer, car bomber with superhuman ability to get into your funky ignition wiring with his bomb materials, hooking it all up in 2-3 minutes with no one noticing?”
“Well, it could happen,” I pouted. “All that is possible.”
“I think the likelihood of all that happening is less than the likelihood of your winning the lottery 3 times in a row and THEN getting hit by a comet.”
“Could still happen…” I grumbled under my breath. “And start the damn car, already!”
Happy 9th Anniversary to my AdoringHusband, a man willing to address head-on my likelihood of being blown to smithereens by a suburban, serial-killer, car bomber with mad installation skillz. For this and for so much more, I love you.
Ever since the months of steroids, feeling like crud, and dealing with hypertension and other maladies, my general approach to my appearance has been “why bother?”
This is not to say that I leave the house wearing raggedy sweats and days of body odor. Not at all. I’m clean. My clothes are clean. But the pains I use to take to enhance myself have gone by the wayside.
I was getting my nails done last Sunday (still do that otherwise they fall off) and the woman asked me if I wanted my eyebrows waxed. Though its been about 700 years since my last waxing, my answer was, “why bother?” It just didn’t feel worth the effort since the wheels have already come off the track, as it were. And we won’t even speak of the dire condition of my feet that need about 70 pedicures before they look human again.
AdoringHusband is all, “stop putting yourself down!” but the truth is that I don’t think I am. I’m just feeling that these acts, these embellishments that I used to do because they enhanced how I felt about the person I saw in the mirror are just no longer worth it. I’m old, too heavy, and too tired to bother.
But today, something felt a little different. Today, here in N’awlins for a conference, I woke, showered and suddenly thought, how about putting on some mascara and lipstick? And before I could even mentally say, why bother?, I ran to my trusty travel makeup bag that sits alone and unloved in my suitcase and grabbed the eyeliner and mascara. Took a second and I had lashes and defined eyes. Another second and I had some peachy gloss on the kisser.
First though upon regarding myself in the mirror was, good for you. Though I did hear someone in my head muttering, you shouldn’t have bothered, I chose to ignore it.
Life has been extremely busy but I did want to jump in and wish you a happy Valentine’s Day!
Cross-posted from Eclectic Journey Photography
Clickin Moms, my home away from home, has a great project going on now to benefit RAINN, an anti-sexual assault organization. They call it the I Am A Photographer project, but it is really about sharing who you are apart from being a photog or a mom. You are to shoot a photo of yourself (or have someone else shoot it) holding a sign that completes the sentence, “I am a…” It can be serious or light-hearted. And for each submission, CM will donate $1 to RAINN.
I had so many possibilities swirling around my head for weeks, but it took until today, the final day submissions are being accepted, to land on the right one. The result is not fancy, but it is honest and real.
I strive every single day to be a better role model for my daughter than some focus-on-my-looks-must-appeal-to-a-man-someday-my-prince-will-come-to-rescue-me stupid Disney pink princess.
Thank you CM for starting such a great project!
Crossposted from Eclectic Journey Photography
So here’s the question for the day: how many photos does it take to get the ideal Clark-Schecter holiday card picture? Now before you answer remember that this involves my being in front of the camera and not behind it. That added a degree of difficulty of about 200%.
What do you think?
- 5 shots
- 50 shots
- 100 shots
- 200 shots
- 417 shots over 3 separate sessions
If you chose any option other than the last choice, well, you must be one of those optimists!
Our first foray was on December 4th. I was going for a sun-going-down, golden hour look. It was unseasonably warm and the kid was cooperating. Honestly after that shoot, I thought I had nailed it then and there. Got some great shots. Rocked the backlighting. Of course when we had started, I had forgotten to tell AdoringHusband to take off his damn Transitions glasses! Those things have plagued me for years. I’ve spent way too long in previous years attempting to restore visible eyes behind those sun-darkened lenses.
But that notwithstanding, I was able to find some goodies. I then posted the ones I was considering for the card on Clickin Moms to get some feedback.
So I’m thinking to myself, these both look pretty good, if I do say so myself. Though I prefer the second one to the first because of Zara’s expression, I think the softness in our features from the backlighting might make it the weaker choice.
And then the feedback started to come in.
“Gorgeous shot, but that tree is too distracting,” one commentor said. From another: “I agree with the previous poster. Wish you had positioned yourselves differently.”
And I’m thinking to myself, OMG, there is a tree growing out of our heads. Am I mental? How did I not see that?!
The truth is that I had seen the tree but ended up at a loss about how to position us in relation to that tree. Somehow I thought that if there were three of us, it wouldn’t look as if the tree were growing out of all of our heads. But there is it, up close and personal. The tree IS growing out of our heads!
Other commenters attempted to assure me that those I would send the card to would not be nearly as distracted by the tree as we photogs are. Of course, by that point, I could see nothing in the photo BUT the tree! I decided to reshoot.
Unfortunately Saturday the 10th was nothing like Sunday the 4th. It was about 20 degrees colder and the ground was wet and mucky. The kid was cold and uncooperative and the hubby was surly because she was cold and he felt that I hadn’t dressed her warmly enough. I ended up rushing the shoot despite doing all I could to keep her in the warm car between set-ups. I then made the mistake of asking her to smile showing her teeth. She’d never had any problem with that in the past, but after getting back to my computer and uploading the images, I found that my kid must have decided that she was a beaver! I saw some of the most silly faces she has ever made.
I was so sad that night. What kind of photographer did I hope to be if I couldn’t even get a photo of my own family?! So my dear, supportive husband made me get right back in the saddle. The next day, he insisted in going out and doing it all over again. He’d dress Z in more layers and he would stop breathing down my neck in order to allow me to relax and do my thing. Of course Z ended up in one of her oppositional defiant modes again, but a total of 417 shots later, we had some good photos that didn’t have trees growing out of our heads!
Here are some of the outtakes:
Note the wonderful Transitions lenses in these:
Yes, this still has the tree, but I love this shot!
Inside bottom, flanking holiday message:
Not so bad, despite all that work, right? I’m going to use these to make a canvas wall photo collection for the house.
But I do have to show you guys the beauty of digital editing, though. Now you all know that I’m massively huge these days thanks for my steroids. Even though I’m in a feel good about myself because fat is better than dead place, I still shuddered a bit at how round both Mason and I looked in these images. I opted to use a can-be-used-for-good-or-for-evil editing tool called liquify. Using this PS tool, I managed to give us a bit of a digital diet in some of the photos:
Before is on top and after below. We lost a good 20 pounds with the use of technology! Mason wanted me to go even further, but no. These tools cannot be used to suspend all connection with reality!
So there you have it, my friends. The fun of a family photo shoot when you are both photog and subject!
Hope your holiday was wonderful! Best to you in the new year!
This afternoon, while AdoringHusband was indulging his man cold, I decided to take Zizi to the movies. She’s not yet at the point where she will watch a non-animated feature in the theater, so I decided on Puss in Boots, in IMAX 3D.
We had a really good time together after the mother with the whining/crying/loud child finally moved away from us after repeatedly being shushed by many of the patrons. Even Zara turned around and offered some shushes of her own. The mother’s response? The typical, he’s just a child. Yeah, like it was our fault that we didn’t accept and indulge her noisy offspring. Sure, I really wanted to pay $35 for two tickets to a movie neither of us would be able to hear.
The movie was cute, Zara was entertained, and I could eagerly listen to Antonio Bandaras read my shopping list. I did spend an inordinate amount of time during the film trying to identify Humpty’s voice (Zach Galifianakis).
Afterwards, we stopped by the empty Coldstone Creamery for mommy-daughter ice-cream bonding. Zizi gushed on and on about the cats, the golden goose and so on. She’s at an age where it is really fun to talk to her. That little mind is just fascinating.
But in between spoonfuls of dark chocolate ice cream with M&Ms, she said something that made my heart sink to my feet.
“I want to be a hero, too, Mommy, but I can’t because I’m a girl.”
I tried to keep my expression relatively neutral but it was clear that I had failed miserably when her eyes widened considerably as they moved from her spoon to my face.
I had an immediate feeling of anger and outrage that little girls in 2011 are still getting messages from the media that courage and heroism belong in the male turf and beauty/appearance and princessness are female turf. I was also very saddened that my and AdoringHusband’s “fierce girl” egalitarian messages were not enough to counter society’s onslaught of genderism. I had hoped that she would never think such a gendered belief, much less utter it as if it were fact. But I knew I had to get the warring emotions under control so that she would not get the message that she had done something wrong.
The first thing I started with was in clarifying why I had reacted to what she had said.
“Mommy is not upset with you about what you just said, honey,” I started. “Mommy just doesn’t like that movies and TV shows make kids feel like the hero is supposed to be a boy and the person he rescues is supposed to be a girl. You are a hero when you put on your SuperZara cape to go rescue people. And you are a hero with your sword and shield you use to slay the dragon. There is no ‘girls have to do this‘ and “boys have to be that‘ in our family. We can all be and do whatever we want. There are no limits.”
She looked a bit relieved that I wasn’t upset with her, and smiled a lot when I recounted SuperZara’s and Zara the Dragonslayer’s exploits. There seemed to be a yeah, I am a hero, recognition inside herself. I took that opportunity to recount Grandma Ericka’s story.
“You remember how I’ve told you all about Grandma Ericka?” I asked.
“Yes, she is up in heaven with God,” she replied reverently.
“Well when she was in school, she decided that she wanted to become a doctor. The problem was that way back then, there weren’t very many doctors who were women. Her teachers kept telling her that she had to be a nurse.”
“That’s silly, Mommy! You’re a doctor,” she interjected.
“Yes I am, but back then you didn’t see women doctors like you see now. And because of that, people tried to tell Grandma Ericka that she was being ridiculous. But you know what happened?”
“What?” she replied, ice cream forgotten.
“She went to her father, my grandfather, Papa, we called him. She went to Papa and told him that she really wanted to be a doctor but that her teachers were telling her that she couldn’t do it. She should become a nurse instead. And Papa, who had only gotten to 8th grade in school told her that if that is what she wanted to be, that she should become a doctor and never let anyone tell her that she couldn’t do or be something if she wanted to. He made her a promise that if she got the good grades, he would find some way to pay for school so that she could become a doctor. He also went down to her school and told off the teachers for telling his daughter that she couldn’t be a doctor!”
“And then what happened, Mommy? Did he beat them up!”
“No, silly! He didn’t have to. Grandma Ericka made excellent grades and got into medical school. When she graduated only 4 of the students in her class were women. Can you believe that?!”
She shook her head, no.
“She became a doctor, and so did Auntie Marsha, and Aunt Jade and Mommy. We don’t care what other people tell us we should be or should do (except for behaving and listening to the teacher’s instructions in school). We do what our heart, brain and soul tells us is RIGHT. And you, my lovey, are just like Mommy and Grandma Ericka: whatever we want to be, we go for it and never let anyone stop us. Right?!”
“Right!!” she chimed excitedly in response.
I know that this was just one of many battles that will need to be fought for her benefit. I also know that ages 4-6 are the prime ages for gender awareness and gender conformity. But good lord…how do I fight Hollywood, the Disney Princesses, hell, our genderist society to give my girl child the best foundation she can have?
I’ve been chatting with another mother during Z’s ballet class time. I’ve made no secret of my anti-princess crusade during our talks and she admitted that she feels similarly about them, yet her family makes her concerns out to be much ado about nothing. Yep, that sounds familiar. Recently her just turned 4-year-old kidlet told her one day before school, “Mommy, I have to wear a dress today because otherwise I won’t be beautiful and no one will marry me!” The child is barely 4 years old and she has already received the loud message that as a girl/woman your worth is your appearance first and foremost. How do we allow this to be done to our girls…to our children?
Some days I just feel ill. But I’ll keep fighting…for her sake.
This is what a hero looks like:
For more information about ways you can help address genderism in the media and raise healthy girls, check out the following sites: