Thursday, June 21, 2007

What's the Message?

I'm confused. My girl has just finished 6th grade. She's a great kid, a great student and most of her friends seem to be the same type. They all make highest honors and are involved in athletic and/or artistic pursuits. They aren't among the "prostitots", to borrow a phrase from my ever clever niece, in heavy black eyeliner and barely there clothing. And, collectively, these "good girls" have mothers who bring them to the salon to get blonde highlights in their hair, eyebrow waxes, pedicures, and encourage them to wear makeup. They are 12 years old. They've barely started to get pimples. And the weird thing is most of the moms seem (or at least look) pretty down to earth to me.
What is this really about? Is the message that they aren't pretty enough the way they are without all the primping and spending? Or they are princess divas who deserve to be pampered? Is our culture so lacking in ritual that the salon and the spa now stand as rights of passage for girls on the verge of becoming young women? It's like they are being told it is not enough that they are dedicated students, athletes and friends. They should be all that and also be (or try to be) exceptionally "pretty" as well. How many steps will it be from Mom calling for beauty professional intervention at age 12 to eating disorders and other bad reactions to the nearly inevitable realization reached by every teenage girl-- OMG! I've got Mom's (insert unfortunate feature of choice) and Dad's weird (insert another unfortunate feature of choice) and I'm probably not ever going to look like the Hollister models no matter how many $50 sweatshirts I buy there.
What's the big rush to get past the natural beauty of childhood anyway? Who do they need to be so prettified for? Are we trying to sell them off into a good marriage match or something?

And you might be wondering, what about me? What kind of mother am I on that spectrum? My girl gets haircuts every 2 or 3 months. Sometimes she paints her own nails. She has an extensive collection of lip gloss. She owns but rarely wears clear mascara (heh. clear mascara.) and says she's thinking about asking me if it would be ok if she got some real mascara. I told her I'd think about it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Life is ...

I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with the Life is Good brand that originates from here in New England. It's very popular around these parts and every day you'll see the crunchy, happy stick figures and loopy hand lettering somewhere on a t-shirt, a baseball cap, a sweatshirt or even tire covers. At first it was cute. Then it got kind of hokey and now it's pretty much overplayed.
In downtown Portsmouth today I spied something similar but oh so much better and ever so appropriate for my boyfriend, who was suffering a rather crappy day that started with his car not doing the same. I strode right on into the store and laid down some cash to get him this shirt. When I picked him up from work, I handed him the bag and said I found something to suit his day. The grin that spread across his face when he looked at it was the best thing I saw all day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


In an odd way I'm starting to like this legal translation stuff.

Indemnification. Termination. Consideration. Jurisdiction.
In the event of violation...
entered into and by
Governing Law
Force Majeure!
Force Majeure!
In good faith
Creating two (2) copies and each party retaining one (1) copy of said Agreement

It's kind of got it's own swing to it, once you get going. (And once you stop procrastinating about getting the actual work done by scatting in legalese on your blog...)

Proud Teacher

If anyone cares to see what my students did, check this out. (It's all in Japanese.)
Just don't tell them you got there from a link from my blog, since I have never really mentioned I have one.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Finally decided on a nice splurge to indulge in with a little of the divorce settlement money. I ordered a Panasonic PV-GS85 digital camcorder and some accessories to go along with it. It's definitely an entry level camcorder, but it's gotten some good reviews and I plan to use it at school as well as to shoot family video. I thought I was very into film-making in college, but a reviewing of those works about a year ago really made it clear that I was actually into partying too much and thinking I was being arty when I was just being drunk and making crap. Oh well. Maybe this time I'll try to film some things that have some sort of narrative involved and not make disjointed "art". (*cough, cough*)
Anyway, I'm having some issues with M&Ms these days. As in, I can't leave the damn things alone. The obvious answer is to not keep them in the house, but since they are already in the house I have to get rid of them by eating them. I've spent the last six month hovering 3-6 pounds above the "goal weight" I set at Weight Watchers. It's better to be about 5 pounds over my goal than 25, which is where I could easily be without the Weight Watchers routine, but I just can't get motivated to buckle down and do it. I've been working out at the gym 3-4 times a week since January. I take a 90 minute belly dance class once a week. I walk the dog once or twice a day on the 3 or 4 days he spends here, so I'm definitely getting more exercise than I did a year ago. I'm fit. I'm healthy. I'm medium sized. So why can't I just say Screw It and accept the five pounds? Good question. I'll have to think about what the answer is.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Rut or Groove?

So many changes going on around me. The ones happening to me are minimal and welcome (like the new situation with the same old job), but things are spinning around and away in my midst. Big changes afoot for other folks that are rocking the nice safe little bubble routine world I have put together for myself. It reminds me that nothing always stays the same, not even the stable, quiet times.
I've noticed I get quiet here when gentle routine has taken over my days. Is it that I'm afraid writing about it will jinx it and make something big happen to change it? Am I afraid that if I inspect it in too much detail I will find fault and then start to tug on a stray loose thread that will unravel everything? If I stay perfectly still, nothing will ever change. That's what I try to fool myself into believing. Then people keep on going and making major changes all around me and those changes intrude on my bubble. Thankfully, they remind me nothing ever stays the same. And I don't want to stay the same. Living means growing and growing means changing.
I've been thinking about travel lately. Used to be I set out for all kinds of far flung parts all by myself, with no real plan. Now I won't even drive down to Boston for a day. How is that not-driving-to-Boston person even me? Can the wanderlust really be lost or is it just hibernating and waiting for its chance to come out again when the daily obligations eventually lift?