Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My Sweet George!


I'm still in shock. My lovely George Michael has, say it ain't so, DIED! A part of me has died as well.

This man, mmmmmmmmm, he could sing, he could move, and he was gorgeous. The Generation X equivalent of Elvis. And, in a similar fashion to the King, he did get a bit pudgy towards the end and, well, there could have been some drugs implicated, but, yeah, at their primes they could make the ladies swoon. Of course, the Boomers made a huge deal about their beautiful crooner. But we enjoyed ours without having to make him everything. But, he was everything. Everything smart, fun, emotional, and straddling the friendly/sexy line perfectly for a teen like me.

Yes, I miss Prince and his funkiness. Yes, Princess Leah was my style icon for a summer there. But they weren't MINE like George was mine. Perhaps there has always been a part of me that like the gay ones, even before they knew it, never mind. There will never be another. He was an angel - an imperfect angel - but as close to perfect as is possible to be, at least for me. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Paris vs. Beirut, All Lives Matter, Mais Nous Sommes Amis!

Merci pour votre amité, la France!
I'm not addressing the tragedy that occurred a week ago in Paris.  My love of Paris is fully documented, and the French people are the most lovely I have encountered.  No, there seems to be a petulant cry from some saying, what about our tragedy?  Why don't you care so much about us? Specifically, Beirut and Kenya.  It's because we're not white, right?  That's the only lens we see anything through, and so that's it.

The French people are, have been, and will continue to be our friends.  They have been our friends for a very long time; in fact, since before we were even a country.  They have been a long, true, dear friend of America, and friends are there for each other.  Because I am willing to sympathize with my close friends, does that mean I cannot empathize with acquaintances, or even people I do not know?  Of course not, but for our true friends, we will come over with a box of tissues and a patient ear.  And, so we sit and comfort our good friend, la France.

There is pain and suffering everywhere.  It is not that we don't care, but there is a term compassion burnout.  Well, if there isn't, there should be.  Close friends are there when we need them, as France was during 9/11, and we reciprocate now in their hour of grief.  It's what buddies do!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

CB2 Pendant Drum Shade Update in the Style of Tord Boontje

This is what a half million dollars
gets you in NYC - a bathroom closet
in the dining area and faux wood particle
board kitchen.  Geez!  Oh, right, I added this to
show the original light fixture, not to complain!
I have trust fund baby taste on a public school teacher's salary.  It could easily stink, but I consider it a challenge to create custom things, close to the original, pricier versions, on a budget.  It will never be immediately gratifying, but I usually get what I want eventually.  Back in 2009, we bought our home, and it was gross, especially the kitchen.  One of the first things to get replaced was the kitchen light fixture, which was faux pink and white stained glass in one of those 1950's, upside-down tulip shapes.  The whole kitchen was a disaster, but the light I could fix right away.  CB2 had a nice, modern drum shade for, at the time, $59.95, now $69.95.  It may have been the one saving grace of the space.  Now, six-plus years later, it's become a bit dingy, and in my snazzy new kitchen, it was receding into the background.  Time for an update, but the dreamy Emil Stejnar snowball pendant goes for over a grand, so, what's a girl to do?
am I right?

Pretty close to the actual thing,
If there's an upside to the alarming pace of rental price increases in New York City, it's liquidation sales.  Yes, we've lost many an institution (F.A.O. Schwartz, Toys R' Us Times Square and the Subway Inn are some of the latest casualties), but I scored two great pairs of shoes at an ousted Aerosoles location, and today, at my local A.C. Moore craft store "relocation" sale (to an as-yet-undetermined site) I got me some sweet bling for my boring shade.  Yay, mercenary landlords!  I scored a Tord Boontje style laser cut felt border for the low, low price of $0.60, normally $3.99!  What?!?!   The downside?  I couldn't find any two in the same color, but isn't that the reason spray paint was invented?
And, I'm off!
So, first I started by spraying down the blotchy Eden pendant with bleach, then plain water, because I've learned from experience that the whole enchilada needs to get wet, or the stain will just move to the edges of where you wet it, plus, I didn't want the shade to disintegrate from remaining imbued with bleach.  Then, I grabbed my nearest can of silver spray paint, and soon all the felt borders matched.  In a fortuitous bonus, it came out looking like a French metallic silver lace bracelet by Paz Sintes that I swooned over at the Bastille Day Festivities, until I learned its price, and then, regrettably walked away.  Since the felt was self-adhesive, I just peeled of the backing and put it in place.  

So, to recap, I now have a custom shade, with faux silver lace in the style of Tord Boontje, and the update cost me: $1.20.  Eat your hearts out, hedge funders!  Unless you have the snowball, and then, call me!
Ho-hum.  And stained!
Notice the Orla Kiely knock-off design
in the right of the photo

Thursday, July 2, 2015

"Inside Out" Movie Review

How many ways was this movie made for me?  Amy Poehler, check.  Pixar, check.  Movie about an 11 year-old girl who moves far away from her friends, check.  Made. For. Me.

Dad's emotions, with Anger front and center.  His brain
looks like the panel from a sports show.
See, I moved from my home at 11, also.  It's a tough time in a girl's life to begin with.  Add to that the puberty button, and it becomes something of a mess.  Goofball Island, Friendship Island, even Family Island crumble.  Oh, how I related to this movie.  Riley cried in front of her new classmates; I spoke with a Rhode Island accent.  The entire class was mocking me when I said that a noun was a "person, place, thing, or idear".  "Idear!  Idear!"; I can still hear their voices.  Did anyone else notice that Riley, the daughter, has Joy running the controls, while Mom has Sadness, and Dad has Anger in charge?  How true, how true.

Oh, Bing Bong, it's so sad to say goodbye.
Watching this as a mother of an 8 year-old girl put me over the edge of reason, man.  Spoiler alert, when Bing Bong martyred himself as a forgotten memory, that was my first cry of the movie.  Tootie Pie has pretty much abandoned her belief in Santa Claus; the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy can't be far behind.  The second tear-jerker moment was when Joy relinquished control to Sadness, because what Riley really needed was to express her sadness.  That's something I'm still learning.

Up until now, my favorite Pixar movie was "Finding Nemo".  The irrepressibly upbeat Dory was my hero.  She always found the bright side of things, but maybe that's because she had short term memory.  Maybe that's the key to happiness.  Riley and I don't suffer, or enjoy, the same affliction, and so sadness affects us, because we remember.  Ernest Hemingway said, "Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know"; I swore I'd be different.  I could be smart and joyous, but, alas, it's an unattainable goal.  I'm a mother, and Sadness is at the helm of the ship.  There is no other alternative.  But...Joy is her right hand woman, and I feel like the two of them can come to some sort of arrangement where Sadness doesn't interfere too much with the warm, happy, core memories.

The boss of Mom's brain?  Sadness.  Oh, dear.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Can We All Agree That "The N-Word" Is Ridiculous?

President Obama said it.  He said "the N-word", only he didn't say "the N-word", he said "nigger".  Bring on the backlash for me, a white woman, having written the word "nigger".  I don't say "nigger", nor do I use the term "the N-word", because that is idiodic.  Why make the listener do the work?  When you say "the N-word", the other person has to stop and say, oh, you mean "nigger"?  If you mean nigger, say nigger.

The gay community long ago realized that if you take away a word's power, it loses its ability to hurt.  "Queer" was once the go-to insult, but now we have television series called the "Queer Eye" and "Queer as Folk".  Calling someone "queer" no longer has the sting it once did, because homosexuals reappropriated the word.  We're here, we're queer, get used to it.

Bitch isn't the affront it once was, either, thanks in part to shows called "Don't Trust the B**** in Apt 23" (the asterisks are the show's, not mine) and "GCB", which stands for Good Christian Bitches.  Now, despite the fact that I think these titles represent a coarsening of our culture, and neither show seems worthwhile, I am not personally offended by the term.

Redneck ignorance, plain and simple.
George Carlin's most memorable bit is his "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" routine.  Nigger, bitch and queer are not on this list, meaning the ultra-conservative FCC does not find these words obscene, vulgar or profane.  Do people take offense at these words?  Of course, as well as plenty of others.  It is their right, but I think it is a mistake to have such a thin skin.  I have not seen President Obama make a misstep in his days in office, especially verbally; he's been measured and diplomatic in every thing he says, and I respect him for using the actual word, rather than the cop-out.  I think it was calculated, and I think he was right; he started the process of removing the effectiveness this slur holds.

Now, the confederate flag?  That ignorance needs to come down.  Geesh!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mermaid Costume Tutorial

This was a lot of work for very little payoff, but I guess that's the theme song of my life.  Originally, in the grandiose, what-was-I-thinking phase of the birthday planning, I imagined Tootie Pie wearing this at her 2-hour party (one hour of which was spent in the pool) and photographing her with each of her party guests.  Ya know, so each thank you card could be personalized?  Because, the only thing more tedious than dusting off my never-that-great-to-begin-with Photoshop "skills" to make a thank you card is making twenty different thank you cards.  So, that's not what happened.
 What did happen is, after many an unhappy fitting, and glitter everywhere, we used this costume exactly once, for her thank you card.  Oh, and the backdrop was used the same number of times, but that is now "art" in our basement stairs.   

All you need for this project is sequinned stretch fabric and tulle.  I followed this tutorial for the skirt.  I love the speech bubbles on the photo where her daughter was complaining that her arms were too tired.  Adorable.  For the top, I used the pattern here and followed the tutorial here.  Rather than sew it to a leotard, I sewed elastic to it, since it was not intended to be worn long nor in public.

In the photos, she is wearing a Strawberry Shortcake wig, bedazzled with a purchased pressed paper starfish that I added dimension to with a glue gun, and then dry brush painted it with gold paint.

In the card, I added waves using Photoshop, and some text.  All in all, I think the end result came out quite nice.

I Need a Pencil: Pencil Entitlement


“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” ― Brené Brown

In my twelve years of teaching, I've never been asked for a pencil.  Now, that doesn't mean that every student has always come prepared for class, nor that these entitled children haven't tried, in their privileged way, to obtain one from me.  Remember when you would ask your teacher "Can I go to the bathroom?" and the reply would always be "May I go to the bathroom."  Not once have I had occasion to use that most famous teacher line.  That's because kids today no longer ask for things, they demand it.  Rather than ask "Can I have a pencil?", they, without fail, state "I need a pencil", to which I respond, "Yes, everyone needs a pencil." or, "I know, everyday!" or sometimes, "I need a million dollars and a maid."  I simply respond to a statement of fact, not a request.  What's interesting is that in their mind, they think that they did ask for it; I've overheard more than one student complaining that "She won't give me a pencil when I ask for one."

It comes down to entitlement.  Children have been put on par with adults, but their lack of understanding about the adult world leads them to think that things are a given.  For instance, at a communion service that I attended, the priest's sermon dealt with love, and ways that parents show love.  He asked the children how their parents show their love, and each one could only come up with "by buying us toys."  Putting up with an idiot boss, getting up at the crack of dawn, getting jostled on the train or aggravated in traffic, all to put a roof over their heads, food on the table, heat, electricity to charge that cell phone, transportation, those nameplate gold hoop earrings or designer sneakers - to say nothing about not throwing them out the window - in children's minds, none of that is love.  What's interesting is that the entitled child used to be a pampered, overindulged rich brat, like Veruca Salt, but today, it is the well-to-do, the solidly middle class, as well as the poor and needy  Why?

It is learned.  It is taught when a child witnesses a parent bullying a teacher to get what they want.  Your child is watching when you display misplaced outrage at rules that you feel shouldn't apply in your case.  When you shout obscenities at a driver that shares the road but doesn't share your same driving goals, you're showing how to act like society's anoited.  A parent that tells a teacher "You will move my son!", (and, not surprisingly, later tells an administrator how she asked for her son to be moved), is demonstrating how to be an entitled, ungrateful adult.  Short term win?  Sure.  Long term gain, no.  You're modeling vulgar, crass behavior.  Not epic.

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