Nobody cares. Work harder.

Well that’s not exactly true. Lots of people care, but I really should work harder. Here’s how I came to this aha! moment (I speak your name Oprah!).
I was in the middle of a whining tirade this morning, complaining about the usual stuff people complain about (oh my job, my house , my blah blah blah) when a good friend said,” nobody cares, work harder.
Geez. Fine.
There are days when this advice would have made me crawl up and go back to bed, or cry in a corner. There are days when I would have said,” F you! I deserve to vent and fume.”
But today, it’s what I needed to hear. There’s no time for tucking into self-pity. What am I an infant? I need to be soothed? Come on! I’m no martyr. Atleast 4 times a day I almost buy a vanilla latte . How bad could things be? Answer: not bad at all.
So tuck that in your pocket or purse for a rainy day. Don’t say I never gave you anything. Good night.

Racism. The old fashioned kind.

I went to get a book for my friend’s son (a boy so beautiful he would blow up the blogosphere – but alas, his smart mama keeps him off the interweb). I try to get a book he will like and his parents won’t hate reading 1,000 times to him.
As I was perusing, I found this Thanksgiving book. I was drawn to it right away. Because of the way it was drawn.
None of that cultural sensitivity stuff from the newer books. Just good old fashioned stereotyping.
I grew up in the 70s and 80s. Everything that we called normal is now called hazing, bullying, sexual harassment, ADHD, cultural insensitivity and it’s evil twin – racism. Many 40+ olds like me are now in therapy or spending quality time in a bar reflecting and learning why none of that was normal. And it wasn’t normal or right. We were just too busy wearing shoulder pads to notice.
That’s why I was so surprised to see this book, published pretty recently.

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Look at these old school images.
Squanto and his pals actually have feathers on their heads – and mohawks – you know, cause their Injuns (which I now know is an offensive epithet and not a cute abbreviation. See, all that time at the bar helped). I’m obsessed with these pics. I can’t figure out why one of the pilgrims has a groovy Afro or why some of the pilgrims have hipster mustaches.

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The picture below brings me right back to elementary school. I’ve seen a version of this pic a million times. The pilgrims facing the cold, hard winter. Why don’t they just go into the warm wood cabins behind them? Duh. I should have been a pilgrim.

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Once they explain the “origins” of Thanksgiving, there’s a picture of a modern family enjoying the feast.

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I’m digging the addition of the African American grandparents – but where are the descendants of Squanto? Atleast 3 culturally insensitive jokes come to mind. I won’t write them. Cause I know what cultural insensitivity feels like, I’m an Injun too. Dot, not feather.
(I did not buy this book. I bought a Halloween book called Dem Bones instead. Much more politically correct )

Forever got a lot shorter all of a sudden

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My beloved made me a pb&j for lunch today. But I ate it on the train. It had to be done.

Know what I think about every single time I eat a pb&j sandwich?  The scene in St. Elmo’s Fire when Billy comes to see Wendy in her new apartment and asks her how it’s going.  She smiles and says that she woke up in the middle of the night last night and made herself a sandwich and …

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There’s something wrong with me right?  Or do you think about that too? 1985 was a good year for cheesy movies you can quote for the rest of your life.  I can rattle off a ton of quotes from that movie, “love is an illusion, but it’s the only illusion that counts.” How about when Jules turns to Billy and says,” you break my heart, but then again, you break everyone’s heart.”  Who needs Wikipedia? Not me.

Don’t even make me start singing Man in Motion, cause I will.

 

Wait, what?

As a blogger I get lots of “helpful” emails. You know, with suggestions on how, what and who to write about. It’s awesome. I also get the usual snarky comments. Those are awesome too. My favorite was an email telling me that I’m using the word awesome wrong. Awesome.
Anyway I’m open to all commentary. When a helpful reader sent me a clip of a New York Times article on the abuse of the em dash (-), I didn’t take offense – and I certainly didn’t stop using it – ahem.
But last week I got an email telling me to stop putting two spaces after a period. This helpful, anonymous reader informed me that I no longer have to follow that golden rule.
Wait. What?
She even sent me a helpful illustration.

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Apparently when I learned to type, on an actual typewriter in the dark ages known as the 80s, the rules were based on spacial issues – not right and wrong. Typewriter letters were in monospace (all letters get the same amount of room) and smarty party computer letters are in proportional space (different letters need different amounts of room). Basically, more letters fit within a given space. And because this reader obviously knows me, she sent me a picture to illustrate.

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So boom.
The rule is no longer needed. Did you all know this? Did I miss this announcement? Was there a tweet? The only people who use two spaces anymore are the same people who still leave voicemail messages. ME!
All those red marks from all those teachers that programmed me to leave two spaces after punctuation are non-existent.
Thanks for nothing Mrs. Manning. 2nd grade was almost unnecessary. Ok, got it. I’ll catch-up. My new world is about twerking, getting semi-nude to board a plane and Ebola – awesome.

Calm Down

I was really excited about the new show How to Get Away With Murder , mainly because I love Viola Davis. I’ve loved her since the movie Doubt. If you’ve never seen that movie, please – stop reading this post and go watch it. Now.
Anyway I was looking forward to it. I was also hoping/thinking that it would maybe be in the vein of Murder, She Wrote. Remember that show?Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury solving crime and riding bikes around scenic New England towns. Good times. And Ofcourse I knew it wouldn’t really be like that. It’s produced by Shonda Salacious Rhimes. Her shows are sex, drugs, rock-and-roll – not tea and scones. Olivia Pope would kick Jessica Fletcher’s ass and then go sleep with the President. But maybe, just maybe this new show would be more understated, a little more subdued then her others.

Umm nope. The first two episodes included murder (to be expected), adultery (the new accessory for powerful women on TV), a raging college campus full of suspected rapists and druggies, a corrupt law firm, corrupt lawyers , corrupt law students, gay sex (good for them), stereotypical threatening frat boys, stereotypical know-it-alls, and yes – even a doe-eyed optimist who literally has his mouth open in shock the whole time. It’s so full of action and deceit that it’s kinda boring. Know what I mean? The writing is good – lots of quotable lines. One of my favorites delivered by a Gilmore Girls alum (oh Rory and Lorelai, I miss you). Remember snooty, mean, icy-on-the-outside-but-good hearted Paris? In this show, Paris grew up, lost any trace of her warmth, gave into her dark side and became a cynical, cold lawyer. When one of the students tries to talk to her, she says,” I know I look nice, but that’s just my face.” Ha! Classic Paris…errr I mean this new character.

It’s a good show. But geez, can’t we pace ourselves? I know the New York Times got into trouble by referring to the show’s lead as another angry black woman. But she really is angry. I mean she’s pissed, from the very first shot. It’s like you can’t be smart, effective and interesting unless your sneering.

Maybe I went into it wrong. Angela Lansbury f’d me up. I’ll give it another shot – or two. But someone needs to give Shonda Rhimes a hug. And then take her to New England on a bike ride. That’s all I’m saying.

I know you didn’t ask but…

Get this book.
It’s so much fun. Even though I probably won’t do all these techniques, it’s nice to know they are there. In my early 20s I would have totally used this book as an instructional. Now, in my 40s, I read it like fiction. Cat eyes and blush contouring. Sigh. I love it. I won’t do it, but I love it.
Anyway. Back to your day.

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Ch Ch Changes

It’s October 3rd. September has been quite a month – full of surprises and change. Nothing new for us. The end of last year was full of changes for our family too. I quit my job after 8 years and started with a new company right before Christmas. My husband was offered a work-from-home gig and jumped on the chance to not commute after decades of trains, planes and automobiles.

Then January through July were a haze. I was traveling a lot for work, which was perfect because my husband and kids were getting into their new “being home together all the time routine”. I was all, “good luck with that, I’ll be in Newport Coast for the week. It’s you, the kids and Common Core. Bye!” It all worked out – no one died. We made it through the winter and spring and then summer was a lot of fun.

We were just hitting our stride and then boom. This is how our life works. For as long as I’ve known my husband, and well before we had our kids, this is our life works. We like to shake it up – or things get shaken up for us. Every change we’ve ever made has come from a small seed of an idea that we can’t let go of. Wanna get hitched and then have a baby in our 20s? Sure. Wanna move out of the city to a town we’ve never heard of? Why not! Wanna have another baby even though I’ll have to quit my job? Let’s do it!

Some changes were our whacked out decisions, and some changes were out of our control. We just had to roll with it.

For the past decade or so (this is not an exaggeration) – I’ve heard my husband say that he’d love to get out of his profession. That the world of finance isn’t making him happy. But because he’s a workhorse, and because it’s been good for our family, he would never walk away. He went from one stressful job to another and made the best of it. But then September started. And slowly a get-away plan emerged. His group was being shuffled and his position would now be based out of NYC. But the kids and i had gotten used to him being home. And he was loving the freedom of not being in an office. Not spending his life on a train. He was going to karate practices, doing pick-up after band rehearsal – getting to know his kids (and they got to know him) in a completely different way. Good, bad and ugly.

It was very much like my childhood. My parents had actual 9-5 jobs for a very short time, then my dad started his own business and never looked back. My mom was either helping him or home with us – actually they were both home with us. I don’t remember a time when my dad was out of the house for more than a few hours a day. It was unusual and wonderful. They were also risk takers. My dad was a pharmacist who could have made a very safe living his whole life, but he tried something different. He took a chance. The irony is that my entire childhood I thought of them as the most boring, risk-averse people – they drive their cars slow and live their lives quietly. Now I think they were absolutely bohemian (I feel my sister rolling her eyes). But really, they marched by the beat of their own drum. And it wasn’t all good – there were failures along with the successes – but they tried. They moved us around. They uprooted our schooling. Money went up and down – but it wasn’t boring. That’s for sure.

Maybe that’s why I’m not afraid of change. It doesn’t really rock my world. Not because I was unhappy before, or looking for the change – but because I know it’s not always bad. Or maybe I’m just dead inside. Just kiddin’.

Because I am my parent’s daughter, I’m constantly thinking of businesses that we can run. After my son was born and I decided to stay at home, I even started one of those businesses. A wedding planning company that did pretty well for three years. I loved it. I only stopped doing it because of another change that came out of nowhere. A phone call from an old colleague who had a job for me. A good job. The only caveat – it was two states away. A job that would force my husband to quit his well paying job if we took the move. Normal people would have laughed and said,”no way”.  But my husband and I,who wouldn’t know what to do in a casino if we tried, took another gamble. We said yes. And it worked out really really well. We loved our new town. The kids loved their new schools. My husband found another job right away, and I was happy with my new job. For a little while. But in the back of my mind, I was always thinking of what “we could start”. Even though my husband is the total opposite of my wandering nature, he got into it too. We would look at empty store fronts and imagine what we could do. We would have hour long discussions about the kinds of things that would work there. Then, like the lunatics we are, we’d even call the renters and ask how much the space cost. You know, normal stuff you do on a Friday night. While you and your husband are out at fancy restaurants and enjoying life, we’re researching franchise options and coming up with company names.

So last month when his job location shifted, we jumped on our chance. Well, I jumped and dragged him along. It was Friday night, we were doing our usual “this is a business that could work” routine – and he left the room to order pizza for the kids. That’s when I pulled the trigger for him and applied for all the legal paperwork for his new company. No joke. He came back into the living room and I said,” it’s done. You just started a company”. Instead of divorcing me like a normal person would do – he sat down and started a business plan. The only thing that saves my crazy is his crazy.

A month later, he’s ready to launch the website and dive in. And I would tell you what it is, but it’s not my gig. It’s his. I’m pretty sure he’ll go postal that I’ve even talked about it at all. But as always, I’ll take the gamble.

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