Carrie Fisher had this, and a few other salient bon mots, to offer recently in response to body shamers who felt entitled to criticize her appearance in the most recent Star Wars movie.
As I approach the shady side of 50, this issue really resonates. How sad that we live in a (Kardashian-obsessed) society where such an obvious truism has to be stated as a novel, almost renegade, concept.
It's been a month since I've had something to say here.
Well, not exactly.
It's been a month since I've had something to say here and had the time to record it.
Aye, there's the rub.
So a quick recap:
Since I last posted, I've completed another trip around the sun. My 44th, to be exact. The actual birthday celebration was lovely. Hubby gave me a new bike. It's pink, my favorite color. The kids each gave me treasures they found in the dollar bin section at Target - which they purchased with their own savings from their piggy banks. (Hugh gave me a pair of reading specs, and the irony is not lost on me!)
Unfortunately, as my birthday came to a close, I started feeling the symptoms of shingles coming on. (Too much partying, perhaps? Or merely old age?) I recognized the pain right away this time, having had an inaugural bout of shingles just two months prior, in August. The good news: I started the meds quickly, and short-circuited most of the illness (even avoiding the rash) this second time around. The bad news: the meds to prevent/minimize nerve damage have side effects that summon my Inner Crazy. Luckily, the whole episode is over now. And on my To Do list: shingles vaccination.
The rest of this past month? Pretty much the unremarkable blur experienced by all of us enlisted in the army of constantly moving minivan moms (and dads). Shuttling kids to tennis, chess, ballet, Spanish, doctors, dentists, and playdates. Preparing meals, running my small business, volunteering at school, brokering sibling peace accords on the homefront, and assigning consequences when those accords are violated. Being a devoted - and occasionally, cranky - wife. Shopping at Costco, Target, Whole Foods, Publix...and urgently shopping around at even more places when my business laptop died unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago.
Never fear - I also squeezed in a little fun. I attended my First Book Club Ever, and it was great! And my husband and I had an overnight getaway sans kids (to beautiful downtown Atlanta) courtesy of my in-laws.
As I write this, outside it is pitch black outside and pouring rain. I glance at the clock and see that the kids will be awake in about an hour, ready to start their day. I haven't slept yet, and I think I will just stay up...another all nighter. Insomnia bites.
It allowed me to write this, right?
Maybe next time I'll write about George. Most folks call him Car Wash, but he prefers George. Thinking of him makes me happy and sad at the same time. I hope tonight he is somewhere safe, warm and dry...and sleeping well.
Last night at the dinner table, my husband and I played a game with the kids to see who could think up words that sound the same but have different meanings. (What can I say? We're geeks. And those of you who are even geekier undoubtedly know that we were discussing homophones.)
When it came to my turn, I said "bow" (thinking of the bow of a ship, or the bough of a tree).
Two of our kids immediately thought of the kind of 'bow' you take in front of an audience after you've given a performance...but that seemed to be all they could muster.
Until suddenly my 8-year-old piped up, with impeccable timing and requisite grooviness:
It was a proud parenting moment. Clearly, my work here is done.
My grandfather celebrated his 89th birthday today.
To me he has always been 'GP', because I was born when he was in his mid-40's, which was, he said, too young to be called Grandpa.
He was born in 1922 to Merland, who worked as a foreman in a factory, and Sarah (Sadie), who was what we politely call today a 'stay-at-home mom'. In honor of his paternal grandfather, he was named Hubert Marsdon Avery. His beginnings were humble: for years their house did not have an indoor bathroom - he remembers using an outdoor privy and later helping his father to install the plumbing and bathroom inside the house. GP also remembers his mother washing clothes by hand, although the family eventually acquired a washing machine.
When GP was 19, the United States entered World War II and he enlisted in the Army Air Corps (the precursor to today's Air Force). Though he had not completed high school, he made the grade for pilot training and became a bomber pilot in Europe. Here's a picture of him from those days, wearing his wings, followed by a picture of the actual plane he flew:
Soon after returning home from the War, GP met my grandmother, Genevieve, on a blind date. After a whirlwind courtship, they married:
At the time, my great-grandparents had some misgivings about the marriage; in their eyes my grandmother had two strikes against her: she was Polish and poor. But GP and Neenie (as I called her) remained married for 56 years until Neenie passed away in 2003.
During their years together, my grandparents had many adventures: First they built a home, then moved from Connecticut to Florida in the early 1950s. GP held many different jobs - for a time he was a truck driver, then a mechanic, and years later he worked in an abstract and title office. I greatly admire the courageous decision he made in his 40s that 'The Office' life wasn't for him; he left relative financial security and started his own small business, which he operated successfully until he retired. In their last 15 or so years together, my grandparents criss-crossed the U.S. in an Airstream trailer, visiting every state - except, of course, Hawaii.
GP and Neenie also had two children. Their son Michael is my father, though he has been absent most of my life. When I was 13, my grandparents became my de facto parents, which I have written about previously here, and which I consider as their greatest gift to me.
Despite a few health scares over the years - which I've also posted about previously - GP remains independent, sharp and strong. Though he now uses hearing aids, he does not take a single prescription pill, lives on his own, and maintains his 'healthy' disdain for going to the doctor.
His continuing vigor is especially remarkable in light of his dietary habits, which are, in my humble opinion, appalling. When I plead with him to eat more veggies and less ice cream, he shrugs and says, "I'm 89 - I'm going to eat what I want."
How do you argue with that?
I simply shrug, too, and reply (lovingly, natch) that he is a freak of nature. And that I hope I have inherited his genes.
It's here! Day 8 of my husband's 8-day trip to Japan. His flight lands in a few hours. We're in the homestretch, bay-bee!
My husband travels often for work, and while lately the trips are less frequent, they are longer in duration. So every few weeks, or so, he's gone for about a week...or so.
The three kiddos and I, we always survive. But inevitably, while my husband is gone, exciting things happen. Not good things, mind you, but exciting things. As in, things that need urgent attention. Like main water line breaks that leave us without running water for a few days. (True story.) Electrical problems that require the expertise of three different electricians. (Ugh - don't ask.) Injuries requiring emergency room visits. (CPS probably has started a file.)
This, of course, is in addition to the standard loads of dishes & laundry, trips to school for volunteer work & conferences with teachers, shuttling kids to lessons & playdates, shopping for and preparing meals, reviewing homework, and refereeing the 'knock-down drag-outs' of the ages. I'm sure there's more, but I'm too tired to remember it just now.
Before I know it, Depeche Mode's techno-lament "I think that God's got a sick sense of humor" is running in a continuous loop in my head. And I'm not proud of this, but more than once I've looked heavenward and literally hissed 'Uncle!' under my breath.
Single parents, let me just say, you have my utmost admiration and respect.
Eventually, I become bored with my pity party for one, and I remember how lucky I am. I mean, my kids are awesome. Not perfect. Not easy. But flippin' awesome.
And in my husband's absence, my heart indeed grows fonder. For one thing, when he's here, toilet unclogging is his exclusive domain. And ladies, get ready to swoon: the man does laundry. Not just his own laundry, the whole family's! Not just occasionally, but every week. And while I may do all the shopping and cooking, he does the cleaning up afterward. Well, most of it.
Alas, as my heart grows fonder, unfortunately my lower end also grows bigger. Much to my chagrin, by the time daddio comes home after a week away, there's always a little bit more of me to love. Dealing with the emotional ups and downs of a 5, 6, and 8 year old leaves my own nerves jangled and raw. Sadly, my salve is 'comfort food'. Obviously it would be better if it was 'comfort exercise'. But before I beat myself up too much (and need another cookie), I try to keep things in perspective: it's still better than 'comfort vodka'. Or 'comfort vicodin'. Right?
So, I've got my limitations. Among them: I lose my patience. I get cranky. I eat ice cream every night.
But at the end of the day - or this case, week - I am my own she-ro. And my anthem?
I am woman. I am invincible. I am popping the button on my jeans.
If you are a blogger, particularly of the 'mommy' variety, you may be acquainted with The Bloggess, aka Jenny. If you are not already familiar with her, you may seriously want to check her out.
Last night Jenny posted about a PR pitch she received from Brandlink Communications that was wrong on oh-so-many levels. Not only was it an Epic Fail from the initial pitch sent to her, the PR company's subsequent mishandling of the entire episode is a casebook cautionary tale of what NOT to do if you want people to ever consider you, *ahem*, a public relations company.
You can read about the PR Pitch from Hell here. It's actually quite entertaining. Up to the point where your blood might start boiling.
A few humble suggestions for Brandlink in moving forward:
Have a least a passing familiarity with the bloggers to whom you send your pitches.
Have a least a passing familiarity with the exponential power of the interwebs, particularly if you're pitching to, oh, bloggers.
Try Spellcheck - you'll like it.
When you screw up royally, own it and offer a genuine apology instead of a self-stroking justification of your appalling behavior.
Better yet, don't be a contemptuous bully in the first place - especially to us "Mommy's" [sic].
Show us you do not tolerate misogynistic miscreants among your ranks.
Never, never, never underestimate the power of a woman who possesses a giant metal chicken named Beyonce, a pinata full of prozac, and a legion of followers ready and willing to go 'all angry-villager' on you when you deserve it.
For each of you who Brandlink identifies as its clients, here's a quick question: Is this the kind of 'public relations' that is representative of your brand and values? I (and trust me, many others) are watching with great interest to see your response...
I discovered The Bloggess years ago. Hers is one of the few blogs listed in my blogroll, because she alternately makes me laugh until I cry and helps me find laughter through my tears. (No small feat, that.)
While The Bloggess is irreverent, she is hardly irrelevant. Last night she made one blog post and sent one tweet, and within a few hours, literally millions of us expressed our outrage and support. (Twitter crashed, and I suspect we caused it.)
Because Jenny supported us. She took a stand not only for herself, but for other bloggers, like me, the 'Mommy' ones. The 'little' ones, who Brandlink thought it was acceptable to openly taunt and bully by saying '(you) should be flattered (to be) viewed relevant enough to be pitched at all'.
Ironically, the only thing that has become truly 'irrelevant' in all this? The product these jokers tried to get Jenny to peddle for them in the first place. And the only thing Brandlink got right? When they initially pitched that "this is on [sic] Mommy’s [sic] are all going to want to follow.”