Monthly Archives: January 2012

NaBloMoWTFRAD: Day One

I’m going to lose any cred I have here (read: I have none) by saying that I read “Eat Pray Love” and liked it. Sorry, Esperanza.

The best line in the whole book was this: Elizabeth Gilbert was going through a hard time, and someone noticed she had put on lipstick.

She responded: “Project Self Esteem: Day Fucking One.”

I have to admit that there are hopes that this writing project will help me out of a personal rut. I’m not feeling super duper great about myself. I really don’t think any woman does. I hung out with a mom today who looks like a supermodel. She didn’t seem super confident, either.

So.

What do I talk about when I don’t have an Athena post bursting out of my brain? (Which is why I always write.) TM AprilV

What do you guys think about Lana Del Rey? Poseur? Savant? Daddy’s money buys fame and plastic surgery? I actually kinda like her. “Video Games” is haunting my brain. But I love that noir/LA Confidential/Old Hollywood crap. I used to be obsessed with Hollywood. I used to drive down there on occasion when I went to school nearby. I went to a super fancy party in Pacific Palisades with my super fancy journalist dad. Dean Cain was there. Sherry Lansing was there. This guy hosted. Some moviemaker I’d never heard of told me if got implants, I’d be a star. *Eyeroll*

Why does Joan Didion live there?

Also, why is there a no man’s land in the importance of women between the ages of 40 – 80? When you are 80, you can be saucy and important and be the Dowager Countess and wear lace jackets and Chanel suits and say, “Darling, where IS my cocktail ring?” Like my husband’s grandmother. She was romanced by the scion of a famous Hollywood empire builder HER ENTIRE LIFE. Even after she was married and had kids he never married and remembered her until he died and sent her letters. Maybe he was secretly gay.

But it’s hard to explain how really RAD Darcy’s grandmother was.

She also did this. Third story down. That was my first real writing gig on the Internet. The typos are ALL MINE.

So when I turn 40 and become invisible, I imagine I need to develop some sort of skill.

I have been attempting to cook.

Tonight I poached Salmon in white wine with fennel from our garden and Kosher salt. It was good.

I also made KALE. Yes, Kale is RAD. I love it. It tastes good and it is good for you! How could this be?

Heidi Swanson’s a genius. My husband knows her and brought me her cookbook. I WAS HIGHLY SKEPTICAL! But her healthy recipes don’t taste like sprouts and gross “food” I used to eat with this one friend who went to Humboldt State AND NOT TO ENJOY THE EXPORTS OF THAT AREA, but to make the world a better place. By eating her bean sprout and lentil soup that she MADE in her Thermos and listening to Tracy Chapman. She was embarrassed to be associated with me eventually (college should be FUN?!) and dumped me as a friend. Rightfully so. I am sure.

Anyway, I made this.

Yay, me.

PROJECT SELF-ESTEEM. Day FUCKING one.

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Filed under cooking?!?

I AM DOING NAPLOMOBLOGWHATEVERLONGESTWEIRDESTINITIALSEVER

Mom, please skip this one. Lots of swearing, ahoy. Please go back to your Downton DVDs. You WILL love that show. I promise!

I think the real title of this post should be “Bitch, please.” Because I know I suck for all of the below bird shit. BE FOREWARNED TURN BACK!!!

NO? Seriously?

OK, then.

I always forget the name of this monthly blogging thing. But I need it. There’s nothing that makes me feel more in control than a deadline. Nothing makes me feel more powerful or successful or rad than achieving some G Dammit results.

Which I never fucking achieve. Everything is day-to-day Sisyphean. Cleaning poo. Doing laundry. Picking up. Dropping off. Cleaning poo. Saying No. Saying Yes. Getting told everywhere and by everyone that what I do sucks. Not sleeping. Getting every virus in the county. Did I say cleaning poo? Making five different meals (ten, really) for the pickiest, most demanding four year olds in the universe. Yes, I know karma is a bitch, since I was/am the world’s pickiest eater. Yes, I know I’m lucky. I really, really do. I am so grateful for my children, they are so wonderful. They are everything.

But I eat not just kale and drink too much coffee/Jamba Juice to stay awake. To stay alive. I’m becoming that frumpy person. And I don’t have a lot of qualities other than my once-attractive facade.

Before

After

Truth is, I’m lazy uh, not motivated on my own. What do they call that again? Not self-paced? I always did my best work when some other boss or person was expecting me to jump over some yardstick. I have been productive as hell for over fifteen years.

How high? Was my mantra. I always exceeded that yardstick. I DID SERIOUSLY!

I realize that I NEED some accountability. I need some structure. I need the NAPLOMOFUGOMGWTF whatever it’s called. And I happen to know that the lady in charge is RAD.

So. Here I am.

A Post A DAY. Yes, I picked the shortest month of the year. Yes, that was DELIBERATE.

Feel free to skip my posts for a month. I will try to keep the self-indulging whining to a minimum.

In the immortal words of Western Career College,

“You can do it! WOW!”

Does anyone else, other than Esperanza’s partner, love The Beach Boys AND Radiohead? No? Of course not?

Well, here’s this song.

I’ve only listened to it 17 times today. Yes, I love snobby depressive-rock. Judge away. Lord knows, I do.

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Filed under writing

What Is Womanhood Now?

Two gifted writers took on the tough subject of womanhood this week. Go read these tremendous posts now. I’ll wait here and let my latest episode of “Downton Abbey” load.

Mel asked an arresting series of questions:

“We want to accomplish so much, we want to break that glass ceiling, we want to be seen as more than wives/mothers/daughters/sisters. And at the same time, we are limited by men…and we limit ourselves. We worry how others perceive us. Are we cold if we want to stay at work and not pick up a vomiting child? Do we seem uncaring if we don’t show up to school events? Offer to host Thanksgiving? Take care of an ailing parent? Do we seem like we don’t have our priorities in the right place if we take a job that requires a lot of hours away? Do we look like a failure if we can’t juggle work and parenting neatly?”

She astutely points out that no one sits around judging men for their various choices. This is true: if there is a dad at a school event, other moms often say: “Good for him for coming!” Why is that? I’ve never heard anyone say that about a working mom who shows up.

We have much lower expectations of men. We scrutinize men less.

Esperanza also has notes:

“How are we supposed to succeed when these roles are at war with each other? How can we ever be dedicated mothers and wives when our careers pull us away from our husbands and children? How can we take advantage of our education when we do so at the expense of our family? If we want, or are forced, to do all three we are setting ourselves up for failure.

And here is where the guilt comes in, and the judgement – the condemnation of ourselves that turns outwards in the disapproval of others. If we can never satisfy our own standards, we better find everyone else lacking as well.”

There is some serious wisdom here. About why we judge. About why we feel guilty. I think she’s right.

I personally feel like a loser all the time. I compare, compare, compare. Look at so-and-so who has five kids and works full-time as a lawyer. Look at her, the one who grows all her own organic food. Just being at a birthday party is often excruciating and painful. Look at X, who’s so skinny and works out. WHY DON’T YOU DO THAT?

WHY DON’T YOU DO THAT? might as well be the question that defines my life right now.

But it shouldn’t.

There was a job I once had. I thought I was a failure at this job. I looked back recently at the results of my tenure, and actually the company was terribly successful during my management. I had NO IDEA.

Have there ever been so many high-achieving women? Have there ever been women who put so much thought into being ready to be mothers? Have there ever been so many mothers who care so much and try so hard? Has there ever been a generation in history so consumed with raising their children to be happy and healthy adults? I think not.

So here’s the truth.

I had a very productive career. I worked many hours and climbed the ladder and achieved excellent results most of the time.

Now I’m a SAHM. My children are smart, happy and tremendously confident.

I work hard at my marriage.

I know you all give 120% to everything you do, too. I know you are superlative at your job, juggling life, managing your relationships.

We should feel RAD about ourselves. All of us. We rule. We really, really do.

What are YOU most proud of?

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Filed under Family, Parenting After IF

When You Are No Longer Beautiful

I’m not really sure how to write this post without sounding like a shallow, conceited bitch.

But I was once a beauty. In my own way. I never, ever looked good in a bikini. A serious handicap when you attend college here:

I was often told I had “icy” good looks. Think more this:

And less this:

I had a friend who looked like the above and we would go out together, and we attracted a totally different type of man. Which was excellent because no one wants to fight with their best friend over a stupid guy.

But there was never a shortage of male attention. In my teens, my twenties, I was disconcerted by the attention. I was scared and annoyed by it.

Now? I would kill to have it. Sometimes.

I think of what I would need to get a portion of it.

Plastic surgery.

Botox. Juvederm.

Starvation.

Trust me, I have considered them ALL. I live in a place where most moms look like this:

Remember in “Clueless”? Cher’s mom dies as a result of a “routine liposuction”? Yeah, that won’t be me.

I want my daughter to NOT rely on her good lucks. I want my daughter to respect the aging process.

My daughter tells me to wear dresses and “be pretty”. I don’t know where she gets this shit.

Meanwhile, I remember the time I was hot enough to get this:

And drove one of Hollywood’s best looking men around in my car, all the while rolling my eyes because I thought he was a huge dork.

Meanwhile, I take a photo with my iPhone and see my double-chinned visage on accident. And cringe.

Is that really me?

How do I come to terms what I once was with what I am and what I will be?

And why does it matter SO MUCH?

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Filed under Fear

Free Advice: Keeping a House Tidy

Stirrup Queens had a good idea for protesting the SOPA bill: “I want to highlight the good that comes from the online world instead of withdrawing our sites in order to teach a lesson.” So she put together a round-up of bloggers offering advice on one topic they excel at.

At first, I was stumped. I honestly don’t think I do ANYTHING well. But then I realized there was a compliment routinely bestowed upon me by friends and family.

I am consistently told I keep a neat house. Which is pretty true.

Disclaimers:

1. We have a cleaner who comes twice a month. But this is new. And probably won’t last, due to financial constraints.

2. I am the kind of person who cares a lot what people think.

2. I SUCK at decorating and my carpets have stains.

OK, so what I AM good at is keeping messes out of sight. And this was even true when I lived in a small space.

Here’s how I keep clutter at a minimum:

1. I go through all of my stuff regularly: clothes, books, toys, cosmetics, movies. I am ruthless about getting rid of things that I haven’t used after 6 months.
2. I love having yard sales, selling furniture on Craig’s List and clothes through consignment stores. Not much makes me happier than making money from things I don’t use anymore. Also totally gratifying? Gathering up stuff that doesn’t sell and driving it over to Goodwill. Drop-off is easy and donations are tax-deductible.
3. I don’t purchase a lot of material goods in the first place. Not for any particularly noble reason, but mostly because if I buy something it has to be perfect. That’s why I love my Chanel purse, and don’t have any other handbags. I was taught to buy quality not quantity by a former co-worker. It’s a lesson I’ve taken to heart. Things I buy are generally built to last.
4. Things I will NEVER get rid of: a few important items imbued with sentimental value. The Amish quilt my in-laws gave us when we got engaged. The wedding china my parents purchased for us in our first year of marriage. The family photos and inherited paintings from my husband’s grandmother. My grandmother’s jeweled broach. These items may not have much financial value, but when I see them and touch them, they actually bring me joy.

In terms of keeping the house clean, every day I tidy each room and clean certain areas regularly: once a week I mop the floors in the kitchen and bathrooms. The kids are expected to put away their toys after playing. I learned long ago that it’s much easier to work a little each day than do a massive clean-up every few weeks. But this was a skill I picked up that’s basically Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: I cleaned every day for a month, then it became a permanent habit.

I also invite friends over a lot: both personal friends and play-dates. That keeps me honest.

Darcy would want me to tell you that sometimes I don’t do the dishes. Which is true. And I’m bad at keeping on top of laundry 😉

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Filed under Discovering joy, Family