Friday, November 30, 2012

Why I'm Likely To Hate Your Christmas, Hanukkah or Festivus Card

I’m not one to give spoilers, but this photo will be one of a few on my holiday card.

I'm using it as a form of rebellion, illustrated perfectly in the “get that damn camera out of my face” expression on little Isla’s face.  But more importantly, I'm including it because it is real.

Believe me, I am all about photos, cards, and anything crafty I can buy at Michael’s without being spotted by someone I know, but I have many a pet peeve when it comes to this tradition.

I hate your holiday card if…

·      It's a boring, generic, unpersonalized card and you simply sign your name.  I mean, at least make the message worth what you are spending on the postage.

·      You put make-up on young children.  Even lip gloss is totally unacceptable.  Unless, if course, it's on Courtney Stodden.

Courtney Stodden: Christmas 2010
·      You use uber-posed, obvi-uncomfortable professional shots.  You know, the head-tilt ones.

·      You don matching parent/child outfits.  If you shop for Eddie Bauer coordinates, it better be for comedic value only.

·      You include a family resume.  I care about my family and friends lives, just as I hope you care about mine, and I do appreciate hearing a tidbit or two about ballet or guitar lessons.  But I do not need to know every time you add a “student of the week” bumper sticker to your ugly minivan.

Holiday cards should be a celebration of what your life is really like, not a prim and proper, fake representation of what you think it should be.  Do I think you should include a copy of your script for antidepressants and second notice of an overdue cell phone bill?  Certainly not (although that would be my favorite card EVER).  Instead, I just encourage you to be you.  You are definitely better at it than anyone.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Halle Berry Is The One Who Needs A Smack, For Realz

I am absolutely guilty of pulling an illegal u-turn in the middle of a busy city street to get a glimpse of who a mob of paparazzi is following.  I’ve even been known to snap and share my own shots of big stars.

Tom Cruise literally asked for it.  A paparazzi told me that he had received a call directly from TomKat’s press team letting him know where and when Tom would be for his son’s baseball game.  Total home run.

Angelina was at a busy farmers market.  As I have shared here before, she, her children and their albeit small entourage stuck out like a sore thumb.  Did I feel a pang of guilt snapping a photo with a couple of her androgynous children?  Yes, though I did try to frame out his (or her) face.

I told myself, she’s asking for it too.  But unfortunately, her brood is not.

And neither is Nahla Aubry.

I love, but even more fascinating than their brilliantly trashy news is their comment section.  Not since Jerry Springer have I encountered such an entertaining group of uneducated assholes all on one platform.  This is democracy at its finest, though no one present can actually define democracy (myself excluded).

Last night I scrolled hundreds of comments about the tragic domestic dispute between the world’s sexiest threesome: Halle Berry, Olivier Martinez and Gabriel Aubry.

So many questions were posed regarding fault, injuries and the unclear fate of Aubry's impeccable face. Team Olivier or Team Gabriel?  There was a great divide.  But what upset me most was why no one asked the most obvious question of all.  Who is Team Nahla?

I certainly am.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Just Saved Your Thanksgiving... And Your Green Bean Casserole

My mother once hosted a sit-down Christmas dinner for 44.  She was a basket case for a week leading up to the big day, so much so that I felt it was affecting her ability to enjoy the holiday.  When I asked her about it, she told me (for the millionth time), “Christmas is for kids”.  Now a mother myself, I totally get it, but want to amend the statement.  Christmas is for kids, and for millionaires.

Really.  Why are the holidays so damn expensive?  Halloween set me back a pretty penny.  I have yet to do my Thanksgiving grocery shopping, but it’s gonna get ugly.  And Christmas?  Just my cards alone, though ridiculously cute, cost more than the last box of Twinkies on Ebay.

Then, just when I was about to be completely bah humbugged out, this happened.

I was speaking with the mother of two daughters in their early 20’s.  Mom had just celebrated her birthday, and hadn’t wanted her girls to spend what little money they have on a gift for her.  Instead, she asked for one text message a day for a year.

Any time of day, as short or long as they choose, photo or no photo.  Just once a day, every day, let me know you are thinking of me.

Now, if the mom were really to keep mega-track of the text records and ground them for a slip up, I might want to get Ice-T involved.

But the idea behind this is really beautiful, free, and worth more than any millionaire could spend.

So is my free holiday tip to you…  Green bean casserole is always better with a splash (or few) of soy sauce.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kudos Lisa Kudrow! (And Shame On You, Winnie the Pooh...)

I just watched the film “The Other Woman” with Natalie Portman and Lisa Kudrow.  I had no idea that Phoebe from “Friends” could be such a raging bitch.  I was totally intrigued by her painfully difficult relationship with her son’s step-monster, well-played by Portman.  But shortly after that storyline wrangled me in like the Octomom herding her pack, the film took a dark turn.  I balled my eyes out not only for the duration of the movie, but for at least an hour afterwards, until a xanax and a hot shower were self-prescribed.

I’m not one to push spoilers, but seeing as the movie came out two years ago, whatever...  Someone dies.

(here's Pheebs as she learns what really happens at the end of 'Old Yeller')

I have dealt with a lot of loss, as most of us have.  But who's to say one experience is worse than the other?  I remember an old friend that would reference a day being “the worst of her life” when she had to dedicate more than a few hours to studying after arguing with her boyfriend.  To me, comparing this to my worst day made hers look like a walk through a Louis Vuitton full of freebies.  Thankfully I realize now that each of us has our own gauge for processing loss, and however difficult, we shouldn’t judge because of it.

Which brings me to totally judging this quote from Winnie the Pooh…

It has always really bothered me, and here’s why.

Many years ago, my parents strolled a beautiful cemetery in order to purchase a family plot, knowing that my father would make use of it long before anyone else.  My dad suggested checking out the mausoleum, to which my mother replied, “I don’t want to be in a mausoleum because I want you to be able to plant daffodils when you visit me”.

My father was dying of brain and bone cancer.  They both knew full well she would be the one visiting him, but even just for a moment, she didn’t want him to look at it that way.

I wasn’t there when the conversation happened but have always remembered the story as one of my mother’s most loving and selfless moments.

None of us want to think about the ones we love leaving us, but to put the burden of dealing with that loss upon ourselves, to hope that they leave us before we leave them, that is an ultimate act of love.

Granted, we have little control over whether we live to be one hundred, or one hundred minus one day, but I believe that if you truly love someone, you want to be the one who lasts the extra few hours.

Friday, November 9, 2012

My Life: According To My Media Card (Installment 3)

I have a million photos on my phone.  Some are (a little) cool, like this:

Me & Ciara
But the vast majority are of silly things that catch my attention, like this:

A Report From Pre-School
I've learned, though, that the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree, as my daughter LOVES to take photos with my phone.  Here's a small sampling from her portfolio:

(yup, the singing one)

(Big Bucks If You Can Name This Scene...)

Then there are the portraits:


But as they get older, I may need to figure out a way to prevent these:

Like the "My Life: According To My Media Card" posts?  Check out the other ones here and here.

And, have a great weekend.  Remember to take some great photos!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wait... Am I Giving My Kids Their Own Death Sentence?!

I inherited my father’s funny walk, good skin and firm handshake.

My mother passed along her creative ability, skill when it comes to assembling any piece of crap from Ikea and slightly above average sense of direction.

So does that mean my girls will have my cotton ball phobia, hate (hate, hate) cilantro and need braces to fix a Lauren Hutton-esque gap between their two front teeth?

(On 2nd thought, maybe I should have kept it?)
Each of us has filled out numerous seemingly useless medical history reports at the doctor’s office.  For over 30 years, or at least those during which I endured this annoying task myself, I answered the questions as any honest skeptic would.  Yes my Dad died of cancer, but that doesn’t mean that I will as well... Or does it?

I have an enormous appreciation of and sensitivity toward nostalgia.  But now that I am older, reminiscing as a child of the 80’s isn’t just the fun and games you read about in chain emails.  For me, with that comes the realization (and fear) that my children may inherit not just the good, but the bad that I paid little attention to while using my Easy Bake oven.
(My Doppleganger!!!)
It’s hard to assess the consequence of our weaknesses before adulthood.  Then whether activated by our need to pay rent at the top of the month or fear of not properly providing for our kids, we grow up.  We realize that our tendency to sit too close to the television isn’t the only poor habit we may pass along.  Our genes become more important than our jeans.

So here’s my question.  Do you want to know now what will happen with your health, or the health of your children in the future?  What if there is nothing you can do to change it, either way?

WebMD terrifies me more than the prospect of my baby girls hitting puberty, and the idea of an elective full body diagnostic scan scares me (ironically) to death…  I just need to figure out where ignorance- and innocence- fall into that equation.