Thursday, October 23, 2008

On the differences between boys and girls....and shoes.

So, my poor son has had a growth spurt and now his favorite shoes don't fit. So, we have been on a hunt for shoes that fit, that are cute, that don't fall off, etc.

I found a really good pair of almost running shoes, with velcro. Nice and flexible. Easy on, easy off, which is important since he is two. But, I have a son. Not a daughter. So, shoes get wet. And muddy. And wearing paint-covered shoes to Sunday school seems weird. And he does have some very snazzy Euro-looking ones that are quite good, but are a huge pain to get on.

So, off we went to the store. And, he didn't want any of the "boy" shoes.

He wanted the glittery pink ones. With feathers. And pom poms.


I did convince him to get some tan work-boots and black sneaker-y things. (And since it was a sale, I got some boots for myself. And he wanted to wear MY new shoes.)

Why is it that girl shoes are all sparkly and embellished and boys' aren't? I mean, the girl shoes just SCREAM "fun!". I know, I know. Boys have "Cars" and "Spiderman" shoes, but those just kindof look scary to me, and they all are the same. The girls have fun stuff that is not tied to some Hollywood licensing thing.

I don't want sparkles for my son, but I want him to be as excited about the options he does have as the ones he doesn't.

Is that too much to ask?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Musings on love in generations gone by.

This is merely a stream of consciousness post as I am watching "Becoming Jane" while sitting at home alone ( can that be? Hubs is at church with J while I am sitting home nursing a hurt back). Feel like a heathen for not listening to a sermon or something. But the chance to sit here and watch a chick flick is too appealing.

Consider this to be a form of "live-blogging" or something.....

Onto my musings...

1) "Affection is desirable. Money is absolutely indispensable." Jane's mom, at hearing Jane say that she will not marry without affection. Her mom replies that she (the mom) married for affection, and "look where that got me...I have to dig my own potatoes."

It is easy for us twenty-first women to judge the "money is indispensable" attitude, but at the time, Jane had no option for employment herself. Not really. Women, of a certain class, could not work, had no option for education except at home, and were unable to own property on their own (a fact that wasn't remedied in England, and the U.S. until shockingly recently.)

While we modern women judge Jane's position to be the "right" one, surely we can understand her mother's concern: no one wants poverty for their child.

2) Remarkable how this movie seems to mirror Pride and Prejudice, as if that work was almost autobiographical.

3) Love the costumes. Personally, I think it would be altogether fabulous if the men I know wore waistcoats and cravats on a regular basis. And frankly, I wouldn't mind wearing empire-waisted dresses. The corsets could go, though. And you never see any pregnant women....did they not go out and do stuff after they started "showing"?

4) "When a young woman such as yourself receives the attentions of a man such as my nephew, the young woman is obliged to accept." WOW. Surely that line is designed to fire up our modern passions. And of course, the nephew in question is a bit of a dullard, though not horrible like the cousin in P and P.

5) And then, and THEN, she kisses the love interest, the lovely Irishman.....who has no money and no property, but he LOVES her. Gosh, I think that is why marriages at the time were arranged by parents. Of course, all teenagers prize "love" above all else, even now.

6) "Portable property is happiness in a pocketbook". By Jane, in the presence of the wealthy(ish) uncle of the poor Irish lover.

7) Of course, to achieve the status that women have today (the ability to work, become educated, to vote, to own property, etc.) women needed to push the envelope, as Jane did (according to the movie), and push it hard. So I shouldn't be so critical.

8) I love the idea of butlers and housekeepers. Though I don't think I could bear having people around all the time.

9) We discount the complete inability of the "poor gentry" (like Jane's family), of even actually earning a living, should they have to. They wouldn't know how to, even if they wanted to.

10) Lawyers in England STILL wear those white wigs in court. Though it seems anachronistic, I suppose it is no more than the uniform that we Americans wear in court: dark suits, relieved only by a bright blouse, or tie. It is very rare to find a woman outside of lower courts, in anything but a dark skirt suit. (Men, too, but men have such fewer options when it comes to professional clothing.) And we say things like, "may it please the Court, my name is ______, and I represent the Plaintiff in this matter."

11) Apparently, at the time, it was appropriate to read one's mail at the dinner table when one is entertaining guests. Weird.

12) To paraphrase a friend of mine, our most significant goal in life shouldn't be "happiness" or personal fulfillment, even though that often appears to be the primary goal for lots of people. The end of Jane's novels is almost always the same, the protagonists make "triumphant happy endings" and are married to "very rich men." Which I think is weird, considering her apparent disdain for money.

13) Tom (the delectable Irishman), proposes an elopement to Scotland, to run away. To "leave everything" and "be together." Her sister, Cassandra, challenges her. Jane says, "happiness is within my grasp and I cannot help myself." Whew! I remember feeling much the same way, at various points, in my early 20's. By my early 30's I had realized that happiness, joy, and (horrors) reliability are not incompatible, which is what I had thought.

14) I love the look of the English countryside. One does get used to the damp and constant mist, I have heard. It is one of the reasons English women have such dewy complexions.

15) Ah! Finally, she has come to her senses and realized that responsibility is not horrible. And she is the reasonable one, not him, for realizing that he can't support his family and her, and that eventually "love" will die in the face of increasing debt and responsibility. Of course it is heartbreaking to leave the one you "love."

Ok, I quit. I sound so very critical. Really, I love a good romance as much as the rest. And, this has all the markings of a good romance, including unrequited love.

HAH. Best line, "it appears that you cannot bear to marry without affection, or with it."

Awa....Tom named his daughter after Jane. How sweet. Wonder what her mother thought of that? Not sure what the ending of the movie is supposed to mean. Should she have actually eloped with Tom? After all, according to the movie, he appeared to have made good, in the end. Should she have, as she always said, put love above all else?


Sunday, October 05, 2008

I am confused....

I have been following a lot of blogs (mostly mommy, some political) as this election season has heated up. I am confused about some of the comments, especially about the Republican Vice Presidential candidate. I am not going to link to the posts or the comments because slamming a particular person isn't my point.

"She scares me!" says more than one post and many comments. That is usually followed by a comment about her "not blinking" or "flirting" with the camera by winking. Really? That is scary? If someone talked about her political beliefs and disagreed with them, THAT I would understand. I mean, I think Obama is scary because I think he is a socialist and I am scared to live under the kind of socialist regime he would instigate. But that type of comment isn't what they say.

"How DARE she shove her beliefs down our throat," a video showing her asking God's blessing on our troops who are fighting over seas, when she was speaking at a church. Really? THAT is shoving her beliefs down our throats? Obama is always telling the audiences what they/we SHOULD be thinking and believing about everything, but Palin gets castigated for praying, at a church?

"She can't possibly know what it feels like to try to send a kid to college these days, after all, one of her kids went into the military right out of high school and the other (scoff) is getting married because she got pregnant as a teenager. Clearly the Palins don't think higher education is important." I don't even know what to say about this one except to say, out loud, that I certainly hope that the person who said this is never in the position of having her (I think) children ever do anything that is different from what her plans for them might be.

"Her outfits aren't stylish enough/she looks kindof like a frumpy mom." (This is a synopsis of a WaPo newspaper column). Really? That warranted a column? I mean, I know this author is a fashion columnist, but somehow it turned into a political statement. The column continued to compare Palin to Mrs. Obama's "stylish" outfits and Mrs. McCain's "heiress" fashion. Really? Does anyone else think she looks like a frumpy mom? And, who the heck cares?

"She doesn't know what it is like to be a working mom. She has had a cushy job where she can have her child in a crib in her office. Apparently she doesn't have enough to keep her occupied at work if she can watch the baby at the same time." Really? REALLY? THAT is your criticism? That she manages to juggle things and do what works for her family? And seriously, I thought it was the general feminist goal to ensure that women in the workplace could do what they needed to care for their families. Except, I guess, if that woman has political positions you don't agree with.

And if one more person says that Palin's daughter's pregnancy proves that "abstinence" sex education doesn't work, I am going to scream. All that pregnancy proves is that the Palins prefer to carry babies to term. Those people who scoff at teen pregnancy/marriage should look at abortion statistics for teenagers who come out of a comprehensive sex education program. Those "comprehensive sex education" mentality doesn't prevent teen pregnancy, it actively discourages teen motherhood.


If someone wants to have an active discussion with me about Palin's (or any other person's) political positions, fine. But I am sick and tired of having people make arguments against someone based on the afore-mentioned reasons. As I said in a comment to one particularly irritating blog: I don't expect liberals to like Sarah Palin. Why would they? I started out disliking Obama for the same reason I have always disliked Biden, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Hilary Clinton (and Bill for that matter), etc. I think their politics stink. And sometimes I think they are underhanded and disingenuous. But mostly I think their politics stink.

But I would never stoop to calling out Barak on his ears, or Michelle on her stupid big pearls that she wears, or Harry Reid on his constantly "poor me" appearance and whiny voice. Honestly. Why are people picking on Sarah Palin about these things? Could it be that there isn't anything else to complain about?


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Things I am not

Well, at least one thing.

I am not a writer. At least not in the academia-trained, using big words kind of way. My training, if there was any, was at a college newspaper where we were encouraged to use only subjects and verbs. Objects only if necessary; adjectives and adverbs were actively discouraged. AND, if there was a short word that would do, the editor would mercilessly strike a long word. Even if it were more technically correct.

I had a political theory professor in college who tried desperately to get me to write longer sentences and paragraphs. In fact, she famously once assigned a paper to the class along the order of: "10 pages by Friday. Except that I want Kimberly to write 20." Everyone thought I was being punished. I was amused because I knew that she knew that if I tried to AIM for 20, I might get 10. But what she tried the hardest to burn out of me was my tendency to assume that everyone thought as I did. If A, then B, then (obviously the rest of the alphabet) therefore, Z! Mostly, I learned the lesson.

But, as I said, I am not a writer. I think out loud, correct myself when necessary, and continue to opine while doing so. Therefore, what generally comes out of my pen is more or less an unedited stream of consciousness that is only interesting, much less compelling, to me. In fact, this very post is being composed directly in the blog editor, not some namby-pamby word processing program.

However, just because I am not a writer, does not mean that I am not a thinker. Mostly at night, when I should be sleeping. Anyhoooo, I am a regular blog reader, and often think of posting my thoughts which have been spiked by something I have read. But, I am not a writer. And when I try to pin down those pithy thoughts which swirl in my head at three in the morning, they generally refuse to be pinned.

This is all to explain why I never post anything on this blog. In fact, the only other places where I have posted are the brain children of someone else. My husband is a pretty good writer, and I am a fair editor, and the bloggy know-it-all of the two of us. So I manage this one. But he does the writing. Shoot. I can't even claim THAT blog. Phooey.

So, I am reduced to merely gnashing my teeth about things in my head, torturing my friends (instead of the blogosphere), and posting cute pictures of my family on this blog. And, well, since this blog was totally intended to be a way of keeping family and friends up to date on our growing family, I suppose it is doing its' intended work. Except that I never post updates. PHOOEY.