Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fashion Bullies: Is This Really New?

As a mom, a fashion writer, and a former non-stylish kid, this article from the Wall Street Journal online caught my eye:

Fashion Bullies Attack

It's a valid issue to examine, but I'm always amused when an issue like this comes up as though it's something new and somehow worse now than ever. I remember being 11 years old in 1981, and being considered a total dork for not having Jordache or Gloria Vanderbilt jeans. That was (yikes!) 25 years ago, and now that I have an 11 year old daughter, I know that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or something like that.

The issue also puts me in a mind to step up onto my favorite soapbox, so I'll indulge, if just for a moment. Parents are ultimately responsible for their kids' choices and attitudes. While we don't have control of the little buggers' every thought (darn it), we do have the power to influence the way they think about things. Where we put our emphasis, is mirrored in them. I'm tired -- oh, so tired -- of blaming big, bad retailers for all the evils in the world.

If your kid is a "fashion bully," just know this -- it's not Marc Jacobs fault.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Cockroaches are People, Too

Just a quick post on, of all things, cockroaches.

This caught my eye at ParentDish, and just because I have an appreciation for weird and gross things -- at a distance, of course -- I thought I'd pass it along:

There are those among you who might see a cockroach petting zoo as a unique educational opportunity. While I love and respect all creatures, I will not be petting a cockroach anytime soon. Having lived in Florida where, like the Texas home of the author of the ParentDish post, the cockroaches are big enough to file flight plans, I respectfully decline.

Everytime I start missing the Sunshine State, I just remember these creatures and I feel better.

As a side note, anyone see that (super cheesy) Ripley's Believe It or Not show that featured a guy who eats nothing but (live) cockroaches? Oh, the humanity . . .

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Next Job

Found this job on today, my favorite place to surf around for jobs I'll never have in cool places I'll never live.

Apparently, the St. Kitts-Nevis Observer (in the Caribbean, natch) is looking for a senior writer. The job qualifications are as follows:

Must be able to supervise others, a proven writer, be a team player, good news judgment and of good moral character and have a record of stability. No drug users please.

The successful candidate will have at least 10 years experience as a Journalist with supervisory skills. Please do not apply if you are not a good writer, have a good record of stability and is unable to commit to at least two years of employment,or not serious. Only qualified applicants will receive a reply.

Sounds like they've had some trouble finding good help. But seriously, they offer a car, housing, and a modest salary. They also ask that you not be "fussy" when tools and supplies are "not as readily available" as in the U.S.

Truly, all I need is a beach and a palm tree. A hammock (make that two trees). And an umbrella (just in case). And just look at those headlines. I bet there's never a dull day . . .

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Writing About Writing

Christine from Mariachristina has tapped me to write a list of my five greatest strengths as a writer. She has marked me as "concise," for the record, noting that she likes my "pithy commentary." I just love that anyone called my writing "pithy."

She also hoped that the bloggers tagged would "morph the meme," but knowing how to do that intentionally would require me to be way cooler than I am.

So, here goes:

1. Meticulous. Not so much in the research (I'm sometimes a wee bit lazy there, but shh, don't tell) but more in terms of word choice. I'll rewrite a 75-word post 75 times to make sure each word is the best word possible. Then I'll look back and find later that it still wasn't perfect. Bummer. Tagging this meticulous blogger: Jillypoet

2. Honest. I had to Google the word "meme" because I'm a loser blogger who doesn't even know the first thing about blogging. Well, I've got the first thing, but the second and third are still mysteries. How's that for honest? Tagging this honest blogger: O is for Obsessive

3. Serious. That is to say, I take writing seriously. It is important to me. It is important in the world. I don't take a single word, or thought, or idea lightly, though I may write as if I do. Tagging this serious blogger: Creating Ms. Perfect

4. Not Serious. I looked for an antonym for serious, but came up only with lighthearted, lightweight, and trivial. But really, I'm talking about levity, I guess, with a dash of wry observation. Because being too serious turns into being dour. I hate dour. Tagging this not serious (in the best possible way) blogger: I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet A Wino

5. Fearless. Well, sort of -- this is more of an aspiration than a strength. Hey, maybe this is part of the morphing -- what do I aspire to as a writer? Well, this is it. Tagging this fearless blogger: A Brain Like Mine, Diary of a Feminist Housewife

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Be Right Back

Ugh, time does go by . . .

Life has sort of gotten in the way of my blogging these last few days (darn life!). I'm just posting quickly to say that I'll be back soon, with a long post in response to a tag I got recently from Christine at Mariachristina, who happens to be a favorite fellow blogger.

Thanks for stopping by and I promise, I'll write something very important, very soon, and you wouldn't want to miss that, right?

In the meantime, this is what you get if you're in a hurry, and search Yahoo! images for "funny":

And it actually is pretty funny.

photo by jtkauderer, at

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Power of a New Hat

This is my son.

This is my son's new hat.

This is my son who, upon acquiring said new hat, has decided to embark on a career as a male model.

I think he might be able to squeeze it in between his world-famous actor and awesome rock star gigs. Anyone know a good agent?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

(Kind of) Deep Thoughts: Women and Failure

I did a Google search on women and failure, and came up with little more than heart issues and sexual dysfunction. Not really what I was going for.

I'm interested, instead, on how women perceive failure, and how we handle it. Because, as I gain wisdom (read: get older), my own views on success and failure change on a daily basis.

Case in point: I used to be an elementary school teacher. For two years, I worked in ESE (Special Education) in an inclusion setting, in a school with a 70% low income population and lots of behavior issues. According to my supervisors and peers, I was very good at it. I loved my students, and they loved me. Well, most of them did, anyway.

So what's the problem? Every day, I struggled. Struggled with learning a new profession (certified by "alternative" means, I had no background in education whatsoever), struggled with managing a classroom (a profession in and of itself). But, mostly, struggled against my true self, and that's where I really ran into trouble.

Because while I loved teaching kids, and while I was successful, I wasn't happy. It's still hard to put my finger on -- the act of teaching was natural, but being a classroom teacher definitely was not.

Logic would dictate, then, that it's okay to move on. It's okay to do what is most natural (writing/editing/loving words, for instance) and make it work.

Except, it's not. Somewhere, and I think this is true for lots of women, I've internalized the idea that if I choose to stop, it's the same as quitting. And that's the same as failing. Because, as women, we're told we can (and should) do it all. That sounds great, but can be a beast that's hard to tame. Especially when we discover it's not true at all.

So here's my plan: let it go. Allow myself the pleasure of knowing what I love (writing, publishing, working with kids), and do what makes sense in that framework. I've already started: I'm creating yet another career through writing (woot! to that), and I'm volunteering to teach mini-art lessons in my son's classroom. I'm also mulling over the possibility of starting a writing workshop for kids through a non-profit organization I currently work with.

There's a difference, I'm finding, in being capable of doing it all, and actually doing what makes sense.

So, tell me: what makes you feel like you've failed? And how did you get past it? Comment at will.