Thursday, June 28, 2012

To Say Something or Not

What is the proper way to address the following situation in which I find myself?

Last October, a friend with a 3-year-old son took my (solicited) advice to visit the Montessori my children attend and sit in on a class (sans her son). I should mention that in general this friend likes to spend A LOT of time in her child's classrooms and to actively participate in any activity he is in, and she also was secretly hoping the Montessori would offer her a teaching position.

After her visit, she vented to me that she did not feel the Montessori teachers paid her enough personal attention while class was in session, but the lead teacher spent an hour with her afterwards, alone, talking and answering her many questions. She is very extroverted and really likes to be the center of attention. Friend also expressed to me that she was shocked that my 4-year-old son did not stop what he was doing and run over to give her a hug when she got to class. Nevermind that in the first place, it is not in his personality to do so. At. All. And he doesn't know her very well. I just thought to myself whatever, why this person ever thought a drop off Montessori where it's not about parental involvement would be a fit for HER personality is beyond me. A grown adult feels sad because someone else's 4-year-old child did not validate her needs? I thought it was all quite silly. Moving on....

To yesterday. There are summer classes at Montessori and she actually enrolled her child in one (which I couldn't believe given how much she disliked her visit). My kids are not in this particular class. On the second day of class (BTW she personally sat through all of it and not shockingly her 3-year-old was not super well behaved), she stayed after and communicated all of the above about her feelings last October to the lead teacher, and he was understandably... uh, surprised. And annoyed.

So at pick up from the later class yesterday, the teacher pulls me aside to process the stuff she has dropped on him. She does not understand the Montessori method but seems to think she does because she attended one as a child (and we all know the "Montessori" label does not always mean exactly what we think it means). I'm on his side, and we basically agreed that every parent has their own journey and that while this Montessori can't be all things to all people, those of us who leave our kids there are extremely happy with it. Someone who wants to be that close to their child at all times probably needs to explore another educational model. I mean, duh right.

I'm torn between saying something to this friend or just letting it go (again).

My main feeling is I don't want to have myself or my child involved in someone else's problem. Would a conversation alleviate my feeling or annoy me further? But OTOH, perhaps some boundary work is in order. "I like you, but don't bring me and mine into what are clearly your issues!" This friend and I have a decent enough relationship that I think I could say just about anything without consequence.

What would you do?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nora Ephron has died

This morning's news has unexpectedly hit me right in the gut. Nora Ephron has died.

It can't be possible.

I had been meaning to blog about how only just this year I've discovered the pleasure of her writing, namely her poignant and hilarious book of essays, "I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections."

In her gem of book, there's this fantastic little piece about salt, of all things, and how there's never enough of the correct, old school kind of salt at good restaurants anymore. (Here it is online, actually.) I liked it so much I sent a copy to a foodie friend of mine only a few weeks ago.

And her story in there defending the honor of her WOH mother at a time when few women of her kind did that is just so sweet and priceless.

My favorite Nora Ephron story is how she used to be married to Carl Bernstein of Watergate journalists Woodward and Bernstein fame. He cheated on her when she was pregnant and raising an infant son. Her response was the correct one - divorce his ass, then write a bestselling book about it called "Heartburn," which later became a movie starring Meryl Streep as her and Jack Nicholson as him. Well played, Nora.

Which reminds me that Ask Moxie recommended "Heartburn" awhile back. In the midst of a divorce herself, she called it the best book she'd ever read. Though it may not speak to me as it would to someone experiencing divorce firsthand, I definitely need to read that someday, too.

It also cracks me up that back when her ex was still keeping Deep Throat's identity a secret for many years, Nora Ephron apparently took every opportunity to publicly out Mark Felt as Deep Throat. Like she'd be giving a speech and would just say it: "Mark Felt is Deep Throat. Good night." How the press ignored such a delicious scoop is far beyond me.

Rest in peace, Nora Ephron.

Monday, June 25, 2012

True Blood S5:E3 recap

I stand corrected. This season doesn't suck quite as much as I had previously thought.

{SPOILERS, duh}.


The good smelling man with 16 sisters was totally Claude. How do I know? I've read all the books. The end credits told me so. One problem though: he's not nearly good looking enough to be Claude (of the books anyway). Is there really a shortage of male models who want to act? Come on, people!

Are these fairies going to come back for Andy Bellefleur? Remember the pretty brunette fairy he had sex with in the woods a while back? I think Holly's Halloween costume fairy wings that we're still seeing in this season are a bit of foreshadowing. Hmm...

We've learned Jason has a hole in his soul that only sex can fill... because his high school teacher banged him, and after a quickie reunion with her he has just found out he does not like it, and it was wrong. I mean, clearly, Jason's got some fae blood attraction thing going on that makes everyone want to drop trou around him.

Jessica is a cool chick. Way to have Jason's back with that saleslady in the dressing room, and to set aside her raging vamp libido to be a real friend.

Loved the story of Pam's making. It makes her insecurities about Eric much more understandable, given she basically forced him into this eternal relationship and didn't wait to see if he were truly willing. Kind of like the vampire equivalent of a fake pregnancy in the 1950s.

I enjoyed Lorena's cameo, with Out-of-control Young Vampire Beel. Dead, mutilated prostitutes explained. How did I not see that coming? And Human Pam even asked to be paid back. Badass.

The Authority. Did anyone else think S&M when they hooked Beel and Eric up to those strappy black insta-stakers?

She's THAT Salome. Oh. She uses her sexual prowess to figure out vampires' true motivations. And it supposedly works? Does this mean Beel loves Sookie and Eric just loves himself? Also, I don't think Nora made a true confession, I think she was trying to protect Eric.

"The New Nan Flanagan" was funny.

Tara turning to Sam in her time of need was interesting. When Sookie confronted him my first thought was, why would anyone try to lie to a known mindreader? I think Sam was right - Sookie and Lafayette's decision to turn her makes total sense. They bought her some more time to settle her affairs and to actually choose her destiny. So I don't understand her crazed anger. And I think Tara is actually smarter than the way she's being portrayed. A tanning bed? You'd think Tara would know by now how to actually kill a vampire in a surefire way: beheading or staking. Duh.

Where's Jesus? Lafayette's reflection in the kitchen at Merlotte's and the bizarre bleach in the gumbo incident suggest that Jesus is still here, along with the dark brujo magic.

Sookie finally has Real People troubles. Lafayette was right: she should have just called the police (because she's white, after all.) Seeing Debbie Pelt's parents searching for answers strangely put me on their side. Alcide was understandably pissed. Of course he's not going to tell anyone, he seems pretty dog loyal. ;)

Your thoughts?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dissent of the Year - Slaughter's "Why Women Still Can't Have It All"

Given the recent mothering critiques/shit-shows/desperate attempts to generate page views in mainstream print media, I had largely given up on hoping to find the answers to life anywhere in those once-prominent but now largely-irrelevant magazines my parents used to subscribe to back in the day.

It's exceptionally rare that I come across a piece I flat out do not agree with in many ways, but enjoyed reading anyway. Anne-Marie Slaughter's July cover story in The Atlantic Why Women Still Can't Have It All should have rubbed me the wrong way. The title alone makes me want to vomit in my mouth a little bit - my knee jerk reaction being so where's that cover story on "Why MEN Can't Have It All" - oh wait, they can. Thanks, Patriarchy! She never once directly mentions patriarchy, and it can't be that she's never heard of it. I think her silence as to "patriarchy" alongside her descriptions of the way "men and women are socialized differently" means she basically gets it, but is choosing not to sound too feministy in the hope of appealing to a mainstream audience, perhaps, perhaps...

Slaughter offers up her own musings on the challenges of having a high-profile government career and parenting her 14- and 12-year-old sons the way she wants to. Note we are not talking about Good Enuf Mothering here; she strikes me as an unacknowledged uber-Type A parent (maybe ESTJ-type?) who demands excellence in all areas of her life. My own mom is a bit like that, so let's just say I know them when I see them. I'll admit this aspect was enlightening to me - I'd always assumed the demands are greatest with infants/toddlers/preschoolers (especially those trying 3.5 year olds) and that parenting gets easier with time and the child's independence. Turns out some young teenagers might actually need their mothers and/or some mothers might feel the need to reprioritize their work lives to spend more time with their 14-year-olds who are suddenly having some school issues and are not talking to anyone. Or it could be an overreaction to the normal mini-rebellions of the young teen phase - I'm sure Slaughter will get some pushback on the internets for it. That's what happens when you put yourself out there, I suppose.

She misses the mark where she overgeneralizes and projects her preferences and in/abilities on to all women, everywhere but also seems to acknowledge that's precisely what she's doing. Slaughter's personal narrative covers loads of familiar territory, and at first does not seem to be offering anything new that has not already been said a million times at those tired old corporate work/life balance panels. If you can stomach the crappy title, give it a read. She gets it right when she critiques the way our work culture is oriented today. Progressives like me will appreciate her suggestions that should allow for less face time, more telecommuting, school sessions that match the reality of the schedules of working families, and better day care options. She also gets the educated/rich privilege angle and explores it (briefly) in a way that doesn't annoy me.

It's a looong article, and I kept saying to myself whenever she mentioned the logistical tedium of dry-cleaning, and running kids to weekend events, etc "Why couldn't she hire someone to help solve this problem?" They're called Personal Assistants. And Babysitters Who Can Drive. She's rich and educated and feels she has enough knowledge of the topic to opine about it in a national publication under her real name, after all? So why not simply avail herself of those solutions? Clearly this is my own bias coming out. Yeah, yeah, I'm making big assumptions about her family's income level. Perhaps I'm just not getting it. I've definitely been accused of that before.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

True Blood S5:E1&2 recap

Season 5 of True Blood is already two episodes in, and I almost did not do a recap. Truth be told, I think this season sucks. (But of course I'll keep watching.)

And it so very badly pains me to say that. I want to love this show that has been near and dear to my heart since 2008.

Right now, I'm just not feeling it.

Don't get me wrong. There are a couple of things I'm really digging, namely {SPOILERS} - all things Pam, Terry Bellefleur's fiery Iraq backstory, and Disgusting Russell Edgington making a comeback. That's about it though.

I could say a lot about what is So Very Wrong this season, but I think I'll be brief:

1) Vampire Tara = hell to the no. As she trashed Sookie's home and perched maniacally on the kitchen sink, I thought to myself, well is she or isn't she "fucktarded"? And I still don't have the answer to that question, even though I should. Ugh.

2) Jason Stackhouse keeping it in his pants/trying to develop a conscience. Um, no.

3) Eric banging his "sister." Eew. And they have absolutely no chemistry. Yep, I said it.

4) The Authority/Lilith-worship/there's even a vampire Bible - wait, who cares? They finally drew the curtains back and are showing us The Authority they've been mentioning for the last several seasons. Not impressed. Not scary. Seems like a missed opportunity.

5) Hoyt. Nobody believes you're really that pissed off.

6) Alcide. That scene in Sookie's kitchen was weird. I'm having a very hard time seeing him as a potential Sookie love interest. And the fact that Sookie was about to confess to killing Debbie until Lafayette suddenly ran downstairs and shut her up? No. Just no.

What are your thoughts on Season 5 so far?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Summer Staycation

I'm taking a week off from blogging because enjoying my summer needs to take priority, but I just wanted to say a few things...

True Blood premieres this Sunday, June 10th!!! And I'm so happy about it. IRL, A-Paq is preggers, isn't that neat? Vampires really can impregnate the living. ;)

This season of Mad Men ends on Sunday. Wow. It's been quite a ride. Everyone's been talking about Joan and Lane, but I've been most drawn to Peggy and Ginsburg. Hell of a season.

When I get back, we'll discuss further.

And also Game of Thrones, because it has given me some things to process.

Ta ta!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Yesterday I Held A Newborn Baby

My local friend, Stitch, gave birth yesterday to her third child. She texted me the baby's name and nice healthy measurements, along with a picture of her and her 3 kids sitting on their hospital bed. (Yep, most people seem to text and FB their birth announcements these days instead of making phone calls and then sending formal paper cards.)

Interestingly, I could not immediately tell from the names nor from the picture whether Stitch's new baby was a girl or boy. I was pretty delighted about that fact, actually, because I knew I would get to walk into the room and receive the news right there, in person. Of course, Stitch had no idea that she has herself a gender ambiguously-named baby. And I'll take my hatred of her name choices to my grave. Let me assure you, it's the names themselves I can't abide, not the fact of their gender ambiguity.

I walked in thinking to myself this baby is probably a boy, but no - she's a girl! And she's just perfect. And very fun to hold. And for the first time I can remember, I am not possessed of a single shred of womb wistfulness. I was pretty sure (95%-ish) before, but now I'm positive: I don't want any more babies of my own. Sometimes life has a funny way of making us certain of things.