I still hate you, Christina Aguilera, but you have an excellent song

There’s a scene from Mean Girls (one of my favorite movies of ALL TIMES) that’s pretty poignant (no, not “You go, Glenn Coco” or, my personal favorite “You smell like a baby prostitute”).

Damien is singing at the school’s holiday pageant (not very well), but clearly giving it his all, despite being booed and heckled. Hell, he even gets sassy in the middle of the song and fights back.

While it’s clearly a very funny scene (um, hello, isn’t ALL of Mean Girls basically perfect?), there’s a certain seriousness to it.

Some may not get it.

But I do.

A few months ago, my one of my perennial favorite ladies, Jennifer Weiner, wrote an essay in Allure Magazine called “The F Word”. The dreaded word so many women beat themselves up over (and over and over again)? Fat. After past-his-prime critic Rex Reed insulted actress Melissa McCarthy by calling her “tractor-sized” and a “female hippo” last week, (and his refusal to apologize), I wanted to share J-Wein’s gem of an essay.

Jen gets it. We’re chubby soul sisters.

To summarize (but really, just go and read it for yourself—it’s worth spending a few minutes), Weiner recalls a recent conversation with her nine-year-old daughter, Lucy. Lucy is complaining about a “frenemy” (come on ladies—we all had/have them) and in explaining why she doesn’t like this girl, she says, “She’s mean, she’s bad at math, she’s terrible at kickball. And…she’s fat.”

Weiner, who calls herself “a size 16 on a good day,” then is forced to have a talk with her “blithe, leggy, honey-blonde daughter,” about using the “f word.” Weiner explains, “I’d spent the nine years since her birth getting ready for this day, the day we’d have to have the conversation about this dreaded, stinging word. I had a well-honed, consoling speech at the ready. I knew exactly what to say to the girl on the receiving end of the taunts and the teasing, but in all of my imaginings, it never once occurred to me that my daughter would be the one who used the F word. Fat.”

Weiner then recounts her own struggles (and shame) with her weight. In reading it, I saw myself. In recalling incidents from her life, I cried. I cried for Jennifer. I cried for every girl who has ever been taunted, mocked or made to feel she’s ugly, unworthy or unlovable. And I cried for myself. But, in truth, I didn’t need to read Jennifer’s accounts of her life. I’ve lived it.

I’ve struggled with my weight for nearly as long as I can remember. And, like Jennifer, I’ve never been at a point in my life when I haven’t been keenly aware of my size. A particular passage of her essay stuck with me:

There are five girls named Jennifer making their way across the Promised Land with my group that summer. “Oh, not the fat Jennifer,” I hear one of my tour mates saying matter-of-factly to another as we hang out by our kibbutz swimming pool, holding his hands out a good foot away from his hips to indicate my girth, “the other one.” So that is me: not the Jennifer who loves to read, or who listens to the Smiths and is the most sought-after babysitter in town. Not the Jennifer on the honor roll, the one who can swim a mile without stopping: the fat one.

I am incandescent with shame, knowing that fat is, by far, the worst thing you can be. Fat is lazy, fat is gross, fat is sloppy…and, worst of all, fat is forever. Michelle has a full-on Frida Kahlo moustache. Kim has terrible skin. But Michelle could wax and Kim could go on Accutane; I am going to be fat—and, hence, undesirable, unlovable, a walking joke—for the rest of my life.

It’s like Jennifer got into my brain, pulling out all of the fears, insecurities, and feelings I had supressed for most of my life. And she nailed it. I’m not Stacey with a killer sense of humor, who loves to read, and listen the Black Keys and Grace Potter and is great at her job. No, those things aren’t important. I’m Stacey—the fat one. That’s the only identifier that matters. And, for a long long LONG time, I believed that.

Jen managed to put down what every girl struggling with her weight is afraid of: I am going to be fat—and, hence, undesirable, unlovable, a walking joke—for the rest of my life.

Continue reading

“You’re tacky and I hate you”

When I was driving home the other day (ugh, that sounds just like the beginning to every horrible story my high school biology teacher, Mr. Mott used to tell us. Except his usually started with “When I was walking to school this morning…” and yes, he walked to school every morning. And yes, there were considerable times I considered running him over with my car.) a radio ad for Pier One came on and I was sufficiently perplexed. (I spent WAY too much time trying to find the audio for it. Next time I hear it, I’ll try and record it.)

Perhaps you’ve heard it. It stars a mom named “Leigh” who is attending some sort of support group. I’m not quite sure the purpose of said support group, but I don’t think the ad people considered the weirdos out there like me that have to dissect everything. So, “Leigh” tells the group that her kids complained that their backyard was boring and they wanted a trampoline. Well, in “Leigh’s” world, there will be no trampoline. I imagine it’s akin to having broken down automobiles, trailers or garden gnomes in the yard (aka the “White Trash Special”). So what does she do to liven up the yard?

Well go to Pier One, of course! To buy new lawn furniture! Because what kid doesn’t want a new outdoor chaise lounge. ESPECIALLY if it comes from Pier One.

Oh wait. I know. EVERY.SINGLE.KID.IN.THE.HISTORY.OF.THE.WORLD.

Except for maybe this one.

When I was growing up, my siblings and I begged our parents for a trampoline (And, yes, we were eventually victorious. We jumped the crap out of that thing.). If they had come home sans trampoline and instead, had new patio furniture, we definitely would have mutinied. And I’m not kidding. When my folks told us we’d likely be moving to Chicago, my brother E got so enraged, he punched a hole in a wall (to be fair he was only 8, but thanks to him, they had to re-wallpaper an entire wall in their two-story foyer. To this day you can tell which wall because the coloring is slightly off). Moral of the story: unless you want your kids going all “Braveheart” on you, if they ask for a trampoline, don’t buy a new patio table and chairs. It won’t go over well.

Unless of course, this is your kid.

 

And in that case, I still wouldn’t spring new outdoor furniture on him. He STILL may mutiny. Especially if your taste runs more Bobby Trendy than Nate Berkus.

“and for just $100,000,000 I can make your house look just like this!” image courtesy of TMZ

long time, no write

I’m alive. I swear. There’s been a lot going on in Casa D (and my life) and I decided to take some time away from the blog.

Basically: I needed a break.

While I’m not entirely ready to explain EVERYTHING, I am ready to talk about some things beyond my usual pop culture rants, top ten lists and dumb-things-that-happen-to-me recollections.

For instance? I’e decided to go back here.

I guess I’m a sadist. Just like Anastasia Steele

But don’t worry. I won’t stray too far from my bread and butter. There are far too many things happening in the world of pop culture for me to ignore. Besides, The Bachelorette started. And that show BEGS to be mocked. And law school will simply add to the amount of dumb things that happen in my life. Seriously. Have you ever met a law student (or worse, a group of law students)? They’re awful (and oftentimes rather stupid) creatures. There are entire blogs (or blawgs, if you will) devoted to the idiocy of law students. [Don’t believe me? Check out my girl, Legally Fab]

I’m taking a summer class taught by one of my favorite human beings (not just law professors) ever, KFO. Barely an hour into the class, I was able to identify the class’s gunner. I’m already trying to figure out a way to tape his mouth shut for the duration of the semester. I whispered to my friend, Pete, today that there is an excellent chance that I will fight this guy by the end of the semester. He agreed the OG (Original Gunna) needs to be stopped. I’ll keep y’all updated.

In other news, Will Smith reminds everyone that he is, in fact, King of Awesome by performing the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song on the Graham Norton Show.

I totally want to be best friends with him.

Dirty (un)Sexy Politics

I was all set to write about Axl Rose’s bizarre letter to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today or maybe the “shocking” exit on American Idol, but then something else happened that I couldn’t resist putting my two cents into. And, warning, it’s political. Again. Can’t help it. These people are bringing it on themselves. (and don’t worry. Axl and Idol are on my ‘to do’ list tomorrow!)

Wednesday evening on Anderson Cooper (an S-Dizzle staple), Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen started a firestorm when she attacked Ann Romney by saying she was out of touch with modern women because she had never worked a day in her life.

Now, although I disagree with Rosen’s comments (seriously? raising 5 boys close in age ISN’T a full time job???), that wasn’t what bothered me.

It was the truly horrific comments that people felt the need to tweet after the whole debacle. (Thanks, Emily for bringing it to my attention).

A sampling of tweets (be aware, there’s some really gross and disgusting language. I’m not condoning and I think it’s deplorable)

SERIOUSLY PEOPLE??

First of all, I can’t think of a scenario when calling a woman a “stupid, ugly, cunt bitch” is appropriate. Secondly, I feel the need to remind everyone this is stemming from comments that Ann Romney didn’t even make! Someone (another woman, in fact) called her out on never having a “real job” and not understanding struggle because she comes from money. This isn’t some case when a candidate’s spouse shot off their mouth. This is the case of a woman being told that because she didn’t have a job outside the home, she couldn’t POSSIBLY understand what other women go through. But that’s not what drives me crazy.

It was the total classless and disgusting reaction of some on twitter. Honestly, how does calling the former First Lady of Massachusetts a worthless bitch add ANYTHING to the debate. Newsflash: it doesn’t. All it does it make you look stupid. And trashy.

At a time when the term “war on women” is being thrown around fast and loose (and as a woman, I’m not exactly sure who my nemesis is supposed to be these days), gross and ineffective “political” (I use the term VERY loosely) statements from the braintrust on twitter make you wonder who the real “enemy” is…and they aren’t Republicans or Democrats.

It’s the idiots on twitter (or Facebook, myspace, blogs…whatever) that are the real problem. It’s the people that call women “cunts”, “bitches” and to “shut your fucking mouth” from the comfort of their homes (more likely their mothers’ basements) without realizing just how destructive it is to refer to a woman—ANY woman— like that. THERE’S your problem. And it doesn’t come with an R or a D after their name. It comes with a @  BEFORE their name (or an anonymous handle like “FearlessWarrior” “HotDude8835” or “LivinInMomsBasement2353”).

I’m alllll about social media. I tweet. I Facebook. I pin. I blog. I foursquare. I’m always looking for the newest trinket or tool in new media. But I’m also all about using social media responsibly and effectively. And throwing around profanities and name-calling for no actual reason is not why social media was invented. Sure, I’ll mock contestants on American Idol. I’ll call Christina Aguilera a fool while watching the Voice. I’ll tweet mean things at Toronto Blue Jays players (come on, they’re from CANADA). But those are in jest and (what I hope) are funny. And I’m 110% sure the phrase “stupid bitch whore cunt” is nowhere to be found in my twittefeed. Mockery of the Real Housewives? Absolutely. Thinly (and not so thinly) veiled insults a the Cleveland Indians (and their opponents)? Without a doubt. But I’m also keenly aware of what I say and how I say it. And I would never cut down another woman for being wealthy or being a stay-at-home mother.

I also have to defend my girl Ann Romney (also referred to as “First Lady Barbie” or “Lovey Howell”…but all with affection!). So she didn’t work outside the home. Big deal. She raised five sons. I’ve babysat for families with TWO boys and I couldn’t wait to go home. I can’t imagine FIVE in the house—and she didn’t have the luxury of “going home.” Also, I have to take issue with statements that Ann Romney doesn’t know struggle. Fact check, people. She’s living with Multiple Sclerosis and is a Breast Cancer survivor. I think that qualifies as a struggle, no? So let’s recap: raised 5 boys while her husband worked (and it’s probably likely he worked insane hours when the boys were little), beat Breast Cancer, lives (and thrives!) with Multiple Sclerosis and made it through two Presidential campaigns. That’s pretty baller (in my opinion).

Regardless of your political opinion on Ann Romney, we can ALL agree to call the geniuses commenting above what they are: bullies. In an age where everyone is concerned about bullying, we shouldn’t just toss the idiots aside with a shrug, going “well that’s politics”—it shouldn’t have to be like that. I’m all for intelligent discussion and debate…but calling a candidate’s wife a “dumb bitch” isn’t exactly breaking a mental sweat, now is it. But it’s easier to hide behind a computer screen and call someone a “heartless whore cunt” than think of something substantial to say.

But I suppose on the opposite end, it IS how the Real Housewives make their living.

“In the future everyone dresses like Katy Perry”

Oh sweet little blog, I have neglected you for FAR too long. And you, my dear readers, I’ve neglected you too. I’m sorry. If I could send you all fountain diet cokes and chocolate chip cookies as “I’m sorry presents”, I totally would. Because, really, is there anything better than fountain diet coke and homemade chocolate chip cookies? I think not.

There’s a LOT going on in my life at the moment and rather than bore y’all with the details, I’m going to gloss over everything. Because, frankly (ugh, I’m starting to sound like Newt Gingrich. Minus the Tiffany’s line of credit. And the megalomania), I’m entirely exhausted of talking about it. But I DO promise a post in the near future explaining everything. I just don’t have it in me right now. Besides, the weather is way too nice to be talking (or even thinking) about depressing things.

The long Easter weekend was just about perfect. I caught up with friends and family in the C-L-E that I hadn’t seen in forever (but there are still many many more that need to be remedied!) and had some much-needed downtime to relax.

Let’s recap.

Thursday was Cleveland Indians Opening Day, which happens to be one of my FAVORITE days of the year. Terry Pluto, one of my all-time favorite writers, wrote an excellent column about the tradition of Opening Day last week that I can’t even begin to sum up. Just click the link and read it, even if you’re not a baseball fan. If you’re a fan of family, traditions, history or have any sort of heart at all, you’ll appreciate it.

Opening Day always makes me think about my family, particularly my siblings and my dad (and by extension, my super-amazing late grandfather). Baseball for us, like many families, is special. It ties us together. Some of my earliest memories are going to baseball games at the old Municipal Stadium with my dad and grandfather. Because I was a picky eater as a kid, my mom ALWAYS packed me a sandwich (I hated hot dogs) and two orange Kool Aid juice boxes. Why two? One for me and one for my grandfather, duh (why I didn’t insist on three is beyond me. Sorry, Dad!). Now, I’m sure the last thing he wanted to drink at the ballpark was orange flavored sugar water and would have MUCH rather preferred a beer (these WERE the 1980s Cleveland Indians. Boozing was required to get through a game), he always humored me and acted like he couldn’t imagine sitting through a baseball game without one. Now that’s true love, people. I wish I had some pictures of the three of us at a game, but, sadly, the best I can do is the memories in my head. Or perhaps draw a picture. I’m very good with stick figures.

This clip from “Field of Dreams” (a Casa D staple growing up) that says it all. Baseball is a constant. It ties generations together. History is respected. There’s a reason on Opening Day you see so many families sitting together, three (or more!) generations laughing (usually at the Tribe’s expense) and cheering. I know one day if I ever have children, I’ll be taking them down to Jacobs Field (whatever, it’ll never be Progressive Field to me), each April, molding them into the sad little creatures the rest of the world knows as “The Cleveland Sports Fan”

Thursday also meant dinner with m’bestie, Sarah (or Kres, or Mama-to-be. She answers to them all). We hit up Angelo’s Pizza in Lakewood for a much needed catch-up session and some yummy margarita pizza. If you haven’t been there before (and live in the CLE), I highly suggest going. The dining area is quite small and fills up quickly in the evenings, but no worries. They do take out and delivery.

And, on Saturday, I FINALLY got to see THIS with my friend, Rachel.

I was so excited and so spastic about FINALLY getting to see Katniss and Peeta (and Cinna! Heart you so bad, Lenny Kravitz), I knocked my diet coke into my purse. So for the remainder of the day, I walked around with wet handbag that also smelled like diet coke. But it didn’t matter. I was too pumped about the movie to care.

I normally don’t get this excited for books-turning-into-movies (the Winona Ryder “Little Women” is an exception. I think I talked about seeing that movie for six months until it came out and my mother was forced to take me—and sit with me while I cried my little eyes out). We’ve already discussed my hatred for all things “Twilight” and I’m not huge on Nicholas Sparks/John Grisham/Whatever-Chick-Lit-Is-Being-Optioned-Today. That’s not to say I don’t like reading those books (with the exception of Nicholas Sparks. I can read one of his books and feel like I’ve read them all). I do. I might make an exception if my girl Jen Lancaster ever options one of her books into a movie. But normally, I’m a book girl. Always have been, always will be.

But, “The Hunger Games” won me over. And I’m happy to report Rach and I were NOT the oldest people in the movie theater.

However, we WERE the snarkiest. We can’t help it. It just happens. It’s innate in us. We BREATHE snark.

Not ten minutes into the movie, Rachel leans over to me and whispers (in a scary, futuristic voice) “In the future, everyone dresses like Katy Perry.” (if you’ve seen the movie—or even previews—you’ll notice that most of the people in it look like extras from a Katy Perry video or, at very least, like they’ve raided Lady Gaga’s closet).

I laughed so hard, I choked on my popcorn.

I’m sure we annoyed everyone else sitting around us with our running commentary: “Think that kid will turn into a werewolf now?” “Ohh, I wonder where Lenny got his gold eyeliner. I wonder if the girls at Sephora can help me later” and “There should definitely be an ‘Avengers’ type movie with Katniss, Peeta, Edward Cullen and Bella. And the ‘Babysitters Club’ can show up too. You know, to get our generation into it” (I should preface by saying that Rach and I have long ago said goodbye to our teenage years).

Sadly, I would definitely watch a ‘Babysitters Club Hunger Games” (No doubt Kristy Thomas would win. She’s a cutthroat bi-oytch, that one).

Easter was lovely. Lots of food and family. My mom, sister and cousins made my Aunt Carol a scrapbook (like the one we made for my grandmother) and we FINALLY finished it on Saturday. We were so pumped to give it to her and, no surprise, she loved it. Being away from family really makes you appreciate the time you do have.

So that’s it. I have to catch up on tonight’s episode of “The Voice” (Tony Lucca better be safe, or I’m blaming Christina Aguilera. But, whatever, I’d blame her for something else).

misadventures with the United States Post Office

It’s no secret I’m not a fan of the Post Office. In fact, on most days, I rather loathe it. Last Saturday’s fiasco with the Arlington branch(es) only fueled my hate-fire (is that a word? If it isn’t, it should be. I’m submitting it to Webster’s next year) of the USPS.

Since moving to DC, I’ve been incredibly homesick. Despite having friends in the area (whom I don’t get to see often because I work so much), it’s been a pretty lonely experience. There have been a few occasions when all I’ve wanted to do is hope in my car and drive the 6 hours to Cleveland to crash on my parents’ couch with my dog.

But I haven’t. Mostly because there’s so much to do with work…but also because just the thought of driving for 6 hours makes me sleepy.

My poor parents have shouldered the brunt of my homesickness-meltdowns (Hi, guys. Thanks for not hanging up on me.) and I’m sure have rolled their eyes when they see its me calling for another round of “Guess Why I’m Crying Today?”

But instead of changing their phone numbers, they sent me a care package from the C-L-E (seriously, how great are they? I definitely don’t deserve them). When I got home from my pal Leah’s farewell fiesta last Friday, I saw the ‘sorry we missed you, you have a package’ card. My mom sent it certified, mainly because she’s afraid someone will steal my mail.

I stopped by the post office near my house first thing on Saturday morning. I handed the card to the super helpful bureaucrat who looked like she would rather be 100 other places, including the dentist. She took one look at the card and promptly told me she couldn’t help me.

“But I live two blocks from here!” I cried. “This is my post office!”

She (super)helpfully pointed to the address on the card. “This says you have to go to the Jackson Avenue branch. We don’t have it here.”

I again tried to tell her that even though I just moved here, I was pretty sure my package would be at the branch closest to my house.

SHB (Super Helpful Bureaucrat) essentially rolled her eyes and said I needed to go to the other post office. I sighed, but acquiesced. I wanted whatever was in the care package and was not about to wait until Tuesday for it (since Monday would be President’s Day = no mail service). I hop in my car, plug in the address to the GPS and see that it’s not TOO far from me.

This is when things got weird(er).  Continue reading

update update update

I PROMISE, you guys, that I’ll start writing again regularly. I know it’s no excuse (but really, it is!), but things have been absolutely crazy the past few weeks. Between accepting what, for all intents and purposes, is my dream job (no really, it is) to moving out-of-state and then STARTING said dream job all in a very short period, my stress level has increased exponentially.

But it’s really good, really amazing stress.

Moving was not as horrible as I thought it would be. It was horrible, yes, but by definition, moving is horrible. I was pretty weepy (read: VERY weepy) the week between looking for a place in DC and MOVING to DC. I had dinner with my pregnant BFF and I don’t know who was more teary-eyed—her or me.

In the two weeks since being here, my life has been a complete whirlwind. I’m loving every minute of it (including the ‘up all night’ editing parties the editor and I have had!) and have gotten to meet some really wonderful people. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m doing exactly what I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid. I have to pinch myself at least twice a day to make sure it’s all actually real.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not homesick. Ohio will always have my heart, mostly because my family and lots of close friends are there. It kills me that I’m missing out on watching my sister try and housetrain her new puppy, missing all of the baby-related stuff with Sarah, and a myriad of other family/friend related things.

But what hurts the most is not being there when someone passes away.

This past week a very dear college friend’s mother passed away and I wasn’t able to be there for her. She’s going through so much right now and handling it with such strength. She gives new meaning to the phrase “Grace Under Fire.” I adored her mother and was so sad to hear of her death. All I wanted was to hop in the car and be there for my friend and her family. However, with my publication’s launch tomorrow, it just wasn’t possible.

That brings me to this morning. I found out my great Aunt Hanna passed away last night. She was the last living sibling of my grandfather’s (who passed away 10 years ago tomorrow), so her death really feels like the closing of a very big chapter in my family’s history. I’m sure that she was welcomed into heaven with open arms and lots of smiles and hugs last night, but it doesn’t make it any less sad. I have nothing but lovely memories of her: even when she fell ill toward the end of her life, I still always pictured her as a blonde dynamo, flitting about, giving the best hugs, and being the first one on the dance floor at ANY family function. I’ll remember her laughter, her great sense of humor, and her fierce love of her family. I was so blessed to know her and be a part of her family. The world is little less lovely today without her in it.

That’s the worst part about living away from your family (especially if you have a close knit family like mine): times when you just want to be home, sleeping in your old bed & wishing the big bad world would go away, you’re hundreds of miles away. I don’t care how old you are, sometimes all you want is your mom. And today, I just want mine.

To be fair, my parents were in town this past weekend (where they witnessed the de-Occupation of McPherson Square. It definitely deserves a separate post), so I’m really just being selfish. But today, really, all I want is my mom.

I didn’t mean this to be such a downer post, but I definitely wanted to get something up today. Promise the next post will be MUCH lighter.