Thursday, September 5, 2019

Old Schooling Kicking the Guilt

Anyone not feel the pressure to be "perfect"?

I'm asking because I just saw a friend post about the pressures of feeling like they have to appear to be the perfect mom. She was saying that seeing all the back to school, 1st day photos, on social media, she wondered how many didn't post pics because of a myriad of reasons. Reasons like no time, intimidation over seeing all the perfect chalkboard signs, all the way to having lost a child.

I saw this post after I'd already seen/heard a similar clip on Hoda & Jenna, since my typical Wendy watching has not commenced in a new season yet. They had some lady on who has ten kids and wrote a book about parenting or something, saying you have to take time for yourself. Natalie Morales or someone else co-hosting today asked - "What about the mom guilt you get for taking time for yourself?" I turned it off. I wasn't triggered by this segment. I didn't feel commiseration. I was just bored. I didn't feel like listening to a whole segment about mom guilt that I don't have.

I just don't get it. I guess if you had perfect parents and you don't feel like you're measuring up to the parenting you received? Even then, do you feel like you have no issues? Can you honestly say your upbringing was so awesomely perfect that you have no issues? No. Everyone has issues. And some HAVE to be directly or indirectly related to how you were parented. Even if it's just that their perfection made you less confident in your own abilities.

Part of this conversation is that social media must be making moms feel like they need to be perfect. Make signs, put first day of school glitter around the house (Thanks M for putting that on my radar), make braids, crowns, etc. If social media is making you feel less than, I think it's time to call a therapist. Or get off social media. It's been said that people feel bad about themselves because no one is posting their "bad days" or their non perfect moments.

WHO IS BELIEVING THAT ANYONE'S LIFE IS AS PERFECT AS WHAT IS SHOWN ON SOCIAL MEDIA?? Do people really believe that anyone's life is perfect all the time? Or that their posts are representative of their daily life? I didn't even know this train of thought was a thing. Someone else's "perfect" isn't even my definition of perfect. I see people's vacations and I'm more apt to think- "I'd rather poke my eyes out with cocktail forks than go there/do that".

I've never looked at someone's perfect anything and felt like I should be doing that or I'm somehow a "bad mom" for not doing the same. The only perfection going on in my house, that *I* care about, is my perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I showcase my frozen treasure chest of pb&j every year for the start of school. Really, that is just a life hack I'm sharing that seems to be enjoyed by all. If you feel bad about my freezer stash though, by all means, hide me or unfriend me.

I don't know if confidence is nature or nurture, or both. My parents barely parented and I seem to have been born then with immense confidence. Or I got it from being barely parented and having to fend for myself. Someone else with that kind of benign neglect could or would be all kinds of messed up or maybe just would have a lack of confidence.

All I know is that when I hear about the mom guilt thing, I just don't get it. We're all doing what we have to do. Or want to do. Most of the kids I know are living in middle to upper middle class existences. They have food, shelter, clean water. Not only do they have clean clothes, they have name brand clothes. New backpacks. All their school supplies. They are in one to many extracurricular activities. Their families have a vehicle or two. They go on vacations. A parent walks or drives their kids to school. Some even take their kids out for lunch. They go to restaurants. They go to the park, the town pool, the library, the movies, and amusement parks. I'm not IN their homes, but I'm pretty sure they hug, kiss, and tell their kids they love them.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE??? WHAT AM I MISSING??? Why do we need some lady's book to tell us to take time for ourselves?? I KNOW for a fact that Rita felt no guilt about laying in the pool, naked, with a Tab and cigarette. Or watching Ryan's Hope, then Days of Our Lives and Another World, then maybe doing an errand, only to pretend to look busy when my father eventually walked through the door.

We were all whole people before we had kids. We all had interests, dreams, wants, needs, etc. You don't lose all that just because you became a parent. It's not selfish to continue being a whole person. Kids grow up and leave. If you become half a person for all the years they're in the house, it's going to be really hard to find the other half once they're gone!

You go to the gym. You tell your kids to get off electronics. You hand them an iPad to get them to shut the everloving fcuk up so you can just think for a damned minute. You hide in the bathroom for thirty minutes to read US Weekly. You can't be the class mom. Like me, YOU DON'T WANT TO BE THE CLASS MOM. You can't make a school concert here and there because it's during work. You work. You tell them they can't have candy for breakfast. You give them Pop Tarts for breakfast. You forget to pack a lunch :::raises hand for 3x being called from school for that::: You're late to drop off or pick up. You forget a birthday party. You make a sign for the 1st day and annoy them with photos. You forget to make one. You don't have time for a sign or pictures.

There's always going to be a reason your kids are pissed at you. Or think you're the best. There are going to be periods of time- most likely the teen years- that they hate you no matter what you do. You could be perfect, and it wouldn't matter! I've always said that it will the the things you think you did correctly that they'll be in therapy over later.

Mom guilt is useless because you can't control what your kids are going to take away from your parenting. It's often the things you feel guilty about that they perceive in a positive way later on. You feel guilt about having to work- they tell you as an adult they got their work ethic from you. On and on. Then you can feel guilt about all the time you wasted feeling guilty.

Your kids only knows what "normal" is in YOUR house. If they ask you why you're not volunteering in the library, there's nothing wrong with telling them that you don't want to, you work, that school is their domain and you want to keep your worlds separate like church and state. Whatever your reason is- IT'S GOOD ENOUGH. If your kid doesn't like a rule or the way things are- there's nothing wrong with telling them to get new parents. Old school. And there's nothing wrong with not feeling bad about it.

Perfect Sandwiches

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Another Maine Event

I didn't realize I hadn't written since May. Well, I knew it had been a long time, but I didn't really know how long. I wouldn't say I'm over it, but I just don't have the time or urge to do a lot of things I used to do. I used to love magazines. Now I have a stack sitting, at least a year's worth, that I think I'll get to, but know I really won't. I don't know what's going on in most pop culture, true crime, etc. I'm thinking I'm better off for not knowing a lot of what's going on in the world these days anyway.

However, I do know what's going on in my real life. One of those things, the biggest thing actually, is that E went to sleepaway camp, Camp Wekeela, in Maine for seven weeks. He left June twenty-second.

I'll tell you this first- as a parent of kid leaving for camp, for that long, you make all these grand plans in your head of menial, boring household tasks you're going to get done. Yeah, that doesn't happen. Maybe it happens for some people, but it certainly has NOT happened over at the D-K house. Granted, we had a water heater explode a mere week prior to E's departure, so our household tasks are to be more involved than the average person with no ripped apart basement. I thought I'd organize a lot of stuff and B probably thought he'd do stuff on the outside. Nope. I've done a lot of meeting my friend A at the town pool and walking with B. B joined a gym that he's actually been in attendance.

Back to camp. E was a mature and confident kid to begin with. After seeing him this past weekend at visiting day, I can tell he's gained even more maturity, confidence, and independence. Apparently, he's like a rockstar there. Not just with his music- although he did get up in front of like 500 people or more there his second night and play his guitar and sang original songs. But everyone knows him. People that don't even have direct daily contact with him. Now, that's a testament to the camp, that they really make sure to get to know each and every kid, but also that's E's personality. To make himself known. 

B didn't think he was going to write. He has written a decent amount. I have the ability to write to him via email. The email goes to the office. They print it out, put it with the bunk mail with a blank piece of paper to write back. If he writes back, they scan it and email it to me (only one email address allowed because I imagine this is an arduous task with much paper and scanning). This is how I've kept in touch with him. He likes me to write daily and he answers about 50% of the time. His letters have been pretty comprehensive and thoughtful. I've really been enjoying this exercise in letter exchange with him. I'm fairly certain most people don't send much in the way of snail mail letters so this is a lost art he's learning to use. Like talking on the telephone versus texting.

E is big on rituals, which camp has plenty of, on a daily basis. Things they do, chants, songs, gatherings. I will bet that he will say those rituals were some of his favorite things he'll remember from his first year at sleepaway camp. We got to see some of those rituals in action while we were there, which was pretty cool.

I also want to talk a little about the people we came in contact with. When you're sending a kid to sleepaway camp these days, you know you're dealing with a hefty bill. There's a real worry about the caliber of people you're sending your kid with.  I have always had certain preconceived notions about the kind of kids he'd be with if he went to sleepaway camp- extreme wealth and spoiled kids. I knew after visiting last year, it didn't see like kids were wearing wealth on their literal sleeves, but that was a weekend and you never know.

Sending him to Maine instead of just outside the NYC metro area, I knew I was taking some of that out of the equation. But I didn't know how much. I knew there would be no bunk gifts, tipping of staff, or food allowed, so I was confident it wouldn't be like some of horror stories I'd heard previously, but I have never experienced a visiting day at sleepaway as a kid, counselor, or parent, so I really had no idea what I was in for in any capacity.

This was exactly as I was told it would be. No flaunting of wealth. No gifting. I actually didn't even notice any fancy cars. I'm sure there were some "higher end", but certainly no Rolls Royce or Bentley. None of the parents even looked affected, as I've seen even at the local day camp E attended prior to coming to Wekeela. Everyone looked down to earth and dressed camp appropriate.

The camp is rustic. It looks exactly what camp should look like. Feel like. It looks like kids have fun and get dirty. Where campfires are made and s'mores eaten. The counselors are warm and you could tell they have made strong bonds with their campers. I have a photo (included below) of two of E's counselors consoling him on visiting day. He was fine, he saw us, then lost it. I'm sure no one expected that from him since I doubt he'd shown any homesickness prior, but visiting day is emotional- especially when you haven't seen your parents in three and half weeks.

E was made for camp, but he's barely been away from us overnight in his ten years. Parents don't seem to do sleepovers like they did when I was a kid. Truthfully, during the school year, E is way too busy for them. He usually has acting class in NYC on Saturdays that we leave home for early in the morning. Sundays he has swim practice or a swim meet. It just isn't ideal for him to sleep out or to have kids sleep over because you know they aren't sleeping. He needs his sleep for his activities.

Sleepaway camp is really his first opportunity to be away from us on a consistent basis. Thrown right in, seven weeks to start. That's a lot for even a confident, outgoing kid who has never really been away from his parents. His counselors and bunkmates were right there for him in that moment to make that moment easier. That moment of emotion was a blip on the radar though. You can tell he's having an awesome time from the pictures I see, the letters I get, and the stories he told us when we saw him. He certainly hasn't changed his chatty demeanor.

What I love about Wekeela is that it isn't gender specific when it comes to activities. The girls and boys interact for many of the activities and the kids can choose what they want to do. I didn't realize that at day camp, they seemed to have very specific activities that were just boy or just girl. I'd ask E if he did art or dance and he said he wasn't allowed because those were for the girls.

At Wekeela, he got to be in the play and if he wants to do art or dance or anything else, he has the opportunity to do that. He's athletic, but not so into organized sports. If he had to just play sports, he'd be bored and miserable. He likes to play, but more casually, less organized. Meaning, he's not that interested in learning the rules of a game. He just wants to play around. He said he is learning to "knee board" which is something I wouldn't have known about outside of getting this opportunity at camp. I've seen photos of archery, cooking, dancing, dressing up, and more. I love that there seems to be a lot of variety.

I was lucky to have known Lori and Ephram prior to choosing a camp, so I already felt comfortable sending him there. However, I know, this was the best place for him and the best gift we could give him as parents. There are so few and rare opportunities these days where kids can and have to be completely unplugged from personal technology, video games, and social media. Also, where they gain total independence from parents and family. They get to learn how to live with different personalities, people of different backgrounds, different cultures, and from all over the US and outside of this country. Many of the campers and staff are from all over the globe. There is only so much you can teach your kid about other people without them getting to live it in person. Even if E never goes away to college, because who knows what the future holds for him, he will have had a mini college experience of living away that he will help shape him as an adult. There will be memories and bonds he'll hold on to forever.

Then there are just the typical teaching/learning moments they get for day to day living without a nagging parent. Like, but not limited to, figuring out how to match your clothes, remember to put on deodorant, and that when mom sends many shirts and shorts, you're supposed to wear something different and clean on the daily. 

That's why when people who don't understand the whole concept of sleepaway camp, and say, "I can't believe you send your kid away for seven weeks...*I* could never...", my standard answer is- "It's not about ME. It's about HIM". This has been ALL about him. His opportunities, his development as a human, his connections, his bonding, his activities, his maturing, his growing up and his new experiences. He will come back a more well rounded kid with A LOT of new things and people to talk about.

I just really wanted him to see and experience that there is a world out there outside of his parents, friends, and Glen Rock. While I feel B and I are awesome, as are his friends, and our town, it's a bubble. Now that he's had this freedom, and has had to make his own decisions for minutiae, hopefully that will translate at home.

He has about three weeks left and and I feel like this has been a fully positive experience that I wish I had done myself. I was stupid- I thought I'd miss stuff with my friends at home. Little did I know what I was missing at camp. I can't thank Lori, Ephram, and all their staff enough for taking care of our kid so well, loving him, and giving him the best summer of his life.

He's also read like seven books apparently on the Kindle my friend Julie sent him. That's seven more books than last summer, so I'm thrilled! It seems like if other kids are reading, I guess he'll read! Good to know. Hopefully that's the case with eating as well....

**First time campers of any age are allowed to do a Rookie session, which is two weeks. Or they can opt for just one session- 1st or 2nd. We're just "go big or go home" kind of people. We knew he'd love it and want to stay and we were correct!**

For more info on Wekeela:

About to perform during lunch on Visiting Day

Pinocchio in Shrek

Being consoled by counselors & friends after seeing his parents roll in for visiting day!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Creative Den

I visited a local businesses recently and I wanted to make sure people are more aware it exists and what they do there. I didn't know what they do there and my own store is just down the street. Granted, I don't get out much, but still.
E was asked to play guitar and sing for some kind of "1st Friday" thing someone organized. Honestly, I really have no idea what the story is, who is in charge, etc. I think it's something like music and specials at downtown businesses the first Friday of the month.

E's spot to play was in front of the new-ish storefront, Creative Den. I met Tara McKee, the owner (with her husband), who is lovely and had her explain to me what goes on there. I knew it had something to do with art but I had no idea what.

They actually do a few things. They sell local artisans work. From soap to jewelry to oil & vinegar to actual wall art, pottery, metalwork, stationary and more. It's really cool. I have seen stores like this in Red Bank and Nyack, so it's pretty neat to have one in a downtown like ours, which isn't typically "bohemian" like those places.

What's really cool is they have space in the back to do classes, for people to work on their own creative endeavors independently or with a group, AND they have a commercial kitchen that can be rented out. I guess if you wanted to have a cooking class or if you are making large scale orders you can't or aren't legally allowed to make in your house.

I love flavored balsamic vinegar and they had a local person's there for taste testing the night I was there. Now, I have another one I know of and like in my arsenal. I used to try to chase around this one brand I'd found at a local street fair, but most of the time I'd have to order it from California and the shipping was a killer. Plus, I like to buy local if I can!

Creative Den is just a really interesting place where you can get a wide range of unique gifts too. I like a gift card myself most of the time, but other people like to give and receive something more personal and unique. This is the place to find something, especially for the person in your life who has everything.

These are all locally made items in the store area. So don't think you're going in, checking out the stuff, and then trying to get it cheaper online, made in China. Like in my store, it's all about the quality, and that's not how it works. You want the stuff in there, you buy it IN there and shop local. 

If you have questions, just go see Tara. She's extremely friendly and welcoming. 

Creative Den
216 Rock Road
Glen Rock, NJ 07452

Store Hours:

Tuesday-Friday 10am-6pm
Saturday 10am-5pm
Tel (201) 882-1422

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Branding Time

I'd like to shout out a local business. It is Branding Time in Midland Park. For the past six months or so, I'd been gathering all the clothing E is going to need for seven weeks of sleepaway camp. It's a lot of stuff. Whether or not he opts to wear the same clothes every day, there is still a packing list, and a certain number of camp logo clothes they need. They have to wear them on "field trips" and they just like to wear them for camp spirit. It's like college gear. The killer is, for "official" camp stuff, there is one company that seems to have the monopoly on it. AND IT'S HELLA EXPENSIVE. At least for me. I can't pay $25 a piece for four pair of shorts. I bought half the stuff I needed from the contracted company, but still needed the other things.

I get that chances are, if you're sending your kid to sleepaway for seven weeks, that in itself prices people out. So if you can send your kid, you can probably afford all the logo gear. Yeah, I'm not one of those people. I am working a second job and every penny goes to the tuition for camp. And it's not just clothes, there are other things to buy. It's like sending a kid to college. Even the "soft trunk" is anywhere from $70-$130. It adds up.

I thought, what if I just buy plain, no logo clothes, little buy little, on Facebook marketplace, or other secondhand venues, and see if someone could put a simple logo on for me. Not any of the complicated designs, but just the name. The shorts I got from the real company just have the name on the bottom of one leg.

I managed to eventually amass all items I need from here and there. Every week when I'd go to drive one of E's friends home to Ridgewood after a class, I'd pass Branding Time in Midland Park. One day I went in and spoke to the owner.

He's a small operation doing big jobs. It looks like he does a ton of sporting uniforms, company logo items, and whatever else I guess you'd need. He does the thermal printing and embroidery. I needed the thermal.

I explained to him what I needed, and explained why. That I was trying to save money. I'd need him to take my own clothes and add a logo. I showed him what I needed and told me it was no problem. I just couldn't have it in like a day or two because he didn't have the colors I needed. He was waiting on more. I didn't even know such a fast turn around was possible. Apparently, if he had the colors there, it would've been. Instead they were done in like a week or so. It's not like I needed them quicker so it was fine by me.

What he charged me saved me a lot of money and now I have all the required items. It's a relief for me, and now E's stuff will be a little unique because all the items aren't the brands they use at camp. I like this because my son is prone to losing things. This way, we'd know immediately if something was his or not and I'm assuming another parent would too if it ended up with their kid. 

I highly recommend them for your personalization needs.

Branding Time
251 Godwin Ave
Midland Park, NJ 07432
(201) 689-0700

No website. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

War On Women

I know people who read this blog expect me to write about what's going on in the country. You know, the war on women. Also, woman on woman crime- I'm looking at you Kay Ivey. Maybe I'm expected to start yelling in here. Start crying. Begging. I just can't. I don't have it in me to go into a whole thing. I'm only posting this because I feel like I have to say SOMETHING. Otherwise, it's seems like I don't care or I don't have an opinion. I have plenty of opinions. I have a hate cape with a mile long train. I already had to mute The View, which I had on at work, because Meghan McCain's big mouth on abortion was about to have me chucking the whole tv right out the front door. However, that would only hurt me, since small tv's are a rarity and Meghan's ultra annoying, ultra privileged, ultra WRONG commentary is only a small portion of my day.

I don't know what to say. I assume the people who read me, like what I have to say. I'm not Howard Stern- no one is hate-reading to see if I have anything shocking to put out there. I have to think that what I say is preaching to the choir. You can't seem to change people's minds about abortion. Except of course, if you're a GOP politician with a pregnant mistress. Or, if something tragic in that realm happens to you or someone you love, where abortion seems like the only logical answer.

I've heard the response, "If my daughter was raped, I'd raise the baby!". I'm confused and really saddened by that though. While that's a nice sentiment, what if the daughter is a tween? Like, the eleven year old that is a victim of rape and maybe with a side of incest. Or fourteen, fifteen... You'd raise the baby, sure. But you're going to also force your daughter to go through the trauma of child birth? I wonder if that entered her mind. I birthed a human. It was a "picture perfect, textbook birth". Yet, it was still traumatic AF on my thirty-four year old body. Just ask my husband who had to hear about it and deal with it for months after. How are we supposed to expect old white men to advocate for women when we're not willing to do it for ourselves and our daughters??

I can't imagine making a raped kid also go through pregnancy and then child birth. And then have their mom raise their baby. To me, that sounds like a giant punishment for something they didn't do or choose. Women are still dying in child birth in this country. I wonder if an eleven or twelve year old even makes it out of a birth alive.

Not to mention how traumatic it would be to have this baby in your home as a reminder, being raised by someone other than them. They get their whole first baby thing taken away from them. So add that to list of traumatic parts to an already traumatic situation. 

And you all know this isn't even about abortion. It's about women being vessels of childbirth. It's about keeping women barefoot and pregnant, and in the kitchen (for good measure). It's about control. Keeping women out of the work force. Keeping women from having autonomy over their own bodies.

Just know, the word or term "pro-life" doesn't exist. It's anti-abortion. Anti-women. Most of all, it's PRO-BIRTH. None of these people care what happens to the fetus once it's an outside baby. None of them want to fund programs to help kids born to mothers who didn't want to be or didn't choose to be mothers. If you think adoption is the be-all, end-all of answers just means that you come from a place of extreme privilege that allows you to think that. Just look at the completely broken foster care system in this country, PACKED with unwanted, abused, neglected, and delinquent kids. Kids were not adopted. When pro-birthers figure out what to do with and about them, and actually put those ideas into play with success, then come talk to me about criminalizing abortion.

Until then, looking at you Ms McCain, shut it. "Late term abortion" isn't "black and white", like you barked at Amy Klobuchar on The View today. For someone who is so damned loud and a bigger know it all than me, I'd think you'd educate yourself on how these archaic and extreme laws affect people in all shades of gray.

I encourage everyone to watch the documentary Foster if you're curious how it's going in the Foster care system.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

RIP Luke Perry

I really wanted to write something about the passing of Luke Perry, but I didn't have time yesterday. I also just was obsessed with any news about it. I tried to listen to Howard Stern's tribute to him but B was hogging the Sirius. I kept getting knocked off because he was listening at work and I was trying to listen at home. I'll have to catch it sometime this week. They actually replayed an episode when Luke came into Howard's studio in the 90's and I caught that in the car yesterday afternoon.

It's not like I knew the guy, but I saw this meme on social media:

And we're not okay. Even my high school boyfriend wrote me a message on Facebook just because I think we were all in shock and Luke Perry was part of a phenomenon I don't think we've seen since.  I'm pretty sure there hasn't been a tv show that was so insta-big, that widespread, that impactful, since. I don't know anyone my age that hears that opening and doesn't do the fist punch. You know what I'm talking about.

I'm sure there are many people who have written why we're all so devastated by this loss like we knew the guy but here's my view. 

Luke Perry was older than me by eight years. But to me, he will always be Dylan McKay and we were juniors and seniors in high school at the same time. I think they technically graduated in 1993 but I think they left them back a year since no one watched the first season when it was on. I think they did junior year twice. 

All I know is that we all went through the end of high school together. I remember being a senior and watching it in my boyfriend's college dorm room. I think that was the episode that Scott killed himself by accident with his father's gun. I remember putting posters up of Dylan and Brandon in my room at my parent's house and then in my freshman year college dorm room. If I look, I bet I can find a photo from freshman year with those in the background up next to the mirror on the door. 

It was also on for TEN years!! And most of us in this age group probably hung on until the end. So we all went through Donna Martin Graduates! to California University and the Condor, to first jobs and careers, and of course romances and bromances. 

Of course there are times it felt silly and contrived. I'm sure people have different ideas of when it may have Jumped the Shark (Luke Perry actually cited to Stern that it was when Suzanne and her husband tried to steal his money as his JTS moment), but it was a constant and we were all invested in Team Brenda or Team Kelly. 

As I'm sitting here writing this, I haven't seen old episodes since SoapNet went off the air in December 2013 (I'm still upset about that), but I can still list probably fifty episodes or at least fifty scenarios that happened to the gang over the years. I'm picturing Dylan and Brenda going to Baha and getting stopped at customs on the way back. Donna being stalked. Kelly being sexually harassed by her boss. Emily Valentine giving Brandon drugs. Brenda pretending to be French. David on drugs. Andrea having an affair on Jessie. Dylan's wife getting shot by her own father. Noah, Claire, Tracy. On and on and on. 

Every time I enter a bodega in the city, I still resist the urge to ask the guy behind the counter for an egg.

I think we're all in such mourning, besides how young he was (52), is also because he seems to have been a genuinely great man. We live in a world with a twenty-four hour news cycle and celebrities who die with regularity. But if I had to guess, more often than not, when a musician or celebrity has died in recent years, it's been from a drug overdose or something with some negative connotation to it. It's not usually a freak thing from something as simple as a stroke. There is no negativity surrounding this death, besides that he died. He didn't have a secret life, found in a hotel room with hookers and blow. He didn't shove methamphetamine up his butt. He didn't commit suicide. No one having public opinions on poor life decisions leading to death. He just died, out of the blue, and it rocked our world. 

We grew up together. It's like finding out your unrequited high school crush that you had on a pedestal all these years, died tragically, out of the blue.

Because of social media and people's need to put every thought in their head out there, usually, you see negative things written by some people about the recently deceased actor/celebrity/musician. Not Luke Perry. The outpouring of love and support and amazing things written about him is staggering. It also seems like he knew EVERYONE. He touched SO many lives in a positive way. Watching Kelly Ripa break down on her show was gut wrenching. Seeing so many people mourn him in a positive way, if that makes sense, just made it all even harder to take.

Dylan McKay was a huge part of my life. I didn't see him on OZ and I don't watch Riverdale. Luke Perry will always be Dylan McKay to me. Hearing the original characters were coming back for some sort of reboot was the best news I'd heard in all of reboot news history.  I posted "OMFG" with the announcement on my Facebook page. And funny enough, my post tagged Gabrielle Carteris (Andrea) and all my friends just wanted to know how I know her. For the record- I don't know how we're Facebook friends but I'm keeping her!! My Facebook friends went crazy because our nostalgia button was hit hard, in a great way, with that news. Only to be punched in the gut within hours.

The original Beverly Hills 90210 brings us back to a time we'll never have again. The internet, streaming, and devices has changed the way we watch television forever, and not necessarily in a positive way. I know a freshman in college who was having a hard time making friends in college. I said can't you just leave your door open and your tv on- Invite people in to watch The Bachelor or something. She looked at me like I had ten heads because- she doesn't even HAVE A TV. They don't watch tv in a communal way like we all did. 

I remember having a thirteen inch tv with a rabbit ear antenna in my dorm room. People on my dorm floor would just walk in to watch 90210 and Melrose Place. Now college students are all solitary, watching streaming shows, alone, on their iPad. We all watched together in my sorority house. There's nothing like that kind of community now. Even if they did get together, they'd all be on their phones anyway, only half paying attention and not discussing the show with each other. It was a simpler time where we all paid attention to the show we were watching because we had nothing else to do. Nothing else to divert our attention.

Losing Luke Perry as Dylan McKay means there's no possibility of a Dylan/Brenda reconnection or Dylan/Kelly if that's what team you were on. In our heads, especially hearing of the reboot, we all had that excitement that Luke would sign on or at least guest star. A piece of our childhood, our teen years is gone forever, way too soon. 


Monday, February 11, 2019

Doesn't Grow on Trees

I don't know if this is about money, common sense, both, or more. I just had an exchange that boggles my mind, so I have to get it out of my system.

I'm at work. I'm working with a semi-tough customer. I'm in retail sales, so that's something I'm used to dealing with. Tough customers are just part of the job. I can handle that.

What I can't handle is solicitation. Not prostitute kind of solicitation, but coming in and asking for money. I don't care what it's for- profit, non-profit, or schools. We have a sign on the door that says, "No Solicitation", yet, it's always ignored.

Not to mention that it's never good to be coming in, ignoring the no solicitation sign, and ask for money while I'm working with a customer. We have glass windows and a glass door. Maybe see if we're working with someone and decide it's probably not a great time? Maybe that's just me. 

I get that people have a job to do, whether it's to sell sporting event tickets, get you to change to Verizon for phone and internet, or to advertise or give something for school events. In the for profit sector, I get that they're just going to go into any business, not considering the fact that they're going into small, most likely struggling businesses, to sell their stuff. The same way we're selling ours, they're selling theirs. I think it's the school thing that irks me more. There's some kind of assumption that we're made of money. They have to know with six public schools - four elementary, a middle and high school, a Catholic school, and numerous preschools, we get hit up for every tricky tray, casino night, graduation event, etc. That's without including neighboring town school events. Plus, sport events, like travel baseball and travel everything (which our kid doesn't even play). We're asked to either give gift certificates or advertise in some kind of program.

No one wants to be the jerk who doesn't support the schools. If we had tons of money, we'd support them all. Gift certificates and advertising for everyone! You get a gift card and YOU GET A GIFT CARD- you know, Oprah-style.

Today, I could tell the person who came in was offended. She said something under her breath as she walked out. While I had my customer here, she said something.

I'm going to partially blame this on B. I told her B wasn't here and he deals with this. She said she spoke to him and he told her that I deal with it. I totally get why he'd do that- neither of us want to deal with it. We DO feel bad having to decline. I got thrown by it, because I couldn't push it off on him, and I had to finish with my client. The person asking for money clearly only wanted to hear the word yes though, and I got annoyed that.

She was explaining what the cause was and how we'd be advertising within our town and a neighboring town. I was just looking at her. She stopped, I presume, waiting for me to say yes.

We have a very small advertising budget. We stopped most of our paid advertising because it's too expensive. The people who would be looking at this particular advertising are NOT OUR DEMOGRAPHIC. Not even close. If a senior (not in high school, but 65+), asked us for something that was going to go out to all seniors, a senior community, or a senior community center, we'd blow any money we had on those advertisements. THAT, is our demographic. These programs that go to K-12 parents do nothing for us. We might as well set the money on fire. I got a program at the high school play the other night and I didn't even look at what businesses advertised.

Go to kid-centric businesses if you have to hit up small businesses! If you want someone to advertise, use your head as to their demographic! We have more than one tutoring service in town. We have kid-centric activities businesses here. Their demographic is parents of elementary to college age children. Or just find a different way to raise money than asking small businesses to hand over money or items every other month. Does anyone consider how often we're getting asked?

We do have a kid. He's in fourth grade. We totally support anything we're asked for from his school. Luckily we haven't been asked often. I would just like it if people would think for a minute before asking local small businesses for money. Most of us would love to give, but contrary to popular belief, small business does not equate to rolling in extra cash. We work six days a week, with no sick days or vacation, to pay our own bills. If I won the lottery, I'd be clothing all the homeless in NYC and I'd just give each school a set amount of money to cover their advertising for the year. I just haven't won the lottery yet.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Didn't Get The Memo

How do you know when you're old? Not aches and pains old, but like, when you look more like you're going to do laps at Del Boca Vista, Phase 3 in your glitter sneakers versus going to the club?

I ask this because I had this thought last Saturday. I had like four hours to walk around NYC last Saturday. I had work stuff to do, but I also needed to go to Soho to It's Sugar, the candy store of my dreams. I've been out of my Island Punch Jelly Belly beans and I was craving them like a crackhead craves...crack. I don't usually go to Soho because it's far from where I need to go for all my work related items in the garment district. I took the subway though, which is another story, because I lost any knowledge of the NY subway system over the past ten years. I was just blindly hopping on.

I got down there, found the candy store, and was walking around a little. I wasn't exactly sure how to get back to a subway line that would take me where I needed to go. It wasn't the same one I took down there. I ended up by NYU and Washington Square Park. I saw all these college kids walking around, doing their thing, with friends, playing basketball, doing whatever. I remembered being in college and thinking how they look like they're having fun, even in the bitter cold. Then, I caught a glimpse of myself in a building window reflection.

I thought about how I didn't FEEL any different than they look. I looked at these kids and thought that I feel like one of them. I'm sure we could find some common ground of conversation, but I would be the mom. I'd leave and they'd probably be like, "How weird was it that mom was just hanging out? Right?! Maybe she was lonely? Or has dementia?". Ok. Maybe they wouldn't go as far as to wonder if I had dementia, but, I realized that at forty-four, I'm not just blending in with the kids.

E's swim coaches and former babysitters are college kids. I talk to them. Obviously I know I'm not twenty, but it feels like we're on the same level when we're chatting. But I'm still the mom. 

There's nothing wrong with being in my forties and a mom. I wouldn't WANT to literally go back to my twenties, unless, of course I could know then what I know now. It's just a really weird feeling to know that there have to be younger people who don't think of you as a peer. Not that it doesn't go both ways too- I mean, I have used the term "millennial" in not so glowing terms. I've started a sentence with "Kids these days...."

I'm really just talking about the FEELING though. Not feeling like the age you are. I can't be alone since a guy recently went to court, in another country, I think, to see if he could change his age to the one he feels, not the age on his birth certificate.

When I get dressed, I don't think that I'm too old to wear this or that. I was watching Jimmy Fallon last week and he was talking to someone, saying, he's feeling like he's too old to be wearing jeans. I was struck by this because I didn't know there would be someone who even thought there was an age limit to jeans. Jeans aren't crop tops and mini skirts. Not that *I* think there's an age cap on those things either- wear what makes you feel good. It just got me thinking about age and looks and how we feel.

I'm sure I've heard someone say they're too old to wear a bikini. Personally, that isn't about age for me. It's that I looked different after having a kid and I didn't want to be stretching & bending in a bikini all over town pool, in front of my neighbors, chasing a toddler. Old was never a reason. I do wonder though, when I think I've dressed cute for the day, do I look like Rita in her tube socks and denim fanny pack?

Granted, my mother admittedly was not a fashion plate. She wore that blue mascara and probably a tracksuit, to her funeral. I do remember what I thought about her fashion sense. It left a lot to be desired. She still, definitely, never looked or seemed old to me. I don't think she looked or seemed old to other people either. But there are other people her age who always seemed old, even when they weren't.

I'll never think there are rules to what people should wear based on age. Except, with the short shorts. I always say that it's a good thing I didn't have a girl. That would be an epic battle in my house, for sure. I'll say I don't think there's any fashion that's off-limits because someone is "too old". I just never stopped to think about other people's perception of ME, age-wise, since I don't feel any older than I was twenty years ago.

I guess that's how people who are happily married for fifty years feel too, when they say their spouse is just as beautiful now as the day they met. They still see them as fifty years younger and they really feel it.

I've been seeing those ten year challenges everywhere. People are putting up their first photo of themselves on social media next to the most current. In a lot of cases, the person looks better currently. Do they feel any different? Older? Or do they look at those photos and think about the memories from back in the day but not actually feel any different?

This is how someone ends up with the same hair style or same make-up for twenty years. Looking at you Lisa Rinna. Even she actually just changed up that hair-do she's so well known for. She grew it out and it probably took ten years off her appearance. The rest of us, we just go on, day after day, not feeling any older than when we started our routine. That routine still seems fresh because times moves faster than we feel.

I just know I had this hair at one time:

I still like it. If I had somewhere to go that required an up-do, I'd want to go old school with that Alicia Silverstone one you're seeing right there. If you believe you can get away with it, you can. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway....

And if I can get my hands on some glitter sneakers, bet your ass I'll be rocking those too. All the way to Del Boca Vista, Phase 3.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

See Something, Say Something

Dear New Milford High School, To Whom it May Concern, I would like to know where I can give back my diploma. I feel you failed an entire generation of people. Not just spelling and grammar related, which is generally atrocious, but in not doing your civic duty to produce a larger number of graduates who are, for lack of a better word, woke. 

I've tried to lessen my time on social media. Yet, when I do go on, I can't escape my fellow graduates posting things that reek of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and worse. Using the #metoo movement as a punchline and denouncing progressive teaching in our public schools.

This week, our NJ governor signed legislation requiring NJ public schools to teach LGBTQ history. 
Under the measure, public schools must include lessons about the political, economic and social contributions of individuals who are gay and transgender, starting in the 2020-21 school year. The bill also requires teaching about contributions of people who are disabled. 

What rational person couldn't see this as a positive? 

Of course there are conservative opponents who say this takes power away from parents and, "may encourage kids to question their sexuality". I wish I could insert a bewildered emoji here. May encourage kids to question their sexuality? Does learning about the Civil War promote kids to want to own slaves? Does learning about George Washington encourage kids to wear wigs or chop down a cherry tree?? I'm so flipping confused here. Have any of these presumably straight, conservative opponents ever questioned their sexuality because of learning about an accomplishment by a member of the LGBTQ community? That's literally one of the dumbest things I've ever read.

The fact that so many of my former classmates, people I grew up with, have even one negative thing to say about this legislation is mystifying and appalling to me. The hypocrisy of it all is downright sickening. I've had a pit in my stomach since I read my old friends and neighbors comments on Facebook on this topic. We had a vice principal who is gay. He wasn't out when he was our vice principal but, now, if there is "extra" out, then he's it. He's married to a man and even took that man's last name. On Facebook, not only is he friended on Facebook to all these people I grew up with, but they act like they LOVE him. When he posts personal stories of homophobia perpetrated on to him, they rally around him, offering sympathy and support. Yet, in the next breath, when this legislation came up for conversation, it was "horseshit". The addition to the curriculum was called horseshit.

I found myself angry, but also wanting to melt into my couch thinking that our ex-vice principal was going to see these comments. I was thinking about he was going to feel. Is he was going to be angry, sad, and disappointed? I know I felt all those things for him, so I could only imagine how he felt. I also couldn't fathom how these people weren't making that connection when it was a first thought for me.

It reminds me of B telling me how he was the only Jewish kid who played football for Emerson when he was in high school. He and his friends, his BEST friends, all non-Jews, were playing against an opposing team with one Jewish player. His friends started calling the opposing Jewish player a kike. B looked at them and said, "Come ON? REALLY?" or something to that effect. The answer from his friends? "Not you..." Right. Not you, just the kike on the OTHER team. You're our Jew friend! So, our old vice principal is okay in their book, but just not the rest of the LGBTQ population. We can't have our kids learning any of that horseshit like it's okay!

The actual post this asinine commentary came from was someone saying that they weren't cool with the LGBTQ curriculum until black history is taught. How about checking into that first before inciting the low hanging fruit of comments that would inevitably ensue? NJ already requires black history taught in public schools. It took me all of five seconds to find this link:

I actually had to block a MOM of former classmates, that I've known since I was in preschool, for her comments because this was the last straw for me. She had the audacity to post, "What LGBTQ history?!". Then, when someone listed some important LGBTQ history moments like the Stonewall Riots, she proceeded to say we should be teaching how to balance a checkbook. I was going to ask her if we couldn't teach both things concurrently. Then I was going to ask if are there still people even using checkbooks they need to balance. I can't tell you the last time I wrote a check. I use them so infrequently, they still say Commerce Bank. By the way, TD Bank acquired Commerce in 2007.

My issue isn't with her being so far out of touch to reference teaching check management, it's the grasping at straws to find a plausible reason why this shouldn't be part of the curriculum. It's being that against it, that you'll use any stupid reason you can come up with. Her comments in this instance were just the icing on a really anti-progressive cake she's been baking up on social media for quite some time now, only getting worse.

You hear about people being embarrassed about where they're from because of socioeconomic status, like being from the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak. Meanwhile, I'm embarrassed because I don't want to be lumped in with SO MANY bigots, and so much ignorance and raging hypocrisy.

Make no mistake, this isn't about politics either. Well, not specifically. It only is political in the way that from random comments I've seen, many of these people are Trump supporters as well. It isn't about politics in the traditional sense. I'm not unfriending and blocking people on social media because they've labeled themselves a Republican. It's not a debate about cutting pork from a budget. This, this open ignorance is a severe, deep seated character flaw that's a fundamental difference in values. You don't want anything about the gays mentioned? How about the Jews? The Mexicans? Are you chanting "Build the wall!" in your head? These are all marginalized, minority groups of people who have been treated as less than. Groups of people who have been discriminated against in the workplace/school/etc, attacked in the street, and more. Minorities are minorities. If you hate one  group of us, you hate us all.

The LGBTQ community exists. It's not a debate. It's not a question of existence. I guess some of these people could still believe it's a choice. I don't know how that's a possible belief since I never seem to get an answer to the question, "Did you choose to be straight?".

For arguments sake, even if it was a choice, this is a choice of ten whole percent of the population. A population where many have made a positive impact on society and have the history to prove it. Why do they need to be labeled as part of the LGBTQ community to discuss the accomplishments? Because they're a marginalized group, hated for no reason except that they way they live goes against other people's religious beliefs. Many of whom have made their legacy making the world a more inclusive place, where rights for all, is really supposed to MEAN THAT. Being part of the LGBT community is the reason they chose to be activists and fight for freedom, equality. and laws for protection. The LGBTQ part is the important part!

I know it was a different time, back when I was in public school from about 1979-1992. Seeing so many of the people I grew up next to spewing such ignorant garbage and proud of it, makes me sick.  I spend a lot of time just wondering if anything could've been done to prevent it. What could've been done in school? They didn't do anything when I was bullied so badly I had to take my study halls in the guidance office, so I don't think they were equipped in any way. Bullying stays with you. I'm 44 and can still name kids I remember being targets. That's why this new legislation now exists. The government is trying to find ways for the schools to HAVE to do better to educate. They need to educate not just on academics but on how to act towards our fellow humans. Obviously, the parents cannot be responsible to do it on their own.

There are just to many, from the same town, the same schools, with the same mindset to not place any of the blame on the school district. I don't care that it was a different time. I feel they were way too complacent in the ability to see the changes in the world coming down the pike, and adjusting the curriculum accordingly. Before it had to become law to do so. Now we have way too many that still think it's the 80's. It's not like seeing a random smattering of stupid comments spread around. Or if it was one or two people I could be like- yeah, they were always a moron, always crazy, always a dick. I shouldn't have to brace myself any time I see a post from someone I grew up with, knowing I'm going to be the the dissenting liberal snowflake.

It would be easy to excuse too- I LOVED some of these people. Some are people I thought of fondly over the years with warm fuzzy feelings toward! I'm DEVASTATED. I'm devastated that this is how they've thought all along and I had no idea. I feel duped, angry, bewildered, and sad. None of these topics ever came up because I lived in a white bubble in boring suburbia. Without social media I'd never even know. But once I DO know, I can't UN-KNOW. I really wish I could. Now, I feel like going to their parents and telling THEM what a piss-poor job they did raising their kids, and now their kids are raising kids with the same backwards thinking. The question always asked is- "You're okay losing 30-40 year friendships over politics?". The easy answer is yes. Why? I don't see it as losing friends over politics. We're not simply disagreeing over you telling me you're "for being fiscally responsible". It's losing friends over showing me their hearts and minds are comprised the most abhorrent "ists" in existence.

And it IS backwards. Mark my words. You are on the WRONG side of history, my friends, if you think this country is ever going back to the times where we had two black kids, a handful of Hindu, and Latin kid here or there. When everyone was white and Italian and Irish, and Catholic. Where kids who were a little different were called gay and basically abused. It's not going back that way. Whether you think the country is going in the wrong direction, which is your right, or not, doesn't make you correct or in control of it. What you are in control of, is what you teach your children. I will continue to hope against hope that you come to the realization quickly, that you want your kids to think differently than you were taught, and different than what you're currently putting out there.

If you don't like the progressive teachings in the public schools, you're free to home school...

These Trump years, of making it okay to discriminate and be openly bigoted are going to be a blight, yet a blip in our American history. Be the change you want to see in this world. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Much Ado About Nothing

I know it's going to be surprising that I'm addressing anything sporting related, but I do feel the need. No, I didn't actually WATCH the Superbowl. It was on around me, but my back was to the TV most of the time. Not in protest, or anything, but just because I don't care. At all. I only knew who was playing because I'm just so tired of hearing the name Tom Brady. Enough with that guy already. I just sat at my friend's kitchen island stuffing my face with Bon Chon wings and pigs in a blanket.

I don't ever even watch the Halftime Show either. Even though I like the acts, usually, because they're pop stars, I just don't need to see it. I can hear these people on the radio when I'm not listening to Howard Stern. I did watch Lady Gaga, because I wanted to see what she was going to do in the political climate of when she was performing. I also was going to watch Adam Levine this year for a few reasons. One, because he's pleasing to the eye. Two. because I wanted to see what he was going to do in light of all the controversy surrounding Maroon 5 accepting the invite to play. Honestly, I was mostly curious if Christina Aguilera was going to come out on a song. She was asked by Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live if she would be a surprise guest and she played coy.

I watched. Adam seemed a little nervous at first. He didn't sound great, but I don't think most sound great live and it was apparent he wasn't lip syncing so he got credit from me there.

Today, on social media, you'd think he just stood there quietly and read a book. It's just been endless mocking, hating, and trash talk. On the TV talk shows- same thing. I even heard a guy on the phone in Starbucks this morning talking to someone about how it was the most boring Halftime Show ever to happen. The joke is- we're all talking about it, but they actually got to DO it. If Adam has a bucket list and this was on, he got to make a check mark.

Adam Levine/Maroon 5's performance was doomed before it even happened. So many musicians wouldn't touch the invite with a ten foot pole because they didn't want the controversy. People think Adam should've boycotted in solidarity over Colin Kaepernick. Other people felt like Maroon 5 isn't "big" or exciting enough. Meanwhile, I bet most people knew every song he sang. No matter what he did though, he was going to get clobbered by the masses. Not to mention how easy it is to do online.

Someone was going to play music. It's foolish to believe that if Adam said no, that there would've been no show. Three Doors Down played Trump's inauguration. If all else failed, they could've been called. SOMEONE would play.

I think where Adam went wrong was alluding to the idea that he was planning some socially conscious move that would be meaningful to those waiting for that. I'm not sure what or where that message was, if there was one, but clearly then, whatever was done wasn't impactful at all.

Other than that- HE DID WHAT HE WAS HIRED TO DO. He's a pop star they hired to play music. He's not very political that I've heard. He's on Howard Stern a decent amount, and I don't think politics ever has come up with him. He talks about music, Jonah Hill, his wife, his kids, etc. He's safe. I guess that's his biggest crime. And his wardrobe is terrible. Anyone who watches The Voice already knew that.

I don't know what people were expecting honestly. He showed some titty, which got Janet Jackson in trouble, so there was that. I can't say I was upset he took his shirt off. It got me to turn around and watch the television. He LOOKS great. There's many a good reason he was voted Sexiest Man Alive.

I don't know Adam Levine. I don't really care about Adam Levine. Seems like he lives a nice life, he makes catchy pop tunes, and I'm sure it has to be a dream of most musicians to be asked to play the Superbowl and then to actually do it. What would saying no actually do? I'm someone who is all about activism and walking the walk but seriously- I think saying no actually would've been the "safe" thing to do. Adam saying no also would've been forgotten in a hot minute. It wouldn't have done anything.

They didn't ask a Bruce Springsteen or a Beyonce to play this year. If either of them had played a "safe" show, then I can see how people might be disappointed. They're clearly more political musicians, happy to make a statement. To assume Adam Levine was going to do more, politically, is just that- an assumption and a stretch, when he's never said or done anything to show that he's some kind of activist.

Maybe he should be an activist. Or he should've pretended to be one and just declined. Since, everyone's a critic and people make it a sport just to hate on whoever is playing/played. Playing the Superbowl doesn't make him an activist or not. It means nothing. I'm sure there have to be people who are happy he didn't do anything political. The same way I saw all the relieved social media comments about Lady Gaga when she didn't go political when she played the Superbowl. Adam Levine wasn't going to win either way. Apparently, like the Rams (I asked B who won).

Lookin' good!