Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.

My bi-coastal 40th birthday bash continued in Seattle last weekend. A bash in which my BIL decided to have a 40 shots for 40 years. Oh no, I did not (could not, should not, would not) do all 40 but it was celebratory fun to encourage others to participate. By the way, my BIL is Russian and I learned one valuable lesson for my 40th year and one I can certainly share: DON'T DRINK VODKA WITH RUSSIANS. But there was ample tequila there too.

From a comment left last night, a fabulous reader reminded me about my sheer disinterest in all things Tequila. Since I am on vacation in Seattle and because this is the one and only state in which I suffered  abuse fromTequila, well, it is another great time to rewind. Original post in August of 2009 but right here for your reading (and scoffing at me) pleasure.)

Don Patron has an ugly cousin....

Mr. Patron: I realize we crossed paths again recently. You seemed kind of interested in getting to know me. I can not reciprocate your feelings. While you tried to seduce me in Mexico, I ignored you. You winked at me over the 4th of July holiday party scene, but you will see that I am quite resistant. Oh, your lovely words of encouragement on my birthday fell on empty ears.

These lips shall never touch you. Admittedly, you are sleek and fancy, and considered by all to be top shelf. But alas, we shan't get familiar, and here are the reasons why. You have some wretched compadres. Yes, perhaps far less stellar than you, but since you all share the same lineage in some form or fashion, I shall lump you all together. There is such a long list, I won't name names.

The absolute worst is your ugly cousin, Jose Cuervo. I detest him most of all. He knows I don't like him and neither of us really needs a refresher on why I don't like him, do we? In fact, I haven't liked him for a long, long time. Let me explain.

I met Jose the summer before my junior year in high school. My friend LL and I went down to watch a rowing event at the University of Washington and somehow ended up on Greek Row. Some boys from Kappa Sigma invited us in for a little early-afternoon Jimmy Buffett party. How could we resist. Older, handsome college boys with Jimmy Buffett? In the door we go. (Foolish, foolish girls).

Your cousin Jose Cuervo mixed himself into some frozen margaritas. A cooler, more delicious elixir I had never before consumed. Since wine coolers and light beer was the extent of my alcohol repertoire, the frozen marga-treat-a was divine. Jose told me one more wouldn't hurt. So I had one more. And then one more. Jose told me he tasted even better straight from the bottle. Oh, and since we told our hosts we were freshman in college, they assumed we were already savvy in the ways of Jose's hedonistic world. Jose said it wouldn't matter. He said we seemed sophisticated and mature. Never mind I tripped over a rug in my attempt to sashay over to a cute boy, Jose said no one even noticed.

Jose said he would refresh me. He told me I was pretty. And the best dancer. Ever.

Jose said to drink and dance. I did. Jose said that it was hot in here and why wear my sweater when a tank top is fine. I listened, oh so closely. Jose had a firm grip. And then, Jose turned against me. He told me to take a catnap. In the middle of the floor. Then he said goodbye.

I asked him to help me get home. He laughed and said he was too busy with other party guests. Jose let two other people carry me to my car and deposit me on the floorboard. LL had to drive us home.

Jose told me to open the door at a traffic light. In the middle of 45th. With hundreds of cars around, since this was the University District of Seattle after all. Jose told me the only way to feel better would be to crawl out of the car. And throw up. On the pavement. In the middle of one of the busiest intersections we could find. Then Jose told me to get in the car. But he didn't tell me I had barf on my shirt. LL pulled off on a residential side street. Jose told me how calming the sidewalk would feel on my face. He told me to lay down. He told me to let that dog lick my mouth.

I barely got back in the car. Jose didn't warn me that we would pass my parents. Jose merely laughed and said "Arriba! Arriba!"

My parents did pass us. And LL pulled over. My mom came STORMING to the car inquiring on my whereabouts. Jose didn't tell me to keep quiet. Jose told me to speak up. Share my thoughts. He said I sounded clear, crisp, intelligent. My mom looked at me, looked at LL, and asked what was going on. LL told her I was drunk. Thanks friend.

I tried to tell my mom about Jose. I tried to point him out. But he had disappeared. Left me with a sordid tale, bad breath, and a shirt I would be soon throwing away. Oh, and punishment.

I never saw him again that year or the next. And then, as a freshman in college, I saw him resurface. He must have followed me to a party. Me, all sunny and bright. He, with all his liquidy amber glow. He came onto me. He said he was delicious. He assured me he had changed. He said it would be different this time.
Jose Cuervo is a liar...

He asked me to dance and after ignoring him for hours, I gave in. He told me we would take it slow. LIAR LIAR LIAR. Jose told me drinking was fun but shots were better. He told me dancing was fun but dancing on tables was better. He said to play Thumper. He said to play Quarters. He said smoke cigarettes. He said I looked hot. He said I was the funniest girl in the world. He said play air guitar. He said pee in the front yard. He told me those photos of me drinking shots wouldn't matter, they would only make me laugh. Oh, Jose, he is one smooth talker.

I had a headache that lasted one month. I cursed him and the day I laid eyes on him. I saw him influence others to run naked and jump off roofs but not me. He tried to corner me on other occasions. I screamed in his face. He tried to up the ante by introducing me to his friends Don Julio and Dona Carlota. I spit on him. Jose Cuervo is a sadist. I will warn others.

And while I do make a fantastic margarita (just ask JohnnyMac), and while we stock Cabo Wabo in our house, I know better than to dip in myself. So Mr. Patron, your interest in me is a dead end. I am wise now. And tell your horrid cousin, Jose, I don't even want his aroma within 20 feet of me.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Yes, the sun actually shines in Seattle...

I know you have heard it rains in Seattle. All the time. Well, it doesn't. Just most of the time (sorry family.) MiniMac and I boarded a plane on Wednesday to spend 11 days in Seattle with my family. JMac flew in last night just in time for a fab birthday dinner with my brothers and some bad arse karaoke (not JMac's idea, I assure you.) 

My little brother, HP, is also putting together a little soiree for me tonight so while MiniMac is happily playing in Grammy's backyward and before its time to sample the wine and put on my party frock, I wanted to update with this post. By request, not only my favorite blog post of all time which is the birthday letter I penned to myself as I mentioned last Tuesday, but apparently, the fave of several of my friends too. Thanks for the birthday wishes. I will be stretching the #40 celebration out a few more days. 

Best from Seattle while we are soaking up the sun. JennyMac

Let's pop the cork on this thing. Now, take a deep breath, and help me blow out all these candles.

Deep in the matriarchal DNA of my family resides the long linear polymer for I LOVE BIRTHDAYS. Of course, I already pontificated on this subject and told you about Sangria Cha Cha Cha which will be served to the rim this weekend at a bit of a bash in my honor. Since I can't pour you a glass from here (oh, I would if I could honey) if you want to partake, here is the recipe . I want all of you to join me for a cocktail as I reflect on a very full and fun life.

In this retrospect, I thought of sage advice and prolific words of wisdom I might share if I had the chance to write a letter to JennyMac at say, age 8. Like to hear it? Here it go....

Dear 8 year old JennyMac:

Happy early birthday. You turn 9 in just a few days. You LOVE parties and always will so enjoy your day.

You little girl, are brave, trusting, and good. Smart as a whip and certainly not afraid to clarify that for others who do not seem to grasp it. You are also sassy and have quite a mouth on you. A natural proclivity toward sarcasm is typically not developed so young. Use it wisely. And by wisely, I mean don't use it on your teachers. As more specifically, don't call Mr. M an "arsehole" to his face. He is your Leadership teacher. This is not good leadership. And you are a kid. Not nice. Oh, and you certainly get in trouble at home so side-step that temptation.

Charm is of utmost importance and the sooner you employ it, the better. It is NOT charming to tell your mom, whilst she is spanking you, that you "can't feel a thing." Wise up. This will induce more spanking. Don't be smug.

You love sports and are quite good. You will love soccer, skiing, tennis, and volleyball for life. Give up piano lessons. Early. Your older brother has the musical talent of ten people. There is none left for you.

Oh, you are a tiny thing. Guess what, you will not grow and look like a real girl until 7th grade. Because of this, when you decide in 5th grade to cut off all your long hair for a Dorothy Hamill hair cut, I will be the first to tell you DON'T DO THIS. People will ask your parents about their "son" on more than one occasion. You will not like it. Pay attention to my words and don't cut your hair, or at least find someone who doesn't cut it like you are about to join the Army.

Your Father tells you at a young age you better find a career that pays you to run your mouth the way you do. You pick Lawyer. From the age of five you aspire to be two things: a Solid Gold Dancer or an attorney. Solid Gold goes off the air but watch it and learn all their skills. Law school is the answer. Although in any given opportunity, you will emulate the deft moves of a Solid Gold Dancer for  a long time. I mean years forever.

And don't tell lies. Like when you borrowed your Mom's bronzer, turned your face orange because you used too much, got it ALL over the impeccable white counters and floor, and then when questioned, you feigned bewilderment and innocence. Well sugar, the writing is all over your tangerine skin. Lucky for you, you learn quickly and just take your licks.

You will get tall, but you will be a size zero until about 13. Don't fret. You will never be a size zero again. And your boobs don't actually feel like participating in the "growth" process so they wait. For about 2 or 3 years. And when they come, its a weak showing. You twist and turn on this. Worry not. Why? Magic words: padded push-up. Plus, Victoria's Secret will solve this problem for you later in life with the first Miracle Bra. Even better ones come. Oh, and the braless, flat girls abound after the 90's.

Skip school a few days in November of 1984. You are only in 7th grade so just hold the thermometer near the light bulb for a few seconds. During November of this year "pants-ing" people becomes all the rage amongst the boys at school. You are not developed yet. You will get pants-ed. You will be called Peach Fuzz. You will react in a way the fuels fire. Not wise. You will need to work on this. Try laughing and telling them you lead the frontier for the Brazilian wax. Instead you will cry. Peach Fuzz sticks with you for about a year. You will laugh about this only DECADES later. Do yourself a favor, and just feign sickness. When you finally do get boobs, these same boys will not be singing Peach Fuzz.

You are going to have a great life. You are so lucky, and so loved. You adore clothes from a wee age when you refused to wear panties and socks that don't match. Nordstrom was the first word you could spell. You will make some wildly poor outfit choices in the 80's but everyone does.

You will wear a velour mid-length snap front bathrobe to school and because it is fabulous and purple, you will tell people it is a coat. Ummmm, one day you and your BFF TazBud will get in a fight and she will out you. Save it for the shower, sweetie.

Also, you will put blond hair color on one side of your hair. Right at the roots. Let's not. It will turn your hair orange and you will be stuck growing this out for over one year. This will be in ALL of your cheerleading pics. Your mom will hang these in the living room for ALL to see. If you don't take my advice, enjoy getting hazed. For years.

Oh, and stay out of Mom's jewelry box. Especially without permission. Yes, you like the jewels but you take her black pearls without express consent and then wear them in your class pictures. Ummm. Really? You have them ON in the picture. What more proof does she need? Perhaps you should have got your tiny arse beat because you will also one day take a ring of hers without asking and lose the stone. Turns out her father gave her the ring as a graduation gift. This will break your mom's heart and you will not know that for years to come. And you can NEVER replace something of such sentimental value. Just be respectful and ask first.

But older brother's room is a free for all. He has sh*t hidden everywhere: love notes, Copenhagen, contraband cigs, a one-hitter. You will have such great ammo against him. Start looking now.

You have some of the greatest friends of your life growing up. You will still be friends with many of them to this day.

Oh, your high school boyfriend was actually not the one who informed your Mom about who bought you alcohol in order to gain her good graces. You and all of your friends have big fun calling him Eddie Haskell for about the next decade but he is innocent. She is reading your journals. But, you are so clever that you often write your shenanigans in code. Brilliant move. She doesn't know HALF of what you are up to.

And believe me, you and your gal pals are innocent little lambs compared to teens today.

Oh, but when you get asked by one coach if you were drinking during a high school party thereby violating Athletic Code, DENY DENY DENY. She is a cow and will mishandle it. You and your two close friends will be suspended from the team (only for a bit though). Instead, smile at her as say " I would never." And wine coolers shouldn't really qualify as "drinking."

Oh, and when you pitch a full throttle fit when you are forced to watch 90210 because it's your little brother's birthday and he gets to pick, the leastyou could do is later admito him you became obsessed with the show and watched it religiously.

While you think it is AMAZING that your first college boyfriend helps you make a beer bong (with a shut off valve...genius) it is HIGHLY UNWISE to bring this home on your first college break to show all of your friends also home on break. Breath-takingly more foolish is that you actually show your Step-Dad. Ummm, they are paying for education not beer-induced sex fest. DO NOT SHOW YOUR PARENTS A BEER BONG. Especially YOUR beer bong with YOUR nickname on it. And then you tell SD who helped you craft it. When that boy comes to visit, your SD calls him a troll. To his face. Your SD does NOT want to think about a boy funneling beer in your mouth at the speed of light for obvious reasons.

And being in a sorority is a great idea. You will love it. Although, those girls can drink. Wine coolers have not prepared you. Oh, and watch those 3 am calzones. Yes, I know you are hungry. Try eating during the day time. You will spend an entire summer working that off your arse.

And "credit card" is not magical slang for "free money" or "something somehow unattached to actual debt". When you Father tells you to pay attention to your credit, that's not French for "MAD SPENDING SPREE". You are smarter than this. Stop acting like you forgot all mathematical and economic concepts because its your first credit card.

Your first really serious college boyfriend is going to break your tiny heart. And he is cheating on you, sweetpea. Don't change a thing, because you learn more from this particular relationship than you can imagine. Its determinism, and it will change you 100% for the better. Pack your tissues though ladybug, its going to be a tough one.

You follow him across the country because you are so wise and grown up. The positive to this is, it is the best mistake you have ever made for the wrong reasons. PS: When your parents are paying for everything, they do, in fact, get a vote.

You will LOVE the University. Thankfully, you will actually like the "school" piece of it too. And you learn quickly skipping class is not wise. You will learn this the day your Western Civ mid term is rescheduled and you were not in class to hear this. Or the next session when they remind people. Oh, you are one smooth talker and overcome this dilemma but just go to class in the first place.

You will come out of your college experience a different and better person (and you think you are pretty fly at the time, trust me). And you will date stellar men from that point on.

Law school is a wise choice. It will benefit you indefinitely. You will have a hemorrhage over your first law school writing grade. That's what you get for being a smarty pants and not studying. Don't be a jackarse. Everyone here is smart. Oh, but you ace the Wills and Trusts exam that you almost have breakdown over fear of failing. Stop carrying on at your apartment on the phone to Mom. You miss your flight and have one hell of a time waiting at the airport for hours because it is winter and there are all kinds of weather issues. Oh, but you do meet a cute boy so all is not lost. And he likes to buy cocktails but easy does it. Don't get off the plane shatfaced to meet your family.

And going to the Grenada every Thursday night for "80's Night & Dollar Pitchers" when you are supposed to be studying Tort Law is a good idea. You will remember those nights much, much longer than you will remember Palsgraf v. Long Island Rail Road.

And when you graduate, you will have achieved your first life goal. And you will meet some of the best friends you will ever hope to have during this time. Well done.

You will have a great career free of blemish. Don't go to work for Big K though. You will get in an argument with him over open toe shoes at the office. In 2001. He is a clown. And you don't work in a manufacturing plant. His wife actually refers to him as fat bastard. Just decline that offer. And save yourself a headache of trying to educate someone that you don't need to wear clogs and bonnets.

You will paint the town. You will fraternize. And you make good decisions. It is BIG fun.

But that guy that says you "suck" because you don't like his friend, and you answer "hardly" and laugh in his face, that's just fine. But then he calls your friend a " ____ stupid ____" because she won't give him her number. You debate throwing your drink in his face for saying that even though that seems, well, a bit of an over-reaction. Well, THROW IT HONEY. He is begging to be b*tch-slapped via vodka tonic. Believe it. And then you and your friend can reminisce about how good it felt to do it.

At your wedding shower, your favorite and beloved Aunt will say "you sure kissed a lot of frogs before finding your prince." But, you will LOVEkissing these frogs. Kiss away.

And you marry someone strong, and smart, and loving. Having a baby will change both of your lives. And when you are raising a son, you will realize the importance of teaching leadership and being a good parent. And you realize how hard it is sometimes and you regret, oh, about 1,000 things you did/said to your parents.

Oh, and then you will remember that one time you went to your BFF's nieces first bday, and all the kids at one point seemed to be screaming. And you said, "For the love of God, I need a drink. How can you bear the racket." And your BFFMarciaGarcia, says, "Oh, eventually you just drowned it out." And you say, with what for !&%# sake, a hammer? You will finally know what she means.

And the first time your tiny child says "I love you" without you saying it first, you will melt.

And you will achieve another life goal of writing a book, don't be discouraged that after a few agents give you the nod the only real creatures interested are the spiders crawling on the dusty manuscript in the garage, well, we don' t know what's to come of that yet. You just wrote it a year ago. BUT, you want to start blogging three years before you do. Do it sooner. There is an INCREDIBLY witty, fun, sassy, and smart group of people you will meet in BloggyWorld, doing the same thing, and you will become addicted. Soar baby, soar.

Happy Birthday, and yes, you can have your cake and eat it too.

Love, JennyMac at age 38 (now 39.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What the Beatles said. (Subtitle: You say it's your birthday?)

What a momentous day. 40 years ago today my Mom woke up with a tiny brunette sasspot coming into the world. As we snuggled together that first day, me adorned in a hospital t-shirt pinned to a diaper and a handmade yellow sweater, my Mom likely dreamt of paper dolls we would cut, sewing dresses for me and teaching me how to make her chocolate chip cookie recipe (for the record STILL the best chocolate chip cookie recipe in my arsenal.)

As my Father drove us home (with me nestled on my Mom’s lap because seat belt laws? What seat belt laws?) I am sure he made a mental list of all the books he would recommend while making sure I knew how to throw a baseball “like a boy” and could adeptly identify all players by position name on a football field.

When I got home, my brother probably took one look at me before announcing, “Why is that squirrel screaming? Take it back!”

For those of you who have been at the Cocktail Party for a bit, you may recall the Birthday Letter I penned to myself. Well, all those sentiments still stand and that particular letter is one of my favorite blog posts.  40 is a significant turning point but age does not cause me stress. Are we not getting better with age? Of course we are. How do I know? Because at one point in my life, I wore a side pony tail (and not chic like Catherine Zeta but NOT chic like Toni Basil..awwww MICKEY!) and for several years I wore my jeans tucked AND rolled.  While we do improve with age, I consider several life lessons I reflect on now that would have been helpful then (and are still relevant now.)

Life lesson from grade school:

When you are forced to get glasses, it really is for your own good. You can’t see. You almost put shaving cream on your tooth brush. Get the glasses. Read the chalkboard from your seat. However, when your Father tells you to get glasses with the lenses that automatically turn dark when exposed to the sun, hesitate here little one. The glasses are really big. The tinted lenses will look like you are wearing two giant amber colored plates on your face. Your Father will assure you they are “trick.” This is a dual lesson: From this day forward, if your Father describes anything as "trick" well, run. Far and fast. Or politely decline. Whichever is easier. Second and more valuable, it is ok to have your own opinion and to share that diplomatically with others. If you don't really prefer the hideous glasses, speak up. The good news, lack of an opinion will NOT be one of your weaknesses, I assure you. However, in this case, rather than share an opinion, you merely made a face.

Oh, wait, another lesson: Making stupid grimaces does not nor will ever deter your Father. This should be the time you begin learning the art of crafty negotiation. You learn it, it takes time, but start earlier. This will also help you in other critical areas in your life such as: What We Are Eating for Dinner and Who Should We Get to Babysit These Children. Influence is a good thing. Practice now.

If it is too late to negotiate, here is a trick: pick another pair of glasses that cost less and merely say, “These will do. OH and look, they cost less Dad!”  This is how you do it. Oh, and in the future, picking the bargain version of anything clothing or accessory related will not be one of your strengths.

Life lesson from Junior High:

When you are a member of the track team, competing in the high jump and your coach tells you to practice more, the appropriate response is not “I don’t feel like it.” You are actually good at running AND at the high jump. And here is a tip, ask any competitive athlete the best way to improve your skills. Not ONE of them will answer: practice less. You are competitive. But sometimes at track practice you act less like an athlete and more like a teenage girl which means you spend time not on your craft but rather flirting and acting stupid in front of boys. Save it for after hours. This is important because you play sports your entire life. And because you play LIFE your entire life.  And when you get older even the postman on your running route will tell you the way to excel is never to practice less.  This applies to everything. And it is not true that practice makes perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. So stop wearing your idiotic Cat Eye Vuarnet sunglasses around the track and get to work.

But on that note, being competitive does not mean being a cunning jackass. You will encounter plenty of that in law school. Look at competition holistically. Do what is good for the team and succeed without forsaking others. Except when your family is playing Taboo and it is all suckers for themselves. PS: You and your older brother will thrash any and everyone who challenges you to Taboo. Just a heads up.

Life lessons from High School (Three this time):

1. You certainly are boy crazy, aren’t you Misses? Like boys all you want. Boys are fun. However, relationships fail when structured similar to one-way streets. In fact, you should try to be a touch more demure. I know, you feel a scrawny given your wearing a size zero at this point and your chest actually caves inward. This doesn’t mean you should follow a particular boy around your entire sophomore year in hopes that he will like you. I am not suggesting you act coy and play games. Please don’t. I am suggesting you let things progress naturally. What is the opposite of natural progression? Writing I LOVE ____ _____ all over your spiral notebooks. 

Girls this age talking about love is like listening to Justin Bieber give relationship advice. It is unqualified and frankly, nauseating. Oh, I know. Your teen crush is handsome. And you think you would look absolutely smashing in his letterman jacket. But boys this age are also awkward and take time to process their thoughts above the waistline. You have a LOT of time for this. In fact, you are a bit of a late bloomer. Good. But why not work on the friendship component first. Oh, and when a boy likes you, you will know.

Another tip: When you do get a boyfriend and you decide to wear his letterman jacket around everywhere you go? Well, don’t. Did you realize it was approximately 6.5 times too big for you? Not flattering (while on the topic, neither are those hideous rugby shirts from the Gap you are in love with…sssstop it.) But you know who else thinks the boy’s letterman jacket does not flatter you? Both your Father and your Step-Dad. In fact, those two older and wiser men see that coat and think “That is what that ____ _____ is going to lay down in the back seat of his car while trying to take advantage of my daughter.” Spare them the heartburn.

But, as you grow and develop relationships, know this:
You have to know your own worth.
And you don’t need to make boys like you.
And we teach people how to treat us.
And most importantly, the admiration of boys is not some blue ribbon you wear around to prove to the world you are somebody.

As you get older, you will learn that some men like you and some don’t in the same way you don’t like every pair of shoes, friend or teacher to the same degree. People have sliding scales of interest. But guess what? Not everyone likes France either but France doesn’t develop an awkward complex about it. France doesn't conduct an elongated sob party to ask repeatedly why doesn't he like me? France knows its strong points. France has a lot going for it. France is a great fit for some people. Just like you. 

But you feel a bit unworthy at age 15 because you lack self-confidence. Good news: This isn’t really a weakness for you later in life either. You will not be scrawny and flat-chested forever. Focus on your talents like wittiness, smarts, sports and sass. No, they don’t matter as much at age 15 as wearing a bra, but you will evolve. Oh, you will fret and twist over more than one boy. And when you do date, you will be a great girlfriend at times and a less than great girlfriend at times. (For example: writing a poem for a boy = great girlfriend.  Gathering your gaggle of girlfriends and spending an entire night toilet-papering your boyfriend’s house? Not so great. Worse than that? His parents get a motion light to “deter tomfoolery” which you tell all your friends and then all of you go back again a few weeks later to toilet-paper his house again. PS: Sorry EH!)

Opt for being a great girlfriend all the time, which will help develop the skills you need to be a great wife one day. And guess what? You want to be a smarty pants know-it-all, and good at everything so you should aspire to be good at marriage too.  I know, you have no interest in marriage. Not now and not really until you are about 35. Enjoy every minute in between and then you really, really enjoy when you find "the one." 

But being a great girlfriend does not mean putting up with bullshat.  But here is an awesome tip: If you don’t like the way someone treats you, they get one warning shot. After that, break up. Don’t spend time trying to change a person. This applies from age 15 to age 100. After age 100, you should only worry about remembering your own name. And making sure you can still make those chocolate chip cookies.   

2. You are a bad friend to one of your friends. You are very lucky to have an amazing group of friends growing up, many of whom you still know (and love) today. BUT, this one time, you are not a good friend. No, you didn't do anything too heinous like steal a boyfriend or gossip, but you were not there when needed. This is simply laziness and thoughtlessness. Guess what? Learn accountability and be strong enough to exercise it.  This includes providing sincere apologies at all times when warranted.  And don't give that fabricated apology that starts with "I am sorry you feel that way.." This is not an apology and in fact, is reserved for people who work at giant companies with automated phone services to say to customers who FINALLY get through. No one likes this. 

But adhere to these policies early on. They are relevant for your entire life. And will put you miles ahead.

3. You certainly like clothes. WOW. This becomes a lifelong habit. Good. You are not obsessive but you certainly enjoy getting dressed. I see this as a plus now and I see it as a plus then. How we present ourselves to the world is often our calling card and can either send the message: I have my sh*t together or I don’t actually want a job in corporate America. You have your own style. And you love a good high heel. Most of your ideas work. Other things don’t (e.g. the aforementioned rugby shirts, wearing your bathrobe to school and pretending it was a jacket, and taking a pair of your Dad’s jean and cutting them to make a miniskirt that is SO short the pockets hang out. And I won’t tell everyone you were long out of high school when you did that last one. Shhh. It's our secret.)

Your interest in fashion will be a fun hobby for life. And style is great. Find what you like and wear it with confidence.  I will overlook the cut off sweat pants phase and the mock turtleneck sweater over another turtleneck sweater phase because you never participate in the wearing boys boxer shorts around like they are shorts to be shown to the world phase.  

Oh, and the first time you get your sexy on and buy a shirt from Victoria Secret, umm, take a peek where the label is. You are wearing it backwards. You know how else you could tell? By looking at yourself IN the shirt in a mirror. But guess what? One day you get to Fashion Week in NYC. It is in-cre-di-ble. And you will see throngs of men and women with the confidence to wear just about anything. And they look great. And guess what else? Your husband buys you the most coveted handbag in the world: Birkin Birkin Birkin starts with B.  Add this under the sub-heading "One more reason to be a great wife."

You learned a litany of other lessons as a young person and the beauty is, you are still learning. Many of these lessons are still valid and valuable today. Happy Birthday Sasspot. I hope 40 holds amazing things in store for both of us. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Saucy vixen

A word on personalized license plates: Really? Similar to bumper stickers, is there anything so clever that you need it on car plate? Like your superfly TNT version of a vehicular tattoo? My answer? A resounding no. Oh, I get it. Some of the license plates are too funny. Right. How many times have you seen one and laughed out loud? Hard to recall? Let me help, never. Oh, I know. Some people just put their last name on it. I have seen that o'plenty too. The last name is a slight improvement over this plate I saw:


Good job ladybug, because now anyone who sees you is given permission to look at you and verify if you are in fact, a cutie pie. And cutie pie is a tricky term really only used to either describe children OR used by people in their 70s. She was at least 30. Have fun living that down. BUT, at least it was a sweet sentiment.

On my commute to work this morning, I was behind this car:

WOW. Way to dirty up my Monday morning. Maybe when you went to order this from the DMV you should have employed a special trick called Second Thought and let me demonstrate how it works.
1. I want to get a license plate that will be interpreted as "I Lick. Bone Me."
2. On Second Thought: That is clearly a poor idea.

First, have you been to the DMV? The average DMV employee has a sense of humor similar to how you would feel watching Judge Judy and Bobby Knight on a sex tape. How in the world did the DMV approve this license plate?

And then after I sat behind this car for three more stop lights, did I realize. Oh, wait. Let me look again. Oh, now I see it. You actually meant: I Like Bein' Me.

Whoa. I didn't think it was possibly to swing that pendulum from Jenna Jamison to Stuart Smalley in that brief of a time frame. But consider it done.  And maybe my mind is too fast for my own good OR needs a gentle rinse with Woolite. (Let's vote for the first option, shall we?) And if you don't know who Jenna Jamison is, good for you Cotton Mather. There is no way I am putting a link to her here. Why not visit University of Google if needed.

So that is how my Monday morning started. Vrooom vrooom. That license plate sounds more like a Monkees song and not quite the creation of a saucy vixen as I first assessed. But for the self affirmation, on a license plate? That you never see because you are IN the car? Well, that is on the same plane curve as IMAQTPI. Hope your Monday is just as saucy.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Field trip...

Remember when we were young and the big day of field trips? Our elementary school rarely offered this intriguing curricular activity, so when the day came upon us, we were highly enthused. As we jumbled on the bus, spritzed with a combination of anticipation of some stellar location but also the delight in being free from desks and books even for a little while. The bus ride always began with attentiveness but once down the road, the entire ride was a series of fart jokes from the boys and a series of appalled noises and giggles from the girls.

And it seems to be a staple that all bus rides must include songs. Song which ranged from Springtime Rag and Miss Mary Mack when we were rather young to I Love Rock and Roll and We Got the Beat as we topped the 5th and 6th grade years. Do you know which perspective I never considered during these trips? Those of our teachers.  These opportunities were not mandatory requirements. And if we were good, they likely applauded themselves for exposing us to culture. If were were awful, well, it was what drove them to make up bad nicknames in the teachers lounge if not nip from the bottle the minute they got home.

In early May, I revisited the field trip concept. MiniMac attends a private early learning school here in Atlanta. I love his teachers so when they asked if JMac and I would chaperone a field trip, my initial thought, how fun! So JMac, who doesn't strike me as the type to willing go to any destination with a group of 4 and 5 year olds, and I meet the kids as their bus pulls in at the local Science Museum. My first plan is to simply and gently guide but really, the teachers are in charge. That lasted for 10 entire seconds after those kids piled off the bus and instead of wanting to stand in line as requested, they looked more like a live version of 52 card pick-up.

So I quickly admonish my own child and all others fell in quickly. His teachers are outstanding and those kids are dutiful and well-behaved, 90% of the time. And MiniMac has been in class with half of most of them for the past three years so I know most of them very well. But big space, excited munchkins, you see what can go down. We enjoy a presentation on the Solar System and I appreciate how attentive and focused they are in addition to shouting out answeres (correct answers) when asked by the presenter. What smart kids!

We then take the kids to a popular Atlanta pizza place for lunch. At this point, my husband peels off. I have no problem working these kids with just the right mix of bossy commands and sweet words for example, "Sweet girl, I am going to need you to sit down right now" and "Baby Angel, you need to catch a bubble" (this is teacherspeak to imply catch a bubble with your mouth. Meaning: zip it.) I eventually hug them all good-bye before they got on the bus. The next day, the teachers tell my husband and the Director of the school, they want us on future field trips. Yes, I felt like a received a shiny gold Mothering Badge of Honor. I did tell his head teacher I was surprised at how bossy you need to be with this age. She said, "Not bossy. Children need discipline." AMEN.

During the summer months, MiniMac's class has field trips galore scheduled. As in, one EVERY week. One of his teachers let me know that I was free to join on any (every) trip. I join them yesterday for a post-lunch trip to tour a local frozen yogurt store complete with demo of making waffle cones AND the freedom to pick any flavor they wanted.  This time, I opted to meet them at school and ride the bus. I walk in the classroom and do some crowd amping: WHO IS READY FOR YOGURT?  I go outside with one teacher to check the bus. We find multiple car seats and booster seats sitting outside the bus on the sidewalk. Oh goodness kids, apparently your parents can't read simple directions. Put the seats ON THE BUS. Oh, and they have limited memory since this is the same rule applied to every field trip for the past day? week? No, FOREVER. And these particular kids have been in this class since August. Parents, follow the drill.

Once on the bus, I rouse these kids with full permission from the teachers in any and every song they want to sing. Itsy Bitsy Spider? Check. Rainbow song? Done. Wheels on the Bus? Bring it home to Mama. I am pleased with my choice to chaperone these wonderful little tykes.

We get to the Yogurt Shop, and as one teacher got out to check in, one teacher began to unbuckle, these kids want to rush the door like the Fighting Irish hitting the football field. WHOA. Me, at the front, give a big finger snap and one command: BACK. We get them outside in a line, whoops, a line that looks like a triangle. The teachers give strict orders. Once inside, these kids eyes almost pop out of their tiny heads and the sparkling row of yogurt machines but more specifically at the 40+ bins of chopped up candy, fruit and sprinkles that strike me as disaster waiting to happen. They try desperately to listen to Miss Hannah who gives them a tour of the front and the party room.

She then leads us all to the back and wants to show them the freezers, the ingredients and the machines that make the yogurt. When she offers someone the chance to shake the blend to pour in the machine, she is set upon by 12 kids instantly. The teachers work from the back as I provide yet another finger snap and this edict: Children, this is Yogurt Field Trip NOT the Running of the Bulls.  Back it up. They do so reluctantly but the constant pushing of one another over the sea of "I CAN'T SEE had me aghast. I don't know if it summer, the pure delight knowing they will receive heaping mounds of yogurt shortly or the fact they are after all, kids but I hadn't experienced this much excess enthusiasm since my one and only visit to a Bridal Expo.

As they pushed, badgered, winced because they couldn't see, I realized that 1. Pre-school teacher would be a poor vocational choice for me. And 2. I was about 3 minutes away from metamorphism into either Archie Bunker or Gargamel. I couldn't tell which way it was going to go but survey said: Either way, NOT kid-friendly. And when I picked up one of my favorite girls in the class because she asked me to, my son laid a look on me that could only be interpreted that I should be wearing a scarlet M for Mom on my chest.

By the time it came to actually getting the yogurt, the crowd had almost a hyena style yowl going. I had to drop some Nadine on this group with a very serious: Hey guess what flavor you are going to get? A giant mix of SIMMER DOWN NOW.  This tamed them. Briefly. I then resulted in the old school Mr. Cunningham style of calling those being the biggest rascals by their first and last name. I also asked one boy if in fact, his ears were merely decorations and didn't actually serve the purpose of bringing our words to his brain. He laughed and then bounced away like Tigger.

And they could not have been more delighted with themselves and their yogurt mountains. And repeatedly asking me, "MiniMac's Mom...can I pick the next song we sing." So the bus ride home back was laden with songs until one girl said, "Can we all just PLEASE be quiet?" Yes ma'am. And hallelujah. I was happy to corral them all to oblige.

And I also learned something new today. Not something I wanted to learn or ever thought I would: the literal meaning of watching someone go ape sh*t.  I have never even seen ape sh*t so I couldn't begin to process how one goes down the path to go there. But guess what, if you have never seen someone go ape sh*t either, take 12 toddlers to a yogurt shop. Field trip successful but I have honestly earned a glass of red wine tonight. A reward for today and preparation because I have another field trip to chaperone next week.