Tuesday, January 18, 2005

What the...?

The title of today’s entry probably says it all. There are so many recent issues of blatant stupidity that I find myself saying “what the f---?” more often than not these days.

Here’s the first. I’m watching the Golden Globe awards Sunday night – mostly for the dresses. You can always catch photos of the dresses online the next day, but a picture can never capture the way Uma Thurman’s white confection drifts behind her like mist, or how incredibly classy Glenn Close’s black lace dress looked on her, or the way Hilary Swank has given brown satin new life. If you clicked on the links, you'll see what I mean - the pictures just don't capture the presence of the actresses, or their gowns - which are very often presences in themselves.

Before I move on to the real rant, I have to express how pleased I was that Glenn Close won Best Actress in a Made for TV Movie for her role as Eleanor in Showtime's Lion in Winter. I cheered - Mom would be terribly happy. She won Best Actress for the same role in Indianapolis. Can't remember the year, although I can still picture the award statue itself - I think I still have it somewhere. Anyway, it was before I was interested in stuff like that. And my gang at Nip/Tuck finally got some recognition for season two when they won for Best TV Drama. Steaming ahead towards season three...

L’Oreal took the opportunity to unleash a new marketing campaign that tried to redefine their slogan, “Because you’re worth it.” The commercials with Beyonce and Heather Locklear at first struck me as unusually perceptive – Beyonce talking about how sometimes she doesn’t feel terribly beautiful (even though that’s pretty much her job these days) and her friends (and L’Oreal, of course) step in to keep her spirits up. Heather Locklear talking about the different roles women play in their daily lives and how hard it can be to maintain sanity in the face of that. I was pleasantly surprised – until I walked into the room after putting Duckie back to sleep for the umpteenth time, wondering when I was going to get a chance to shower, and heard Heather saying, “We should live glamorously – every day!”

What the f---???? You know, it’s one thing if I choose to watch the Golden Globes and appreciate the stunning (sometimes stunningly bad - Paula, what were you thinking?!) gowns and amazing hair and makeup of the stars. It’s another thing entirely to have to listen to a manufactured TV goddess preach such a ridiculous message to women in general. Screw you, Heather. How dare you suggest such a thing to me? I’m lucky if I manage to get a shower every day. I’m working damned hard to schedule workout time for myself to eventually look a little less dumpy. And I discovered getting ready for a date Saturday night that I had forgotten how the hell to put on makeup. (The date, in case you were wondering, was with Husband, so don’t get your panties in a wad.) I don’t have a stylist going out to buy clothes for me – I buy them myself, or if I’m lucky, my stylish friends (and you know who you are) donate their seconds to the cause. I cook my own meals, I clean my own house, and I don’t have a nanny to help with the baby so I can jet off to the spa. I take my baby to day care five days out of the week so I can go to work and keep a roof over our heads, I treasure every moment of warmth and coziness with her in the bed before I get up in the morning, and I will be damned if I’m going to spend that time drying and styling my hair (it hasn’t been cut in over a year, it would take at least an hour to style anyway) or putting on makeup (let’s start with washing my face and brushing my teeth first.)

Heather, you can pipe it up your tanned and lifted ass.

My idea of living glamorously every day is to maybe light my pricey-but-worth-it Firewood candle and pretend I have a fireplace. Or perhaps indulging in a gourmet make-from-an-envelope Knorr’s pesto sauce (it beats the hell out of mac and cheese). Or watching the Golden Globes and drooling over those gorgeous gowns. Or – hey, here’s an idea – shaving my legs… ah, what a concept. Gives me chills just thinking about it.


A few things in the news are troubling me. (A few things, you ask? Only a few?) Yeah, well, today I’m mostly troubled about finances. (I won't get into Dubya's cunning plans to strike Iran next - still trying to digest that one.) Not just my own finances – although there’s some pretty tricky budgeting going on this month, to be sure – but the world’s, and especially our country’s. Starts with the snippet on CNN estimating the cost of this month’s inauguration ceremonies at $40 million. Er… excuse me, did you just say forty million dollars? The number is outrageous in itself – but it's one of those things that I usually just shake my head at and go on with my day. And no, it doesn't matter to me that it's funded by private parties and ticket sales. It's still freaking outrageous.

Then today I read about the UN’s statement that we – as a planet – have the potential to end poverty worldwide by 2025, if only the richer nations would actually put in the aid money that they had promised to begin with – although that would mean about doubling the amount they are giving now. God forbid we spend less on a party so we could redirect the money where it might make a difference to a family in a third-world country.

Then I read that the dollar is dropping in value because America is buying more than it’s producing, and we’re buying using money loaned to us from the nations who are making the products we’re buying. It’s something called a trade deficit – and yeah, I know it’s a lot more complicated than that, but I think I got the gist of the article. (I would have posted the link but MSN has already bumped it down in favor of an article on the revamped American Idol.)

And I think, what if we as Americans just stopped buying into the whole bullsh!t paradigm of having more stuff and more cars and bigger houses with more expensive furniture (to host bigger parties) that we don’t really need anyway? What if we all – including Heather Locklear, George Bush, John Kerry and yours truly – stopped living beyond our means? What if we all showed some sense of global-freaking-responsibility for once? What if there was a place on our tax returns where you could specify how you want your taxes spent?

I mean, forty million dollars on a week-long pat-yourself-on-the-back ceremony? There was a poll on one of the websites: “Are you planning to watch the inauguration ceremony?” Not just no – hell no.


Duckie’s ear infection didn’t go away after the $37 Omnicef prescription. Sunday was a rough day for both of us – especially Sunday night, when her snot output exceeded my capacity for wiping and I finally had to resort to the intrusive but oh-so-effective nasal aspirator. (It was 2 in the morning and it didn’t occur to me to give her Tylenol Cold & Cough until Monday.) Neither one of us slept for more than an hour at a time, and I felt worse for her – not only did she have to deal with her awful congestion, she also had to put up with mommy’s whining back at her all night: “Please go back to sleep baby, please, please please just go back to sleep!”

I dragged us both out of the house and was slightly comforted by the latest entry from a mother of two, describing in snotty detail her own daughter’s adventures in phlegm.

Husband saved the day yesterday by picking her up at school and trucking her back in to the doctor. He also had to wait for a prescription with a fussy baby and then deliver it (along with Duckie) to the house, which was full of Whiskey Sisters at the time. I took over from there, throwing everything I could at her cold – juice for the fluids and vitamin C, a soothing vapor bath, vapor rub for babies on her little chest, her new antibiotic, the aforementioned cold & cough medicine, and a clean humidifier going full steam all night in the bedroom, fortified with spearmint, eucalyptus and lavender oils.

She slept wonderfully last night – a huge change from the night before. I slept pretty well, too, for once not bothered by the frenetic, vivid dreams induced by the all-night nicotine patch (forgot to put it on yesterday). Haven’t heard from her school – and at this point, no news is good news. I hope her sound sleep last night got her back on track.

Finally, another babycenter article yesterday struck me particularly hard. “Depression runs in families and intensifies by generation,” it said. I knew it ran in families already – but I didn’t know it got worse generation by generation. Immediately I started to question the statement and the research. How do they really know it got worse for the kids? Isn’t life just harder and more stressful now anyway? Is the increase in intensity a function of the depressive condition in itself or is it more closely related to the state of the world? Or is it that depressive parents are crappy parents and teach their kids how to be depressed and can’t teach them how to be happy? Or is it that people know more about it, have a greater vocabulary for mental health conditions?

Obviously there’s a smidgen of denial happening here. I know that Duckie is at risk for developing depression later in life. I already feel like I’m not doing a good enough job of protecting her from the harsher realities of the world (kids hitting and biting at day care, mommy having her own frustrated meltdowns and not being nearly as patient as she ought to be, that time we saw a dog hit by the car in front of us, images on the TV – Hardee’s commercials get clicked off when I see them, but what if I’m not in the room?) So how do I prevent this? How can I keep her from going through the hell I’ve been through? Is it even possible? Should I even try? Or should I just be there for her if it happens and be ready to tell her that life goes on, even when you’re sad? I feel a bit like Sleeping Beauty’s mom must have felt in the years before the accident with the spindle.

Scary. Anyone with ideas, feel free to chime in.


Sam said...

Well... needless to say, I feel like an expert on this topic, so I'll throw my two(hundred) cents in. :)
First of all, I think you're already doing the most important things towards helping Amaduckie in the future - working very VERY hard on understanding and coping with your own depression issues and day-to-day struggles; loving her with all your heart and body; putting her first in everything you do; and coming to new (and more than likely more realistic and loving) terms with her dad - and that can definitely help to relieve her (and everyone else's) stress in the long run.
I think the other things will come obviously to a sharp and quick and questing mind like yours as you go along, too. Begin teaching her at the youngest possible age about safely expressing and venting her sadness and anger. (I drew pictures of my own fears and worries as a kid, and hid them in places that my parents might find them. Only once did they ever ask me about one of them, and when I lamely lied about the meaning of it, they let it drop, despite the fact that it was completely obvious.)
Watch and calendar-note her mood-cycles with things like certain foods, sugar, caffeine, food coloring, weather and moon. That can tell you lots, and then you two can talk about it and work it out together.
Let her know as soon as she can understand what your own problems are, and Brian's, and that you have concerns about her too. That way, she won't be surprised either, and can be forewarned and forearmed. If she can be open, honest, candid - and even have a sense of humor about it, things will be MUCH easier. It won't be ahousehold full of people in a !@#$ mood, all trying to pretend that they're happy. You'll surely find that you're all sync'ed, and can plan group activities to combat it (or at least get the hell outta each other's way for a while! ;)
If she's down, instead of coaxing her to be cheerful, sink in with her. I wrote a thing to go with a drawing i did that said [paraphrasing] "what do you do when you're tied down? don't struggle upwards - get low. give yourself time to relax and work on getting yourself free..." light some candles, cover the windows, put on some "Smiths" or Sarah McClaughlin and weep and eat chocolate until you feel better (or stupid, which will make you laugh, and that's ok too).
get her into martial arts as early as she'll let you (and you too! the family that 'ki-a's' together... ;)
and get her a punching bag.
let her paint her room purple and black (which she'll get really tired of really soon) and dye her hair black (oh my GAWD! :( :( :( ) and whatever silly bleak expression she chooses. chances are that your saying 'yes' so lightly will deter her (hopefully) - and if dad gives flak, remind him that he has NO room to talk! ;)
these are all things that you'd have thought of eventually anyway, but i thought i'd at least tell you the things i'd wished MY parents would have done (well, besides being completely insane, irresponsible and/or abusive @$$h0l&$ as well, obviously). i mainly wish they'd have listened to me, talked to me, explain things to me, and cared about me.
you guys will be just fine. i know it.

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