selfish bitch (and not me for a change)

edited, several hours later: OK, maybe I get overly angry at things before my third cup of coffee, but apparently this really rubbed me the wrong way. I’m over it now. But at least it got me to write a blog.

I just saw a news story on what I believe is one of the most single-mindedly selfish acts I’ve ever heard of. And I’m pretty sure it was supposed to be a heartwarming, “look how selfless and wonderful” story. So maybe it’s just me.

This woman, at the age of 41, after wanting a baby all her life, got pregnant. Then she found out she had cancer. Given the choice between chemo to save her life, which would end the baby’s, or carrying the baby and essentially condemning herself to death, she chose the baby’s life.

OK. I can see this. You have a family, a husband, you’re giving that family the choice between your baby and you and you’re making the choice for them – they’ll have the baby you’ve wanted.

Except – there was no husband, or even really father, in this picture. This woman was single, and the father was “not part of the picture at all” said the news report. The woman’s brother and sister-in-law – who already have six kids between them – are raising the baby.

So this woman, given the choice between saving her own life or ensuring that her brother (who appears to be in his 40s) and his wife, who at this point had likely had no plans to bring another baby into their family, are now stuck raising this newborn – premature – baby.

In all fairness, they seem to be OK with it. The wife says she loves kids. But when asked if the mother discussed it with them, he said no, her mind was made up.

I’m sorry. I think that’s really fucking selfish. There is nothing heartwarming about that story. It’s sad and it’s thoughtless and it’s stupid.

Oh, and to top it off? When asked if he knew how his sister would have wanted the baby raised? Apparently her only hopes and plans for the kid were “I hope she’s beautiful so she can be in pageants.”

There are not enough words.

mixed messages, with berries

Sure enough, another TV moment has grabbed my attention.

It’s this new commercial. For what? Well, we don’t know at first. Something wonderful, surely, because there are all these jeans, but instead of sizes, the tags say things like “sassy” and “radiant” and “ooh-la-la” and the voice-over says, “wouldn’t it be great if we focused less on the size and more on how the fit makes us feel?”

Great message, right? We let that number tag in our clothes dictate so much of how we feel about ourselves, so the idea of jeans without a number is empowering! and fabulous!

But then the commercial goes on to tell us that we can drop a size with the Special K diet.

Huh?

So size doesn’t matter and shouldn’t define us but we still need to eat cereal three meals a day so we can be thin enough to fit in “sassy” jeans. So apparently even when there’s no numbers, there’s still a “right” size.

I get that Special K is, essentially, a weight-loss product (because let’s face it, would it really be your first choice if calorie count wasn’t an issue?), but why pretend then that sizes don’t matter and we should all feel good regardless of the label, and then in the next breath tell us how to get into a size smaller than the one we’re in?

Fail, Special K. Epic fail.

when my husband works at night, the Internet must suffer

When you watch TV by yourself, a lot of snark gets pent up. I have to let it out. This may be the first in a series. Or not.

You know the Vagisil commercial, with the line that goes something like, “I learned the hard way that not all feminine products fight odor the same”? What is the easy way to learn that?

It bugs me in Jurassic Park, when Sam Neill is explaining how birds are descended from velociraptors, he goes through the physical similarities and then says “even their name, raptor, means bird of prey.” Circular reasoning, doc – they were named that because of all the similarities to birds – no one dug up a skeleton with a label on it that said Hello, My Name is Velociraptor. I get that it was exposition for the audience’s sake, but still. It’s dumb.

To Michael Landon: Someday Little House on the Prairie will be on for three hours every day instead of just once a week, and people will see the entire nine seasons over the course of a couple of months and notice there were only four guest stars and six plotlines over the entire run of the series. Also, you wouldn’t know continuity if it bit you in your giant schlong – dude, EITHER ALBERT BECAME A DOCTOR OR HE DIED. You can’t have it both ways. I still love your show and I’m sorry you’re dead.

I ended up sort of watching Outrageous Kid Parties because it was on after Toddlers and Tiaras, which is always so snark-worthy that nothing in particular stuck out tonight. But anyway, to the ice cream truck driver throwing an ’80s-themed party: You’re spending your entire annual salary to throw a party “for your kids” because you want to recapture your lost youth, and possibly your lost waistline, neither of which is going to happen. We all miss the 80s, get over it. Also, the only thing your kids are going to remember is that the whole neighborhood thinks you’re batshit.

And to the mom who named her kid Maverick. Ummm – did you miss the scene where Tom Cruise explains that’s a nickname? Or do you really just hate your kid?

Oh, but thank you, lord, for TLC. It’s like going to a Wal-Mart in Bithlo on a day when there’s a swap meet, church and a race, and there’s a fried chicken special in the deli.

I promised

The hub and I, whilst walking the dogs, have a conversation about careers and what we wanted to do when we grew up.

Me: I should have become a psychologist. I’d still really like to do that.
Him: Oh yeah, you’d probably be really good at that, because crazy people understand other …
Me: …
Him: …
Me: I’m so posting this on Facebook.
Him: No, please don’t.

OK honey.

carb loading

I went to the doctor today because my jaw hurt. And because the Internet told me the hurting might be related to an ear infection and the Internet is wise and I didn’t want to  take chances. But as it turns out, the hurting was not related to an ear infection. There is something wrong with my ear, BUT it is not related to the jaw pain. Because it’s important that nothing in my life have cohesion.

So anyway. The jaw pain is TMJ, which I have never suffered with before but apparently I have, and I aggravated it by probably chewing on something. Right. It’s an EATING injury. Of course it is. So I start thinking back to what I ate that might have been a bit chewy or out of the norm last week. Two candidates come to mind: Bacon and bread. On Monday night I was at a reception where there were bacon-wrapped scallops. So naturally, I ate my body weight’s worth.  I think the bacon is the less-likely candidate though. Because on Monday night I wasn’t drinking (actually, that’s not relevant, except it’s kind of the reason I ate so much bacon. Next best thing, you know). But Tuesday I was drinking, and then was at a restaurant with lots of fresh, hot bread. So in my infinite wisdom I ate like, two loaves of bread so the alcohol wouldn’t absorb into my system.

So I think what I have is a BREAD-EATING INJURY.

I could not make this up.

chim-chim-in-ey

This is probably not the kind of thing I should admit publicly, so it will fit right in on my blog. But in times of excessive stress, I find great comfort in listening to Disney songs. I’m not sure how I made this discovery or exactly how I came to have parts of Classic Disney 1, 2 and 3 in my iTunes library, but listening to some of these songs – “Under the Sea,” “Be Our Guest,” and oddly, the song from the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room, as well as the Electric Light Parade music, go a long way toward bringing me closer back to my happy place. Maybe it’s the connection to the Happiest Place on Earth – even though I’ve never felt that draw to Disney the way some others do. But it is a place of sort-of escapism (except for the maddening press of humanity that surrounds you when you’re there).

The song that makes me happiest, though, is “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from Mary Poppins. I listen to that song and I want to be a chimney sweep in London. Which is just ridiculous because are there even chimney sweeps anymore? It can’t be a viable profession, really, and if it exists, it’s certainly not a safe one, although I’m sure there are just pages of OSHA regulations for cleaning chimneys. But Dick Van Dyke sounds so damn HAPPY with his job.

Now, as the ladder of life ‘as been strung
You might think a sweep’s on the bottommost rung
Though I spends me time in the ashes and smoke
In this ‘ole wide world there’s no ‘appier bloke

I want to feel that way. He makes it sound so romantic, so free.

Up where the smoke is all billered and curled
‘Tween pavement and stars is the chimney sweep world
When there’s ‘ardly no day nor ‘ardly no night
There’s things ‘alf in shadow and ‘alfway in light
On the rooftops of London coo, what a sight!

Pure escapism, I know. I just want to get away, to run and hide and be somewhere magical. Perhaps the most logical choice would be a beach somewhere, or a cruise ship, or some sort of vacation spot that is not the roof of a house in the middle of a city; a roof containing a chimney that I am responsible for cleaning soot and probably bird shit out of. But there you go. That’s the magic of Disney, making it sound like it’s the best place in the world to escape your troubles. And when I’m wide awake at 5 a.m., having once again used wine and food as a band-aid, with the typical lack of success, I feel like any alternatives have to be better – even ones that involve brooms and brushes and soot. If I could just stand on a rooftop and get away from it all, I’d be one happy bloke.

overstimulated

The problem with trying to come up with a plan and then stick to it is all the distractions. This multisensory world we live in, with its televisions and internets and phones, and tweets and likes and posts and feeds … it’s a lot. Particularly for someone like me, who was distracted by three network channels, a VCR and a couple of  Tiger Beat magazines.

So whenever I start trying to figure out a career path, all that stimuli veers me off the path pretty quickly. Like, I start searching for “writing prompts” and all of a sudden I find myself with 10 different windows open, reading book reviews, message boards and blogs that are three links removed from the original search result and are on a topic that had nothing to do with my original search.

Also, I then get hung up on the idea that I have to DO all of these things. All at once. NOW! Which gets me so overwhelmed that I slam the computer shut and go back to surfing 200 channels of nothingness while reading a novel and calculating my 401k contributions for the year in my head.

It’s no wonder I get headaches.

So my new plan is to focus on one thing. Like, just now when I logged into post this blog, I saw one of those new announcements from WordPress about a new feature where you can integrate your Tweets into your posts, which got me all freaked out again about how I really should be on Twitter because Facebook is fine but it’s really shouldn’t be my primary outlet for my short random thoughts (as opposed to my long random thoughts, which is this blog, but shouldn’t I be tying the two together in an integrated marketing strategy, but then what name do I use and who would follow me and who do I want to follow me and do I want those people to read this blog and of course I do but I need to be careful about who on Facebook can read it so AAAAAH! Slam! goes the laptop lid.)

But I didn’t let that happen. I calmly and rationally said, self, we are just going to move past this and we are going to write a blog post, which is what we set out to do. It’s OK if we just do that one thing. Everything else can come later. And I did it. Isn’t that fabulously sane and rational, except for the part where I’m talking to myself?

So that’s the path I’m going to take with everything. I’m not going to let myself feel so overwhelmed or guilty about not doing everything that I end up doing nothing. I’m going to choose just one thing at a time and do it, thoroughly. So I downloaded one book – actually one sample of a book – to my Nook. I’m going to read that sample, and if I like it I’m going to buy that one book (instead of the two or three I’d normally buy at once and then read none of them). Once I finish it, I will then choose a next step, whether it’s to buy another book, or open a Twitter account or something else.

I’m so serious about this that tonight I actually watched a movie without reading or being on the computer at the same time. And when it was over, the computer was still there, plus my husband didn’t have to explain the plot to me.

Oh, the new me is going to be so aware and focused it’s scary. Imagine what I’ll be able to achieve when I actually pay attention to stuff. I will be unfreakingtoppable. Look out world, here I  …. oooh, a chicken!