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Monday, January 27, 2014

Awards Shows and the Art of Giving Thanks

It's awards show season - that magical time of the year when miles of red carpet are burned through by the hordes of celebrities and their supporting cast of publicists, stylists, makeup artists, photographers, and correspondents yelling "what are you wearing" against the sonic boom of screaming fans penned behind metal barriers. It would seem the most self-serving of spectacles for all involved - from the fan looking to get social media gold with a selfie alongside a celebrity, to the reporter trying to get the "get" with an off-the-cuff celebrity moment that could go viral, to the stylist who can boast that they had intimate knowledge of the vast amounts of sticky tape they needed to use in order to help a certain starlet avoid a XXX moment on the red carpet, the designer whose dress graces the body of said starlet, the jeweler whose bobbles adorn the starlet, and on and on! 

And then the show begins, and that starlet, waiting anxiously in a vast auditorium, hears her name being called, and she takes her terrifying and exhilarating walk down the aisle, pushing past the cameras, and making her way up to the stage where two presenters await her with a gleaming statuette in their hands. In this moment, as the tears start, she begins the task of giving thanks. The pros will have memorized their list of those to thank or they will have prepared, in advance, a list of those to thank, and they will deliver that list flawlessly. But there are also those who have not prepared. For reasons having to do with superstition or an attempt to look humble, these folks don't prepare anything. So when their name is called, their minds draw a blank,  and they stammer and stumble their way through their acceptance speech, invariably forgetting those whose hard work, love and support brought them to this moment. 

This is an experience that all of us can relate to - sometimes, we forget to thank those who contributed in ways big and small to what we have and what we have achieved. So, this awards season, don't forget to thank your own supporting cast.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I'm Just Saying: An Attitude of Ingratitude: What to do with Justin...

I'm Just Saying: An Attitude of Ingratitude: What to do with Justin...: Well, it looks like Justin Bieber has, once again, proven that if you have a goal and work hard enough, you just might get your wish - congr...

An Attitude of Ingratitude: What to do with Justin Bieber

Well, it looks like Justin Bieber has, once again, proven that if you have a goal and work hard enough, you just might get your wish - congratulations on your arrest in Miami! You've come close, oh so close, before, Biebs, and we all collectively grieved your failure to get popped by the cops after your allegedly wild parties and flooring it in residential areas. But, now, you've made it and your smiling mug shot is a sort of class picture, for you have graduated to the ranks of the arrested. If only they had played "Pomp and Circumstance" for you as you pimp-rolled into the courtroom sporting your prison orange! 

But that's not all! It seems in the hours leading up to your arrest you were one busy boy - hanging out (shirtless) in nightclubs and getting your (underage) "drink on"! And, oh look, you even resisted arrest??!! That's like hitting the trifecta! 

Am I picking on you, Biebs? Am I just another one of those "haters" you've referenced who always seem to be "hating"? Or am I someone who cannot stomach the obvious ingratitude you have for the good fortune you have? 

And while I guess I could give you a pass, you know, because you're 19 and had a tough childhood and that your fame and money-making ability has resulted in a largely unsupervised adolescence which is sputtering into a chaotic young adulthood, I do wonder about the man you will become. Unfortunately, ingratitude isn't something you age out of, like a hankering for Pop Rocks or a love of Teletubbies. Sometimes, life kicks the ingratitude out of you, like a vicious thug, and  takes away those things that you were fortunate enough to have but treated with contempt. And I'm not just talking about money - no! Talent, adulation, respect - these can all wither away. 

So here's my advice - put your shirt on and get grateful! Instead of glamorizing your privileged white boy version of thug life, work to keep at-risk children out of the juvenile justice system. You see, you're slumming it and I'm calling your bluff - cease and desist! Stop glamorizing ghetto fabulous, stop twerking your heads off, stop buying lap dances at grungy strip clubs from women living at the fringes, and stop drinking all of the non-medicinal cough syrup you want because you get to retreat to your mansion and your millions. Stop treating your odyssey to the wrong side of the tracks as if it were a trip to Disneyland. And now that you're finally in jail, pull your pants up! I know this has nothing to do with gratitude on a large scale, but I'd certainly be grateful:)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

14 Signs that You Attended an All-Girls Catholic High School in the DMV in the 1980s and 1990s

Recently, there's been a hilarious post making the rounds on social media that addresses all of the funny/curious/weird things that bond us products of a Catholic school education, but there is a specific demographic with a lot more to say about the subject - those of us who attended all-girls Catholic high schools in the Washington, DC area back in the 1980s and the 1900s. So here we go:

14 Signs that you attended an all-girls Catholic high school in the DMV in the 1980s and 1990s:

  • Nearly everyone had a curling (or crimping) iron in their locker
  • The uniform school shoe policy of black or navy blue loafers was stretched to include Etienne Aigner short boots and Timberland lace-ups
  • The school dances you attended had a go-go band
  • When the last bell of the day sounded, it was a matter of minutes before your shirts were untucked, your skirts rolled up to a point well above the knee, and your uniform shoes were ditched for pristine white sneakers or Timberland boots
  • If your after-school plans included a fight at the Metro station, you wore shorts underneath your uniform skirt in order to do a quick-change and avoid being identified as a student at a specific school
  • The hot ticket in town was the trip to hear the annual Christmas concert at Archbishop Carroll
  • Instead of Jansport backpacks, your classmates had Louis Vuitton, Coach, or Gucci backpacks
  • You piled 6 people deep into a classmate's late-model Toyota for lunch at the off-campus Popeye's 
  • You borrowed $1-2 dollars from one of those classmates for that lunch at the off-campus Popeye's 
  • You knew someone with a nickname that began with "Li'l"
  • Gym class didn't automatically equal physical exertion
  • Gold hoop earrings were part of the uniform
  • Without a football team, you really didn't have anything resembling homecoming like your public school or co-ed high school friends
  • You went to school in full make-up even though there weren't any boys around

Sunday, January 5, 2014

For the Newly Engaged: A Marriage Manual in 15 Steps

Well, it's January, which means that there are quite a few ladies and gents sporting some new bling and diving into the wedding planning pool. But, before you get those wedding binders bedazzled and sign up for The Knot, I'm here to share some rules for the road for the transition from wedding day bliss to the everyday of marriage. These are tips gleaned from the marital trenches of the brave men and women who have gone before you and will be there to support you on your journey, so here goes!

  1. Hire a maid or Shut Your Mouth: Nagging isn't pretty, and neither is suffering in passive-aggressive silence while you clean up after your messy partner. So, hire a maid and make the messy partner pay for it! 
  2. Rent an apartment for the first year or so (preferably with a gym and a pool): This seems counter to the prevailing culture, but owning a house means taking care of a house. That means shoveling snow in the winter, cleaning gutters, repairing/replacing windows, sealing driveways, power washing decks, removing carpet, replacing carpet, polishing hardwood floors, and so on, and so on! Think of the time you could be using to do something more interesting like traveling, or taking salsa lessons, or reading so that you'll have something much more fun to talk about than tile grout!
  3. NO HOME RENOVATION PROJECTS!!!!: Listen to me because, obviously, if we're discussing this then you've completely ignored my advice in #2 (above), or, you moved into a home that your beloved already owns. And, as often happens in these situations, the partner with the home has graciously offered to change whatever you'd like changed in the home in order for you to put your stamp on the property. Sounds sweet, right?? Don't do it! It will eat up your time and your patience. You two are figuring out your rhythms as a couple, which includes how you make decisions. If you hate the kitchen, hold your nose for at least another 2-3 years and then you have my permission to demo the dang thing!
  4. Avoid Home Depot: Need a screw for the light fixture in your hallway, then let the DIY half of your marriage go inside and don't feel guilty for simply not caring about home improvement projects. 
  5. Write the thank you notes as soon as the gift arrives, or during your honeymoon or immediately after you return: You'd be surprised at how quickly the time gets away from you after the wedding marathon finally ends. Create a wedding gift spreadsheet so that as the gifts arrive you can log in the name and address of the sender, the date it was received, and a description of the gift. 
  6. Buy a subscription to a local theatre/symphony orchestra/museum: This will encourage you to carve out space on each other's calendars and allows you to both experience something new together:)
  7. Accept the fact that one of you will always remember to buy postage stamps and that one of you will always ask to borrow those postage stamps!
  8. Roughly 50% of your time will involve hauling grocery bags into your home:(
  9. The other 50% of your time will be spent returning to the grocery store because you forgot something:( :(
  10. Don't buy or ask for a coffee maker in your wedding registry: Sometimes it's nice to have an excuse for one or both of you to leave the house.
  11. Avoid getting a pet: A pet is like having a child and you may discover dramatic differences in your child-rearing philosophies. Pets can also block opportunities for spontaneity. It's hard to whisk your spouse away for a surprise evening of dancing and fine food when you have to worry about your four-legged friend sitting cross-legged in his dog crate awaiting your return! Take a couple of years for yourself if you can before the pets.
  12. Accept the guilt: Feeling guilty when you get married is the norm, and not because you've done something bad. You feel guilty for spending an afternoon with your girlfriends when it's your husband's first Saturday off from work in months. You feel guilty wanting to read alone in the guest bedroom when your honey wants some "us" time. You feel guilty preferring a weekend at home to a weekend camping with your in-laws, or for eating the last danish, or for not liking the Dr. Who bra and panty set he buys you for Valentine's Day. Over time, you'll figure out how to live your life with the guilt. Oh, and don't think you can trump guilt by simply giving in to your significant other's needs all of the time, because that can lead to resentment!
  13. Exercise and Get Enough Sleep: Sometimes married couples say the most hateful things when a 40-minute walk and 8 hours of sleep would have solved the problem. 
  14. Face each other and say "I love you" at least once a day: It's always nice to hear, always:)
  15. Turn off the gadgets: Do you know the secret to a good marriage? Eye contact, so stop staring at the screen and, instead, look up and focus on that person you vowed to love, honor and cherish. 
Happy wedding and happy marriage to you:)