Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Daughters

I have 2 boys and let's dispense with the usual queries, which never cease to test my ability not to roll my eyes -

1)  No I did not want a girl - nor a boy - I really wanted a kid who was healthy and who was happy
2) No I did not try for the girl nor will I - see point number 1
3) I do not miss having a girl - why?  what difference would it make, the sex of the child determines exactly what ??? That people feel the need to ask me this
4) Yes they do have a higher activity level -- then some girls, also then some boys - why this is said as a negative

I have heard all above the above all my life when people find out I have two boys.   I do not see the difference in the way I would raise girls because I feel if I teach boys to be kind, responsible, respectful people who treat others equally that is no different then how I would raise my daughters.   I also have a great relationship with my boys, so again not sure what these folks who ask me think I am missing out on.

That is not to say that there are no differences - nor that there shouldn't be but there is no "better" in this.

I also am fortunate to have daughters - because of the town I live in and the close way we raise our children here it is like having my own, ok I do not have to buy their clothes but I have offered to take them shopping.  If for no other reason it would be an experiment from the super fast way I shop for my boys, who pick things quickly and in all mad rush to get to the pretzel store or GameStop that inevitably is close to where I am buying their clothes.

I have daughters who run and hug me in a way that none of  my sons' friends who are boys ever even think of doing (boys will give hugs, reluctantly but I am not of the school of thought of imposed adult affection on kids).   They have allowed me to listen to them and talk them while I stroke long, silky hair when they have been down - their hormones are much more intense than my 11 year old's (who has them but they come in bursts, end quickly and of course are forgotten).

I have daughters who are growing into young women and who I want to make sure the world does not impose any rules on that they make allowances in boys for.  I want them to have opportunities and make salaries that are in line with my own sons' potential.   My daughters are going to deserve to be treated like they are the most important thing in someone's life much like my sons' should expect of their loves.  These daughters should have choices for their bodies made by their own minds and respected by those around them.

I am lucky to be a part of these daughters' lives, who are friends with my sons and expose them to the wonder and slightly complex female mind, who will give them good advice and who my sons can be a shoulder for.  

Girls and boys are different - and there is nothing about being a woman who was once a girl that I would change  - and we should embrace their differences while reminding them that their aspirations are so often the same.

My daughters - lovely since they were little, girls who play all sorts of games that my boys love because they see themselves as my sons friends and equals.   They are small, fierce warriors in glitter and pink but do not be fooled into thinking there is anything pastel about them.    I sometimes am astonished how much older these same girls, especially in the 11 year old set, are starting too look then my son and his male friends.  They are changing and morphing and hormonal and temperamental and getting so grown up, these daughters of mine. My sons are getting there too with less drama but drama nonetheless.

Daughters - nice complement to the awesome sons I am hoping to raise that will be the partners they deserve in each other.  Until then they will continue to play, laugh, fight, learn and be the friends that make daughters and sons complete.





Friday, January 15, 2016

NY Values

Oh I tried -- like bit my tongue not just metaphorically but I can't do it - because I love my NY Values and if Ted Cruz wants to call them out - well then I agree they should be called out.

New York values, first Mr Cruz NY is not one spot.  It is this little thing you do not like - diverse.  What this means for you who seem to not know anything about our little state that we have a few regional differences, differences within those regions and pretty much everything and nothing goes.  It is a state that votes Democrat and Republican and where we have politicians that fit neither of their parties stereotypes.  I am sure other states can relate but hey this is about NY.

What are New York values - first of all I will even take some of the ones he mentioned.  Yeah ok we are about marriage equality - can you tell me Mr Cruz which of those you oppose is it marriage or equality?   Pro-abortion ?? Dude no one is pro-abortion, I mean never.   For those of us who are pro-choice we know this is a hard decision, we understand that you have religious beliefs that may not lead down this path but we also know we may not have those same beliefs - hence the choice part.  We are pro-choice because we know women can make decisions about their bodies - including birth control options to hopefully not need an abortion.  Pro-Abortion - really that is a bad bad way to put it you really showed more than your ignorance in that one.

How can you possibly talk what New York values are when we are a state whose values range but our values say we are ok with all of that.   I am going to go out on a limb and say he meant NYC values.  They are the socially left leaning Republican -  you know big on common sense gun background checks, strong on crime, try to manage police brutality sometimes better than others, pro-choice because we believe that if you are able to manage to enjoy sex you should be able to manage choosing your birth control or not.   We are business friendly Democrats and Republicans with a happy history of unions. We love a protest and know that celebrations after sports wins do not mean you have to trash the city.  We hate strikes but are the strikers.  We are multicolor and accepting with a branch of the KKK in areas that hates everything that surrounds them.   We are immigrants and native born.  We are believers in everything from diet fads to religion to nothing.  We bear the scars of where we left and bring to this city what we love about our roots to share.  We do not care who you love as long as they consent to it.  We are not embarrassed by sex and sexuality but are deeply ashamed at times of the violence we commit against one another.

We are the best of America, the best of the world and act the worst at times by not stopping to enjoy what an amazing city we live in.  We are hurried but will help and we really kick ass in times of crisis.  We are able to rise from disasters be they economic, natural or terrorist.  We are the city people love to love or hate but are never ambivalent about.  We have bad accents or no accents or wha you lookin at me ??? We are the backdrop to movies and rarely anything like we are portrayed in them.  We are kind to the homeless and we walk right past them at times not seeing them.  We are rich and we are poor and we are in the middle.  We struggle and we take the subway and we hate the subway but we learned to sit next to one another in these steel traps that hurl us to our destinations though our nationalities or our races or who we love and who we worship is not possible to maintain in other places with borders.  We collectively complain about the weather at any given time of the year, we complain about the City and most of all we give you the stank eye if you think as an outsider visiting you can ever complain or compare us to another city.  We are the city that others battle in sports and eye roll at our love of our city as if it made our city less dirty, crowded, crumbling, chaotic, wonderful and alive.  

We are the poor, the tired, the hungry yearning to breathe free though in NYC breathing took years to be anything but a deep breath of free pollution.  We break down and we clean up and we complain about how we miss the dirty, nasty times in the city but we really don't we just do not want to become exactly like every other box store city but we see it creeping in.

Those are our NYC values - diverse like us - multiracial like us  - religious or not like us - and Mr. Cruz it is a shame you learned nothing from your brief time in Canada because I believe many of those values are what make us a treasure to the rest of the world including our Canadian neighbors.  I have traveled much and have seen the beauty, natural or man made, of many places but I have never seen another NYC.  Those are our values - where we welcome those that others shun - where people come for their dreams - wait isn't that what the US is, what a Eurozone wants to be, what the Middle East and every other conflict ridden area needs to be?  Full of pride, cynical and realistic ! Yeah Mr. Cruz maybe you don't need our votes but would you be so kind as to not belittle something you do not know how to embody - NY Values the best of what flawed human beings have to offer to one another and a place.

Start spreading the news (Cruz) ... if you can make it here (apparently you won't) you can make it anywhere (but we will still let you visit) ... New York, New York 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

TVLandia

I loved TV as a kid  - contrary to the often "I never" statements many of my contemporaries make I watched TV as a kid.

The notion of TV actually is quite weaved into different stages of my life.   

In Romania we had a black and white TV, it only had 2 channels in Romania and I do not remember the exact time but it went off pretty early.   As I was 8 when I left I know it was not on past the point where I was in bed.   My memories are scattered about that time, fragments of a small one bedroom apartment where my crib was next to my parents bed in a very small and long bedroom, my paternal grandparents living in the living room (irony), a big bathroom with black and white tiles that we shared with this really obese man, who also shared the kitchen space.   I remember being a bit afraid of him - mainly I think because there would be fights with him, he was not respectful of the living situation or the people who had to share it with him.   I remember pieces of lilac crystals and a narrow, marble winding staircase.  I do not remember a TV.   These living arrangements were given to my parents and grandparents by the government, nothing as horrid as a communist government coming and taking away your right to live where you want, not because they paid your rent or because you had to live in subsidized housing, but because the officials often stole the better places for themselves and then had the power to control that along with every aspect of your life.   I do not remember a TV. 

My next memory is of the apartment my parents finally got approval and bought from the government to live on our own.   There were was a lot of under the table necessary payments made - nothing makes for true capitalism (the Ayn Rand kind  - pure supply and demand) as communism.   I remember bigger rooms, no sharing, our building, our kitchen, my room but I do not remember the TV though I remember my parents saying they had one.   I spent more time hiding from the nurses who came to give me shots for my inflamed tonsils and running around what was now a more bare apartment after my parents announced they were not coming back to Romania, sadly much was taken by relatives who would not take care of me.   

My great aunt who took me in, lived in a really small section of a house, the bathroom was tarred over and dark and scary - ok to a 6 year old it was scary - and was right outside our front door, indoor plumbing but not quite in the house that really was not supposed to be a full time living place when designed.   The living room where my great grandmother lived with us, sleeping on the bed that doubled as a couch, the big dining table and this huge bedroom (was the entrance way once upon a time) where I slept with my aunt in a big bed.   We watched TV together though my great grandmother was deaf, she was one of the kindest people I ever met, where her daughter (my great aunt) would argue with her about what they said, kind of comical.  I loved the old US and British shows, they were not current often in the States with a few exceptions, they were black and white but they were where my parents were living without me, where I hoped to be going soon and I loved English as a language always.  TV was a bit of a portal for me then - I had a massive crush on Manix. 

In America land of many channels, where I came home at 8 to an empty apartment much like most kids around me, I watched more TV than I was allotted before my parents came home.   It was background noise even when I did my homework and I loved the 4 o'clock movie, no channels dedicated to cartoons then.  It was Elvis week that was among my favorites.   I learned English watching the Electric Company and Rita Moreno and Morgan Freeman will always be part of my bilingual education.   I loved the color tv and I did all those things people condemn today, I turned it the minute I got home and watched while doing homework and could have watched it for hours.   

As I got older I remember a General Hospital obsession, shared with my classmates (ok my girl classmates), we all watched Luke and Laura and Blackie and swoon at Rick Springfield as Dr Noah.  I ran those blocks between school and home to make the 3 o'clock start and Luke and Laura's wedding - I still can recall it.   I watched shows with my mother, my father worked late by this time, weekly.  We watched after we ate dinner, or sometimes before she got home from work, but she would enjoy Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Charlie's Angels (yes I was always the Farah/Cheryl Ladd character when we played this with friends), Quincy - go to Me TV or TV Land if you need some info on these.   They were entertaining without being uncomfortable for a parent to watch due to subject matter and they were not mind numbing poor quality like many of the shows on the Disney channel today.   Then they got "racier" just as I hit my hormonal teens, not racy by today's standards, when Dallas and Dynasty came along.  We shared these shows with one another in schools and we shared this in families.  There was limited programming and I remember not thinking that it was radical to have shows like Good Times, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son, Chico and the Man or What's Happening.   I remember Roots - which I cried for days over.    These were a big deal but as a kid to me they just were - after all my friends were watching all of the same things I was - my friends and New York were more like these shows than Mayberry county.   I loved mini-series Rich Man Poor Man, Winds of War, Holocaust - they may seem ridiculous now but they were pretty much it then.   

When "they" came along and decided how to tell us not to parent and what we were doing wrong if we differed then how "they" parent often with a piety that is slight nauseating TV became demonized. I watched less TV the older I got because I had more interests and things to do but I rocked school and did pretty well with it in the background.  I have not believed that a commercial was ever anything other than an information spot for someone trying to sell me something, some of it I needed some of it let's just say Pet Rocks -- why did we actually buy them?  I love commercials that are well done and clever - I never buy anything just because I saw it on TV.  I also used to love the old TV Guides, whatever if you are going to judge I figured you already have at my I loved Elvis week comment.  

There is nothing wrong with screen time, in whatever form, kids today probably watch less and less TV than I did because it is not the only viewing option anymore.   I am not going to tell you how much screen time a kid should have or what they should watch because you should know your kids well enough to determine those rules.   I think while we have more choices on tv in terms of programming and channels we lost a little bit of that connection to having to wait to see the next episode and having to watch much of the same things we only had in limited menus together.   We don't have to wait we can watch it on our terms these days - we find common ground in shows we all like or love to hate - we can make fun of reality tv but that means we at least stopped for a few minutes on the channel to know what it is. News has become more prolific but less reporting and more opinion pages, you can watch the various networks to get somewhat of a better picture of what might have actually happened but we lost Cronkite, Rather, Koppel quality.  

TV you were there for me to share scary movies with my dad with, as an ice breaker socially as I was growing up, to bring me music and now sometimes merely as a screen to binge watch things.   I do not miss the big giant tvs that were furniture because the new screens are far better, or programming that was exclusionary but there was something kind of special of having to wait to find out who shot JR and watching it all together.  We watch certain horrors and are still horrified, which is good since we should not become immune to suffering.  We still share shows we love and characters we love to hate but with more variety we have less of a collective discussion as we did in the past.  Much like anything else it is a thing - what we choose to use it for is on us - you are not a better person if you never watch it nor are you a lesser one, you are just a person.   I wonder what will become of TV in the future as it has so radically changed in my lifetime - in any case for now I use it to watch some shows with my kids (sometimes I am baffled by their choices) and sometimes I use it to escape for a few hours of alone time (as a mom that is preciously guarded) and then many a time I use it as I always have, background noise as I go about multitasking in my house.  

Friday, January 8, 2016

ResoNotions

Happy New Year -- it is time for ;

LOTS of gym commercials -- my personal favorite is still the over muscled guy who walked around saying "I pick things up and put them down", look it up if you have not seen it.

LOTS of diet commercials - I felt a blast from the past seeing that Nutrisystem is still around.

That is because it is the time for resolutions for many.   For me I long ago realized that I do not do resolutions but I do have some goals that I try to set out - some are long term and some are shorter term.  They were more like ReoNotions, you know those things you have a notion to do but probably stop doing after a couple of months- seemed a lot of them were punitive, so I gave them up and have never looked back.


Decluttering - no I am not buying the Japanese author's book, any author who proclaims that as a child when others went out to play she went home to clean is creepy and scary. Besides isn't buying a book adding to said clutter - sarcasm font.   Yet I do love some of the ideas so this year I realize one of the things that makes decluttering so hard for me is not the letting go, yeah I am so not sentimental for most things.  Christmas cards are already in the garbage at my house - don't gasp it's not like I am every going to need to be weepy over a preprinted greeting, it's served it's purpose I saw it know you thought of me and appreciated it.  What makes it hard for me is that I try to do a room or a part of a house and that 1) exhausts me 2) mentally drains me 3) I am bit dog with squirrel sighting and since not exactly getting joy out of it (sorry Japanese lady but if you need a cheap thrill you can come clean at my house) very small things can distract me.   This year I am approaching this very differently.  Small sections have already been done, who knew one could keep so many bags.  No not handbags or bookbags but bags.  As in nice ones from stores, ones with receipts from 7 or more years ago (my husband is one box away from a hoarder show if I didn't have these interventions), ones for different gift occasions but used and not quite usable anymore, ones with water damage.  Bags within bags.  It was a sight - in fact all those went into 6 big black garbage bags - bye bye.  I did 2 drawers too - gone are bras from the disposable bra era(come on you know the ones, uncomfortable as hell, often make you look like you have split boob syndrome if they are the half ones which should not even be made in the 4th letter and up of the alphabet, scratchy things that were meant to be worn only long enough to be worthy of being flung off in your best rendition of some sort of strip tease) and underwear (there are not only the disposable, I just need to pull these out of my ass though that is where they are supposed to be kind, but also the ubiquitous granny/period panties).  It felt great - like really great.  This weekend small sections of the basement and 2 more drawers,  Goal to declutter by June - Sept.

This blog - keep it fresh, keep you coming back .. plug, plug, plug

Paint and write more - I did more last year than in previous years, looking to up the ante a bit for this year, who knows the 2 sections of my book that are done may be followed by the last 2 for a full book.  

Weight - what the hell do I want to say about that? I battle it - it battles me but I hate cleanses and diets.  Working, working, working on a happy medium (but dealing with the fact that I need a large).

Letting go - are we seeing a theme here?  I am not upset but I have come to a point in my life that if you make no effort to see me we have to move on to the next phase of our relationship, social acquaintances.  Not a bad thing but I am bit over always having to be the one to propose dates, plan events to see someone.  I am busy too and while I do not mind doing it even the majority of the time if the only way we see each other, or connect is because I initiate it well I am letting you go to be with whatever it is that is really important to you.  

My last goal for this year is to find moments every day that just are all about me. Moments where there are no interruptions, where I am doing something that makes me happy and to make moments that are full of interruptions and frustrations somehow still make me feel good.   I want to be stronger, more confident and not beat myself up so often - yes I could do whatever it is better but I need to learn to appreciate what I do from big things to small.  That is decluttering of my head - maybe small sections at a time. 

So 2016 bring it - I am planning on my last year in my 40s, blog on that later plug plug, being crazy, outrageous, me-centric and full of times with people who I just adore the crap out of.