Monday, November 23, 2009

Everybody wants to be a cat? Not in our house

Meet Ben.

Ben in the Kitchen

Ben is Peanut’s cat.

Daughter with her cat

She loves him. A lot. Probably more than she loves me.

She talks to him like he is a baby and wraps him up in a blanket.

Her "baby"

He is fairly tolerant of this.

He sleeps in her room, curled up next to her.

She loves this.

Ben had a collar. A black, reflective one. With an ID tag on it.

On one of Ben’s recent adventures, he lost his collar, and along with it, his ID tag.

This made Peanut very, VERY unhappy.

She was convinced he was going to get lost, like, IMMEDIATELY.

So we went to PetCo so she could pick out a new collar and ID tag for Ben.

Peanut is very girly.


Ben is now sporting a bright pink sparkly collar. But that is not the worst of it.

Oh no.

His ID tag is a black heart, rimmed with hot pink. One side features his name, address, phone number. The other side? Reads “DIVA.”


Poor emasculated Ben.

(And he thought getting neutered would be the worst of it.)

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Women's work

My daughters were deep in the midst of an imaginative role playing game.

They have dozens upon which they draw for daily entertainment:
- Molly and Sally go the store
- Snow White and Baby Horse at school
- Rudolph and Clarice at the North Pole

Loaf is often delegated the boy’s role, if there is one, or the role of lesser importance. In a recent game based on Little House on the Prairie, Peanut was Laura and Loaf was assigned the role of Jack . . . the Ingalls' family dog.

She doesn’t seem to mind.


But I digress.

There they were, playing some game. They were chattering back and forth. I was off to the side, folding laundry and sort of half listening, but mostly lost in my own thoughts. When suddenly, Peanut, who was wearing a bandana tied around her head like an old-fashioned kerchief and a pint-sized apron tied around her dress said, “I will go pick the berries because that’s women’s work.”

I froze mid fold and stared at her.


Over the past several months, Mark has been reading chapter books to her – the entire Great Brain series, as well as the aforementioned Little House on the Prairie books.

While I am thrilled that she enjoys this time with her father and is completely enraptured by these big books with few pictures, these are tales written in an entirely different time – a time when men’s and women’s roles were clearly defined, rigid and limited.

It is good to learn about these times – the historical lessons are important – but I’m less than thrilled that the concept of “women’s work,” has been introduced into my six-year-old daughter’s lexicon.

And who’s to say it even came from these books? It could just have easily been slipped into one of the old Disney princess films, or another source I’m not even aware of.

“Peanut,” I asked her delicately, trying to keep my tone casual, “where did you hear that phrase? Women’s work?”

She looked at me with a skeptical grin. Maybe my tone wasn’t as casual as I’d hoped. “No where,” she said. “I made it up.”

“I’m not mad,” I quickly clarified. “I just want to know where you heard it.”

“No where. It’s from inside my head.”

Which I know is totally not true. But I decided not to press.

Instead I launched into an explanation of how roles have changed. How “women’s work” is a very old-fashioned term. How women can do any type of work—and for that matter so can men. I finish my diatribe using our own family as an example.

“Dad does the dishes. I take out the trash. We both take care of you and your sister.”

“Uh, OK, Mom,” she said, turning to resume her game. I can practically hear the eyeroll.

A few minutes later, I am back to folding laundry (and no, the irony of what I am doing as I deliver my little speech about today's changing gender roles is not lost on me) and they are once again playing.

“You pick the berries,” Peanut declares to Loaf. “I am going to sweep the floor.”

And then I walked up the hall, found a good solid wall and proceeded to bang my head against it for 10 or 15 minutes.

And the laundry? I left the rest of it for Mark to fold.

Let them watch their father finish it up while I’m in the office today. I think it might be good for them.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Helllooooo, Lover.

I am a bargain shopper.

I loooove finding a hidden gem – some retail item that has been deep discounted. It is a thrill¬—my reward, my due—for suffering the mall, or worse, the disorganized big box store.

Lately, I have been getting my thrills in thrift stores. They appeal not only to my love of bargain hunting, but also to my desire to live a green lifestyle: reduce, reuse, recycle and all that good stuff.

About a year ago, a coworker discovered a thrift store about 10 minutes from our office. It benefits the Lupus Foundation, and while 85% of the stuff there is of no interest to me, every now and then I find something truly spectacular.

Like a caramel colored Ralph Lauren belted suede coat for $9. Or a black Tahari suit jacket for $12.

But in truth I am Carrie Bradshaw at heart. I loves me some fine shoes. Unlike Carrie, I don’t have the budget to stock up on Jimmy’s or Manolo’s. Once in a while I’ll stroll through Nordstrom or Neimans and fondle the fine Italian leather in the designer shoe section, wishing and hoping, but never buying.

There is a thrift store about 15 minutes from my house that I haven’t – until recently – spent much time in.

But last week, I went there looking for a pair of dress pants and I came home with two pairs of practically brand new Ann Taylor suit pants for a grand total of $7. Yesterday, I had nothing much to do after I dropped Loaf off at school, so I went back.

I wasn’t looking for anything in particular – just killing time. I browsed around the clothing, but didn’t really find anything. Then I went downstairs and picked up two paperback books—The Shack and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for 25 cents each.

I was standing in line waiting to check out, when I noticed a wall of designer shoes near the registers. And on top of that wall was a pair of black pumps.

Killer black pumps.

To some, they are just shoes. But to my inner Carrie Bradshaw, they are sex and classic elegance stacked on a three-and-a-half-inch glossy black leather heel. They are feminine and powerful and hot.

I sauntered over and lifted them from that shelf, feeling their weight in my hands – a weight that only the finest made shoes have.

They were by Dolce & Gabbana.

$25! Can you believe it?

And they were my size.

I slipped them on and strolled slowly in front of the registers.

”Those are gorgeous,” said a woman standing by the register. “You have to get them.”

I pulled them off and turned them over, expecting to find a price tag of at least $50.

Instead? $25!


How gorgeous are these?

My inner Carrie is extremely pleased.

My new Dolce & Gabbana pumps - $25 thrift store find!

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