Monthly Archives: December 2010

When I was in Paris, I…

Sentences that begin this way always feel like the travel equivalent of name dropping. You are cool/stylish/interesting because you were in a cool/stylish/interesting place.

When someone casually mentions “The last time I was in Borneo…” the implication is that he is the type of person that goes to Borneo regularly, in the same way other, less interesting people,  might go to the drugstore.

Of course it would be anti-climactic to say “The last time I was in Borneo, I picked up some toilet paper and Altoids.” So the follow-up must be satisfying (yet spoken with the same sort of casual flair) to make one seem effortlessly worldly.

It is possible to overshoot or underplay depending on your use (or definition) of facts.

Using my own past trip as a guideline, see categories below:

“When I was in Paris, I…”


-met the President of France (false) who was really short (true)


-spent time sketching in the Louvre (true). Where I spent time, thinking about how great art connects us all (not really)


-ate a lot of cheese (true) and barely missed stepping in a lot of dog crap (overshare!)



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Disney princesses

So I watched “Tangled” the other night, Disney’s newest princess movie.

While other animation studios have produced beautiful and inspiring work, none of them match Disney’s for pure nostalgia value. Not only did I grow up watching their movies, my mother did too.  That’s powerful stuff.

I really liked this movie. Sure I nitpick about where the story line pushes the boundaries of “willing suspension of disbelief”, but it hit all those notes that reminded me of what I loved as a kid.  It was like finding a picture of yourself in  a rainbow shirt and a side ponytail and going, “awwww, I remember that!” instead of “OMG! Why did I think that was an okay look?”

However, what I completely missed as a kid was how much barely controlled hormones factored in Disney romances.  The heroes and heroines are, after all, teenagers.   But even the most devout and prudish would find their behavior faultless

All Rapunzel and her prince REALLY want to do is hold hands.  And maybe kiss.  BUT THAT’S IT.  Dad can safely put away the shotgun.

But really, this expression :

is basically a subtler version of this:

Kids…that ain’t love.  That’s lust.

I suppose that’s part of the poignancy of watching the movies; when the hero and heroine fall in lust, they actually get lucky, and it is also love. Cue the happily ever after.

As an adult, you know that’s not always the case.  Which is why in real life,  the princess runs off with the dumb guy on the motorcycle, and the prince runs off with the stripper.

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The siren call of a sale

I know I’m not the only one susceptible to it; the compulsion to buy something just because it’s on sale.

Do I need it? Is it flattering? Does it even fit?

WHO CARES?!?  It’s 40% off!  I will FIND a reason to need it.

This is what I’ve learned from a lifetime of always buying on sale; you will almost inevitably have a home filled with a combination of  1) things that are almost like the thing you actually wanted and 2)things you don’t even particularly like but were such a good deal that it felt like saving money to buy it.

I’ve seen entire houses decorated in this fashion.   They are inevitably ugly and schizophrenic.   I went to an open house a few years ago, I could tell the house had been carpeted with “on sale” carpet.  I know this because there was a strong smell of carpet glue and because the carpet itself was a vivid, Pepto Bismal pink.  Only Barbie or a color blind drag queen would have found this color acceptable.

The internet has made controlling this compulsion worse because there is literally a sale every day, somewhere, and they will offer free shipping.  I am on Banana Republic’s mailing list. I need to get off of it because they write me every day. I don’t have any friends who write me as often as Banana Republic does. Banana Republic is the stalker bearing gifts (for 40% off).

My struggle this week? Tarte cosmetics is having a sale.  Are their products any good? I have no idea. But now I want some.

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Santa is a bigot

The wiring installed in childhood is difficult to remove once the intervening years pour concrete over it.  Major jackhammering is necessary to redo .   Occasionally, it can be worthwhile to bring out the heavy equipment (embedded anger management issues, check!), but sometimes it’s harmless.

For example, in September, I always feel anticipatory, because the school year is starting, even though the years I haven’t been a student now outnumbers the years I have.   While in June, I expect a long summer holiday (bummer).

And  at this time of year,  I want Christmas lights, trees, carols, and candy canes.

However, what I must resist doing, if I wish to maintain this particular jolly nostalgia, is re-watching any Christmas specials. Specifically, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.

I LOVED this as a kid.

Back then, my take-away was, “Sometimes if you don’t fit in right away, it’s only because you’re special and eventually everyone will realize it!”  (Because, I too belonged on that island of misfit toys!)

But then I re-watched this with other nostalgia buffs awhile back.  Mistake!  Undo! Undo!

Here’s the take-away message as an adult:

Hey kids! The bullies are right to torment you for being different, but if you make yourself useful to them, they will like you, and it will all be worth it!  You might even be lucky enough to serve them forever!

Now, try substituting  Rudolph’s nose for different colored fur or a funny accent.

All kinds of wrong.  Oh no! Santa and the elves, just a merry bunch of segregationists!

This is one of those things that  the memory of it is much better than the thing itself.

But, as long as I never watch it again, it’s still awesome in my memories.

And “Silver and Gold”?  Love that song.

(Please don’t tell me that it’s really a song about Nazis.)

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Old clothes

When I was a teen, I suddenly became obsessed with all things Victorian and Edwardian.

This resulted in a very peculiar style of dress.  High necked blouses, big hats trimmed with tulle, buttoned up boots, capes…

Oddly enough, I still had friends.

And no, they did not take pictures.

I discussed this fashion predilection with a friend of mine, who was growing up on the opposite coast at the time.  We discovered that we had worn the same wardrobe! She noted dryly that in retrospect, it was such a virginal look, no wonder neither of us had had boyfriends.

Yes, that “Room with a View” exerted a powerful influence on overly idealistic, hopelessly naive, arty types.

Thankfully, both I and my friend grew out of it, both the naiveté  and the fashion, otherwise we might have evolved into this:

Whimsical clothes really work so much better when you’re 18.  (Probably because people expect you to grow out of it.)

I went through  my closet this weekend, and found I still had some remnants of my old wardrobe.   You know what’s weird?  Capes are in this year; all the magazines say so.

Apparently, I was simply 22 years ahead of my time.

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